Do Guppies Eat Plants? Feeding Habits and Diet Explained

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Guppies are some of the most popular fish in the fishkeeping world, but there still remains a lot of confusion when it comes to their diet. Do guppies eat plants? The answer is yes and no. It really depends on the plant in question and the individual guppy. While guppies may be omnivorous, the specifics of their diet can be a bit more complex.

In this article, we’ll explore what guppies usually eat, whether or not guppies are likely to nibble on your aquatic plants, and some of the best plants you can opt for if you’re looking to add some greenery to your guppy tank.

Do Guppies Eat Plants?

Guppies are omnivores, which means that, yes – guppies do eat aquatic plants! Adult guppies require plant-based nutrients derived from algae, phytoplankton, and other aquatic vegetation in order to maintain their health. A baby guppy will not need to consume as many plant-based nutrients, but it will still need to eat some plants in order to survive.

The specific type of plant will determine whether or not a guppy is likely to nibble on it. Soft, leafy plants are usually the most appealing to guppies, as they are an easy source of nutrients. Guppies are less likely to eat tougher, fibrous plants. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule – some guppies may nibble on tough plants if they are particularly hungry.

It’s also worth noting that some plants are more likely to be consumed by guppies than others. Commonly eaten plants include water lettuce, water sprite, anacharis, and hornwort. You may want to avoid adding these plants to your tank if you’re worried about your guppies eating them. However, guppies are not known for being destructive, so this shouldn’t be a major concern.

What Do Guppies Usually Eat?

We’ve established that guppies need a varied diet in order to stay healthy, but what does that diet look like? In their natural habitat, wild guppies feed on various plant and animal matter. This includes algae, phytoplankton, and insect larvae. In a captive guppy tank, things get a little more complex. Let’s take a look at what guppies typically eat in captivity.

Flake Food

Heap of dry complete multi-ingredient flake food for daily feeding of all ornamental fish

Commercial fish food gets an ill-deserved bad rap in the fishkeeping world. While it’s true that some commercial foods are not of the best quality, there are plenty of high-quality options designed with guppy fish in mind. Whether you have a baby fish or an adult pet fish, you can find flake food that’s perfect for your needs.

Flake food is the foundation of most guppy diets. This type of food is designed to provide your fish with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Flake foods usually contain a mix of plant and animal matter, as well as vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Using the right product, the nutrition from fish flakes can be enough to keep your guppy healthy and happy.

Another advantage of flake food is that it’s easy to use. You can simply sprinkle a little food into the tank and watch your fish go to town. If you have an automatic fish feeder, you can set it to dispense food at regular intervals. This takes the hassle out of feeding your fish and ensures that they always have something to eat.

Frozen and Live Protein Sources

While tropical fish flakes can be a great source of nutrients, they shouldn’t be the only thing on your guppy’s menu. As we mentioned, guppies in the wild consume a variety of live foods. Though commercial guppy food may already contain some live ingredients, it’s a good idea to supplement your fish’s diet with additional protein sources.

Frozen bloodworm for feeding aquarium fish and crabs.

Frozen and freeze-dried foods such as baby brine shrimp and daphnia are a great way to add some variety to your guppy’s diet. These foods contain high levels of protein and essential nutrients, making them a perfect supplement to flake food. They also allow your fish to hunt and feed, which can help keep them active and stimulated.

If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can even culture your own live foods. This is a great way to ensure that your fish are getting the freshest, most nutritious food possible. Live foods can be tricky to care for, so make sure you do your research before getting started. Otherwise, you can always purchase live foods from a reputable dealer.

Plant Matter

Last but not least, we have aquarium plants. Due to their relatively tiny size, guppies are unlikely to devour entire plants in a single sitting. That said, they will nibble on bits of plants from time to time, particularly soft, leafy plants. Many guppies also enjoy eating aquarium plant roots, as they are a rich source of nutrients for fish.

In a tank, you can also opt to supplement your guppy’s diet with plant-based fish food, such as alga wafers. Though these are designed with herbivorous fish in mind, they can be a good way to add extra plant matter to your guppy’s diet. You shouldn’t rely on plant-based fish food as the sole source of nutrients for your guppy, but it can be a helpful addition to their diet.

Many aquarists also swear by introducing vegetable matter to their guppy tanks. This can be anything from blanched zucchini to frozen peas. Guppies will nibble on these vegetables as they float around the tank, and they can be a good way to add extra nutrients to your guppy’s diet. Just be sure to remove any uneaten vegetables from the tank after a few hours to prevent them from decomposing and polluting the water.

What Types of Plants Are Best For Guppies?

Bucephalandra (Bucephalandras)

Given that guppies eat plants from time to time, you might wonder which plants are best for their tanks. In general, you’ll want to opt for a combination of edible plants and hardy decorative plants. Edible plants like water sprite and hornwort can provide your guppies with extra nutrients, while hardier plants like java fern can help to anchor the tank.

Here are some types of plants that are particularly well-suited for guppy tanks:

Fast-Growing Plants

Fast-growing plants such as water sprites are a great addition to any guppy tank. Not only do they provide your fish with extra nutrients, but they also help to keep the water quality high by absorbing nitrates and other pollutants. Fast-growing plants also have a tendency to spread quickly, so they can help to fill in any bare spots in your tank.

It is important to note that fast-growing dense plants may be challenging for beginner aquarists. These plants require high levels of light and CO2 to thrive, and they can quickly outgrow a tank if left unchecked. If you’re new to aquarium plants, it’s best to start with a slower-growing plant before moving on to something more challenging.

On the other hand, those looking for a challenge will find these to be ideal plants. Who wants the monotony of fake plants when you can have a tank full of vibrant, healthy plants? If you’re prepared to invest a little TLC, these plants can transform your tank into a veritable jungle.

Hardy Plants

aquarium plants

Hardy plants like java fern are ideal for guppy tanks. These plants are relatively undemanding, and they can help to anchor your tank. Hardy plants also tend to be slower-growing, so they won’t outpace your guppies. Common plants in this category include java fern, anubias, and Cryptocoryne.

While hardy plants are relatively easy to care for, they can be a little on the boring side. These plants tend to be dark green or brown, and they don’t provide much in the way of color. They’re also a dime a dozen with very little variation between species. As such, hardy plants are best used as accents or background plants in a tank with more colorful fish.

That said, opting for a resilient plant can be a good way to offset the challenges of keeping live plants. These plants are less likely to succumb to disease, and they can help to stabilize a tank. If you’re not confident in your plant-keeping abilities, hardy plants are a good place to start. They might not be the most exciting option, but they’ll get the job done.

Beginner Plants

Aquarists housing pet guppies in their fish tanks typically have their hands full already and are looking for low-maintenance live plants. Pet guppies do not uproot plants and generally speaking will not consume most plant matter, making them ideal candidates for beginner live plants.

Some of the best plants for beginners include:

  • Java moss
  • Water wisteria
  • Hornwort
  • Cabomba
  • Anacharis

These plants are all easy to care for and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. They also tend to be fast-growing, so they can help to fill in any bare spots in your tank. And best of all, these plants are relatively inexpensive, so you won’t have to break the bank to get started.

If you’re new to aquarium plants, these beginner-friendly options are a great place to start. They’ll help you get a feel for plant care without overwhelming you with too much work. Once you’ve got a handle on things, you can move on to more challenging plants.

The Takeaway

Guppies are a popular choice for beginner aquarists, and with good reason. These colorful fish will eat virtually anything, and that includes plants. While some aquarists choose to keep their guppy tanks plant-free, others find that a few hardy plants can help to offset the challenges of keeping live fish.

No matter what route you choose, be sure to research before adding plants to your guppy tank. With a little planning, you can create a beautiful and thriving aquarium that both you and your guppies will enjoy for years to come!

Did you enjoy this article? Please share it with your friends! Thanks for reading, and happy fishkeeping!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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