Are Guppies Schooling Fish? { Schooling vs Shoaling }

If you are thinking to keep a lot of guppies you might be wondering are guppies schooling fish?

Do they school and do they like to school?

find out below

Are Guppies Schooling Fish?

Yes, Guppies are primarily considered to be schooling fish. They frequently display this behaviour both in tanks and their natural habitat. They mainly show this schooling behaviour when they feel threatened.

How Many Guppies Make A School

One of the unique selling points of guppies is that they have small bodies. This physical appearance often makes it possible to keep as many guppies as you want in a fish tank. In fact, they also fit perfectly into community tanks with other peaceful members.

Are Guppies Schooling Fish

Expert aquarists often recommend one gallon of water per inch of guppy. On average, about 5-8 guppies will make the right school. This number will be a perfect fit in a 10-gallon tank.

However, experienced aquarists can keep guppies in a school of about 10-15 guppies. But this large number will require extra care and attention.

Similarly, if you want to keep guppies in community tanks or the company of other fish, you can maintain a school of 5-8 guppies. This number will boost the confidence of your fish and help them cope well in the tank.

Why Keep Guppies In A School

Although guppies are very hardy and cope independently, they thrive better when you keep them in the company of other fish.

Guppies are peaceful fish and will cope well in a group without hurting each other. Schooling guppies will move and swim together in the same direction. Keeping them in a school has a lot of psychological and social benefits to the fish.

Keeping guppies in a school will help them swim faster. This group will aim in the same direction with the determination to stay together. Consequently, every fish will put effort into swimming to remain close to other members.

Why Keep Guppies In A School

Likewise, when they swim closely together, it reduces friction. Consequently, this will help the cichlids move faster; it will also help them conserve energy.

You can also keep guppies in a school to give your tank a coordinated outlook. When guppies move in schools, they look uniform and disciplined. They stick together to form a harmonized schooling pattern that is even more appealing than other shoaling fish.

Also, keeping your fish in a school will make it easy for you to spot a problem in your tank. You will spot which one is not catching up with others, which is not feeding well, or less active. It will help you to identify the possible problems on time and find a lasting solution.

Why Do Guppies Like To Be In A School

Guppies are generally peaceful, and keeping them with a group of other guppies will not do them any harm. Guppies tend to be more committed to staying together as a school in the wild.

This commitment to staying together as a group gives them the confidence to swim around and hunt for food. It helps them to swim faster while also conserving energy.

Similarly, guppies love to be in a school because it makes it easier for them to evade predation. The school will make them feel stronger collectively, intimidate their predators, and ward them off from attacking any school member.

In the tank, guppies will take their schooling behavior more seriously and stay together when they feel threatened. They will also remain more closely together when they feel vulnerable or perceive potential danger around them.

How Many Guppies Should I Get

Guppies are generally peaceful, and they will cope regardless of their number. They swim together in a school without even bumping into one another.

You can get as many guppies as you want, as long as you can accommodate and take care of them. They won’t cause any trouble regardless of their number.

The essential thing about keeping guppies together is overcrowding in the tank. Likewise, they are hardy, but they still require a stable and clean condition in their tank.

Another critical factor to consider about keeping guppies together is the ratio of male to female. This consideration is essential because it can influence the behavior of the guppies.

The only time guppies display a slight level of aggression is during courting and breeding season. Males will fight off each other to win a female to mate.

Another breeding behavior of guppies involves the males chasing the females around. If the male outnumbers the female, they will continually chase them around until they become exhausted. The consequence of this is that the females will get stressed, eventually causing other fish’s health complications.

It is best to keep guppies in a ratio of two females to a single male. However, you can keep only males in your tank if you want the tank to be completely free of harassment and stress.

Can Guppy Schools Live With Other Fish Types

The peaceful nature of guppies allows them to cope with other fish with similar characters. Guppy schools can live with different fish types as long as they are gentle, and they will not cause trouble for the guppies.

However, this doesn’t translate to the fact that they will form schools or shoal with other types of fish. They will only live independently without interfering with each other, or better still, they can complement each other.

However, it is essential to consider the type of fish you want to keep alongside your guppies. They must have similar water and tank requirements. It would be better if they have similar nutritional needs as well.

Avoid keeping them with aggressive fish. Aggressive fish will make life uncomfortable and unbearable for the fish in the tank. It would be best if you only kept them with fish of similar size. Bigger fish can bully guppies to death or even snack on them.

Schooling Versus Shoaling

Schooling and shoaling are two frequently used terms in the aquarium community. Most people often use these terms interchangeably, and many people assume them to be the same. In reality, schooling and shoaling mean two different behavioral patterns. Noting the difference between schooling and shoaling will help you understand guppies better.

Schooling fish swim together in a well-coordinated pattern. They swim together in harmony in the same direction. When fish stay together in school, they are generally disciplined and do things together in unity. They usually stick together regardless of the situation in the tank.

Guppies usually exhibit schooling characters when they feel threatened or vulnerable. They will retreat to form more influential groups to create stronger groups to intimidate their predators.

On the other hand, shoaling is less compact, coordinated, or harmonized compared to schooling fish. Unlike schooling, a member of the shoaling group can decide to swim away from the group at any point.

Shoaling groups are less synched, less harmonized, and less strict compared to schooling. The primary aim of this shoaling group is to meet the social needs of the fish.

Guppies usually maintain a shoaling group when they are at ease. Even though they swim together, each member of the group will go about minding their business.


Below are the frequently asked questions on guppies.

Are Guppies Aggressive? Guppies are not aggressive. They are one of the most peaceful fish in the aquarium. They will neither cause trouble for fish of the same species nor fish of different species. Guppies will only move together peacefully and enjoy the company of one another.

Do Guppies Die Easily? Guppies are very hardy. They are even considered one of the hardiest freshwater fish because they can adapt to various environmental conditions. They are flexible with their water requirements, tank requirements, nutritional requirements, and tank mates.

Nevertheless, it is best to optimize the condition of guppies to favor their health. Ensure their tank’s stability and cleanliness at all times and keep them only with suitable tank mates.

Can I Put 2 Pregnant Guppies Together? Yes, you can put two pregnant guppies together because they have similar tank and nutritional requirements. They will not harm or trouble each other, as long as the tank is big enough to accommodate the two pregnant guppies.

How Many Guppies Can I Put In A 10 Gallon Tank? Experts recommend that it is best to assign 1 gallon per inch of guppy. On average, you can comfortably keep 8-10 guppies in a 10-gallon tank without stressing any member of the tank.

What Fish Can You Keep With Guppies? Guppies are quite flexible when it comes to tank mates. They can cope with varieties of other fish, as long as they have similar requirements, behavior, and sizes. Some of the most suitable tank mates for guppies include Cory catfish, mollies, Bristlenose pleco, platies, Honey Gouramis, and Cardinal tetra.

Can Guppies Live With Bettas? Yes, guppies can live with bettas in the same tank. However, you have to keep in mind that bettas are semi-aggressive; hence, it is necessary to put precautions to protect your guppies.


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.