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When choosing the fish species to raise in your tank, one of the most common considerations is the fish hardiness. This is especially true for aquatic pet newbies who are still prone to committing mistakes in fish management. Two fish species are known to be relatively easy to take care of and can survive different living conditions. These are tilapia and guppies, which are both freshwater fish. The two have a lot of similarities, that’s why some hobbyists are looking into growing them in the same tank. But can the two species co-exist? Will tilapia eat guppies given its aggressive nature?
Although guppies and tilapia are commonly used by beginners and professionals in fish-keeping, growing them in the same tank is not a good idea. Tilapia are omnivores, and guppies are known to be fish of small variety. There is a high chance that tilapia will eat guppies once they have the opportunity.
In this article, we will discuss this aggressive behavior of tilapia and why they cannot live with guppies in the same tank. We have also listed some of the best tank mates of tilapia to serve as alternatives to guppies.
Understanding the tilapia diet
Tilapia is an omnivorous fish species. In other words, they consume both plants and meat that they find in the water. When tilapia are grown in ponds, they usually consume algae, planktons, and invertebrates, which are enough to sustain their nutritional needs. Meanwhile, when grown in tanks, they should be given organic fish food or pellets that are high in protein. They may also prey upon other fishes since they are quite aggressive. There is a higher chance that this may occur if the tank’s temperature is not adequately controlled. Once the temperature rises, tilapia’s metabolism also becomes faster, making them hungry all the time.
What are guppies?
Guppies are tagged as a staple fish of aquarists for so many years. Even though it’s slowly losing its popularity because of other fish species, there is no doubt that it is one of the best choices for beginners and professionals alike. Guppies got its name from Robert John Lechmere Guppy, a self-taught researcher, and geologist who discovered the fish in 1866.
Just like tilapia, guppies love tropical waters since they are natives of South America. They are very easy to care for, and they have a lot of medical benefits. They were used to fight malaria since they feed on mosquito larvae. Several years ago, the guppies were set free in Asian waters in what was called the “guppy movement.”
Here are some other notable characteristics of guppy fish:
- They are social and peaceful fish.
- They don’t lay eggs. Instead, they give birth to live fish.
- There are different guppy color varieties you can choose from if you want to grow it. That is why they are also called rainbow fish.
- They exhibit filial cannibalism, just like how tilapia eats their young.
Will tilapia eat guppies living in the same tank?
With a lot of similarities, one would think that guppies and tilapia are a perfect pair. But they are not suggested to co-exist in the same tank because of their social characteristics. Tilapia are very aggressive, especially during the spawning season. They are also omnivorous, so there is a high chance that they will prey upon other fish creatures. On the other hand, guppy fish is known for its peaceful nature.
It is possible to stock them in the same tank if the tilapia is still young, and they are smaller than the guppies. But when the tilapia already grow bigger than the guppies, it is about time you put the guppies in a separate tank to avoid further fish mortality.
Best tank mates for tilapia
Since we have already discussed why tilapia will eat guppies, let us focus on the best tank mates for tilapia. Studies suggest that tilapia should not be kept with small fish since they can be considered food because of their size. The best fish to co-exist with tilapia are similar sized cichlids and carps. Carps are also a type of hardy fish which are originally from Asia. To lessen the aggression of each fish species towards each other, it is recommended to build territorial borders, especially for aquarium set-ups.
Conclusion: tilapia will eat guppies
Although putting tilapia and guppies in the same tank looks ideal, most practitioners do not suggest it because of tilapia’s aggressiveness. Guppies are peaceful fish, and they will become an easy target for tilapia whose diet is omnivorous. If the grower is interested in growing both fish, he should prepare separate tanks and follow specific guidelines on raising them. Moreover, tilapia can be grown with other fish as long as they have the same size and nature. Good feeding practices are also suggested to lessen tilapia’s aggression.