Why Do Guppies Eat Their Babies: (5 Reasons & Solutions)

Why Do guppies eat their babies? Are you a guppy owner who’s been left puzzled and disheartened by the sight of your fish eating their offspring? You’re not alone. While it may seem cruel and senseless, there are several reasons why guppies engage in this behavior. 

In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 reasons guppies eat their babies and provide five proven solutions to protect your fry and keep your fish happy.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that breeds guppies are not intentionally trying to harm their young. This behavior is rooted in their instincts and survival mechanisms.

molly frys

However, that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and watch as your guppies snack on their own offspring. By implementing some of the strategies we’ll discuss, you can help ensure the survival of your guppy fry and maintain a healthy and thriving aquarium.

So, let’s dive in and uncover the reasons behind this perplexing behavior and discover how to prevent your guppy eating their fry.

Do Guppies Eat Their Babies?

Do guppies eat their fry? Yes, guppies are not good parents and are known to eat their own babies, a behavior known as cannibalism. This may happen for several reasons, such as lack of food resources, overcrowding in the tank, or stress.

In some cases, female guppies may eat their own babies immediately after giving birth, while in other cases, male guppies may also engage in cannibalism. 

How Long Are Guppies Pregnant
How Long Are Guppies Pregnant

To prevent cannibalism, providing enough hiding places for baby guppies, such as plants or decorations in the tank, is essential.

Separating the pregnant female guppy from the rest of the tank and placing her in a separate breeding tank can also help to prevent cannibalism. Feeding the adult guppies a varied and nutritious diet and ensuring that the aquarium is not overcrowded can also reduce the chances of cannibalism.

Reasons Why Do Guppies Eat Their Babies

– Understanding Filial Cannibalism

Why do guppy eat the fry? Filial cannibalism is a natural behavior in many fish species, including guppies. It occurs when adult guppies eat their fry shortly after birth. While this may seem cruel, it serves a purpose in the wild, where limited resources lead adult fish to consume weaker offspring to ensure the survival of the stronger ones.

– Guppies Are Hungry and Opportunistic Feeders

Guppies are voracious eaters, and if they encounter their fry within the main tank, they might perceive them as a readily available food source. This feeding behavior is instinctual and can be challenging to control.

– Self-Preservation Instinct in Adult Guppies

Adult guppies, like many animals, have a natural self-preservation instinct. Sometimes, they may see their fry as potential competition for resources in the fish tank. As a result, they may eat their fry to reduce competition and ensure their survival.

– Stress and Overcrowding in the Main Tank

Stress and overcrowding can contribute to guppies eating their young ones. Adult guppies may become agitated in a crowded environment, leading to increased aggression and cannibalistic tendencies.

– Lack of Adequate Hiding Spaces

The fry becomes vulnerable to adult guppies without hiding places or proper cover. If the fry cannot find safe spaces to evade the adults, they become easy targets for predation.

Solutions to Stop Guppies from Eating Their Fry

Use a Breeding Box

A breeding box is one of the most effective ways to protect baby guppies. A breeding box is a separate enclosure within the main tank that allows the pregnant guppy to give birth safely. The fry will fall through the mesh bottom, preventing the adult guppies from reaching them.

Separate the Pregnant Guppy Before Birth

Before the female guppy gives birth, you can separate her into a separate tank or breeding box. This ensures the fry is born in a safe environment, away from potential predators.

Provide Sufficient Live Plants

Having live plants in the aquarium offers hiding spots for the fry. Dense vegetation gives the baby guppies a safe place to seek refuge and increases their chances of survival.

Feeding the Adult Guppies Well

To prevent adult guppies from viewing their fry as a food source, feed them adequately. Providing regular fish food and occasional treats like baby brine shrimp can reduce their predatory instincts.

Consider Using Baby Brine Shrimp

Feeding adult guppies with baby brine shrimp can help distract them from the fry. The shrimp serve as a highly nutritious treat that satisfies their hunger, reducing the likelihood of them eating their offspring.

FAQs – Commonly Asked Questions

How can I prevent guppies from eating their babies?

Using a breeding box or separating the pregnant guppy fish before birth effectively prevents adult guppies from reaching the fry.

Will adult guppies eat guppy fry even if they are well-fed?

Yes, adult guppies may still eat their fry, as it’s an instinctual behavior driven by factors beyond just hunger.

What are the signs that a female guppy is pregnant?

A pregnant guppy will have a noticeably enlarged belly, and you may see dark spots (eyes) on the sides of her abdomen, which are the developing eyes of the fry.

How long does it take for guppy fry to develop?

Guppy babies typically take around 20 to 30 days to develop fully, depending on the water temperature and other environmental factors.

Can I keep the mother guppy with the fry after giving birth?

It’s generally best to separate the mother guppy from the fry after she gives birth to prevent potential cannibalism and protect the baby guppies.

Why do guppies eat their babies?

Why do guppies eat the babies? There are several reasons why guppies may eat their babies. Some common causes include lack of space in the aquarium, food scarcity, stress, weak or unhealthy fry, and instinct.

How can I prevent guppies from eating their babies?

There are a few steps you can take to prevent guppies from eating their babies. Using a guppy breeding box, one effective way is to separate the newborn fish from the adult guppies. Providing plenty of hiding spots in the tank, such as live plants, is also recommended to keep the fry safe. Additionally, ensuring the guppies have a nutritious and balanced diet can help reduce their chances of eating their offspring.

Can male guppies eat their young?

Yes, male guppies can sometimes eat their young. While guppies are generally good parents, there may be instances where the males may not recognize the fry as their own or may mistake them for food.

How long does it take for guppy fry to develop?

Guppy fry usually takes around 3 to 4 weeks to develop into juveniles. The exact time may vary depending on your guppies tank temperature, water quality, and diet.

What can I do to protect guppy fry during birth?

It is recommended to separate the female guppy fish from the breeding box. This will prevent the adult guppies from eating the guppy fry as soon as they are born to protect the guppy fry during birth.

Are live plants effective in preventing guppies from eating their fry?

Yes, live plants can be an effective way to prevent guppies from eating their fry. The plants provide hiding spots for the fry, making it harder for the adult guppies to locate and eat them.

How can I keep my guppy fry safe from being eaten?

Besides using a breeding box and incorporating live plants, you can feed the adult guppies before introducing the fry into the tank. Adult guppies are less likely to hunt for the fry when they are not hungry and have fat storage.

What should I do if I notice guppies eating their young?

If you are a guppy breeder and notice guppies eating their young, separating the mother guppy from the breeding box and the fry is best. This will prevent further harm to the fry and allow them to grow safely.

Can guppies eat weak or unhealthy fry?

Yes, guppies may eat weak or unhealthy fry. This is an instinct for them as they tend to prioritize the survival of the fittest. Providing optimal conditions for the fry is crucial to ensure their health and reduce their chances of being eaten.

How many guppies tend to survive when the babies are born?

The number of guppy fry that survives largely depends on various factors such as water conditions, diet, and the overall health of the adults. On average, successful breeding can result in at least 50% of the fry surviving.

How can I prevent fry cannibalism in guppy reproduction?

Separating the female guppy from the breeding tank after the babies are born is best. To prevent fry cannibalism in guppy reproduction, This will protect the guppy fry from being eaten by the mother or other adult guppies.


So, why do guppies eat their babies? Understanding why guppies eat their babies is crucial in finding practical solutions to prevent this behavior. Filial cannibalism, hunger, self-preservation instincts, stress, and overcrowding guppies tank can all contribute to this behavior. By implementing solutions such as using breeding boxes, separating pregnant guppies, providing hiding spaces, and feeding adult guppies well, guppy owners can increase the chances of fry survival and maintain a peaceful aquarium environment. so keep reading the entire article to find out why do all guppies eat their babies.

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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