Do Guppies Sleep? | Your Ultimate Guide on Guppy’s Sleep Cycle

Dec 19, 2020

Do Guppies Sleep?

Guppies are labeled as beginner-friendly fish that can thrive in a wide range of conditions. That’s why it’s easy to overlook their needs. One such overlooked factor is sleep. So, let’s begin with the most common question: do guppies sleep?

Do Guppies Sleep? 

Like humans, guppies are diurnal creatures that remain active during the day and rest at night. So, yes. Guppies do sleep. Since they don’t have eyelids, they sleep with their eyes open. Scientists believe guppies sleep at night to conserve and replenish their energy. 

Now that query’s out of the way, let’s delve into other bits of information you need to know on a guppy’s sleep pattern. 

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How Long Do Guppies Sleep?

Diurnal guppies follow the natural light cycle to sleep. Guppies sleep for about 7-8 hours every day. During this period, their body will get into a resting position to conserve energy.

Guppies need darkness to fall asleep like us. Thus, you need to replicate the natural light cycle for them. 

However, the textbook rule of 7-8 hours of sleep may not be applicable for all guppies. Depending on the personality and age group, a guppy may sleep a few hours more or less. Usually, juvenile guppies are more active than their seniors. 

How Long Do Guppy Fry Sleep?

Just like the parents, guppy fry need to sleep for about 7-8 hours every day.

Some fish keepers turn on the artificial light for a bit longer to speed up development, but that may end up having a negative impact if your fry aren’t getting enough sleep. 

How Many Hours Of Light Do Guppies Need?

Guppies thrive the best when they receive 8-10 hours of light every day. It’s just the right amount to boost their health and growth while polishing their bright fins and tails. If they don’t get enough darkness, guppies won’t be able to get proper sleep. 

If it’s bright outside, that will confuse guppies. In turn, they won’t receive proper amount of sleep. 

And lack of sleep is the number one stress factor for guppies. It also promotes algae growth, and you’ll end up cleaning the tank more often than normal.

How Do Guppies Sleep?

Since guppies don’t have eyelids, they sleep with eyes wide open. Usually, guppies will sleep at the bottom of the tank in a motionless state. Even though the body remains still, the fins and tails will slightly flinch and twitch

Guppies have a lower rate of respiratory activities when sleeping. Thus, you won’t see the gills or lungs at work. 

If it’s too bright for a guppy’s liking, it will try to hide under plants or other decorations to get enough darkness for sleep. 

And if you see your guppy sleeping at unusual hours or merely floating in the tank, it’s an alarm for danger. This could indicate that the guppy in question is incredibly stressed out or suffering from an illness. 

Don’t forget to watch for signs of injuries, cloudy eyes, and uncommon spots. Early diagnosis and medical intervention can make your guppy healthy and happy in no time. 

Here’s an interesting video of guppies sleeping:

How Do You Know If A Guppy Is Sleeping?

Like us, a guppy’s body is wired to fall asleep when it gets dark. If you find a guppy resting peacefully at the bottom of the tank in the dark, most of the time, it’s just a sleeping guppy. 

You won’t see any movement in the eye because guppies don’t demonstrate rapid eye movement. Likewise, you won’t see any other part moving too. 

The tail and fins will flinch and twitch—mostly due to the water’s movement. 

And if you look really hard and long enough, you may see the gills flapping or slowly moving. 

Besides that, there are no other concrete signs to tell if a guppy is sleeping or not. 

How To Tell If A Guppy Is Sleeping Or Dead?

a female guppy

For first-time owners, it can be quite confusing to tell a sleeping fish from a dead one. But by gauging their sleeping pattern, position, hours, and other external factors, you can quickly tell if a guppy is resting or is no more. 

For instance, a guppy will rarely sleep during the daytime. If you find one floating motionlessly in bright light, the chances are that the guppy is dead or too sick. 

If they’re too ill, guppies can fall unconscious as well. So make sure to proof check if a guppy is sleeping, dead or unconscious.

Likewise, if predator fish in the tank have started to circle the floating guppy and nip at the fins and tails, it is also vital that the guppy is no more. 

Here are a few things you to induce a reaction:

  • You can pour in some food to see if the guppy will react to it. 
  • You can turn on the light at bright settings. 
  • You can scoop the guppy with a net. 
  • You can closely examine movement around the mouth and gills
  • You can check for signs of injuries and sicknesses like unusual spots and patterns.

Can Guppies Suffer From Sleep Disorder?

Scientists are yet to carry out substantial research on fish slumber. Thus, there are no strong shreds of evidence to support the statement or discard it. However, too much exposure to light is known to stress fish, and guppies are no exception. 

Thus, you should be mindful of the amount of light they’re receiving every day. 

And the sleeping pattern may also be disturbed due to other factors in a tank. 

For example, if a tank is overstocked and a guppy can’t find the right place to rest, it’s bound to be sleep-deprived. Likewise, if there’s a constant threat of bullies and predators, guppies can lose sleep over the fear of life. 

Some fish species are also known to sacrifice their sleep to care for their young ones. 

However, female guppies aren’t best known for their maternal instinct. Thus, we can’t really say the same about them. 

Do Guppies Sleep At The Bottom?

Guppies sleeping at bottom
Guppies sleeping at bottom

Yes. Often, you will find a guppy sleeping at the bottom of the tank in the substrate or among plants. This could be because the tank’s base is quieter and peaceful than other tank parts. Likewise, the substrate also offers good support to rest their body and conserve energy. 

However, if you see your guppies swimming or laying at the bottom of the tank during the daytime, that could be worrisome. 

Usually, pregnant guppies stay at the bottom to rest and give birth. Other than that, if the tank doesn’t have enough oxygen and is too hot, guppies will swim to the comparatively oxygenated and colder base. 

Likewise, if your guppy is suffering from any disease, hiding from bullies, or is stressed out, it will try to seek refuge at the bottom as well. 

Spike of harmful gases like ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates also force guppies to swim at the bottom. This could be because they’ve fallen asleep or they’re searching for more oxygen. 

So, don’t forget to assess the guppy’s body for signs of illness and the tank’s environment to see if everything’s alright or not. 

Do Guppies Sleep Upside Down?

Guppies don’t sleep upside down. If you catch a guppy sleeping upside down, it could be because of a swim bladder disease. If the swim bladder is swollen or injured, your guppy won’t be able to maintain buoyancy. 

The swim bladder often gets swollen due to overfeeding. In that case, you can cut down your guppy’s diet for a few days. 

But suppose the imbalanced posture is accompanied by unusual spots and patterns. In that case, the swim bladder disease is most likely caused by a parasitic or fungal infection. 

In that case, you’ll need to consult a vet who will recommend some antibiotics. 

What Can You Do to Ensure Your Guppies Get Enough Sleep?

Sleep plays a pivotal role in the guppy’s wellbeing. Several factors underpin a sound sleep. Thus, you need to strike the right balance between factors like the lighting condition, water parameter, and tank size. 

Now, let’s get into them in a detailed manner.

Lighting Needs For Guppies

When it comes to how well do guppies sleep, lighting is one factor that should always come on top. Since guppies sleep for 7-8 hours, it doesn’t mean that you can turn on the lights for the rest of the day. 

At most, guppies will need about 10 to 12 hours of light every day. Light is quite crucial in a guppy’s life since it’s essential for its development. But in excess, light has more vices than virtues. 

If you regularly turn your lights on or off at night, there’s a good chance that it will wake up your guppy since they’re quite sensitive to it. 

Bottom line: Your guppy won’t be able to sleep soundly if the lights are too bright. If that’s the case, they’ll try to seek darker places in the tank to catch some sleep. 

And that takes me to our next topic. 

Hiding Places 

Guppies don’t want anything more than a peaceful slumber at night. Adding a few hiding places in the tank will offer some spots for your guppies to sleep at night. 

For that, you can add some plants, rocks, caves, driftwood, and decorations. 

If you’re looking to add live plants like hornwort, java moss, moneywort, and amazon sword plant are easy to take care of.

When adding decorations, just make sure that they are made with safe materials and don’t have sharp edges. 

Suitable Tank Mates 

Guppies are social creatures that usually get along with all life forms. But big fish eats a smaller one. That’s just how it works. 

Thus, it is critical to find suitable tank mates for guppies. If they’re feeling threatened or are being bullied by bigger species, your guppies won’t get enough sleep at night. 

The chances are that the bullies will try to bite and nip on a guppy when it’s asleep. 

Platies, mollies, Cory catfish, and smaller goldfish species can make great companions for guppies. 

On the other hand, bigger goldfish, angelfish, and oscars are known to bully and injure guppies. 

Enough Tank Space 

Since guppies reproduce profusely, the tank can get overpopulated quite easily. And it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep in an overpopulated tank. 

For starters, there may not be enough space to sleep peacefully at night. 

Other than that, an overpopulated tank is directly proportional to pollution. If the tank’s environment isn’t healthy, and there’s a buildup of harmful gases in place of oxygen, a guppy may lose its sleep. 

Water Parameters 

Ensuring the water parameters are to the T is imperative to a guppy’s sleep and overall wellbeing. We advise you to always mimic the parameters of the natural environment as much as possible. 

Here a few points you might want to consider:

The water temperature should be anywhere between 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C).

Water’s pH level should clock in at 6.7 to 7.8 since guppies love to live in brackish water.

Water hardness (dGH) should be around 8 to 12. 

Proper Filtration And Heating System 

Guppies don’t really produce a lot of waste. Thus, some owners think that they don’t need to invest in a robust filtration system. However, that’s way too far from the truth. 

While it’s true that guppies don’t produce a lot of waste, they produce a lot of fry. 

And an overpopulated tank can get dirty real quick. And if there’s no proper filtration system to tackle that, there’ll be a significant buildup of harmful gases. 

Likewise, guppies prefer a tad bit warmer water since they’re natives of the tropic. However, if the water gets too hot, the oxygen level will deplete quickly. 

On the other hand, if the water is not warm enough, it can make your guppies sick. This is not something that will happen overnight but eventually. 

Now you may wonder how filtration and heating system are tied with how well do guppies sleep. It doesn’t. But it ties up with a guppy’s wellbeing, which is directly related to the quality of sleep they receive. 

Conclusion On Do Guppies Sleep

Guppies are diurnal creatures that sleep throughout the night and remain active for a good part of the day. On average, a guppy needs about 7-8 hours of sleep. The same applies for guppy fry as well.

Since guppies don’t have eyelids, they don’t close their eyes when sleeping. Likewise, there’s no rapid eye movement as well. 

Usually, guppies love to sleep at the bottom of the tank among plants or on the substrate. While sleeping, they’ll stay in a dormant state, but the fins and tails will slightly twitch. You won’t really see the fins or lungs at work either.

So, it’s easy to confuse a sleeping guppy for a dead one. 

Sleep is essential to a guppy’s wellbeing and functioning just as much as it is to us. Thus, as responsible fishkeepers, you need to ensure that the lighting condition, tank’s size and environment, water parameters, and the tank’s inhabitants are safe enough for a guppy to get sound sleep through the night.

Relevant Articles On Guppies

Why Are Guppies So Colorful – And Why Do Guppies Lose Color?

Can Guppies Live in a Pond? Tips on Keeping Guppies in a Pond

Do Male Guppies Fight? Guide on Aggression and Guppies

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.