How Many Guppies Can You Keep in a 5 Gallon Aquarium?

Guppies are one of the few fish that are commonly believed to be able to live in 5 gallons comfortably.

They come in so many different colors and patterns that they can really make a 5 gallon aquarium come to life and look great. (Especially if you add real or fake plants to add visual interest to the tank.)

But how many can you keep in a tank this size, and can you just keep the nice looking male guppies by themselves?

Swimming blue guppy | Source: Deposit Photos

How Many Guppies Can You Keep in 5 Gallons?

Generally, you can keep between four and five guppies in a five-gallon aquarium. Beginners are recommended to keep three guppies in a tank this size. More advanced fish keepers can accommodate four or five guppies in this tank. However, beginners should consider the fact that a 5-gallon fish tank will be more difficult to maintain than a larger tank.

The recommended ratio is one inch of fish per gallon, but this is just a rule of thumb. It typically is more accurate for fish under 3″, so it should work okay for most guppies.

You’ll want to make sure you choose guppies that stay small, so if possible get entirely male guppies. Females get slightly larger and will breed out of control. Endler guppies (a different species from normal guppies) generally stay a bit smaller than the fancy guppies, so they may also be a good choice for your 5 gallon.

Choosing a Good 5 Gallon Tank for Guppies

When choosing your aquarium, make sure that the tank has a sufficient amount of surface area. It’s best to choose a tank that’s wider than it is tall. This allows more oxygen to circulate throughout the water and makes sure that the guppies have enough room to swim back and forth. 

As a general rule, they should be able to swim straight for at least 2 seconds before they need to turn around.

You’ll also want to make sure you get a good filter to keep the water quality in the aquarium as high as possible. Avoid getting an oversized filter, however, as guppies don’t do well in high current due to their long fins.

Weekly water changes are also a good way to keep your guppies healthy in a 5 gallon.

Endler’s Livebearer Male | Source: Deposit Photos

How Many Endler Guppies Can You Keep in a 5 Gallon Tank?

Like with regular guppies, you can keep between 4 and 5 endler’s livebearers in a regular 5 gallon aquarium. Ideally, you should only keep male endlers in a small tank to prevent them from breeding.

Also like with regular guppies, you should try to keep them in a landscape oriented aquarium that’s wider than it is tall. Avoid keeping them in the tall, skinny portrait tanks.

With both endlers and regular guppies, you should keep them in groups of at least 3. They’re a shoaling fish, so they feel most comfortable when they’re around other fish the same species they are.

This also means that you should keep at least 3 fancy guppies or at least 3 endlers, not 1 endler and 2 fancy guppies.

Ideally they would be kept in a group of at least 6, but a 5 gallon tank is a bit small for that number of guppies.

What Other Fish Can You Keep with Guppies in a 5 Gallon Tank?

In a tank this small, it’s best to go with a species-only tank and avoid putting anything else in the aquarium with your guppies. This will allow you to keep enough guppies for them to feel comfortable without overpopulating your aquarium too much.

Also, most of the other fish you can keep in a tank this size are also schooling or shoaling fish that need to be kept in a group themselves. This can easily lead to overcrowding in your tank.

Some good options that you can keep with guppies include:

  • Ramshorn snails
  • Bladder snails
  • Nerite snails
  • Mystery snails.

These have a relatively low bioload, so they aren’t going to impact the number of guppies you can keep too badly.

Ramshorn Snail | Source: Deposit Photos

You can also keep shrimp if you provide some plants the shrimp can hide in. The guppies will eat the babies, but the adult ones should be relatively safe. Good options include:

  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Red Cherry Shrimp
  • Blue Velvet Shrimp

If you really want to keep other fish I would probably recommend going with different colors and patterns of fancy guppy so that you have different shapes and colors of fish in your aquarium without opening up the problems caused by keeping different species in a 5 gallon.


Guppies can make a good choice for your 5 gallon aquarium. They’re colorful, showy fish that have the appeal of a betta while still being able to keep multiple in an aquarium.

Generally speaking, you can keep 3 to 5 of them together in an aquarium this size.

A 5 gallon guppy tank should be single species, however. If you think you might want to keep other fish in the aquarium with them, you should upgrade to a 10 or 20 gallon aquarium.