How Many Guppies Should You Keep In A 10 Gallon Tank?

A 10-gallon guppy tank can typically accommodate 6-10 male guppies without any females, 1-4 guppies in a community tank depending on tank mates, 3-6 guppies for breeding with a 1:2 male-to-female ratio, or 1-50 fry in a grow-out tank depending on their size.

After seeing sources offering blanket statements based on the outdated “one inch of fish per gallon” rule, I published this article to discuss the factors you need to consider when keeping guppies in a 10-gallon tank.

Keeping Guppies In A 10-Gallon Tank!

how many guppies in a 10 gallon tank

Here are the most important factors that affect how many guppies you can keep in your 10-gallon tank:

  • Type of Tank
  • Sex of the Guppies
  • Filtration
  • Hiding Spots
  • Water Quality

Below is a quick overview of how each of these factors influences the stocking levels for your tank.

Type of Tank

Tanks come in various shapes and sizes, with most 10-gallon tanks being rectangular or cube-shaped. Rectangular tanks usually allow for more guppies due to their larger footprint compared to cube tanks.

According to Seriously Fish, a minimum tank size of 18″ x 12″ x 12″ (45x30x30cm) is recommended for a guppy tank, which most 10-gallon rectangular tanks meet.

As shown in the photograph below, I opted for a 10-gallon rectangular tank for my guppies, and they seem very happy in their environment.

The Jungle Style Setup

Sex Of The Guppies

Adult female guppies are generally about twice the size of their male counterparts, meaning they occupy more space and produce a higher bioload.

This discrepancy poses a challenge for stocking calculators like Aqadvisor, which often overlook the size and bioload differences between male and female guppies in their recommendations.

Essentially, the space and bioload taken up by a single female guppy can typically accommodate two male guppies, allowing for a higher stocking density in male-only tanks.

Filtration

Adequate filtration is crucial for maintaining water quality in a 10-gallon tank. Effective filtration helps manage the nitrogen cycle and keeps your water parameters safe and stable for your guppies.

The more guppies you keep, the more difficult this tends to be.

I use a simple, inexpensive sponge filter and USB air pump in my guppy tank, complemented by live plants.

The plants absorb ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, which helps maintain suitable water parameters and supports more guppies in the tank.

Hiding Spots

Hiding spots are essential in guppy tanks, particularly in all-male setups, as they help reduce aggression by providing refuge and visual breaks for the fish.

Although plants take up space, they create valuable hiding spots and sight breaks, which significantly benefit the fish. In my own tank, the positives of having plants far outweigh the negatives.

How Many Guppies Should You Keep In A 10 Gallon Tank?

aggressive guppy

Here are the four main tank setups for keeping guppies, each with slightly different stocking levels:

  1. All-Male Guppy Tank
  2. Community Tank
  3. Breeding Tank
  4. Fry Grow Out Tank

Each setup has unique variables that will affect the number of guppies you can keep in your 10-gallon tank.

All Male Tank

Guppies In An All-Male Guppy Tank
Guppies In An All-Male Guppy Tank

You can typically keep 6-10 guppies in a 10-gallon all-male guppy tank, with the exact number depending on the aggression levels displayed by your fish.

In my experience, the easiest way to mitigate aggression is to increase the stocking levels by adding more guppies and allowing a natural hierarchy to form.

One method to reduce aggression in an all-male guppy tank involves stocking the tank at approximately twice the recommended level, but this approach is not recommended for beginners.

Community Tank

My Community Tank
My Community Tank

You can typically keep 1-4 guppies in a 10-gallon community tank, with the exact number depending on the other fish you plan to include.

Guppies are compatible with many popular community fish species, but the small tank size may limit your options.

Here are some general recommendations that might work in a 10-gallon setup:

  • Tetras
  • Rasboras
  • Danios
  • Corydoras
  • Shrimp

Due to the challenge of selecting suitable tank mates for such a small tank already housing guppies, I generally wouldn’t recommend a 10-gallon community tank setup for most people.

An all-male guppy tank or a breeding tank is usually much easier to manage, especially for beginners.

Breeding Tank

A Guppy In My Guppy Tank
A Guppy In My Guppy Tank

You can typically keep 3-6 guppies in a 10-gallon breeding tank, with the exact number depending on the specific male-to-female ratio you choose.

It’s important to remember that guppies reproduce rapidly, and a 10-gallon tank can become overstocked within a few months, even if you start with just one male and one female guppy!

The general recommendation is to maintain a 1:2 male-to-female ratio in a guppy breeding tank, but the situation can be more nuanced.

Here are some male-to-female stocking ratios that can work in a 10-gallon guppy tank, with the 1:2 ratio being ideal for beginners.

Below is a quick breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of these three male-to-female guppy ratios.

Male GuppiesFemale Guppies
12
14
24

One Male to Two Females

The one male-to-two-female guppy ratio is the most common recommendation, especially for beginners with a 10-gallon tank.

With only three fish in the tank initially, it’s easier to manage water parameters and there is plenty of space left for guppy fry.

However, keep in mind that guppies will breed with their offspring, leading to an exponentially increasing population if you choose this setup.

An added advantage of this ratio is that the male’s attention is divided between the two females, providing them with occasional breaks and helping to prevent stress from constant attention.

One Male to Four Females

The one male-to-four-female guppy ratio is typically recommended for those looking to commercially breed guppies in a 10-gallon tank for profit.

This ratio is ideal for experienced breeders who can quickly sell their baby guppies, as the population will grow rapidly.

Large commercial guppy farms may use a ratio of one male to fifty females, but this is only feasible in large commercial tanks.

For a 10-gallon tank, my table below outlines several stocking options for this setup.

MaleFemaleRating
11Risky
12OK
13Safe
14Very Safe
Male To Female Ratio For A Single Male Guppy

Two Males to Four Females

Using a multiple male guppy breeding tank setup is gaining popularity because female guppies in these tanks tend to produce more offspring in a shorter period.

Traditionally, guppy breeding focused on keeping a single male with multiple females. However, recent studies suggest that multiple male setups may be more effective.

A study published by the National Academy of Sciences revealed that female guppies breeding with multiple males produce larger broods compared to those breeding with a single male.

The study also found that female guppies paired with multiple males tend to release their broods about nine days sooner than those breeding with a single male.

These findings suggest that using a multiple-male setup can significantly increase the number of baby guppies produced, which is especially beneficial for those breeding guppies for profit.

Here are some recommended male-to-female guppy ratios for a 10-gallon tank using the multiple-male strategy:

  • 2 Males to 4 Females: This ratio promotes healthy breeding dynamics and increases brood size.
  • 3 Males to 6 Females: This can further enhance breeding success but requires careful monitoring to avoid overcrowding.

Always ensure that your tank can handle the increased bioload and that you have a plan for managing the rapid population growth.

MaleFemaleRating
21Extremely Risky
22Very Risky
23Risky
24OK
Male To Female Ratio For Two Male Guppies

Implementing this strategy in a 10-gallon tank can be challenging, as you need to maintain the male-to-female ratio without overcrowding the tank.

In reality, two males and four females is the only practical option for a 10 gallon tank and even then, it is a little risky and a larger tank with more females would be a far better option.

Grow Out Tank

You can temporarily house 1-50 guppy fry in a 10-gallon grow out tank, depending on their size, but they will need to be transferred to larger tanks as they grow.

Although not technically a breeding tank, a grow out tank is a crucial component of a successful guppy breeding operation. It provides a safe environment for the fry to grow without the risk of being eaten by adult guppies, significantly increasing your yield.

For optimal growth and survival rates, consider feeding your guppy fry natural foods or fish/prawn meal. A study from the Asian Journal of Medical and Biological Research found that commercial fish food resulted in poorer growth and lower survival rates compared to natural foods and fish/prawn meal.

Final Thoughts

That brings my article going over how many guppies you can keep in a 10-gallon tank to an end.

You can usually keep 3-10 guppies in an all-male 10 gallon tank and 3-6 guppies in a standard 10 gallon guppy breeding tank.

As I explained, factors like male-to-female ratios, tank accessories, and guppy behavior play crucial roles in providing a healthy environment for your fish.

When stocking your 10 gallon tank, it’s important to consider these insights striking a balance that best serves both the well-being of your guppies and the overall ecosystem of your aquarium.