I have a 10 gallon tank I had 3 guppies and some snails. Only 2 adult snails and some babies. I had 3 guppies the night before and the next day one of my guppies disappeared. This has happened before and I’m really frustrated and sad about it. Please help.

  • 2
    Is the fish tank covered by a lid of sorts?
    – Mast
    Sep 30, 2020 at 8:46
  • 8
    My dad had a tank with two perches and two piranhas. A neighour was supposed to feed them over the vacation but he was so scared by the piranhas that most of the food landed behind the tank, not in it. The perches ate the piranhas. I don't think guppies are carnivores, however.
    – o.m.
    Sep 30, 2020 at 12:27
  • 4
    @o.m. Guppies are omnivores, they will happily eat live food, like brine shrimps, and even cannibalize their own babies. Guppies are not aggressive to other fish so generally the essence of your comment is true, but once another fish dies they could see its corpse as food.
    – lila
    Sep 30, 2020 at 14:19
  • 7
    Check your filter intake to see if he's stuck on it or even in it. Also if he died, current in the tank can land them in hidden places so you really have to dig around sometimes. Sep 30, 2020 at 15:29
  • 2
    Might they have been sucked up into the filter?
    – Student
    Oct 1, 2020 at 0:34

1 Answer 1


The most reasonable explanation is that it died and was eaten by the other fish / snails. Note that some snails are carnivorous. Many fish are cannibalistic if the opportunity arises.

Some leftovers of the missing fish might be found inside the aquarium, if you look carefully. Or in the filter.

Some fish have the idea to jump out of the water. With this occasion, they might even jump out of the aquarium entirely (that is why aquariums have lids). Look around, even behind furniture. You might find it. Quite probable, it will not ever move again by itself.

Ask your family. Maybe they collected it dead from the water and disposed of it.

Funny or not, I once found in the "aquarium" (actually bowl) the skeleton of a fish (possibly molly or something similar) - the way seen in cartoons (head, spine, bones, tail). It died, and the other inhabitants were happy with the diet change.

Update: if the aquarium does not have a lid (or if you find the lid removed "without explanation"), and at the same time you own a cat, then it is the time to have a serious chat with the cat :)

  • 8
    As a teenager, I had aquariums on the shelf above my bed. I once woke up with an Angelfish in bed with me.
    – Auspex
    Sep 30, 2020 at 15:03
  • 6
    I had a Betta that used to happily jump up onto the filter but could not then escape it himself. I came down in the morning and found the tank was empty - it was only when I lifted the lid that I found him and was glad there was enough flowing water there to keep him alive. He clearly was committed to trying to escape as he did it another dozen or so times before his unfortunate demise.
    – Dragonel
    Sep 30, 2020 at 16:33
  • 2
    I started with 5 guppies in a tank. 5 eventually became 1 - as each died, the others just ate him up (or may it was the snails, or the few shrimp I have in there). I don't know if it's common with guppies, but it was with my bunch. Nothing you can do about it - just the circle of life, unfortunately.
    – Sagar
    Oct 1, 2020 at 17:45
  • @Sagar It's completely normal and common in many fish including guppies, guppies are omnivorous and the only thing preventing them from eating their own tank mates is that the mentioned mates are often of similar size and thus a little hard to comfortably swallow; but decomposing corpses smell nice and it's easy to rip small chunks from them, bite-sized little guppy babies will also be mercilessly eaten even by their own parents. They are fish and that's what they do, you are right in your description, it's circle of life and nothing could be done about this.
    – lila
    Oct 1, 2020 at 21:13
  • One other place to check - in some filters, they can get inside the filter and ram themselves between the sponges. A friend also knocked over some aquarium furniture and found it filled with a load of skeletons and one fat fish (she thought she'd been losing tetras for a while but just kept buying more).
    – Pam
    Oct 2, 2020 at 8:51

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