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why is my guppy not swimming?

Why is my Guppy Not Swimming?

Guppies are one of the livelier fish you can have in a tank. so, noticing that one of your guppies isn’t swimming can be concerning. Your guppy might stay in the bottom of the tank or keep to one corner, but it doesn’t swim. If you’ve never encountered this before, you might be wondering what is going on.

If the guppy is close to giving birth, it will isolate in one corner of the tank and won’t swim. Stress or illnesses like swim bladder disease, itch, or fin rot can cause your guppy to stop swimming. A new guppy also won’t swim in the tank if it is shy.

As you can see, many factors can cause your guppy to stop swimming. However, most of these causes can easily be fixed if you are alert and treat them early.

a pair of guppy fish

Why Aren’t My Guppies Swimming?

Usually, fish that aren’t swimming is a bad sign, and you will have to act fast. While some causes of a guppy not swimming can be cured, others are temporary and nothing to worry about.

However, knowing what to watch for when your guppies aren’t swimming is essential for you to treat them right.

Here are some causes for guppies not swimming and how to rectify any problem.

1. A Pregnant Guppy Is Preparing For Birth

If you notice your pregnant guppy is staying in one corner of the tank and not swimming around, it can signify that she is about to give birth. This process is known as nesting and often occurs before the guppy fry are born.

If you aren’t sure if your guppy is pregnant (helpful tip-if you have male guppies in with your female guppy, she most likely is!), or is just carrying a bit of holiday weight, my article ‘Is my guppy pregnant?‘ is worth a read.

When you see a pregnant guppy isn’t swimming and remains in one corner, it might be time to isolate her from the rest so she can safely give birth to her babies without stressing that the other fish might eat them.

2. Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease is a common problem among aquarium fish, such as guppies. Swim bladder disease affects the guppy’s bladder and intestinal system. It may cause them to swim funny, stop swimming, or swim upside down. If not treated, your guppy will die from this disease.

Feeding your guppy cooked green peas is an easy remedy for swim bladder disease. In severe cases, a veterinarian can insert a flotation device in the guppy’s swim bladder to help it stabilize. In addition, you can help prevent swim bladder disease by feeding your guppies nutritionally dense food and slightly increasing the tank water’s temperature to help with their digestion.

3. Fin Rot

Fin rot is a severe disease that affects the fins and, in severe cases, the body of a fish. When the fins are affected, your guppy will not be able to swim. It may sink to the bottom of the tank, or it may swim around strangely.

If you notice a guppy has fin rot, quarantine it from your other fish immediately. Then, replace 25 to 50% of the tank water with fresh water and thoroughly clean the gravel to ensure the other fish don’t get infected. You can get a fin rot treatment from your veterinarian, who will first assess the severity of the fin rot.

4. Ich

Ich is another common fish disease that can cause your guppy to stop swimming. A parasite causes ich or white spots, and you will notice tiny white spots forming on the guppy. In addition, it might start to rub itself on the substrate or sides of the tank. So when you notice your guppy does this and starts swimming funny, it can be a sign that it has the ich parasite.

When caught in time, you can quickly cure the guppy from ich. First, move the sick fish to a quarantine tank to monitor its condition. Then, raise the tank temperature to 80°F. Treat the entire tank with ich medicine and replace 70% of the tank’s water. This should prevent the ich from spreading.

5. Improper Tank Conditions Are Making The Guppies Sick

As you may have noticed, some diseases guppies get from improper tank conditions. Guppies may also stop swimming around or hide away in the tank’s corners if the tank is dirty. In addition, they may stop eating and exhibit strange behavior, such as fighting.

To prevent your guppies from becoming sick and stopping to swim, you must ensure their tank is clean and constantly oxygenated. Don’t overfeed your guppies as this can cause the water to become toxic and dirty the tank. Keep the tank’s temperature optimal for guppies, and carefully monitor your guppies to determine if there is anything wrong with the tank.

6. Stress

If you notice your guppies aren’t swimming around the tank as much, it’s possibly because they are stressed. If there is a bigger fish in the tank that threatens them, or if they aren’t fed the proper nutrients, the guppies won’t feel comfortable and may react by stopping to swim or roam around the tank.

To prevent this from happening, don’t put aggressive fish in the same tank as guppies. Also, don’t put too many guppies in one tank. Finally, ensure you feed your guppies a diet high in nutrients so they have everything they need to be healthy.

7. New Guppies

If you add a new guppy to the tank, it will likely stay close to the bottom or in one corner of the thank first. Once it has adjusted to the new tank and feels that there aren’t any predators or danger in the water, the guppy will slowly start exploring its tank and then swim around.

In this case, you don’t have to worry if your new guppy isn’t swimming much. It will slowly adjust and then swim around with the other guppies. Don’t place a new guppy in a tank with aggressive fish. Ensure the tank is clean, and when adding a new guppy, so it doesn’t get sick.

group of guppies

8. Injury to your Guppy

Finally, an injured guppy won’t swim around the tank. Suppose the guppy’s fins or body is injured by another fish attacking it. In that case, the guppy will likely stay close to the bottom of the tank or hide away in the tank’s corners.

To prevent your guppies from getting injured, we recommend keeping them in a tank with fish that aren’t aggressive towards them. Because guppies are so small, they can easily be attacked by other fish and injured.

9. Your Guppy has gone to Guppy Heaven.

I have put this last, but really, it should be the first thing you should be working out if your guppy isn’t swimming.

Not all dead fish sink to the bottom of the tank, or float to the top.

If your guppy has lost its color, has glazed over eyes, and is looking a bit rigid, then it has more than likely passed away. This article I have written will help you with what to do if one of your fish dies.


There are multiple reasons why your guppies stop swimming. Pregnant guppies stop swimming when they are about to go into labor. Various diseases can also cause your guppies to stop swimming. A stressed guppy won’t swim around. New or injured guppies also won’t swim.

Overall, keeping their tank clean and in optimal condition is the key to ensuring your guppies are healthy and able to swim around. Feed them a diet high in nutrients and quarantine any sick guppies to prevent the illness from spreading.

More Guppy Related Articles:

Will guppies eat shrimps?

Are guppies fin nippers?

Will guppies eat snails?

Why is my guppy not eating?

Will my guppy eat my plants?

How big do guppies get?

Do guppies eat their babies?

How long do guppies live?

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