Why Do Guppies Eat Their Babies?

There’s more than one answer to this question. It could be that the guppies are kept in stressful conditions and attempt to survive by feeding on their young. Another answer could be that the guppies’ fry aren’t strong enough to survive. This is to conserve their energy for the stronger and healthier fry. Others have also speculated that it’s a way for guppies to fill up on their fats. 

In some instances in the animal kingdom, if an animals’ offspring is genetically unhealthy or unadept at surviving the wild, their mother might choose to eat them.

Nevertheless, the explanation could be a mixture of both answers. Filial cannibalism, or in this situation, adult guppies feeding on their young isn’t necessarily limited to the female guppy.

Males have also been observed eating their offspring. Let’s dive into more detail about guppies eating their fry and how you can prevent it.

Why Do Guppies Eat Their Babies?

Female guppies can give birth to around 20 to 60 fry every month or so. Since adult guppies have a habit of eating their young, only those who hide and escape are lucky enough to survive.

Newborn fry are approximately 0.25 inches long. They’re colorless when born, but after a month begin to show some shade.

Self-preservation has been one of the top reasons for guppies eating their babies. They look out for themselves and need easy extra nutrients.

Green Orange Clear Guppy

How to Stop Your Guppies from Eating Their Babies

You can’t exactly ask your guppy to lay off its babies. The best way to keep the fry safe is to separate them from birth.

There are numerous ways to go about this plan. Here are some:

Get Another Tank

Find an extra tank for your pregnant guppy to give birth in. After she’s done, quickly scoop her away from her fry.

Not sure when she’ll give birth? Some signs that would show she’s in labor are a v-shaped stomach and solitary behavior.

When you move the female guppy back to its original aquarium, keep in mind that it has to have the same temperature, pH, and hardness.

Once she’s done giving birth, you need to be extra ready to snatch her away from her fry before she gets to them.

While this is a more costly solution, since it would require money spent on a new tank, its heater, lights, and filter, it’s one of the best options.

If you’ve got a guppy breeding business, then consider this a smart financial decision. You’ll get to keep as many newborn guppies as possible.

Get a Breeding Box

A more commonly used prevention method is getting a breeding box. This box will be attached to your aquarium and will temporarily house your pregnant guppy.

It’s a plastic container and can also be made out of mesh. The point of it is to separate the fry from other fish in the tank.

The guppy will give birth to her multiple fry in this box, and your job is to get her out as soon as she’s done giving birth.

The fry should then remain in the breeding box until they mature enough. The other fish won’t be able to get in and the fry won’t be able to escape the safety of the breeding box.

You don’t want to keep the fry in the box for longer than a couple of weeks. This might hinder their growth since the small space wouldn’t allow them to mature naturally.

You can either move them to the current aquarium or find another separate tank for them.

We highly recommend this option, since you wouldn’t need to invest in another aquarium. You also wouldn’t need to worry about equalizing the water parameters of both aquariums.

It’s also suitable if your aquarium is large enough to fit the breeding box.

Create Hiding Spaces

Since newborn guppies are likely targets, what do prey do best to survive? They hide. You can create shelters by purchasing driftwood, ceramic caves, coconut caves, and aqua plants.

The plants will be especially useful for the fry. They won’t only use it to shield themselves from their parents, but also as a healthy food source.

The plants are also great at reducing toxic levels in your aquarium. While this method is beneficial in some ways, it does fall short when it comes to protecting your fry.

It isn’t a fool-proof method, and some of the babies will end up getting eaten. We wouldn’t recommend this option if you’re profiting off of guppies.

Do Guppies Eat Each Other?

Since guppies are eating their babies, you might also start to wonder if they feed on each other. It’s based on their condition.

If you put your guppies in a tight tank and scarcely feed them, then you’re practically brewing their cannibal survival instincts.

Nevertheless, if a guppy is already dead, the other ones in the tank are likely to feast on it. It’s nothing to fear; only nature at work.

That being so, you should remove any dead guppies from your tank unless you’re looking for a contaminated nightmare.

While cannibalism isn’t common, guppies have a tendency of biting each other. They’re territorial creatures and value their space more than being social.

We advise you to avoid overcrowding your tank before things get ugly between your guppies. If one of them dies, make sure to remove it from the tank as soon as possible to prevent a feast in your tank.

 To Conclude

Guppies, like most animals, look out for their survival. Their food intake is always on their mind. The source of the intake is not an issue for them since they can eat their babies.

This is why you should always prepare your guppy for labor. Post-pregnancy can be a difficult ordeal, especially for their babies.

Taking the needed precautions and keeping the fry safe is your best bet at saving as many as possible. We hope you find the most accommodating prevention method above.