Do Guppies Eat Plants?

guppy eat plants

Everyone loves an aquarium with plants, right?

Plants, especially live plants, add a great aesthetic appeal to a fish tank. However, there is one concern on the back of every guppy owner’s mind when placing plants in a tank with guppies.

Do guppies eat plants?

Yes, guppies do eat plants. Fortunately, guppies mostly eat algae and fish flakes. Guppies will not eat the larger, tougher plants that you are likely to place in your aquarium.

In fact, guppies make a great addition to a planted fish tank. The guppies love the plants, too.

Also, please don’t feed your guppies bread or goldfish food. Neither of those are good for them.

Why Guppies are Perfect for Planted Fish Tanks

Guppies are a perfect fit for a planted fish tank. We’ll take it a step further and say that guppies are one of the best fish you can add to a planted fish tank. Here are some of the reasons that we love having guppies in tanks that have plants.

Plants Imitate The Natural Habitat of Guppies

guppy natural habitat plants

First of all, guppies are native to the West Indies and South America. They generally live in rivers and streams full of plants.

In their natural environment, guppies mostly eat algae off of rocks, algae that has grown on other plants, and mosquito larvae.

Are you seeing a trend?

These fish thrive in an environment with plants. Placing guppies in a tank without plants is certainly possible because guppies are the hardiest aquarium fish – many beginners do exactly that and place them in tanks with nothing but gravel and a few decorations. However, the fish will be the least stressed in an environment that mimics it’s natural environment.

Stress can lead to discoloration and deformed fish, so it’s ill-advised to place a guppy in a tank without plants.

Guppy Fry Can Hide in Plants

Do you have a male and female guppy in the same tank?

Congratulations, you will have an endless supply of guppies. These fish reproduce fast.

Now, we all know that guppies are tiny fish. Well, baby guppies are even smaller. And small fish have a natural instinct to shelter themselves from all types of predators – insects and bigger fish.

The joys of living at the bottom of the food chain…

Anyway, baby guppies can get stressed out if they do not have somewhere to hide out. What better way to give your baby guppies a hiding place than adding some beautiful plants to your tank?

Guppies Keep The Plants Clean

A common struggle with having plants in a fish tank is that the plants get covered in algae. This is especially common because plants require a lot of light and CO2.

Remember, algae is also a plant, so you will get a lot of algae growth. And algae grows everywhere – the tank walls, the filter, the substrate, structures, and even plants all get covered in algae.

Unfortunately, algae growth on plants will prevent the plant from receiving sunlight. On the bright side, there are fish that will serve as a vacuum cleaner for algae…


Now, guppies are not big enough to eat all the algae off of your plants, but they can do a decent job at slowing the growth of algae in your fish tank.

Best Plants for a Guppy Tank

Here are some of the best plants to place in your guppy tank. These plants were selected based on the ease of care and the general aesthetic that they add to a guppy tank.

Java Moss

Java Moss is one of the easier “real” plants you can add to your tank. The water quality and light requirements are not very strict, which makes it perfect for beginners.

It’s a beautiful bottom level plant that provides ample space for guppy fry to hide.

We recommend Java Moss in a guppy tank.

Java Fern

java fern

Java Fern is another easy, albeit harder than Java Moss, plant to grow in a fish tank. The scimitar shaped leaf blades add a nice tropical aesthetic to a tank.

The leaves and root system also make great hiding spots for guppy fry or regular guppies if you have them with fish that eat guppies.

The downside with Java Fern is that it’s very slow growing. But if you’re patient, then it makes a great addition to a guppy tank.


Duckweed is one of the more controversial plants to add to a fish tank. Why?

It grows too fast and it’s a top water plant.

However, we like it in our guppy tank because it adds a nice aesthetic to the tank. Just make sure to not let it get out of control because too much duckweed on the surface will impact the oxygen exchange of your tank and prevent other plants from getting enough light for photosynthesis.

Final Thoughts

Well, that about covers it for whether guppies eat plants.

Guppies eat plants, but they will not eat the type of plants that you have in your fish tank. Instead, they eat algae and other small plants that they can fit in their tiny mouth. Due to that, we strongly recommend adding some plants to your guppy tank.

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