Guppy Fish and Pea Puffer – Can You Keep Them Together?

Will guppies and pea puffers thrive in your tank? A tricky question, eh? To answer it, you first have to consider the nature of these two aquarium species.

Guppy fish or million fish are some of the most popular livebearer tropical fish among aquarists. What’s more, they come in a myriad of patterns and colors, hence the name “rainbow fish”.

Guppies are relative easy to care for and are very peaceful fish.

On the other hand, the pea puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus), is a small, intelligent fish that’s native to India. In fact, it accounts for the largest number of ornamental fish getting sourced from India.

Its other names include Pygmy Pufferfish, Dwarf Pea Puffer, the Malabar Pufferfish, and Dwarf Pufferfish.

Dwarf freshwater puffers are aggressive, territorial and carnivorous. They have also slightly different aquarium requirements than guppies.

Guppy Fish and Pea Puffer

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Guppy Fish and Pea Puffer

So can guppies and pea dwarf puffers live together in the same aquarium?

No, guppies and pea puffers should not be kept together. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the reasons why you should avoid keeping these two fish together.

Aquarium Requirements for Guppies and Pea Puffers

Pea puffers and guppies share a myriad of preferences when it comes to tank specifications. To begin with, these two species of fish have somewhat similar water parameter requirements. While guppies thrive in water temperatures ranging from 72°F to 82°F, puffers love to stay in waters of about 77-79°F.

Also, guppies prefer a pH of around 6.8- 7.8 whereas pea puffers favor a pH of 6.5- 7.0. Even so, dwarf puffers will still do well in hard water, which is the most ideal water hardness for keeping guppies. Again, both the guppy and the pea puffer species tend to do better in slower water.

No wonder many people assume that guppies can live harmoniously with pea puffers. Unfortunately, that assumption is far from the truth. Housing pea puffers with guppies is a no-return ticket to disaster mainly because of the former’s temperament.

Pea Puffers are Aggressive

Pea puffers have a reputation of being extremely aggressive and nippy towards their conspecifics and slow-swimming tank mates. This is a trait that is rampant with mostly the males. And on top of being hostile, dwarf puffers love meaty foods.

As such, you shouldn’t put two male puffers in one tank as it’ll only be a matter of time until injuries occur. Similarly, avoid placing guppies and pea puffers in the same aquarium.

As you may know, guppies are fairly slow swimmers which puts them at the risk of getting their fins shredded by pea puffers.

This is why many aquarists recommend that you put pea puffers in a separate tank. Also, try to place one male with two to three females. Male puffers rarely attack females and so keeping them together with largely suppress any aggression tendencies.

Dwarf Puffer Tank Mates

If you must house your pea puffers in a community tank, ensure to go for tank mates who are small and fast swimmers. The bigger the fish, the higher the chances it will get attacked by pea puffers.

Some examples of excellent companions for your pufferfish include:

  • Ember tetras
  • Neon tetras
  • Filament barb
  • Zebra Danio
  • Leopard Danio
  • Siamese Algae Fighters
  • Dwarf Otocinclus
  • Mosquito Rasbora
  • Harlequin Rasbora

Take note that pea puffers can eat even shrimps and larger snail species.

Tank Mates for Guppies

Since you can’t keep guppies with pea puffers, here are some of the most common option you can choose from instead:

– Cory Catfish

These bottom dwellers are excellent scavengers and tank cleaners. Keeping them will undoubtedly go a long way to maintain your tank’s cleanliness. Remember, a clean environment is vital with rearing healthy guppies.

The best part is that Cory catfishes have a peaceful and friendly nature, making them excellent beginner fish.

– Platy Fish

When it comes to getting along, guppy and platy fish are genuinely a perfect combination. On top of enjoying similar environmental conditions, these two species are live-bearing fish.

They are also both rich in patterns and colours.

– Shrimp

With shrimps, the best species to choose are Cherry Shrimp and Amano shrimp because they thrive in tank conditions that guppies love. Even so, you ought to take some precaution as extremely hungry guppies will hunt down small shrimps.

Between the two shrimp species, it’s better to go for Amano shrimp since they feature a transparent body.

The bright red colour on Cherry shrimps makes them an obvious target for guppy fish.

– Rasbora Fish

This is one of the species of fish that’s an excellent companion to both guppies and pea puffers. Yes, Rasboras such as the Harlequin Rasbora, Clown Rasbora, and Brilliant Rasbora are easy-going fish, which can thrive in any guppy tank.

However, it’s best to keep only the recommended number of Rasboras to prevent them from getting stressed out or timid.

– Tetras

This is another family of fish with members who can live with both pea puffers and guppies. With that said, go for tetras like Rummy nose tetra, Lemon tetra, Penguin tetra, and Rosy tetra.

Still, ensure to house guppy fry in a separate tank as tetras can eat them.

– Clown Loaches

This schooling fish will coexist peacefully with virtually all kinds of freshwater fish. Some aquarists refer to clown loaches as scale-less fish because of their tiny, embedded scales, which are barely noticeable.

Considering that they can grow to a maximum size of 12 inches and they love to stay in schools, you’ll need to house them in a large aquarium.

– Snails

While you can’t keep most aquarium snails with pea puffers, that’s not the case when it comes to guppies. Snails that you can house together with guppies include Malaysian trumpet snails, Apple or Mystery snails, Ramshorn snails, and Nerite snails.

And since snails are exceptional at eating algae, they make for great low-maintenance and low-cost aquarium clean-up crew.

Avoid Keeping Guppies Together with Pea Puffers

While pea puffers and guppies can survive in a similar environment, keeping them in one tank will always be a recipe for disaster. Pea puffers are voracious little predators who love nipping on any meaty substance they come across. You bet they’ll not spare your guppies.

And according to many hobbyists, it takes about an hour or so of introducing pea puffers in your guppy tank for you to notice extreme behaviours. Therefore, it’s best to keep these two species separate and with the tank mates suggested above.

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