What Causes My Guppies To Swim At The Top Of The Tank? (9 Reasons)

Guppies are considered hardy creatures and easy to raise. You will notice your guppies going to the top of the tank suddenly, and you will see them swimming at the surface instead of the whole tank. They can get overwhelmed when there is not enough oxygen in the tank, and they will try to find an adequate supply.

Oxygen supply may vary because of high water temperature, when there are too many toxins in the tank, and when the water is stagnant.

However, guppies are classified as top swimmers, so it should not concern you that much if they are staying on top from time to time. You should worry when you find them just staying on top the whole time, gasping signs, fading colors, including lethargy.

9 Top Reasons Why Guppies Stay On Top In The Tank

Guppies with the swim bladder syndrome have erratic swimming behavior. The swim bladder is a vital organ in fish, and it provides balance in the water. When this organ is damaged, you will notice your guppy sinking at the bottom, or some will float to the surface.

They may also have other issues, such as a curved spine. It is always better to always observe your guppies to prevent sickness and health problems.

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Wrong pH Quality And Temperature

They need a pH ranging from 7.0 to 7.2 and a temperature between 72 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit to live normally in the tank.

When you notice your guppy being lethargic and rushing to swim at the top, this is a sign that there is something wrong with the water quality and one you should check fast.

Increased Ammonia And Nitrates In Your Fish Tank

Your guppies will survive if there is a clean and perfect water environment, but with this deadly mixture, you will find your guppies rushing to the top since they cannot breathe below.

The ammonia can harm them, particularly their gills, and will debilitate their capacity to breathe.

Guppies will find a way to get more oxygen, and the only way for them is to rush at the surface. Some guppies may survive if they are not yet poisoned by the deadly mixture, but others won’t survive even if they stay at the surface.

Find a better filter and clean the tank as much cause this is also the reason for the increase of ammonia.

Stress Can Cause Guppies To Swim To Aquarium Top

You may not believe this, but your guppies can feel stress just like people do. It is more common with guppies you just gained cause they will either hide or stay at the top trying to manage the transition.

Since they are still trying to fit in the environment they are in, they will find ways to get acclimated, and they will swim at the surface to lessen the stress.

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This is just normal for new guppies since they are trying to be familiar with the surroundings and the temperature of the tank they are in.

You may have purchased your guppy from another fish seller, and they have a varied tank temperature, different oxygen quality, and this is something that your guppies need to get used to.

You may also add plants to the tank so your guppy can have someplace to hide until they are familiar with their surroundings.

Water Change Can Be An Issue

This is usually what some guppies do when you just finished changing the water. They will try to get used to the water, and if there is another substance you may have added to the mix, you will see your guppies trying to find their way to the surface.

They will feel more comfortable when they are at the surface, compared to them staying below.

Guppies Might Try To Find Food At The Top

Your fish know where they get their food. They get it from the tank or they get it from the surface when you ration them with it. 

When you notice your guppies staying at the surface but there is no other issue you noticed, maybe you are not feeding them as much and they are not getting any from the tank either.

It may also mean that they are waiting for their scheduled ratio, and you are taking a long time to give it to them.

Aggressive Fish

Although guppies are mostly friendly, they have issues with bullies. They may have tank mates who are somewhat “unruly” to them, and this is stressing them, giving them a reason to stay at the surface to calm themselves. They may also hide in the corner or hide behind the plants.

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Find fish that will be compatible with your guppies, and do not mix them with fishes with aggressive qualities.

Your Tank Might Be Too Small

Overcrowding is another reason your guppy is acting funny. You may not know that you have overstocked tank, and there are so many fishes living in a small square tank.

This can cause a decrease in oxygen and highly stressful not just to your guppies but to other fish as well. Ensure that you have the right number of fish that will fit in the tank you have or reduce the number of fishes in the tank.

Incorrect Water Temperature

You should install a heater to regulate the water temperature in the tank cause this is not healthy for your guppies.

They will have a hard time adjusting to their environment, and they will often swim at the top of the tank cause the water fluctuations can also harm their health.

Water Is Too Deep

When you prepare the tank for your guppies, be sure that there is just the right depth where your guppy can live comfortably. Water that is too deep for them will also tire them, and they will get to the surface so they can rest their gills.

They get more oxygen for their gills at the top, and that is the reason your guppies are at the surface of the tank.You may add some plants to add oxygen to the tank. Adding plants can help keep the oxygen levels that are perfect for your guppies.

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