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20 Best Tank Mates for Guppies

Eric is an aquarium enthusiast with over two decades of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish.

Guppies are active, vibrant little fish, and a big favorite in the aquarium world. They come in a range of varieties that can add a splash of color to any tank ten gallons or bigger. Guppies are excellent community fish, but aquarists must take care when stocking them.

In this article, you will read about 20 peaceful fish and critters that make great guppy tank mates. First, here are a few things to think about before you add guppies to your tank:

  • The rule of thumb for guppies (and most livebearers) is to stock at least two females for every male. (Males are more colorful, with larger fins and tails.) This is important, as males may try to harass females as part of the mating process. Making sure females outnumber males means less stress on any one female fish.
  • Remember that big fish eat little fish, and guppies are tiny fish. They are susceptible to predation by larger fish who might see them as a snack, so avoid any tank mates that might eat them.
  • Watch for fin nipping. Guppies are quick, but it is better not to risk temptation from fish that might cause them harm. Guppies are known to nip fins occasionally as well, so you’ll want to avoid stocking them with long-finned fish.

It seems like there is a lot to think about when choosing compatible tank mates for guppies, but there are many widely available fish that can get along with them.

Top 20 Guppy Tank Mates

Which fish can live with guppies? Here is my list of the 20 best tank mates for guppies:

  1. Neon Tetra
  2. Green Neon
  3. Cardinal Tetra
  4. Cory Catfish
  5. Zebra Danio
  6. Swordtail
  7. Platy Fish
  8. Dwarf Gourami
  9. Common Plecostomus
  10. Bristlenose Plecostomus
  11. Rubberlip Plecostomus
  12. Otocinclus
  13. Molly Fish
  14. Harlequin Rasbora
  15. Kuhli Loach
  16. Apple Snail
  17. Ghost Shrimp
  18. Cherry Shrimp
  19. African Dwarf Frog
  20. Amano Shrimp

Please remember that these are simply suggestions based on my personal knowledge and experience. As always, it is up to you to research any fish you intend to bring home and make your own educated decisions.

When choosing fish for your tank, think about not only the space you’ll need for our guppies, but for every fish you intend to stock.

Read on to learn more about each of these fish!

Neon Tetra

Like guppies, neons are tiny, peaceful fish with vibrant colors. Together in the same tank, these two fish can look amazing. Neons, like most tetras, are schooling fish, which means you’ll want to keep them in a group of six or more.

They are less active than guppies, so if you keep both fish you’ll want to make sure you have a big enough tank so reckless guppies aren’t constantly stressing your neons. I’d go with at least a 20 gallon.

You may also consider related species, such as the cardinal tetra or green neon.

  • Adult Size: 1.5-2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Social Requirements: Schooling, keep in groups of six or more
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon

Corydoras

Cory catfish are peaceful little catfish that grow to about three inches long. They mind their own business and spend their days searching around the substrate, looking for bits of uneaten food. Many aquarium owners consider them as part of the cleanup crew of the tank.

You can find many varieties of cory in the aquarium trade, such as:

  • Pepper Cory
  • Bronze Cory
  • Bumblebee Cory
  • Albino Cory
  • Panda Cory

Cories are schooling fish, so that means you will keep them in groups of six or more. They may not always be able to scrounge up enough to eat, so feed sinking pellets to make sure their nutritional needs are met.

  • Adult Size: 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Social Requirements: Schooling; groups of six or more
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons

Zebra Danio

Zebras are great little fish with striped bodies, and they are around the same size as guppies. They are hardy and easy to care for, meaning they are excellent fish for beginners. They are peaceful, schooling fish, which means we need to keep them in groups of six or more.

Also like your guppies, zebras are fairly active and inquisitive. If you are looking for a tank with a lot going on inside, stocking guppies and zebras is one way to get it. If you are looking for a little more serenity, you may want to stick with your guppies as the sole agitators in your tank.

  • Adult Size: 1-2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Social Requirements: Schooling; keep in groups of six or more
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Platy Fish (Guppy and Neon Tetras in Background)

Platy Fish (Guppy and Neon Tetras in Background)

Sword Tail and Platy

I often group these two fish together. Even though they are different fish, their care needs and behaviors are similar. Both are active, peaceful, and excellent fish for a community tank. Platies are a bit chunkier than swords, but both fish are quite hardy.

They are both livebearers, so stick with that two-to-one female-to-male ratio. Swords are easier to sex than platies, as the male has the elongated “sword” tail. Both fish come in several varieties that are common in the industry.

Remember that your guppies might nip at fish with long fins, so be smart when choosing platies and swords.

  • Adult Size: 3-5 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful, active
  • Social Requirements: Schooling, keep in 2:1 female to male ratio
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon

Dwarf Gourami

The dwarf gourami is a colorful fish that can be compatible with guppies. Even though they are often labeled as semi-aggressive fish, they are typically peaceful and great for community tanks. However, there are a few things to think about if you wish to keep them successfully. I have always had the best luck keeping them as individual fish, as they can sometimes exhibit aggression toward other gouramis.

Gouramis are anabantids, meaning they have a special organ that allows them to breathe gulps of air above the water surface. Other anabantids common to the aquarium industry include betta fish and leopard bush fish. In my experience, these fish don't do well in the same tank, so be wary if you try to stock them together.

  • Adult Size: 3-4 inches
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive (generally compatible with smaller fish like guppies)
  • Social Requirements: May keep as an individual. May exhibit aggression toward others of the species or other anabantids.
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons (one)

Plecostomus

Plecos are some of the best algae-eating fish you can find for your aquarium. They are peaceful, and they should get along fine with your guppies. However, there are other considerations if you intend to stock them.

Fish stores sell common plecos as small juveniles that are appropriate for a 10-gallon tank. (Note that "common pleco" refers to a specific species but is also used as a generic description of similar species in the aquarium world.) What they don’t tell you is they can grow to an adult length of a couple of feet. That makes them inappropriate for all but the largest home aquariums.

The rubberlip and bristlenose plecos are better options. They grow to around six or eight inches and are appropriate for 55-gallon tanks. Whatever pleco you stock, be sure to feed algae wafers so they have enough to eat, and consider including a piece of driftwood for them to rasp on.

  • Adult Size: 24 inches (common), 6-8 (rubberlip and bristlenose)
  • Temperament: Peaceful, maybe lash out of needs around met.
  • Social Requirements: Solitary
  • Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons (common), 55 gallons (rubbernose and bristlenose)

Otocinclus

If you don’t have a tank big enough for a plecostomus, instead consider a school of otocinclus catfish. They are schooling fish that look like tiny plecos, and are sometimes referred to as “dwarf suckerfish”.

Otos are delightful little catfish for a freshwater aquarium. Like the plecos, they will go to work on the excess algae in your tank. You'll still need to do some work on your own, but they can help.

You can keep a school of six in a tank as small as 20 gallons, which will give you enough room for your guppies too. One nice benefit of otos is that they won’t trash your live plants as plecos are prone to do.

As with plecos, be sure to feed algae wafers, so they are getting enough to eat.

  • Adult Size: 1-2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Social Requirements: Schooling, groups of six or more
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons

Molly Fish

Mollies are another livebearer. That means as you know by now, you’ll need to stick with that 2:1 female to male ratio. There are many varieties such as the black molly, SailFin molly, and lyretail molly. All are active but peaceful fish that shouldn’t care a whit about your guppies. They make a great addition to community aquariums. However, I would avoid molly varieties with long fins, as they may get nipped by your guppies.

Because they are such active swimmers, I also suggest stocking mollies in larger tanks. I’ve owned some tranquil mollies and others that didn’t seem to have enough room even in a 55-gallon tank. For me, this was a great lesson in how you never quite know what to expect from a fish until you have it in your tank.

  • Adult Size: 4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful, active
  • Social Requirements: Keep in 2:1 female to male ratio
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallon

Harlequin Rasbora

Like guppies, harlequin rasboras are some of the most colorful fish for your freshwater aquarium. They are schooling fish that only grown to a couple of inches, and if you are looking to stock your tank with tiny fish, these guys should be high on your list. They are easy to care for, making them good fish beginners.

You can distinguish males by their bright orange coloring, accented by their black tails. Females are duller.

  • Adult Size: 2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Social Requirements: Shoaling, keep in groups of 6 or more
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 Gallon

Kuhli Loach

Here is one more bottom dweller for your guppy tank, and a unique fish on this list. The kuhli loach looks like a snake or eel, but it is a fish. They are a cool member of your tank’s cleanup crew and they’ll scavenge the bottom for bits of uneaten food. However, you might not see them as often as your other bottom dwellers, and they tend to hide during the day and do most of the munching at night.

Kuhlis aren’t schooling fish, but you’ll still want to keep a few of them together. Make sure you have enough hiding spots for everyone. Feed sinking pellets right before you turn off the aquarium light for the evening so they get enough to eat.

  • Adult Size: 3-5 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Social Requirements: Keep in a small group
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 Gallon

Critters That Are Compatible With Guppies

Above I’ve discussed 15 different fish that make great tank mates for guppies. Here are five critters you might consider.

  • Apple Snail
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • African Dwarf Frog
  • Amano Shrimp

Just like fish, they may or may not be a great choice for your aquarium, depending on what else you have in there, but they should get along fine with guppies. Do research before purchasing!

Guppy Tank Mate FAQ

Got more questions about guppy tank mates? Here are some answers:

Can guppies live with betta fish?

Betta fish might get along with guppies, but because male guppies are colorful fish with long, flowing fins there is also the possibility they might invoke aggression in a betta fish. Always have a backup plan whenever you introduce a betta fish to a community tank.

Can guppies live with goldfish?

In my opinion, they should not, but you’ll find mixed advice on this. Here are a few things to think about so you can make your own decision. First, guppies are tropical fish while goldfish are a cold-water species. They require different water temperatures. Also, goldfish can grow large enough to eat guppies. Not good. Finally, goldfish pollute their tanks quickly and make poor tank mates for tropical fish in general.

Can guppies live with tetras?

There are a wide number of tetras that are potentially great tank mates for guppies, including:

  • Neon Tetra
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Green Neons
  • Lemon Tetra
  • Rummy-nose Tetra
  • Bleeding heart tetra

Can guppies live alone?

Guppies are schooling fish. While they do not stay closely in groups like other fish such as neons, they thrive in social groups. For this reason, it is not advisable to keep a guppy as a single fish.

How many guppies should be kept together?

Depending on the other fish you stick, you can keep six guppies in a 10-gallon tank. Be sure to follow the 2:1 female to male ratio to avoid stress. Otherwise, the number of guppies you can keep is limited only by the size of your tank.

Many fish are compatible with guppies.

Many fish are compatible with guppies.

More Tips for Guppy Care

As you can see, successfully keeping guppies means following a few care rules. However, they are relatively simple fish to keep, and they really make your tank pop. You might even consider a guppy-only tank.

Be aware that guppies can be fragile. When it comes to store-bought aquarium fish, a certain amount of your success will depend on the breeder they came from, and the way they were cared for before you purchased them. Sometimes, small fish like guppies will die and there is nothing you could have done differently. You can minimize this by researching the best place locally to buy your fish.

Finally, keeping up with proper tank maintenance practices, such as water changes, can do a lot to help your fish stay healthy.

Good luck choosing the best tank mates for your guppies!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

Niks from India on August 17, 2021:

My granny had a tank full of Guppies. I always wondered what if other fishes were added to this tank. After years I came across your article which was not only informative but it answered the question that emerged out of childhood curiosity that was unanswered so far.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on August 17, 2021:

@Peggy - That's cool! The little fry are tough to corral so the other fish don't get the them.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2021:

I remember watching the live births when my brother had an aquarium with guppies. He was able to sell many of them back to the store, so he had a tiny profitable business as a youngster. I think he also had some black mollies. The male guppies have such beautiful fins.

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