Why do Guppies Stay in the Corner of the Tank?

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Do you want to know why your guppy fish stay in the corner of your aquarium? There are multiple reasons why guppies would hide in a corner of the tank. In this article, I will highlight the most common problems why guppies are staying in one corner.

Stressed Guppy

The most common reason why a guppy fish would stay in the corner of the tank is stress. I’ve written a detailed article about why guppies can be stressed.

Here are the top factors which will stress guppies and will make them hide in one corner:

  • transportation and new habitat
  • inadequate water temperature
  • small or overcrowded fish tank
  • lack of plants and hiding place
  • aggressive tank mates
  • poor water condition
  • sickness or diseases

New Guppy Hiding in the Corner

When you purchase a new guppy from your pet store or online, they can go through a lot of stress during transportation.

It is a good idea to quarantine every new guppy fish for at least one week before adding it to your main tank. This way, you can ensure that your new guppy is disease-free and is perfectly acclimated to your water parameters.

If you don’t have the option to quarantine your new fish, make sure you acclimate the fish.

The acclimation of a new guppy fish is very easy.

Usually, you will bring your new guppies home into a plastic bag. The water temperature in the bag differs from the temperature of the tank. Put the bag into your tank as is, and let it sit for 30 minutes.

This way the water from the plastic bag will slowly adapt to the temperature of your tank. After half an hour you can release your new guppy fish into the tank.

They might still hide in the corner, behind the filter or between plants for a while. Newly added guppies can also be decolorized due to transportation. Usually, after a few hours, your new guppy fish will regain their colors and will swim around.

Female Guppy Hiding Behind Filter

Guppies Stay in Corner Dues to Inadequate Water Temperature

Guppies are tropical fish. They live in water with temperatures between 65-85 °F (18-30 °C). If you want to keep your guppies healthy, I recommend keeping a stable water temperature of 75-78 °F (24-26 °C).

As mentioned before, the low water temperature can cause stress in guppies. On the other hand, warm water, above 86 °F (30 °C), will make the oxygen level in the water decrease. In this situation, your guppies will gasp for air at the surface.

In both situations, guppies can slow down and stay in one corner of your aquarium or hide.

To ensure a stable water temperature for your guppies, I recommend getting an aquarium heater (you can get a good one from Amazon).

If you need help choosing the heater for your tank size, please read my aquarium heater guide here.

Sick Guppy Will Stay at Bottom or in the Corner of the Fish Tank

Guppies staying at the bottom of the tank

Guppies can be affected by many diseases and parasites. I’ve covered all guppy diseases in one of my articles; please check it out for more details.

Not all diseases will make your guppy fish stay in a corner. For instance, ick (white spots on the body) or velvet (gold dust on the body) will not make your guppies hide.

However, dropsy, fin rot or some type of bacterial or viral infection can affect your guppies in such ways, that they will hide behind the decoration. In most cases, you will only notice these guppies, when it is already too late.

So, do a visual inspection on your guppy fish tank often. If you see any of your guppies laying in a corner, scoop it out and inspect for any disease.

It is always better to prevent diseases instead of treating it. However, if you notice that your guppy is sick, treat it as soon as possible. Most guppy diseases can be treated with Seachem ParaGuard from Amazon. I always keep a bottle of this medication at home.

Ammonia can Cause Guppies to Lay in Corner of Your Tank

Ammonia burns are a very common problem in new aquariums. Because the aquarium is not cycled yet, ammonia can’t be broken down by beneficial bacteria.

Ammonia, even in small quantities can harm and eventually kill your fish.

Adding guppies in a one-week-old aquarium is usually a bad idea. The ammonia will accumulate so fast due to feeding, that it can reach critical levels in just one hour.

Often, after feeding you will see one or more guppies having swimming issues or hiding in the corner.

Instant death is also very common in new tanks due to the high ammonia levels.

So, to ensure your water is ammonia-free, cycle your aquarium first. The cycle should take at least one week, but I personally recommend 3 weeks.

Adding nitrifying bacteria such as API Quick Start from Amazon, can help speed up the process.

If you just set up your aquarium, you should also get a water test kit (I recommend API Test Kit – which is very accurate – you can purchase it from Amazon.com) to measure the level of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Guppies are Hiding Due to Aggressive Tank Mates

Guppies are peaceful fish. They get along with a wide range of other species, which are not aggressive. Here is a list of the best guppy tank mates, if you want to learn more about which fish are compatible with guppies.

If you put your guppies together with aggressive fish, such as cichlids, angelfish, tiger bars or other bigger fish that can eat them, most likely your guppies will feel insecure.

They might get stressed and most of the time will hide or just stay in a corner of your tank.

The lack of hiding space or live plants is the worst. Your guppies will not be able to hide, and the aggressive tank mates will chase them until they die.

Why All Guppies Suddenly Start Staying in a Corner?

I see this question popping up a lot on Facebook groups and forums. Beginners complain about their beautiful guppies staying in a corner of the tank.

When I ask when was the last time when they did a water change, they say, that never changed the water in their tank.

Well, you should keep in mind, that even though your filter and plants can remove a lot of waste from the water column, changing water is essential in every fish tank.

The only way to remove nitrates and other compounds from the water is through water change.

I recommend changing 30-50% of the water every week in your tanks. Don’t forget to use a water conditioner, such as Seachem Prime (buy it from Amazon), to remove chlorine and other heavy metals from the tap water.

Female Guppy in the Corner of the Tank

Sometimes you might find that some of your female guppies will retreat in one corner of the tank, or will hide between plants.

If you see this symptom only on one female guppy fish, you don’t need to worry. The female guppy is in labor and is ready to give birth to lots of guppy fry.

If you want to save the fry, this is the perfect opportunity to remove the female from the main tank. You can either use a breeding box to save the small fry, or you can use a separate tank for raising the baby guppies.

Once the female guppy gave birth, you can place it back in the main tank.


I really hope my article has helped you figure out why your guppies stay in the corner of your tank.

If you still have any questions, please submit a comment. Also, would like to hear from you, if you have experience with keeping guppies.

Updated: February 23, 2022
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