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are guppies fin nippers

Are Guppies Fin Nippers?

Although guppies are known to be a peaceful bunch, you may notice them fighting from time to time. You might start worrying if you first notice your guppies fighting and wonder if this is just guppies being playful, or can it lead to other signs of aggression. For example, will guppies nip each other’s fins?

Contrary to popular belief, guppies can become fin nippers given the right circumstances. For example, if the tank conditions aren’t ideal, or if there are too many male guppies in a tank, the guppies might start fighting and fin nipping. Therefore, it’s crucial to determine why guppies fight.

Fighting is not natural for guppies, as they are mostly peaceful fish. Therefore, if you notice your guppies fighting, you should determine the cause of their fighting and stop it as soon as possible. Failing to prevent the fighting may lead to a dead guppy. Therefore, we will discuss why guppies nip each other’s fins and what you can do to prevent your guppies from fighting.

gorgeous guppies
These fins were made for nipping

Why Do Guppies Nip Each Other’s Fins?

When guppies first start fighting, they may only chase each other around or harass one another. However, if the aggression continues, it may worsen, and your guppies may start to nip at each other’s fins or bully one guppy.

Here are some common signs that your guppies are fighting:

  • One guppy is continuously chasing another.
  • Damaged fins or tails due to fin nipping.
  • One guppy hiding away and not swimming around.

So why do guppies fight and nip each other’s fins? We will discuss several reasons why guppies show aggression towards each other.

1. Bad Tank Conditions Can Lead To Fighting

Guppies will start fighting if they feel threatened. For example, if the guppies’ tank is too small for the population or the tank is continuously dirty, the guppies may feel threatened. This can cause them to start fighting as some guppies will try to assert dominance.

Another reason guppies can start fighting is if they don’t have enough food. Feeding your guppies too little food will cause them to fight over their food. Pregnant female guppies will especially show aggression if you feed them too little.

2. Not Enough Guppies in your Tank

Having too few guppies in a tank can lead to fighting. For example, if you only have four or five guppies, one may start fighting with the others to assert dominance. In addition, if you only have a few guppies and more than one is male, the males will start fighting each other to mate with the females.

Guppies will start fighting with each other if they are too few. This may result in one weaker guppy being bullied or excluded, which can cause severe injury or even death.

3. Too Many Males Can Lead To Fighting

Having too many males in a tank can lead to fighting. They will fight to assert dominance and the right to mate with females. In addition, if too many males are in a tank, they can start to harass the females, which can also lead to bullying.

Furthermore, if the males constantly harass the female guppies, they will start to feel frustrated and may start fighting with the male guppies or with other females.

4. A New Or Sick Guppy Can Be Bullied

Adding a new guppy to your tank can be a stressful experience. The other guppies may bully it or chase it around to establish dominance. Although some time is required for a new guppy to adjust in your tank, extreme aggression is not normal and should be stopped.

A sick guppy will also be bullied and excluded. The school will consider a sick guppy as a threat. Therefore, they may show aggression towards it as they want to isolate it and prevent it from infection the rest of the school.

5. Long Finned Guppies May Be Bullied

If one guppy in your tank has particularly long fins, it may be bullied, and the other guppies will nip at its fins or try to injure it. This is most likely because the other guppies feel threatened by the long-fined guppy and will bully it.

In this case, more than one guppy may bully the long-finned one. The other guppies may gang up against the one as they try to assert their dominance.

6. Pregnant Female Guppies Can Fight

Pregnant guppies become more aggressive and territorial, especially during feeding time. In addition, when the pregnant guppy is close to labor, it may attack other guppies that come near it. A dominant female guppy may also bully other females when they get pregnant.

You may be interested in this article about how to tell if your guppy is pregnant

These are the main reasons guppies start fighting and nip at each other’s fins. As fin nipping and aggression can cause serious problems, you must stop it as soon as possible.

guppies in a tank

How To Stop Guppies From Fighting

When you first notice your guppies fighting, you must carefully monitor them. Determine what could be causing them to fight and also ensure that they are indeed fighting and not chasing each other in an attempt to mate.

Once you have established the reason for their fighting, you can determine what you will do to stop it and prevent them from fighting again.

Here are some ways to stop guppies from fin nipping:

1. Ensure The Tank Conditions Are Ideal

Many of the causes for guppies fighting are related to their tank conditions. Therefore, keeping their tank clean and in perfect condition can help prevent your guppies from fighting. Ensure the tank is at the ideal temperature. Also, keep your guppies in bigger schools to prevent them from bullying each other.

While you should ideally have a bigger school of guppies, you should also ensure that there are more female guppies than males to prevent them from fighting for dominance. Finally, don’t add one long-finned guppy to your tank to prevent the others from bullying it.

2. Isolate A Sick Or Injured Guppy

If one of your guppies is sick or injured, it’s best to remove it from the tank. Failing to do so can cause others to bully or injure it further. Therefore, we recommend isolating your sick guppy while it heals. In addition, treat the tank with the correct medicine to prevent the other guppies from getting sick.

3. Remove The Culprit

If you notice that one of your guppies is constantly bullying the others, it might be best to remove this one. It will continue to bully one or more of your guppies and may kill them. Therefore, isolate the culprit and try introducing it to a new school if you have more than one tank.

group of guppies
no fin nipping going on here!


Guppies are known to be peaceful fish. Therefore, if you notice that they are chasing each other or nipping one guppy’s fins, it is a sign that something is incorrect. There are various causes for guppies showing aggression, such as incorrect tank conditions, too many males in a tank, or a new guppy being added to the tank.

Regardless of the cause of your guppy’s aggression, it’s essential to prevent them from fighting and resolve the problem as soon as possible. If not, the fighting will continue, and one guppy may be killed.

Other Guppy Related Articles:

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Why has my guppy stopped eating?

How to spot a bullying guppy

Will my guppy eat all my plants?

Do guppies like still water?

Are guppies egg layers?

Do mom guppies eat their babies?

How old can guppies get?

Are guppies aggressive fish?

Can guppies really jump?

Why has my guppy changed color?

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