Treating And Preventing Guppy Constipation

Guppy’s are prone to develop constipation from time to time.  In this article I will advise you how to treat this condition and how to prevent it coming back.

Why do guppy’s develop constipation? The most likely causes are improper diet, overfeeding, food allergy.  If left untreated the fish can suffer from swim bladder, disease, loss of appetite and worse case death.

Preventing Guppy Constipation

What Causes Guppy’s To Become Constipated

There are many reasons why your guppy’s could be constipated. Listed below are the main reasons.

  • Improper Diet – Make sure the food you are feeding your fish is recommended for that bread. It is possible the fish is not getting enough fibre. It is recommended to feed guppy’s flake food.
  • Overfeeding – Fish will continue to eat if they are hungry or not, Make sure you are feeding them the recommended amount and no more.  If you are feeding your fish blood worm, don’t give them to much, Blood worm should be seen as a treat not a meal.
  • Not Enough Exercise – Yes this can also cause constipation.  Is the tank big enough for the amount of fish you are keeping?  Also is the water temperature between 72-82 °F (22-28 °C) if the temperature is lower or higher your guppy’s will not be very active.
  • Food allergy – It is possible your guppy’s have an allergy to the food you are feeding them, try changing brands to see if this helps.

Guppy Constipation Symptoms

There are a few symptoms that we can look out for that will let you know if your guppy’s are constipated. If you do notice any of the following symptoms you should start to treat your guppy’s for constipation.

It is important to start the treatment as soon as you can because if the issue is not constipation it is best to rule out constipation first.

Bloated Belly

This is the obvious one, if your guppy is having problems to empty their bowels their belly will get bigger and bigger.  If this is happening take a look at the guppy’s scales, if the scales are pine coning / sticking out the issue could be dropsy not constipation.

Not Eating Food

If you see that your fish are not eating / ignoring food or spitting out food this is a clear sign there is an issue.  If your fish is ignoring food look for other signs of constipation.

Not Active / Swimming

When a guppy is suffering from constipation the last thing they will want to do is move around as it will be uncomfortable.  You will need to monitor the fish for an hour or two because they might just be having a rest at the time you first looked at them.

Trouble Swimming

Having a bloated tummy will make it more difficult for your fish to swim.  If you notice that your fish is having troubles swimming then you need to treat them as soon as you can as this is an extreme case.

How To Cure Guppy Constipation [Treatment]

Now we have identified that your guppy is suffering with constipation we need to start the treatment. So how to cure gussy constipation? The best treatment that I recommend you to try first is to feed them a high fibre foods.  Just like with humans high fibre foods will help to get everything moving.

High Fibre Foods

High fibre foods will act like a laxative to the fish and help to get things moving.  Tinned peas are the most popular high fibre foods to feed fish. To prepare the tinned peas to feed to your fish you will need to

  1. Place the peas in boiling water for one minute
  2. Remove the peas from the water and wait to cool down
  3. Remove the skin from the pea
  4. Your peas are now ready to feed to your fish

Feed the peas to your fish then wait 24 hours to see if there is any improvements.  If there are no improvements repeat two more times. If there is still no improvement move on to the next step.

Other high fibre foods you can try are, plants (I recommend Elodea and Egeria) and live food such as shrimp.

Replace 25% Of The Tanks Water

It is possible the quality of the water is poor and needs to be replaced.  Remove around 25% of the water from your tank and replace with water from your tap (filtered water if possible).

It is recommended to replace 25% of your aquariums water every two to four weeks.

Replace 50% Of The Tanks Water

Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt is used to treat mild to extreme constipation in guppy’s.  The salt acts as a muscle relaxant which will help the fish to release.  Epsom salt can be added to aquariums to alter the chemistry of the water.

When adding the salt to your aquarium add 1/8 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water, It is also recommended to increase the temperature of the water to between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit if possible.

Replace 25% of the water a day after adding the salts to the water.

Increase Temperature Of Water

Increasing the temperature of the water will also help your guppy’s beat constipation.  Make sure the water temperature is between 72-82 °F (22-28 °C), if it is raise the temperature by 1 or two degrees.

The best way to maintain a water temperature of around 72-82 °F (22-28 °C) is to use an aquarium water heater.  I can recommend the FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Heater from amazon.

FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Heater

If you also have other breads of fish in your aquarium make sure they can also tolerate the change in water temperature.

How To Prevent Guppy Constipation

There are many things that we can do to try to prevent our guppy fish from getting constipated, these include

Review The Guppy’s Diet

Is the food you are feeding the guppy’s causing the constipation? Take a look at the container that the food is in, does it say it is recommended for guppy’s?

Take a look online for reviews on the food you are feeding your guppy’s, Maybe other people are reporting their guppy’s are also getting constipation.

Try feeding your fish different food. I have always fead my guppy’s TetraColor Tropical Flakes and have never had an issue with constipation

Don’t Over Feed The Guppy’s

Don’t over feed your guppy’s, They will naturally keep eating weather they are hungry or not. The general rule is your fish will need to eat food constantly for about 5 minutes a day.

Don’t Feed Too Much Blood Worm

As with the previous point don’t feed your guppys to much blood worm.  Blood worm should be a treat for your fish not part of their regular diet.

Not Enough Exercise

If your guppy’s do not get enough exercise they will become weak and vulnerable to diseases and conditions such as constipation. There are two things you need to check for this

  1. Is the aquarium tank large enough for your guppy’s? A general rule is one gallon of tank water for every one inch of fish. On average an adult guppy will get to be around 2 inches long, some may get to be about 2.5 inches.
  2. Is the water temperature to cold?  The ideal temperature for guppies to thrive in is 72-82 °F (22-28 °C) anything lower and the guppy’s will be less active as they work the same as a lizard, they require heat to become active, they will become lethargic without heat.

For more information about guppy’s and water temperature take a look at this article.

Feed The Guppy’s High Fibre Once a Week

Peas contain high fibre which will act like a laxative to the fish and help to relieve constipation.  Tinned peas are the most popular high fibre foods to feed fish. To prepare the tinned follow these steps

  1. Place the peas in boiling water for one minute
  2. Remove the peas from the water and wait to cool down
  3. Remove the skin from the pea
  4. Your peas are now ready to feed to your fish

Feed the peas to your fish then wait 24 hours to see if there is any improvements.  If there are no improvements repeat two more times. If there is still no improvement move on to the next step.

Other high fibre foods you can try are, plants (I recommend Elodea and Egeria) and live food such as shrimp.

Check The Waters Temperature

The water will also directly affect your guppy’s health, if the water temperature is to low for your guppy’s they will become more vulnerable to disease and other conditions such as constipation.

The ideal temperature for guppies to thrive in is 72-82 °F (22-28 °C) to achieve a tempreature in this region you will need a aquarium water heater.  I can recommend the FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Heater from amazon.

For piece of mind I would buy a aquarium thermometer (Shown Below) and place it on the front of the tank so you can monitor what the current temperature of the water is.

guppy aquarium Thermometer

For more information about guppys and water temperature take a look at this article.

Introduce Java Moss To The Aquirium

Java moss is one of the fastest growing plants you can get for your aquarium.  Your guppy’s will love to eat this plant and it will help to add vegetables to the fishes diet.

java moss

This will help the fish to have a more balanced diet and reduce the chance of getting constipation.  If you are looking to purchase lava moss take a look on amazon here.

Introduce a EcoBio-Block In To The Aquarium

EcoBio-Stones are made from natural volcanic rock which produce beneficial bacteria and the nutrients guppy’s need to thrive. EcoBio Stones are available to buy on Amazon.

When you place your EcoBio-Stone in the tank the beneficial bacteria will begin to multiply, establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycle which is the key to keeping your tank water clear.

EcoBio-Block

Can Guppy Fish Die From Constipation?

Yes they can.  Most of the time constipation will resolve itself but if left untreated there can be some very bad outcomes.

If your guppy is suffering for a long time with this condition it could cause the following conditions to happen

  • Increased Stressed
  • Become Weaker
  • Immune System Will Become Weaker
  • More Likely To Develop Further Diseases

So, if you noticed that any of your guppy’s are suffering with this condition it is important to take action as soon as possible.  By following the tips in this article it will help you to keep happy and healthy guppy’s

healthy guppy

If you have any questions relating to this article please post them in a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Guppy Constipation

Below are the frequently asked questions about this condition, If you have a question that is not listed below please ask us about it by posting it in the comments section below.

Can You Squeeze A Constipated Fish? It is not recommended, You are more likely to squeeze one of the fishes organs in the wrong place then actually resolving the issue. If your fish is suffering follow the tips above on how to resolve this situation.

Can a Guppy Be Constipated? Yes they can.  Their internal organs work pretty much the same as a humans. Constipation can also be caused by an improper diet, some manufactured fish foods, or overfeeding.  If not treated the condition can lead to death.

Can a Guppy Die From Constipation? Yes, If the condition goes untreated for a long amount of time. The fish will become weaker over time and will be vulnerable to conditions such as stress, more likely to conduct a disease, Immune system will become weaker.

What Do You Do For a Constipated Guppy Fish? The best thing to do is not feed them for 24 hours, If the condition has not improved, feed them something high in fibre such as a boiled pea, wait 24 hours then repeat two times.

How Often Can You Feed Guppy’s Peas? It is recommended to feed your guppys peas / vegetables twice a week which will help to supplement your goldfish’s stable diet of dry food.

How Do You Unconstipate A Guppy Fish? The best thing to do is not feed them for 24 hours, If the condition has not improved, feed them something high in fibre such as a boiled pea, wait 24 hours then repeat two times.

Why Do Guppy Fish Get Constipated? The most common cause is that the guppy is not getting enough fibre in their diet. Over feeding and lack of exercise can also cause this condition.

What Does a Constipated Guppy Fish Look Like? The most obvious visual sign is a bloated belly.  Other signs are your fish having issues swimming as well as being less active.

Is My Guppy Constipated or Pregnant? The best way to check is to look at the belly, if there is a black dot then the guppy is most likely pregnant.  I would recommended to treat your guppy as if it is constipated just in case.

Is Epsom Salt Good For Guppy Fish? Epsom Salt is used to treat mild to extreme constipation in guppy’s.  The salt acts as a muscle relaxant which will help the fish to release.  Epsom salt can be added to aquariums to alter the chemistry of the water.

Can I Feed My Guppy Fish Canned Peas? Yes, Peas are a high fibre foods which guppys love.  Because it is high in fibre it will also help your guppy if it is constipated. It is recommended to feed your guppy’s vegetables / peas twice a week to help maintain a balanced diet.

Conclusion

In this article we have covered everything you will need to know about constipation in guppy fish.  We have covered the symptoms to look out for as well as the recommended treatments and how to prevent the constipation from coming back. To summarise

The symptom’s you need to look out for are

  1. Bloated Belly
  2. Not Eating Food
  3. Spitting Food Out
  4. Not Active / Swimming
  5. Trouble Swimming

If you believe your guppy’s are suffering from constipation it is recommended to

  1. Feed The Guppy’s High Fibre Foods
  2. Replace 25% Of The Tanks Water
  3. Add Epsom Salt To The Aquarium Water
  4. Increase Temperature Of Water

To prevent this condition from returning it is recommended to

  1. Review The Guppy’s Diet
  2. Don’t Over Feed The Guppy’s
  3. Don’t Feed Too Much Blood Worm
  4. Not Enough Exercise
  5. Feed The Guppy’s High Fibre Once a Week
  6. Check The Waters Temperature
  7. Introduce Java Moss To The Aquirium
  8. Introduce a EcoBio-Block In To The Aquarium

Thanks for reading this article, if you have any questions please post them in a comment below.

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