Do Betta Fish Eat Their Babies?

Do Betta fish eat fish fry? What is Fry? Is Betta eating their Fry and eggs? Does Betta Fry eat each other? When should I remove my male Betta from Fry? If you are having such questions in your fertile mind then this is the best place to satisfy yourself. Here you will get your queries answered.

First of all, let’s discuss the term “Fry”. Fry is simply a fancy term for Betta babies or young hatchlings.

So Do They Eat Their Babies?

In order to answer this question do Betta fish eat their babies? The answer is, not really or not very often. So if you see your Betta eating their babies then there is something definitely wrong. Betta only eats their young hatchlings or Fry in hard circumstances. When their hunger has reached its peak and they don’t have any other choice or they have become aggressive to some unwanted factors.

Do Bettas Eat Their Eggs

Regarding this question to work out deeply, we will discuss the following things in this article.

  • Parenting Nature of Betta.
  • Parents eating their young ones.
  • Strong Fries eating weak ones.
  • How to prevent this problem in your home tank.

Now we will discuss these aspects one by one.

Parenting Nature of Betta

In the case of Betta, it’s actually the male or father who is in charge of looking after the eggs and young ones. So basically the father and Betta are the guardians. The Fathers are responsible for raising the babies in general. The mother Betta is only responsible for laying eggs.

How Does the Male Betta Protect the Eggs?

Male Betta makes a special type of nest for their eggs. This nest is called a Bubble nest. Male Betta makes the bubble nest using their mouth. A bubble nest is basically the surface where the eggs are placed. The bubble nest provides an oxygen-rich and clean environment for the young Betta.

The male Betta stays under the bubble nest to keep it safe from other fish that might cause harm. During hatching, if any of the eggs fall down from the nest the male betta rescues them and places them back in the nest. Once the babies have hatched then the duty of the father is over. The babies are responsible for surviving on their own.

Why Does Betta Eat Their Babies?

Now we will discuss in detail some of the reasons why your Betta might be eating their babies. After all, parents love their offspring more than anything in this world. So now we will try to investigate some of the reasons why your Betta is going against nature.

Problems During Spawning

Spawning away from the natural environment may cause disturbance to both parents. They become confused and start eating their eggs either fertilized or rotten. When Betta are away from their natural environment like in a closed tank, their spawning is affected. This condition stresses the betta out. When both parents get stressed they start eating their own offspring to release frustration.

Female Betta picks her mate for spawning. Any type of inconvenience in spawning will make her aggressive and this can make her eat her babies.

Female Betta Instinct

Female betta is liable to eat their eggs and fries. So naturally, fathers are in charge of keeping and guarding the eggs whenever there are any. So it is a natural behavior of the female betta to leave that place. If the female betta does not leave then all the annoyance and anger on her partner will be taken out on her offspring. She will start eating her own eggs and new babies. All of this happens when she stays nearby after the spawning.

First Experience of the Father

If the Betta is having the experience first time in the tank then they might feel imprisoned. This feeling of being trapped might make the Betta aggressive. If this happens then the betta might start eating their babies instead of guarding them. An aggressive father is a threat to the babies, be it humans or fish.

Might Have Right

This is the instinct of every living thing in the universe. The powerful try to suppress the weak. The same is the case with fish. Stronger fish try to show their strength to the weak ones. The stronger ones might harm or even eat the weaker fish in order to do so. In the case of Betta, the strong fries or hungry babies start eating their weak or undernourished brothers and sisters. Strong fries struggling for food make weak ones their prey. This is indeed a serious challenge for the betta owners who keep all of the Betta in the same tank.

Lack of Food

This is the simplest reason behind your Betta eating its babies. Lack of food can make the Betta eat their babies as they have no other choice. Other fish might also prey on the babies simply because of hunger. So a hungry Betta will eat its babies simply to survive. They do love their babies but they love their life more!

Conditions of the Aquarium

Betta is a very sensitive fish and is very concerned about its ecosystem. Keeping them happy and free of stress is a challenge faced by many Betta owners. One of the biggest reason why Betta start eating their babies is stress and aggression. Betta might become aggressive due to multiple factors. The tank environment directly affects the mood of the Betta. An uncomfortable environment means an aggressive or stressed-out Betta. We will talk about a few factors that affect the tank and as a result, make the betta uncomfortable and aggressive. All of these factors can aggravate the killing instincts in the Betta.

Temperature

The temperature ideal for Betta is 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature above or below this range can make the Betta uncomfortable. Discomfort leads to stress and aggression which makes the Betta eat their babies.

Overcrowded Aquarium

An overcrowded aquarium makes all of the tank mates stressed out. This stress can lead to aggression and they might start attacking and even eating each other.

Adding your Fish

Unclean Tank

An unclean tank stresses Betta like an unclean room stresses out your parents. So an unclean tank is one of the major reasons why Betta as well as other fish become aggressive. Eating babies is not normal behavior, it is the result of many factors.

Sunlight

Betta does like sunlight but not direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can make the Betta uncomfortable and the sunlight also increases the water temperature which is not suitable for the Betta. So direct sunlight can also make the betta stressed out and aggressive.

Higher Levels of Ammonia

Higher levels of Ammonia and nitrates arise due to the waste material in the tank. These can also stress out the Betta and make it aggressive.

Unsuitable pH Levels

pH ideal for Betta is between 6.5 and 8. pH other than this range can also cause the Betta to be aggressive and stressed out.

How to Prevent Fish From Eating Betta Babies?

Now that we have discussed all the parenting nature of Betta and have also discussed the reasons behind which the babies are eaten, we will now discuss some preventions. I mean we cannot bring back a baby betta from the dead but we sure can prevent it from dying in the first place. So now we will discuss some tips which will help you keep your baby betta alive. So if they die it won’t be because of their parents or other fish at least! So now let’s dive into the preventions that you can take to keep the baby betta alive and safe.

Remove the Female Betta from the Tank

It is the female Betta instinct to eat their eggs. Right after the Female betta has given eggs you should remove her from the tank. Keeping the eggs safe is the duty of the father Betta. So make sure to replace the female Betta with another tank as soon as possible.

Don’t Use an Aggressive Father for Mating

If you have a prior experience with a male Betta and find him to be a bad father then you must not use it for mating next time and keep him away from the female Betta. This is because by nature the father and Betta are the guardians, and killing the babies is not normal behavior.

Keep an Eye on Bullies

Bullies in the tank might harm the baby betta. You must keep an eye on the tank to see any such trouble-causing fish. Once you spot any such fish you should remove it from the tank and put it in another one.

Give the Tank a Natural Feel

To make the parent Betta more comfortable you should make the tank feel like their natural habitat. This makes spawning better for the Betta. So adding plants to the tank might help in this regard.

Feed the Fish Regularly

If the Betta and its tank mates are well fed then they will most likely not eat the baby betta. So you must ensure that all of the fish in the tank is properly given food and are not kept hungry. A hungry fish might eat baby fish as they have no other option. So do not drive the fish to a point where they have to resort to violence.

Avoid Overcrowding the Tank

An overcrowded tank can stress the parents of the Betta out. Stressful and aggressive parents can then harm their babies. In order to keep the parents calm, you must avoid overcrowding the tank.

Keep the Tank Clean

An unclean tank makes the parents aggressive too. In order to avoid this, you should frequently clean the tank and change the water every week. You should make sure that the filters are working and the water is clean at all times.

Maintain the Water Temperature

The Betta tank must have a thermometer so that you can keep the temperature between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The out-of-range temperature will make the parents as well as other fish aggressive and nobody wants that for the sake of the babies.

Place the Tank Properly

Where the kept is the tank is also very important. Avoid places where direct sunlight comes to the tank. Make sure that the position is as comfortable as possible to avoid aggressive behavior by the parents as well as other fish.

pH and other water parameters

The pH of the tank water must be strictly monitored and kept between 6.5 to 8. This is because an out-of-range pH will make the Betta uncomfortable which could lead them to eat their babies. So the pH must be maintained. Ammonia and Nitrate levels must also be monitored to keep the Betta comfortable at all times. Waste should not be gathered inside the tank.

Most of these preventions are basically to keep the Betta calm and peaceful. Betta mostly eats their babies out of aggression so the only thing in our hands is to make the environment as stress-free as possible.

The Bottom Line On Do Betta Fish Eat Their Babies

So through this article, you might have got an idea about why your betta is eating their babies. Even though this does not happen that frequently but one must be prepared at all times. Luckily the preventive measures are very easy to follow by anyone. The key is to keep the Parent Betta and all the tank mates happy and stress-free at all times. Stress leads to aggression which as a result causes violence in the tank. So by keeping in mind the tips discussed in this article you will be good to go and this won’t be a problem for you. So may your Baby Betta live long and be safe from the wrath of their parents and other tank mates. So this was all about Betta eating their babies, till next time happy fishkeeping!

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