7 Reasons Guppies Jump Out Of Tanks And How To Stop It!

Guppies often jump out of their tanks due to environmental issues such as poor water quality, temperature inconsistencies, lack of hiding spots, overstocking, tank mate aggression, and inadequate food. Using measures like tank lids, lowering water levels, and adding floating plants can prevent your guppy from jumping out.

There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning, going to feed your fish, and finding one lifeless on the table after it has jumped out of the tank.

This recently happened to one of my guppies, and after researching the topic, I discovered it is surprisingly common for guppies to jump out of their tanks.

After seeing countless social media posts from people asking why their guppy jumped out, I decided to publish this article to help my readers prevent this from happening to their own fish.

Although jumping is common with guppies, there are some simple tricks you can implement to reduce the chances of your guppies leaping out of the aquarium.

Why Do Guppies Jump Out Of Their Tank?

My Guppy Tank
My Guppy Tank

Here are the main reasons guppies jump out of their tanks:

  1. New Environment
  2. Water Quality Issues
  3. Incorrect Water Temperature
  4. A Lack Of Hiding Spots
  5. Overstocking
  6. Tank Mate Aggression
  7. A Lack Of Food

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the reasons your guppies may jump from their tank in the hope that it will help you better understand the problem and prevent it from happening in your own aquarium.

New Environment

My 10 Gallon Tank
My Guppy Tank After Being Built

It’s common for guppies to jump out of a new tank because they are unfamiliar with the environment and can easily become startled or stressed.

Most reports on social media come from people who recently added guppies to their tanks, with the fish jumping within the first two to four weeks.

There are several potential issues in a new tank that may increase the chances of your guppy jumping, as highlighted below.

The stress from being in a new environment can be enough to cause guppies to jump out of the tank, which is more common than people realize.

My research indicates that most guppies jump out within the first month, so temporarily keeping a lid or cover on your tank may be sufficient to prevent this behavior.

Water Quality Issues

Water Parameters In My Guppy Tank
Water Parameters In My Guppy Tank

Problems with water quality can cause your guppies to jump out of their tank, and this issue is more common than people realize.

While many focus on ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, which can certainly cause issues for your fish, problems with pH levels are far more common with guppies.

Guppies prefer hard water with a pH of 7-8.5, but they are often kept in soft water, which irritates their skin and increases the likelihood of jumping.

This doesn’t mean you should neglect monitoring ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. My article on the fish-in cycle method can help you manasge the nitrogen cycle in a new tank.

Here are the water parameters I maintain in my own guppy tank.

Water Temperature63-82°F (17 – 28 °C)
Water FlowStill-Low
pH7-8.5
GH8-12 dGH
KH4-8 dKH
Ammonia0
Nitrite0
Nitrate<10ppm
Guppy Water Parameters

It’s important to note that guppies tend to do better at the higher end of their water temperature tolerance range, but we’ll discuss that further in the next section.

Most of these water parameters can be monitored with a water test kit. However, guppies will often exhibit signs like clamping their tail and fins or flashing to indicate poor water conditions.

Performing a partial water change of 20-50% may help correct some of the water parameters in your tank. Additionally, you should add a filter to help prevent problems with the nitrogen cycle.

Incorrect Water Temperature

The Heater In My Guppy Tank
The Heater In My Guppy Tank

Wild guppies have a water temperature range of 63-82°F (17-28°C), but captive-bred guppies usually require warmer water.

Many people research this range, see that the ambient temperature in their homes falls within it, and decide not to use a heater in their tank. However, just because guppies can survive at lower temperatures doesn’t mean they will thrive, especially captive-bred ones.

Keeping guppies in colder water can increase the chances of them jumping out of the tank, so I always keep a heater in my tank.

Maintaining a consistent water temperature of 77-82°F (25-28°C) should help reduce the chances of your guppies jumping out.

I usually heat my guppy tank with my home’s central heating system, but I also have a heater in the tank as a backup. If the heater’s sensor detects a temperature drop, it will turn on and warm the tank.

A Lack Of Hiding Spots

The Hiding Spots In My Guppy Tank
The Hiding Spots In My Guppy Tank

Guppies aren’t as shy as some other popular tropical fish, but they still appreciate having places to hide in their tank.

As shown in the photograph of my guppy tank above, I have included plenty of live plants to provide numerous hiding spots for the guppies.

Live plants, fake plants, driftwood, rocks, tank decorations, and terracotta plant pots all make excellent hiding spots in a guppy tank.

If your tank has minimal hiding spots, your guppies are more likely to try to jump out compared to a tank with plenty of hiding places.

Even a $5 fake cave decoration can be beneficial in tanks with no other hiding spots!

Overstocking

A Tank Stocking Calculator
A Tank Stocking Calculator

Overstocking a guppy tank has its pros and cons, and in some setups, it can increase the likelihood of your guppies jumping.

I like to use the AqAdvisor calculator to determine stocking levels for my tank, but I consider the suggestions as a rough guide.

The main advantage of overstocking an all-male guppy tank is that it can help reduce aggression among the fish.

Depending on your tank setup, you can achieve this without increasing the chances of your guppies jumping out.

However, in small tanks (under 5 gallons) with no hiding spots, overstocking can be problematic.

I have intentionally overstocked my all-male guppy tank but, as mentioned earlier, I have also added plenty of hiding spots and sight breaks to reduce the chances of them jumping.

Tank Mate Aggression

Guppies In An All-Male Guppy Tank
My Guppies

Aggressive tank mates are a common reason guppies jump out of their tanks.

While people often think of other species as aggressive tank mates, male guppies can also be surprisingly aggressive towards each other in certain situations.

I experienced aggression problems in my own guppy tank, which I covered in an article on stopping guppy aggression. The short version is that overstocking the tank drastically reduced the aggression.

Tail fanning and chasing are normal behaviors in guppy tanks, especially in all-male tanks or tanks with a low male-to-female ratio. However, fin nipping is an escalation of aggression and can lead to jumping.

If your guppies are nipping each other’s fins, you should take action to calm the aggression in the tank.

Slight overstocking, providing plenty of hiding spots, and maintaining water parameters within the recommended ranges should be enough to reduce aggression in most tanks.

A Lack Of Food

Bug Bites For My Guppies
Bug Bites For My Guppies

Some guppies may jump out of their tank due to a lack of available food, though this is less common than people think.

I prefer to feed my guppies three small meals a day, as it’s easier for them to eat multiple small meals rather than one large meal.

This strategy helps maintain good water parameters and allows me to gauge if I’m underfeeding my guppies. If they instantly eat all the food I add, I slightly increase the amount. If there are leftovers, I reduce it.

If you suspect you might be underfeeding your guppies, try this feeding method where you adjust the pellets based on how quickly your guppies eat them.

Modern tank-bred guppies will eat flake, pellet, live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods, but they seem to prefer insect pellets like Bug Bites.

While wild guppies are primarily insectivorous, today’s tank-bred guppies are far removed from their ancestors and will accept most foods offered.

Guppies are also underrated algae eaters, and I often see mine picking at algae in their tank, using it as an additional food source.

How To Stop Your Guppies Jumping Out Of Their Tank!

Here are the most effective methods to stop your guppies jumping out of their tank:

  1. Use A Tank Lid
  2. Lower The Water Level
  3. Add Floating Plants

Keeping a lid or cover on your tank is the best way to prevent your guppies from jumping out of their tank.

I don’t like to use a lid with my tanks though as they limit the lights I can use for plant growth and can make things difficult so I like to keep my water levels low and use floating plants in my guppy tank.

Final Thoughts

Guppies jumping out of their tanks is a problem that many aquarists face, with common causes ranging from new environments to overstocking or aggression from tank mates.

Key factors influencing such behavior include water quality, temperature inconsistencies, lack of hiding spots, and inadequate food.

Fortunately, with a few adjustments like using a tank lid, lowering the water level, or adding floating plants, guppy owners can significantly reduce the chances of these beloved fish taking the unfortunate leap.