Can Guppies Survive Without Air Pump? {How Much Oxygen Do They Need?}

Guppies get their oxygen from water with the help of their gills which is their major respiratory organ. Can guppies survive without air pump?

An air pump does not directly supply oxygen.  The basic function of an aquarium air pump is to force air into the aquarium through mechanical means.

This article will help explain if or can guppies survive without an air pump.

Can Guppies Survive Without Air Pump?

Guppies can not survive without an air pump, they take oxygen from the water by breathing it in through their gills.

It is highly recommended to have an air pump in your tank because this is the best and most reliable way to add oxygen to the tanks water.

Are You Looking To Keep Guppies? If yes, check out our care guide here

Can Guppies Survive Without Air Pump

Do Guppies Need Oxygen To Survive?

Yes guppies need oxygen to survive.  They breath in oxygen that is in the water and this is a requirement for them to survive.

Without oxygen your guppy fish will die.  The best way to add oxygen to the tank is via an air pump with a bubbler in the tank.

How Long Can Guppies Live Without Oxygen?

No fish or aquatic life can survive without oxygen, and guppies are the same, so how long can they survive for

A guppy will survive between 2 days to 1 week with out an oxygen supply.  The more fish you have in the same tank will reduce the amount of time they can survive.

When oxygen levels are low in a tank:

  • The guppies will rise to the top of the tank.
  • This is where the most oxygenated water is.

When the oxygen level is to low at the top of the tank:

  • Guppies will start to gulp at the waters surface. 
  • They are trying to gulp oxygen from the air outside the tank.
YouTube video

How To Install An Aquarium Air Pump

Air pumps provide an additional supply of oxygen to aquarium tanks.

1. The first thing to do is to find a suitable location for the air pump if you want to install it in your guppy aquarium.

  • You should try and situate the air pump not too close to the aquarium because it is an electric device and not waterproof.
  • You should also try to locate on a higher level than the tank but not directly above.

2. The next thing to do is to connect air tubing to the air pump and connect the air tubing to an air stone.

  • You must however make sure the air tubing is long enough to conveniently reach inside of the tank.
  • The air stone is best kept under the water inside the tank.

3. You might need to cut the air tubing somewhere inside the tank to serve as a check valve.

  • This check valve will ensure that both sides are connected nicely.
  • The air valve also allows the air to go through while preventing the back-flow of water in case the air pump is off.
  • You can then plug in the air pump to an electrical outlet and switch it on once everything is connected.

Live Aquarium Plants Produce Oxygen In Water

Yes it is true, live aquarium plants produce oxygen in the water, Take a look at this article I wrote about the best live plants to add to a guppy tank.

Adding live plants is the prefect solution because they have many other benefits than just adding oxygen.

Advantages Of Having An Air Pump In Your Guppy Tank

Air pump remains an important part of an aquarium, particularly community tanks. It could be optional for some aquarium owners while it is important for others depending on the design of the tank.

The presence of an air pump in guppy tanks has a lot of advantages for the fish.

  • The major advantage of the air pump is that it ensures an adequate supply of oxygen in the fish tank.
  • It also creates water agitation by producing bubbles while also enhancing water flow.
  • The bursting of bubbles created by the air pump increases the water tension in the tank while also improving water circulation.


Air pumps provide an additional supply of oxygen in fish tanks. In tanks where guppies are overcrowded, it is important to use air pumps.

However, the use of air pumps might not be very necessary if you have an air filter. Also, if the fish tank has an opening. If you design your tank to allow proper aeration and good water circulation, it might not be needed.


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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.