Do Guppies Eat Their Babies

Guppies are a popular fish species to keep in aquariums and ponds. As peaceful, easy-to-care for creatures, guppies make a great choice for those looking to get into the hobby of fishkeeping. But one question that is often asked by new guppy owners is whether or not these fish eat their own babies. In this article we’ll explore the answer to this question, as well as look at some of the other interesting facts about guppies’ behavior when it comes to raising their young.

Do Guppies Eat Their Babies?

The short answer to this question is no, guppies typically do not eat their own babies. While some fish species are known to practice cannibalism on their young, guppies generally stick to a diet of small crustaceans and insects, which they can find in the wild or be fed in an aquarium.

Reasons Why They Don’t Eat Their Young

Guppies have evolved to become very protective of their offspring. When female guppies give birth, they will instinctively guard the fry until they are large enough to survive on their own. This ensures that the baby guppies have a greater chance of reaching adulthood and reproducing themselves.

What To Do If You Suspect Cannibalism

  • Separate adult male and female guppies: As previously mentioned, male guppy fish may engage in aggressive behavior towards female guppy fish during breeding season. It is important that adult males and females be kept separate so as to avoid any potential for cannibalism.
  • Provide plenty of hiding spots: Baby guppy fry need places where they can hide from larger fish. Aquarium decorations such as rocks or plants can provide these hiding spots.
  • Keep water clean: The water quality in your tank should always be monitored closely as dirty water can lead to stress and disease amongst all inhabitants.

The Dangers of Female Guppy Eating Her Own Fry

Female guppies sometimes eat their own fry. This behavior is seen in some species, but not all. While it may seem strange or even cruel, there are evolutionary reasons that lead to this behavior.

Reasons Why Female Guppies Eat Their Fry

  • Nutritional Needs: Female guppies often need more nutrients than they can get from the tank water and environment alone. Eating her own fry can provide a source of protein and other essential nutrients.
  • Space Limitation: In an overcrowded tank, female guppies may resort to eating their fry as a way to reduce population density and make space for themselves.
  • Survival Instincts: In some cases, female guppy will eat her fry if she perceives them as a threat or danger to the survival of herself or her young. This could be due to an aggressive male presence in the tank or limited resources such as food.

Preventing Female Guppy From Eating Her Fry

  • Provide Plenty of Food: Make sure your female guppy has plenty of high-quality food so she doesn’t have to resort to eating her own fry for nutrition. Offer brine shrimp, bloodworms, spirulina flakes, and other foods specifically designed for guppies.
  • Maintain Tank Conditions: Keep your aquarium clean and well maintained with regular water changes. A healthy environment helps promote healthy fish habits like reducing aggression levels. It also ensures that any uneaten food doesn’t accumulate which could lead to overpopulation issues.
  • Separate Male & Female Fish: If you notice any signs of aggression between males and females, consider separating them into different tanks. An overly aggressive male presence can cause stress on female fish which may lead them to eat their own fry for protection.

The Pros and Cons of Allowing Guppies to Eat Their Babies

Guppies are a popular aquarium fish, and one of the most common questions from new guppy owners is whether or not it’s okay for them to eat their own babies. While there are pros and cons to allowing guppies to do this, it’s important for any potential owner to understand the risks associated with this behavior.


  • Eliminates Overcrowding: One of the biggest advantages of allowing guppies to eat their babies is that it helps keep population size under control. If too many fry (baby guppies) survive, they may overcrowd your tank, leading to increased levels of stress and disease in your aquarium.
  • Reduced Stress Levels: Another pro is that by eliminating some fry before they become larger adults, you can reduce the amount of competition between fish in your tank. This can help reduce overall stress levels among your adult guppies.
  • Natural Behavior: Finally, eating their own young is an instinctive behavior for many species of fish including guppies. Allowing them to follow this natural instinct can make them more comfortable in their environment.


  • Potential Health Issues: One downside of allowing guppies to eat their young is that it could lead to health issues. If the mother eats too many fry, she may develop malnutrition due to a lack of nutrition coming from her diet. Additionally, if she doesn’t consume enough food while caring for her fry, she may become weakened and more susceptible to diseases.
  • Difficult To Monitor: Another con is that it’s difficult (if not impossible)to monitor how much each mother consumes. Since you don’t know exactly how much each individual mother has eaten, you run the risk of overpopulation or health problems due to insufficient nutrition.

The Benefits of Keeping Guppies with their Offspring

Guppies are an easy-to-care for, colorful species of fish that can be kept in both freshwater and saltwater tanks. One benefit to keeping guppies with their offspring is the ease of breeding them. Breeding guppies doesn’t require any special knowledge or skills, making it a great activity for beginners.

Keeping guppy parents with their fry also offers natural protection against predators since the adults will quickly recognize anything that might threaten the young fish. The parents will also teach the fry important survival skills such as how to hide from danger, find food sources and establish territory.

Another advantage to keeping guppy parents and fry together is that it helps ensure healthy growth rates for both groups. Nursing mothers provide extra nutrition for their babies which can help them reach full size faster than if they were raised without parental guidance.

Advantages of Keeping Guppy Parents With Their Fry Include:

  • Easy breeding process
  • Natural protection from predators
  • Teaching survival skills
  • Increased nutrient intake resulting in healthy growth rate

Final Thoughts

Overall, it is clear that while some guppies may eat their own babies, this behavior is not universal among all species. In most cases, the mother guppy will protect her fry and ensure their survival. It appears to be more common in wild populations than in captive ones, as the lack of resources can lead female fish to resort to eating their young for energy and nutrients.

This behavior should be taken into consideration when stocking an aquarium with multiple guppies or other species of live-bearing fish. With proper care and monitoring, owners can create a safe environment for their aquatic pets and prevent any unfortunate losses due to predation or cannibalism.

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