It’s no doubt that every guppy owner tries to have as many guppies as possible. The reason is simple. Male guppies are more colorful and show more patterns bringing in a plus of variety and unique features.
The problem is that, unlike females, male guppies are more aggressive and territorial. This can lead to constant fighting, especially when you have a lot of males in a too-small tank.
Is It OKAY to Keep Only Male Guppies?
Yes, it is. Tanks filled with male guppies-only do exist, but there’s a catch. A male-only guppy population will inevitably lead to war, aggression, and bullying. Males are also territorial and show a fierce temperament in the presence of females.
Your primary goal should be to prevent aggression and provide guppy males with a safe and comfortable environment to prevent these issues. You can do that by choosing a larger and taller tank with more water volume and overall space available.
This will minimize the interactions between the fish, providing your males with a sense of territorial domination and keeping their minds at ease.
You should also create a rich aquatic environment with caves, rocks, driftwood, and plants. All these will break line of sight between the fish, providing a variety of hiding places.
Can You Keep Only 2 Male Guppies?
Absolutely not. You need to understand that guppy male aggression isn’t a random occurrence. It’s not like some guppy males are aggressive while others are peaceful, swimming in a Kumbaya style. All guppy males will show aggression towards other males.
Having only 2 of them in the same tank will quickly spell disaster because they will fight to the death. They might not even intend to kill each other; death may simply be the consequence of injuries coming from constant bullying and attacks.
So, I wouldn’t recommend keeping only 2 guppy males in the tank.
How Many Male Guppies To Keep Together?
The standard recommendation would be 6 at a minimum. This is not a random number but one based on observation and trials. Having less than 6 males, let’s say 3, will create an imbalance of power, causing 2 males to attack the third.
In this situation, it’s not the attacks that are the problem, but their frequency. The victim will experience high stress, which can lead to a weakened immune system, infections, and diseases. Not to mention, frequent attacks will lead to injuries and increase the likelihood of your fish experiencing deadly infections along the way.
The same situation applies to 4 and 5 guppies but will change as the number increases. With more than 6 males in one tank, the likelihood of the same fish being targeted by the others will be greatly diminished. Instead, the males will attack each other randomly.
However, even with more than 6 guppies in the same tank, smaller fish can still become targets for the rest. I suggest checking the population’s dynamics occasionally, identifying any targeted bullying behavior, and dealing with the situation quickly. If several males focus on targeting the same fish, the situation can turn grim pretty quickly.
Are Male Guppies Aggressive Towards Each Other?
Yes, they generally are. Guppy males are territorial and will fight for the females around the clock. Even if no females are available, males have an innate higher level of aggression that they love displaying every chance they get.
This is one of the reasons why male-only guppy tanks don’t have the most peaceful dynamics. Adding some females to the mix might worsen the situation since it will introduce another reason for guppy males to compete against each other.
To ensure stable and peaceful tank dynamics, I recommend having 1 guppy male for every 2 or 3 females. If the males have enough females, everybody gets to mate, which will reduce the competitive aggression.
I get it that a mixed tank is less impressive than a male-only one. But, sometimes, you have to consider your guppies’ safety as well, aside from the aesthetic factor.
Will Male Guppies Kill Each Other?
Usually, they won’t do that intentionally. Guppies are all of similar sizes, and they have no teeth. This will reduce the chances of them killing each other. Not to mention, they don’t actively fight one another. More like, 1 or 2 males bully another male into hiding, nipping at its fins and poking him.
If death does occur, it’s almost always the result of injuries coming from constant bullying and stress. Untreated injuries may result in infections, which can prove deadly shortly. Stress is another major problem since it will lower the victim’s immune system, opening the door to infections, parasites, and various diseases.
At the same time, guppy males can kill each other directly if the size difference allows it. The bigger males will bully and even kill the smaller ones to provide themselves with more access to food and females. It’s a biological predisposition, and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
The only thing you can do is to prevent male aggression by controlling the number of males and eliminating any obvious size differences, among other things.
Can Male Guppies Live Without Females?
Yes, they can. Females aren’t necessary since they don’t impact the males’ lifespan directly. However, a tank without females will come with different dynamics than a mixed one.
If there are no females around, guppy males will split their activities between eating and bullying each other. After all, they have to direct their aggression somewhere. The presence of females will keep the males busy, lowering their aggression and replacing it with breeding attempts and mating games.
The moral of the story is – don’t let your guppy males get bored. Keep them occupied, preferably by setting up a mixed tank, based on the 1:3 male to female ratio.
How To Stop Male Guppies From Fighting?
Here’s what you can do here:
- Consider a larger and taller tank – The tank’s size will work wonders in this sense. The common rule is to have 1 guppy for every 2 gallons of water. I say keep one guppy for every 4-5 gallons of water. And get a bigger tank while you’re at it. This will minimize the interactions between your males, leading to fewer episodes of violence and bullying.
- Ensure proper and regular feeding – Hungry guppies are grumpy guppies. Keep your guppy males on a regular and diverse diet, and they will show less aggression overall. It’s harder to fight with a full belly.
- Get guppies of similar size – As I have mentioned earlier, the bigger fish may kill and eat the smaller ones. Guppies are no strangers to cannibalism; mix this with the males’ obvious propensity towards violence, and the result is always death. To minimize this problem, I recommend reducing the size difference between guppies.
- Increase the number of males – If you’re determined to have a male-only tank, at least make sure to get at least 6 males. This will minimize aggression towards one fish in particular and, instead, spread it among everyone.
I would set up a mixed tank instead of a male-only setting. A mixed tank will inevitably ensure healthier dynamics since male-to-female interactions have different energy than males.
Male-only tanks are definitely more beautiful and vibrant, but they also come with significant downsides. On the other hand, mixed tanks come with more stable population dynamics and allow for breeding if you’re planning to boost your number of guppies.
In the end, there are plusses and minuses for whatever you choose, so choose accordingly. If you want to understand how to set up a tank, control your guppy population, or understand selective breeding or feeding, check my other articles or comment below.