Guppy Fish Sleeping Habits – How Do Guppies Sleep?

Guppy Fish aren’t particularly expressive. Unlike other animals, these guys don’t have eyelids, so they can’t close their eyes. So how exactly can you tell when a guppy is sleeping?

Well, there are other signs to look for. Your guppies might be sleeping if they remain motionless for long periods, especially when there’s no direct source of light.

They might be laying on the bottom of the aquarium, or they might stay hidden. They might also show no reaction to outside stimuli. If this behavior happens at regular times every day, especially when the light’s out, it’s safe to assume that your Guppy Fish are just sleeping. However, the same behaviors can sometimes appear when guppies are sick or dying.

If your guppies are laying around motionless or hiding even when exposed to light, there might be something more going on. In most other cases though, your fish is just experiencing some good ol’ sleep. In this article, I’ll give you more information about guppies’ sleeping habits. Learning more about this topic will help you distinguish between a sick fish and a fish at rest.

How Much do Guppies Sleep?

First of all, what’s a normal sleep time for your guppies? Well, guppies need around 6-8 hours of sleep each day. Depending on a guppy’s age, they might gravitate towards the lower or the upper limit of this range. But guppies cannot close their eyes. This means that they won’t go to sleep unless the lights are out.

Keeping your aquarium lights on for longer than 16 hours per day might mess up your pets’ sleep schedule. For this reason, uninterrupted light exposure might result in death. Guppy Fish still need light exposure to stay healthy, especially when they are still developing. But don’t go overboard! You should keep the aquarium lights on for 8-10, maybe even up to 14 hours a day. But always remember to turn them off at night!

How Do Guppies Actually Sleep?

Guppy Fish have a distinct way of sleeping. Many new guppy owners are initially alarmed when they see their fish sleeping. I wouldn’t blame them, because these fish really look like they’re dying sometimes. Picture this— once you turn off the lights, your guppies just stop moving altogether. Their breathing slows down and their color starts fading away.

They might also become less responsive to stimuli like sound, or movements going on in the water. They usually rest at the surface of the water or the bottom of the tank. Sometimes, they might also hide away or lay on the plants and other decorations in your aquarium. Once the lights are on again, guppies come back to life. They regain their color and their metabolic rate picks back up.

There’s one more thing worth mentioning! Guppy Fish don’t sleep upside-down! If you have any guppies floating around upside-down, they’re most certainly dead. You should remove them from the aquarium as soon as possible. Sometimes, guppies might eat their dead, but this is hazardous to their health and should be avoided.

Do Guppies Need Light at Night?

They really don’t. Guppies can’t sleep if there’s light in the aquarium. So, keeping the lights turned on day and night is a bad idea. Guppy Fish need darkness to rest, and hiding away from the light won’t cut it for them. Remember, guppies can’t close their eyes, so any source of light will keep them alert.

Because they need at least 6 hours of sleep per night, you should turn off the aquarium lights for at least that much time each day. If you’re afraid you might forget to turn the lights on or off, you should invest in a programmable timer. You can also set a daily alarm to remind yourself about that.

Can Guppies See in the Dark?

No! That’s why they go to sleep when the lights are out. Guppies can’t see in the dark, so if you turn off the lights, they’ll just start floating around and drifting to sleep. When the lights go off, guppies stop responding to things happening around them.

They’re less receptive to sounds and they usually stop feeding. If you feed your fish later during the day, try doing so a few minutes before turning off the lights. This way, your guppies will have time to eat and you’ll avoid creating food waste.

How do Guppies Get Around at Night?

Guppies usually go to sleep once the lights are out. Sometimes, especially in the wild, they might express foraging behaviors. But as long as you feed them properly, they shouldn’t feel the need to look for extra food. But how exactly would guppies swim around looking for food if they can’t see in the dark?

A guppy’s eyes are useless in the dark. But they have other ways to get around at night. Like many other fish species, guppies have these organs called neuromasts, which run down the lateral sides of their body. They’re sensitive to changes in water pressure, so that’s how they can sense other fish and objects in the water.

Can You Keep Aquarium Lights On 24/7?

You shouldn’t do that. Guppy Fish need both light and darkness to stay healthy. Too much of either will negatively affect their health. It’s best to simulate their natural living conditions, so try keeping them in complete darkness for at least 6 hours every day.

Don’t keep the lights on for longer than 16 hours a day, though! Try keeping a fixed schedule by turning the lights on and off at roughly the same hours each day.

Wrap Up

If you’re a new guppy owner, try observing your pets’ sleeping habits for the first few days. This way, you’ll know for sure if your fish are accommodating well to the new aquarium. If your guppies are showing the tell-tale signs of sleeping at roughly the same hours every day, especially when you turn off the lights, you’ll know that they’re doing well.

Never keep the aquarium lights on 24/7! Allow your guppies 6-8 hours of sleep per night, and try to stick to a daily schedule. If your guppies seem asleep even when exposed to the light, you should ensure that all other aquarium requirements are met. Check out my other articles to learn more about water parameters, aquarium temperature, and more!

Guppies   Updated: September 16, 2022
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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