If you’re thinking of getting a small aquarium, guppies are a great place to start. Guppies are typically docile, and unlike many other breeds, they reproduce quickly.
If you own a guppy, you’re undoubtedly aware that they don’t make the best parents. Guppy fish are known for devouring their young. A mother guppy will not hesitate to devour her fry as soon as they are born, which may surprise you. To keep your guppy fry alive, you must act swiftly to keep them from being eaten by the guppies. But how will you put a stop to it?
The most effective approach for preventing guppies from eating their young is to separate the mother before birth. Use a breeding box in the tank or move the female to a new tank just before she gives birth. Another approach is to keep live plants in the tank. They’ll serve as hiding places for the fry.
Before we go into why guppies eat their young in the first place, let’s take a deeper look at each of these theories.
Is It True That Guppies Eat Their Babies?
They do, in fact. Despite the fact that guppies are one of the calmest kinds and are normally tranquil, they frequently consume their fry. Filial cannibalism is the name given to this strange and terrible behavior. What’s more perplexing is that you wouldn’t expect pacifist creatures like guppies to act in this manner.
However, many guppy-loving pet owners claim that their adult guppies have devoured their fry on a frequent basis. Guppies don’t consume all of the fries, but they do eat a good portion of them. These fish have the appearance of remorseless serial killers due to their unchanging facial characteristics. It’s a horrifying experience, yet it exists. You’d think that larger breeds with sharper teeth would kill their young, but the animal realm is full of oddities.
What Makes Guppies Eat Fries?
Angelfish, for example, are known to watch after and support their fry in their development. Even fish that display parental care may eat their own fry on occasion. Guppy fish do not demonstrate parental care after giving birth to their offspring, and if they are kept in the same aquarium as the fry, they will mistake them for food and eat them.
It’s strange behavior that has captivated the curiosity of scholars for a long time. According to others, filial cannibalism is the result of a spill-over reaction produced by stress, which amplifies the fish’s self-preservation urge.
This isn’t a satisfying explanation, though, because the identical behavior may be observed in fish that aren’t housed in stressful environments.
Another explanation for this behavior is that guppy fish weed out young that are less likely to survive by eating their own progeny.
This can happen because guppy infants lack the requisite survival qualities (for example, they can’t easily hide from predators) or because their progeny are genetically weak. As a result, adult guppies improve the species’ overall survival by filtering out weak individuals. Another theory is that the female guppy replenishes her fat reserves by devouring her own fry. This does not, however, explain why male guppies consume their own progeny. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of agreement on why filial cannibalism occurs, and it’s possible that the reason is a mix of self-preservation and the maintenance of robust offspring.
Fortunately, you don’t have to accept this condition because there are several ways to keep guppies from eating their fries.
How To Keep Guppies From Eating Their Young?
There are several methods for preventing guppies from eating the fry, all of which center on separating guppy adults from guppy young.
There are three strategies to guarantee that guppy fry survive:
1. In a Breeding Box, Keep Your Pregnant Guppy
Mating is one thing that guppies are always prepared for. Guppies reproduce quickly, and their fry is born in 3 to 4 weeks. Look for the following signs to see whether a female guppy is pregnant:
- It appears to be tarnished and faded.
- It’s swollen and big, just like a pregnant woman’s body.
- Near the butt, where the fry will be discharged, it bears a black tint.
- It enjoys warm water and aquariums with heated sides.
- It prefers to be in the dark. Pregnant guppies frequently hide in toys. houses, castles, and the shade provided by plants.
Keep a close eye on the pregnancy’s progress. Separate your pregnant guppy from other adult guppies a few days before the scheduled childbirth. A breeding box is a mesh container designed to keep fry safe and secure. One more strange phenomenon that you will observe is that many pregnant Guppy fish die after giving birth. Why? If you are interested then you should read in detail about this in our other article Do Guppies die after giving birth?
2. Distinguish the Newborn Fry
Isolating your guppy, on the other hand, can put a lot of strain on it. The stress and frustration of pregnancy might appear in the offspring’s intake.
As a result, make sure you’re notified when the fries are released. Keep the pups in a smaller tank while the guppy is giving birth. Set up this aquarium ahead of time so that the fry has a safe place to dwell right away. You may take your female guppy out of the mesh breeding box once she has delivered all of her offspring. It’s essential to keep the guppy and its offspring well fed. Obtain high-quality special diets for the young fry in order to meet all of their nutritional needs.
Here’s how to make sure your baby guppies don’t have any defects when you acquire them:
- Ensure that the water is both clean and chemically nourishing
- Feed them frequently
- Consult a veterinarian for advice on guppy baby nutrition. Make sure your baby guppies get enough light
- Your fry’s fish tank can be kept in a room that provides plenty of sunshine throughout the day. If that isn’t possible, an aquarium light can be installed within the tank.
3. Wait for Them to Get Bigger Before you do Anything.
When you think the babies have grown big enough, you may move them to the main tank. They must be able to swim quickly and be big enough not to fit in the jaws of people.
Always attempt to maintain the tank supplied with fish food once the guppies have been brought together. You may also maintain plants and other decorations inside so that the younger guppies can flee if an older guppy approaches.
There are a lot of Live Plants and Hiding Spots
A third way to keep fry from being eaten by adults is to make sure your aquarium has plenty of living plants and hiding places for them to hide from hungry adult fish. The advantages of having live plants in the aquarium go well beyond providing protection for the fry.
Plants may also serve as a food source for frying and aid in the reduction of pollutants in the aquarium. The soft algae that bloom on these plants will also appeal to guppies. This strategy isn’t as foolproof as the others I’ve mentioned, especially since not all guppy babies can hide and go undiscovered. If you wish to breed guppies, you shouldn’t utilize this procedure. It’s more suited for when your guppies reproduce, even if you weren’t expecting it, and you’re stuck with all those fries. If you don’t want to take them out and look after them, you may leave them with their parents in the hopes that at least some of them will be able to hide until they’re old enough to escape being eaten by adults.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should Infant Guppies Eat?
Adult guppies require feeding more often than baby guppies. In the first four weeks following birth, they grow quickly. During this growth period, you can feed them up to five times a day to promote optimum growth. Baby brine shrimp and crumbled fish flakes are good sources of protein.
When Can You Tell if a Guppy Fry is Male or Female?
Guppies do not differentiate between males and females until they are at least four weeks old. Male guppies develop their anal fin, or gonopodium, by the fourth week. It will be long, slender, and pointed at the tip. Female guppies, on the other hand, will be rounder and have larger bodies. Female guppy fish have a significantly smaller and triangular anal fin. Another thing to watch for in females is the gravid spot. It’s a black spot on the female fish’s underbelly. As male guppies mature, their tails will become more multicolored.
The Bottom Line On Do Guppies Eat Their Babies?
To save guppy fry, I prefer to set up a separate aquarium and transfer the pregnant female guppy to that tank until she gives birth to all of the processes I mentioned. Once she gives birth, I can easily remove her and care for the fry on my own.
I put up a feeding plan and fed guppy babies five times a day with a diversified diet that included a combination of live items (brine shrimp, daphnia, vinegar eels), fry flakes, and beef heart paste for the greatest outcomes. There is no apparent explanation for why guppies consume their fries. It’s something you need to accept as soon as possible and get familiar with the strategies you may use to save the fry. I hope that the approaches I provided will assist you in saving as many fries as possible and that you will continue to breed guppies and care for their offspring.