Are Guppies Bottom Feeders? {6 Tips To Stop Guppies From Bottom Feeding}

Do you see your guppies feeding at the bottom of the tank? Are guppies bottom feeders?

What makes a guppy, known to be a top feeder, switch to bottom feeding?

In this article, we’ll find out guppies are bottom feeders too.

Are Guppies Bottom Feeders?

A guppy is naturally adapted to feed at the water’s surface. Opportunistic moments in captivity has trained your guppy to eat from any level where food is present. Your guppies can be conditioned to bottom feed and trained not to do so.

Is It Strange For Guppies To Bottom Feed?

Guppies are quirky, fun and strange in their own ways that makes them so appealing behaviorally on top of their appealing physical features.

One such behavior is the curious propensity to venture out looking for a quick bite in unknown territories. They normally swim near the surface, but if they notice a twinkle or morsel of food sinking down below, they may follow it.

Sometimes it gets to the point where your guppy sits at the bottom to await another easy meal instead of returning to its usual territory at the top level.

Why Is My Guppy A Bottom Feeder?

Your guppy is not truly a bottom feeder like an otocinclus or corydora catfish. This guppy is using an opportunistic approach to find food way below the usual space that guppies naturally find their next meal.

If the trip to the bottom resulted in being chased by a larger tankmate, the opposite might occur. In this example, a guppy would be trained to remain safely at the top where its counterparts enjoy a more peaceful existence.

Your Guppy May Feed From The Bottom If It:

  • was fed by a breeder in a massive group all at once. 
  • lost out on meals due to being smaller than other guppies at the top. 
  • became weak, sick and lost the energy to frantically compete for food.
  • the result of curiously venturing to the bottom was rewarding when food was found.

A guppy can be trained or trains itself to swim down below and if successful, the routine may become a habit as a type of operant conditioning or rewarding behavior.

How Can I Stop My Guppy From Feeding At The Bottom Of The Tank?

If it concerns you that the unnatural behavior of your guppy feeding at the bottom of the tank is becoming a habit, then you can try to train this behavior to stop.

It may not be necessary if your guppy is still active and looking beautiful as ever. If your guppy is eating enough, you can feel secure that this outlier is expressing an adaptive behavior that is courageous.

You do not want your guppy stealing food from other bottom dwellers that may leave them going hungry.

6 Tips To Stop Your Guppy From Bottom Feeding

  1. Keep larger bottom dwellers in a spacious tank to occupy this zone and intimidate your guppy to return to its territory.
  2. Stop feeding your guppy sinking pellets.
  3. Tap the water at the surface during each feeding session.
  4. Leave floating flakes or pellets at the surface after getting your guppy’s attention.
  5. Patiently wait for your guppy to swim up for the food.
  6. If your guppy doesn’t swim up at first, hunger will drive this guppy to swim up the next time you tap the water.
YouTube video

Will Guppies Get Along With Bottom Feeders?

Generally speaking, you are looking to stock bottom feeders that will focus on eating detritus and algae.

You employ them as tank cleaners or peaceful bottom dwellers that do not seek out other tankmates and prefer to hang out in their own group or left alone.

A guppy would have to repeatedly swim towards the mouth of another bottom dweller and try to steal its food to receive hostility or aggression.

Otherwise, your guppy at the bottom might actually keep away or there could be a sign of weakness that is keeping it from swimming up.

Why Is My Guppy At The Bottom Of My Tank?

Your guppy could actually be weakened or stressed. The following reasons could result in a guppy refusing to leave the bottom if the tank:

  • aggressive tankmates at the top or mid level 
  • excessive hiding from bullying
  • poor acclimation, 
  • incompatible with other guppies
  • sick and wishes to be left alone to heal
  • pregnant and looking to spawn fry
  • still a guppy fry 
  • water conditions are poor
  • routinely finds food at the bottom
  • substrate full of leftovers

Make sure you are performing water changes and vacuuming the substrate to prevent excess debris from messing with your water chemistry.

How Often Should Guppies Be Fed?

Baby guppies eat up to 5-7 times a day while adults eat twice a day. If you wish to feed your guppy twice a day, make sure the food remains at the top.

If the food sinks and your guppy follows it all the way down, the instinctual reaction could be to return to the bottom more often in search for more food.

Remove any food that isn’t eaten after 3-5 minutes to reduce the chances of leftovers spiking ammonia in the tank.

Do Guppies Eat Algae?

Guppies are famous for being opportunistic feeders who will munch or nibble on various edible snacks if they find it. Algae is one example of edible plant matter.

Don’t expect your guppy to be a tank cleaning algae eater. The amount of algae a guppy can consume is minuscule compared to more common algae eating fish and invertebrates.


Your guppy who ventures to the bottom of the tank from time to time is acting in an opportunistic way that is a part of a learned behavior.

It may have started with the breeder or in your tank when a guppy followed a sinking pellet to the bottom and found it to be an easier way to feed.

Training your guppy to return to feeding at the top is possible, but requires some effort and consistency.


We hope the information provided today serves you well. We at enjoy writing articles to serve the aquarist community of fish keeping hobbyists and thank you for visiting us. See you next time!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.

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