How Long Do Guppies Live? Plus 5 Ways To Help Increase Your Guppies Lifespan

Are you looking to add guppies to your fish tank but wondering how long they live? Well, the life expectancy of a guppy fish is two years.

These tropical freshwater fish are native to South America, but sadly they don’t live very long. But that shouldn’t scare you from taking a guppy home. Guppies can live up to 5 years in captivity with proper care. 

As fish keepers, we all have moments of doubt when we worry about the health of our fish. It’s even worse when the fish you took home dies in a couple of months. But you shouldn’t blame yourself, the local pet store could have sold you an older fish, and it was just their time. 

In this article, we not only share what can shorten the lifespan of your guppy but how you can increase their lifespan and quality of life. 

But first, let’s talk about a Guppies Life Cycle!

Guppies Life Cycle

Usually, female guppies live for about 2-3 years, while male guppies might only live a year.

red and blue guppy fish

A female guppies lifespan can, however, be shorter because of pregnancy. Pregnancy is stressful for female guppies and their bodies.

The exciting thing about guppies’ reproduction is most male guppies die after mating with their female counterparts. Luckily, the female guppies can store the male sperms for reproduction at the right time.

When Guppies are born, they start swimming immediately. After only a few hours, the baby guppies grow and can start eating.

At a young age, you should provide quality fish food to ensure you have growing and healthy fish. It’s also a good idea to separate male and female guppies because they become sexually active at two months. 

If you don’t want your tank overrun with fry guppies, one gender in the tank could be your best choice. Fry or baby guppies only take six months to grow to their full size.

At six months, a guppy is an adult. A mature female guppy grows to 2.5 inches, while a male guppy will only grow to about half that size of about 1.5 inches.

What Can Shorten a Guppy’s Lifespan

Wild guppies are at the bottom of the food chain in their natural habitat. But they don’t have to worry about predators while in captivity.

While Guppy fish are one of the easiest fish to take care of, many factors within their fish tank can affect their lifespan.

Poor Tank Conditions

To set up a guppy aquarium, you must consider the tank size, water quality, and tank features for their wellbeing.

Poor water quality is one of the most significant factors that can shorten your guppy’s lifespan. The water quality is crucial because fish eat and breathe in this water, so they can quickly get diseases or become stressed with poor water quality in their tank. 

Excess fish waste increases the ammonia levels in the tank, which can cause ammonia poisoning. Ammonia poisoning is fatal to both saltwater and freshwater fish. 

If the tank is tiny, your guppy fish won’t be happy either. Other poor tank conditions include improper water temperatures and the wrong PH levels for your guppy fish. 


Other factors that can shorten a guppy’s lifespan include overfeeding. Have you taken a look at your guppy lately? See how small they are? They can’t eat a lot of food.

Feeding them at least twice a day is enough for their required diet. When they overeat, they can get sick with constipation.

guppies eating

At the same time, if they don’t eat all their food, you should remove any extra ones sinking to the bottom of the tank. Uneaten food causes ammonia buildup, which is poisonous.  


A lot of factors can cause guppy fish stress. While people are good at dealing with stress factors like relationships and work, most fish aren’t so lucky. Stress in fish can quickly lead to death. 

Guppies can get stressed by living with other aggressive fish, poor water quality, or sudden changes in their tank environment. 

Some Symptoms of a stressed guppy include:

  • Lack of appetite.
  • Constantly hiding.
  • Laying at the bottom of the tank.
  • Losing their color and turning pale.

Don’t worry. You can calm down a stressed guppy using the methods below!

5 Ways To Increase Your Guppies Lifespan

The best way to increase your guppy’s lifespan is by offering them the best care and a stress-free environment. Now that you finally understand what can shorten the lifespan of your guppy fish, here are some ways you can help your guppy live longer:

1. Choose the Right Tank Size

Choosing the best tank size is essential for your guppy fish’s survival

guppy fish tank

It might sound dramatic, but a quality tank setup largely depends on the tank size you choose. You can’t add heaters or maintain the water temperature if the tank is too small.

The minimum tank size recommended for these small fish is 5 gallons. So anything smaller like a 2.5-gallon tank will be uncomfortable for your guppy.

Your guppy will have enough space to swim and live free if you get a good tank.

2. Use Filters and Heaters

To keep your guppy healthy, you can use equipment like filtration systems and a heater to help maintain the proper water parameters for these tropical fish.

The water parameters include everything from the water quality, water temperature, and pH levels.

Adding a filtration system to a guppies tank will clean the water and ensure it’s safe for your fish. Regular water checks can alert you if something is wrong with the water before it gets too toxic for your guppy. 

Being tropical fish, they need warmer water temperatures between 70 to 78°F. Temperature shock from adding cold water can cause your guppy stress and lead to death, so having a heater will help maintain the proper water temperature to keep them warm and reduce the work you have to do.

3. Give Your Guppy a Balanced Diet

Guppies are omnivores, so you need to feed them a mix of plant and animal foods.

guppies eating

You can incorporate high-quality plant-based meals and live foods like freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, freeze-dried tubifex worms, and veggie pellets into their diet.  

You can find good-quality guppy food in online stores or pet shops. Stick to feeding guppies correct amounts twice a day to prevent overfeeding.

If you notice they are full, you can fast them for a couple of days. As cruel as it sounds, adult guppies can go without food for up to 2 weeks if water conditions are good.

4. Ensure They Have Suitable Tankmates

Guppies are shoaling fish, so you know they don’t like being alone. It’s easy for guppies to be stressed and bored when they aren’t with their fellow guppy fish. 

If you’re trying to have more than one guppy in your tank, it’s best to have one male guppy per two female guppies.

Male guppies like chasing and disturbing female guppies when trying to mate. This behavior can quickly lead to a stress-filled guppy tank.

guppy tank mates

Keeping more female guppies than male guppies will help them feel safe and better protect themselves from male guppies’ aggressive behavior.

When kept in one tank, more than three female guppies can get aggressive with each other. 

Ensure you aren’t housing guppies with aggressive tankmates if you add other fish species. Although guppies are pretty hardy fish, they prefer living with peaceful fish like:

  • Catfish
  • Shrimp
  • Neon Tetras
  • Dwarf Neon Rainbow
  • Mollies

Conducting extensive research will help you choose the best tank mates for your guppies.

5. Keep Your Guppy Entertained

Like all animals, guppies like to be entertained too. They can quickly become stressed by their environment with no tank mates or hiding places.

guppies in fish tank

They’ll eventually become bored, unfit, and unhealthy if they have nothing to do in their tank. 

Decorating the tank with rocks and aquatic plants will give your guppy many places to hide. Live plants also act as natural barriers to give your guppy privacy and make them feel safe.

If your guppy is constantly active, hiding in different places in the tank, and enjoying their food, they’re probably entertained and happy with their environment.

How Long Do Guppies Live? Final Thoughts

Now that you know how long do guppies live, which depending on their tank environment and an aquarist’s ability to ensure they have everything they need, can be about 2-3 years.

Their quality of life, however, primarily depends on how you take care of them. Providing them with quality food, the right water conditions, and a comfortable tank will increase the lifespan of guppies.

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