Do guppies need a filter?

Do guppies need a filter?

do guppies need a filterSome fish, such as goldfish, produce a huge amount of waste. A filter helps to remove this waste and houses a colony of good bacteria, which remove water pollution.

But what about guppies? Do they produce a lot of waste? Do guppies need a filter?

There’s no definite answer to whether guppies need a filter – some people insist that they manage fine without one, while others would never keep guppies without a filter. Here at GFC, we recommend that you add a small filter to your guppy tank.

You may want to consider a sponge filter powered by an air pump (make sure you buy the right size for your tank and have air pump tubing too!).

A sponge filter should be perfectly adequate for guppies and is better than having no filter at all, as it will certainly help keep the water a little bit cleaner.

It isn’t necessary to have a large, powerful filter for a guppy tank as, compared to goldfish for example, guppies don’t produce very much waste and won’t pollute their water quickly as long as they are kept in an appropriately sized tank.

In fact, more powerful filters can actually be dangerous for your guppies! The strong current created by the filter can drag them in to the filter or pin them against the side of the filter inlet!

Of course, whether you have a filter or not, you should do regular water changes to make sure that your guppies’ tank water doesn’t get too polluted!

You can learn about how aquarium filters work here.

What do you think? Do you have a filter in your guppy tank? If so, what kind of filter do you have? Add a comment below to let other guppy keepers know what you think works best!

This post is part of our Guppy Care series! Read more…


  1. i have an under gravel filter but my guppies are kept with another kind of fish
    is it cool or what?? ^^

  2. i use spong filter for my guppy tank and it good for them.

  3. Hi. i have a 6gal fluval fish tank n the filter is kool. i put spong onto the filter tube so the guppies won’t get suck into it. also i turn the filter low. is that a good idea? Thx

    • GuppyFishCare

      Hi Sary,

      That sounds like a good idea. As long as enough water is still passing through your filter (ie. the sponge isn’t blocking it) then it makes sense to protect your guppies from being sucked into the filter that way.

      Thanks for your comment!


  4. No, a filter is not necessary. I had a 2.5g setup that had a filter until it finally kicked the bucket… afterward, I simply changed out a cup or two of water every day. My friend now has that setup with about ten guppies, a small pleco and lots of java fern and she’s doing the same thing and her fish are very happy and healthy! My 29g has an aquaclear 20 on it. I’ve left the filter unplugged for as long as 6 weeks before I could detect a change in water quality! Mind you, that setup is over 3 years old, heavily planted and minimally populated. (At least ten adult guppies at any given time, 4 cories, 2 bristlenose plecos. When the angels in my 55g grow up and pair off, i’ll be moving the “singles” into that tank.) The key, I think, is having live plants and lots of them. The plants utilize the fish waste and in turn produce oxygen. Filter-wise, my favourite is the aquaclear. They are bulletproof, quiet and fully customizable and adjustable! I have used tetra whispers and many others, but they don’t provide alternative media options (for example, ammonia remover packs or a place to shove a bag of coral/peat if ph needs to be raised/lowered) nor can their flow rate be adjusted.

  5. Grace Segars

    Hi. My name is Grace and I am trying to decide if I want to own guppies. I have a ten gallon tank so I will probably get about six females and three males, but I have a few questions:

    1. I only have room for nine guppies, so how can I (if possible) keep the guppies from breeding?

    2. I do not have anywhere to buy fish besides a Petsmart and a Petco near my house. Is it safe to buy guppies from these companies if I take great care of them once I buy them?

    3. I am actually not completely sure of everything I will need for my guppies…? 🙂

    • I wouldn’t go for that many guppies as when a female gets pregnant they can have around 50 fry! Just stick with males or get a much larger tank.

    • I have found that the best place to buy fish is from private breeders/other hobbyists. I have had many, many problems buying fish from big box stores; most don’t quarantine long enough, so even though you may pick out what looks to be a healthy fish it may actually be carrying a disease. On the plus side, most of these stores do offer a health guarantee. Definitely look so you can decide what you want and then see if you can find them online (kijiji, Craig’s list). As for extra babies, you can sell them or give them away or do what happens to most of us: buy more and bigger tanks! (Fish are TOTALLY ADDICTIVE!)

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