Guppies have lots of appeal. Selective breeding has produced a huge range of variation among guppies. Additionally, they stay small and generally play nice with other fish. However, a few considerations do come into play when choosing tankmates.
Guppies generally get along with other small schooling fish. This covers a number of groups of fish with similar characteristics. For example, many tetras make great companions for guppies. The neon tetra, a small colorful fish, makes a great tankmate. Minnows and rasboras also get along just fine with guppies. Even other members of the guppy family, like the platy, can easily, comfortably share a tank with guppies. However, keep in mind that most small schooling fish need to be kept in groups of at least six to feel comfortable.
Several families of catfish make great companions for guppies. Some plecos, also known as suckermouth catfish, will get along well with guppies. However, the common pleco actually grows much too large to share a tank with guppies. Smaller members of this family make better companions, including the clown peckoltia. The clown peckoltia only grows to an adult size of 3 inches. Ottocinclus catfish, also known as dwarf plecos, also stay small and play nice with guppies. Lastly, cory catfish are small, peaceful, schooling catfish that get along with most other fish, including guppies.
While many cichlids are notorious for their aggression, several small dwarf cichlids make good companions for guppies. The ram and krib are small riverine cichlids that have a much more peaceful demeanor than their larger relatives. Additionally, rams can benefit from guppy companions. Rams see guppies as "dither fish," which means when a ram sees guppies swimming out in the open, it makes them feel safe and less likely to hide in the recesses of the aquarium.
What to Avoid
In general, guppies get along with any fish that does not pick on them. However, there are plenty of fish that will do just that. Avoid fish large enough to eat guppies. Additionally, aggressive fish with a reputation for bullying other fish don't belong in an aquarium with guppies. Lastly, avoid fish known to nip at fins, such as tiger barbs and serpae tetras, which find guppies irresistible targets.
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