Long story short, I now had one guppy in a 5 gallon tank. He looked less active about one week ago. Then about 2 days ago he stopped eating. Then he just laid around with zero energy although his gills were moving. Then yesterday he looked really bad and I saw him dragging himself along the tank a little. I was sad and didn’t want to see him die.

Then something weird happened. I walked away and came back about 5 minutes later and he was gone. I have completely cleaned out his tank (slowly in hopes of finding him) and checked all around his tank and he is gone.

What the heck happened??

  • 1
    please post the readings of your water test Ammonia-Nitrite-Ph,for how long have your tank been running? Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 6:11
  • 1
    are there other fish in the tank or any other creatures? Also check the filter
    – user6796
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 3:20
  • 1
    I don’t have water test results to share. Not sure why that’s relevant. My guppy was dying of natural causes I believe. He was 3+ years old.
    – Melissa
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 5:21
  • Nothing else was living in the tank but him. He’s not in the filter.
    – Melissa
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 5:23
  • 2
    @Melissa me asking about the water parameters are relevant information i need to have to help you find the cause for your fish dying.and as you probably know a fish do not magically teleport to an other dimention when it pass away so it have to be there somewere in your tank. Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 6:50

3 Answers 3


Normal for aquariums with typical scavengers like Plecostomus, snails, and many other fish. I have a heavily planted 40 gal with some old (5 yr+) giant danios ; occasionally one disappears and the pleco looks fatter.

  • I agree with you, but please read careful: There where no other animals in the tank according to the comments made about this question. Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 15:35
  • I really like the way you put it: occasionally one disappears and the pleco looks fatter :) +1, even though not directly addressing the actual situation
    – virolino
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 11:53

There isn't a nice or kind answer, unfortunately, but his body is somewhere.

It's entirely possible that you missed his body while combing through substrate and that you might find the remains again one random day in the future after a long time of poor water quality levels (due to the decay).

It's also possible for a fish to jump out of the tank but it's really rare and almost certainly not what happened due to the last lethargic state you saw him in last.

If you have a cat and the aquarium doesn't have a cover, that's another thing that could have happened.



Your water parameters will have everything to do with it. Your guppy was a few yrs old not an old age pensioner. When was the last time you did a water change? Fish tend to go and hide somewhere to die when they are not in good shape. I'm betting it was ammonia or nitrate poisoning.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.