Guppy fish are versatile tropical fish that have a peaceful nature, which makes them great contenders for community aquariums. They’re sociable and compatible with many fish species.
When it comes to keeping different species in the same aquarium, compatibility is crucial. If you’re looking to house other fish with your guppies, this article will help you decide which fish are suitable to be kept with your guppies.
I’ve selected 20 of the best guppy fish tank mates along with a few fish that you should absolutely avoid keeping with guppies.
Choosing the Best Tank Mate for Guppies
Fish should be comfortable with their tank mates and they shouldn’t be exposed to bullying, injuries, or stress related to other fish kept in the same aquarium.
While a preference for the same water conditions is a good starting point in determining if two types of fish will get along, there are also other things to factor in when choosing the best tank mates.
Therefore, the best tank mate for guppy fish are fish that:
- Do well in the same water conditions that guppies prefer;
- Are peaceful and aren’t known to have behavioral issues;
- If they have any behavioral issues, these are easy to curb or control;
- They have similar sizes or if there’s a size difference, it isn’t as significant that one fish will mistake the other for food;
- Prefer the same diet as guppies do or can thrive on a similar diet.
Any fish that will put your other fishes’ lives into danger should be dismissed as a potential tank mate.
Here are 20 fish that check off these requirements and can be housed together with guppy fish:
1. Platy Fish
When it comes to platy fish and guppy fish getting along, they’re genuinely a perfect combination. They’re both live-bearing fish, both are rich in colors and patterns, and enjoy the same keeping requirements.
Beyond their compatibility fish guppy fish, they can also be kept with many other fish that get along with guppies including mollies and swordfish.
I also recommend keeping both platies and guppies if you’re a beginner aquarist setting up their first ever community aquarium. They’re both hardy fish that are easier to keep if you’re just starting out in the hobby.
2. Molly Fish
Another excellent match for guppy fish are molly fish, which are also a live-bearing freshwater fish species that are hardy and beginner-friendly.
Molly fish have a peaceful temperament and thrive in water parameters that match up that of guppy fish. Their diet is also similar thriving on a varied, omnivorous diet.
Mollies are also compatible with other guppy-friendly fish including platies, harlequin rasboras and bristlenose plecos, therefore, making it easy for you to set up a mixed-species aquarium.
3. Swordtail Fish
Swordtails and guppy fish are a 10/10 match with guppies. Their elongated bottom fin is shaped like a sword, which gives these fish a truly unique shape. Beside their shape, these fish come in a variety of colors.
Because both guppy fish and swordtail fish are known to jump out of their tanks, keeping them in a tank with a cover secured into place will prevent unfortunate accidents from happening.
Just like guppies, swordtails prefer being kept in a group, but do be careful with the female to male ratio as both these fish are known to breed out of control.
4. Cory Catfish
Great scavengers and tank cleaners, Cory catfish are bottom dwellers that will get along greatly with your guppies and many other freshwater fish.
Their friendly behavior and peaceful nature make them an excellent beginner-friendly fish too that’s not fussy about food and doesn’t have special keeping requirements.
As scavengers, Cory catfish will pick up leftover food from the bottom of the tank, but their diet can’t consist solely of leftovers. Supplement their diet with sinking foods.
Despite being bottom dwellers, they have delicate barbels that can get hurt if you have a rough substrate like gravel in your aquarium. I recommend sand instead.
5. Bristlenose Pleco
The fleshy tentacles that decorate these fish, and which give them their name, may be unappealing for some aquarists, but others may find them interesting.
Regardless of how you feel about the aesthetics of these fish, Bristlenose plecos have an amazingly peaceful temperament that makes them a top choice of fish that can be housed with guppy fish.
As bottom-dwellers, they do a great job at cleaning your aquarium and they stay away from the levels of the water column where guppies hang out most of the time.
Bristlenose plecos grow larger than guppy fish and therefore require a larger aquarium than guppies do. A 30-gallon aquarium is usually the ideal size for these fish.
6. Gourami Fish
Gourami fish and especially the Honey Gourami is another fish that you can house together with guppies, except they’re a bit high-maintenance compared to guppies.
This may not make them a 100% match, but if you do already have some experience under your belt, you can have guppies cohabiting with Honey Gouramis.
As social fish, gouramis thrive in groups of 4-6. Despite enjoying the company of a group, gouramis are a bit timid by nature and require shade and hiding places in their tank.
You may come across angelfish being listed as fish that are compatible with guppies, however, angelfish have a bit of an attitude that can make them aggressive towards guppy fish, therefore, I wouldn’t recommend you to keep them together.
If you’re not up to heeding my advice, do make sure to offer plenty of space for your angelfish, pick angelfish that don’t grow as big, and offer your guppies plenty of hiding spaces.
Also try to curb the aggressive tendencies of angelfish by adding your guppies to the tank while your angelfish are still small so that they won’t see them as a potential threat.
Guppy fish can be kept with various tetra varieties such as Neon tetra, Rummy nose tetra, Rosy tetra, Lemon tetra, and Penguin tetra.
These tetra fish varieties make good companions for guppy fish and can be housed together with the only caveat that some tetras may eat guppy fry, so either don’t allow guppies to breed or offer enough hiding spaces for the fry to elude hungry fish.
Tetras are schooling fish and do best if kept in groups, so make sure you pick a larger aquarium than you would for your guppies.
Tetras thrive on an omnivorous diet, some varieties are extremely difficult to breed, meaning they require separate breeding tanks and pristine quality water.
9. Rasbora Fish
Rasbora fish like the Harlequin rasbora, Brilliant rasbora, and clown rasbora can make good companions for guppy fish.
These easy-going fish are suitable for beginners and do well in community aquariums just like guppy fish do.
To avoid them getting timid and stressed out, I recommend keeping them in the recommended numbers for each variety, especially if said varieties exhibit schooling behavior (e.g. harlequin rasboras).
Rasboras make for a perfect match for guppy fish as they’ll get along perfectly without you having to worry about behavioral issues or unhealthy social dynamics.
10. Betta Fish
Betta fish are semi-aggressive, which isn’t something that guppies will tolerate well, however, I wouldn’t completely dismiss betta fish when it comes to their compatibility with guppy fish.
Sure, they aren’t a perfect match and strictly speaking, they don’t check off the requirements for best tank mate that we’ve established at the beginning of this article, but there are betta varieties that can work with guppy fish.
In fact, if you choose betta varieties that are a bit more passive like the Delta Betta fish and the Halfmoon Betta fish, you can create an environment in which they can peacefully inhabit the same aquarium as guppies.
You can go even further in curbing any attempt at aggressiveness by limiting the number of betta fish you add to the tank (start off with one betta fish to see how it goes) and try to stick to female bettas, which are much less aggressive than male ones.
When it comes to shrimp, Amano shrimp and Cherry shrimp will enjoy tank conditions in which guppies thrive.
However, shrimp and guppies aren’t the most obvious combination, especially that hungry guppies will have a go at small shrimp, but with a few precautions, you can avoid that.
Cherry shrimp can also survive in a guppy fish tank; however, their bright red colors may make them a more obvious target. A densely planted tank can offer them enough coverage.
Amano shrimp on the other hand are larger than cherry shrimp and they have an almost transparent body that makes them masters of disguise; therefore, I would say they’re a much better match for guppy fish.
12. Siamese Algae Eater
As their name suggests, these fish are popular for their algae-eating capabilities. Unlike other algae eaters that tend to be a bit more passive, the SAE is actually quite active and will cover your entire tank but do prefer hanging out at the bottom of the aquarium.
They enjoy a planted tank, they’re peaceful and they can be kept with guppies, danios, and tetras. Their preferred food is algae, of course, but they’ll eat anything they can find on the substrate including insects, live foods, etc.
13. Otocinclus Fish
Another great algae-eater that’s a good choice for a guppy aquarium are Otocinclus fish, a fast-swimming fish with an insatiable appetite for algae.
Otocinclus fish are more sensitive to improper water conditions, more so than guppies, so make sure your water parameters are excellent when keeping these two together.
Another thing to keep an eye on is tank dynamics as guppies may display fin-nipping behaviors with these fish around.
Danios (Zebra fish, Pearl Danio, Danio Kerri, Queen Danio) are another potentially good mates for guppy fish. They aren’t aggressive towards each other and they enjoy the same water parameters.
The only caveat with this combination is that Danios are faster at getting to food than guppies are, which may leave some guppies hungry.
Aquarists recommend dropping food at different locations into the tank so that all fish can get access to food. I also recommend having some scavenger fish in the aquarium that can pick up leftover foods.
15. Rainbowfish (Boeseman’s)
A beautiful and popular freshwater fish, Boeseman’s Rainbowfish can be a good choice for a guppy tank mate, however, they’re schooling fish that grow larger than guppies, therefore, offer them a large enough aquarium.
Rainbowfish enjoy a densely planted aquarium and will accept most fish foods including live foods that will help them develop their beautiful colors much better.
They are durable fish that are easy to keep, moderately hardy, and they’re usually good at fighting off diseases.
Because they’re active swimmers and show schooling behavior, make sure that you offer them at least a 50-60 gallon aquarium.
16. Clown Loaches
These schooling fish will peacefully coexist with nearly any freshwater fish including guppies. They’re also called scaleless fish because of the very tiny, embedded scales that are barely noticeable.
They require a large aquarium as they can grow to up to 12 inches in size, plus they need to be kept in a school.
They enjoy a planted aquarium that offers them shade and hiding places as they don’t like bright lights. They prefer live foods and get along with virtually all non-aggressive freshwater fish.
Some snails that you can keep with your guppies include Ramshorn snails, Nerite snails, Malaysian trumpet snails, Rabbit snails, Mystery or Apple snails.
These snails are prolific algae eaters and a low-cost option if you’re looking for a peaceful and low-maintenance clean-up crew for your aquarium.
While curious and hungry guppies may have a go at shrimp, snails have a built-in defense system that guppies will find hard to penetrate.
18. Ram Cichlids
Cichlids are notoriously aggressive fish, but some dwarf varieties like Ram Cichlids are much more peaceful compared to their relatives and thus, they make good tank mates for guppies.
These fish are beautifully colored featuring many gradients, iridescent bodies and high fins. They don’t grow large and do well in a tank that’s at least 12 gallons in size.
They can be kept with other live-bearing fish that are also compatible with guppy fish such as swordtails, mollies and platies.
As one of the few cichlids that can peacefully live with small livebearers, Ram cichlids aren’t difficult to keep, however, they are a lot more difficult to breed compared to live bearers.
19. African Dwarf Frog
If you’re curious about keeping frogs in your community tank, the African Dwarf Frog can be an interesting choice for a guppy fish tank.
As bottom dwellers, they don’t interact much with guppies, which mostly hang around in the mid-section of the water column.
The only problem with keeping these two species together arises at feeding time. Guppies will voraciously eat the food before it reaches the African dwarf frog, which is a slow eater.
Therefore, if guppies are kept with the African dwarf frog, you’ll need to spot feed your frog to make sure it gets enough food.
20. Discus Fish
These discus-shaped fish are a graceful and colorful addition to a guppy fish tank. They enjoy a planted aquarium and will thrive on a carnivorous diet.
The only issue with keeping these fish together is that they water temperature requirements don’t perfectly match up. Discus fish enjoy warmer water than guppy fish.
However, if you find fancy guppy fish that enjoy higher temperatures or Discus fish strains that do well even in waters that are slightly lower in temperature, you may be able to find a middle ground solution that pleases both types of fish.
There are many fish that guppies will enjoy as tank mates, the key is to create an environment that works well for all members of the aquarium.
Behavioral issues can sometimes be curbed (e.g. when keeping Bettas with guppies), but others can’t, which brings us to the tank mates guppies will not tolerate.
Tank Mates to Avoid
When it comes to fish compatibility, it’s good to also have an overview about the fish that should be off limits for guppies.
In short, you should avoid keeping guppy fish with any predator or aggressive fish such as:
Tiger barbs, Rosy barbs, Gold barbs, and Denison barbs are problematic fish that should not be kept with guppies because barbs will hurt guppies.
As fin-nippers, they’re going to shred the long fins of guppies causing irreversible injuries, fin damage and potentially deadly infections.
Barbs are also faster than guppies, therefore, there’s no chance for them to escape barb fish. Beyond the injuries that can be caused by barbs, the stressful environment your guppies will end up living in is also bad for their health.
2. African Cichlids
I mentioned that cichlids are aggressive fish and that the Ram cichlids are an exception to the rule. African cichlids, however, are aggressive, fast and territorial fish that should not be kept with guppies.
In fact, if placed into the same aquarium, guppies won’t resist a day as African Cichlids will not hesitate to pick on them causing fatal injuries.
To avoid fights and injuries, usually aquarists keep only one type of cichlids in their tank. Fast and large fish that can defend themselves like the African catfish may be a good choice for African cichlids.
3. Oscar Fish
Oscar fish are predatory fish that will eat your guppies the first chance they get. In fact, guppies are even used as feeder fish for them.
Oscar fish grow large (up to 14 inches) and require spacious aquariums. There aren’t many fish that can be kept with Oscars, but Jack Dempsey or Bala Shark fish can be acceptable choices.
Large goldfish will make a meal out of their guppy tank mates; therefore, I don’t recommend keeping them in the same aquarium.
Plus, goldfish have a high bio-load and prefer colder water that what guppies will tolerate.
With so many points of failure, goldfish and guppies simply aren’t a good match.
Vividly colored and aggressive, the killifish isn’t a good choice for a guppy fish aquarium as they’ll have a go at your guppies.
Females are less aggressive and territorial compared to male killifish, but I still wouldn’t recommend you to keep them together.
6. Flowerhorn fish
A strange-looking fish, the Flowerhorn has a big bulky body and a brightly colored hump on its forehead. Simply by looking at this fish, it gives you the vibe that it’s a bully.
Flowerhorn fish are aggressive, territorial and don’t get along with other fish and they’re generally kept alone or in a couple.
Even so, they’ll display aggressive behaviors during mating time, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them, so they won’t get into fights.
Any aggressive fish that will fight guppies or will nip at their fins is dangerous for guppies. Large fish that may mistake guppies for food should also be out of the question when keeping guppies.
Guppy fish have delicate flowy fins that can be enticing to fish with predatory instincts, so pick tank mates that won’t bother guppies.
Guppies are good-natured, peaceful fish that will enjoy the company of a large variety of equally sized, peaceful freshwater fish.
Perfect tank mates for guppies include swordtails, mollies, platies, Cory catfish, and few others I mentioned in this article.
With some fish like Bettas and Angelfish, you must take various precautions if you’re planning on keeping them together to avoid fights and injuries.
If you want to set up a community aquarium, always do your research about the fish you can and can’t keep together.
I hope that this article will serve as a good basis for your research on the fish compatible with guppies, and you’ll be inspired to keep other freshwater fish too alongside your guppy fish.