Will Guppies Eat Their Fry? - "Baby Guppies" by Falashad is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Will Guppies Eat Their Fry? - "Baby Guppies" by Falashad is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


In the enchanting world of guppies, where vibrant colors and playful personalities reign supreme, the question of “will guppies eat their fry?” emerges as a fundamental inquiry for both novice and seasoned aquarists. These small, livebearing fish, scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, have captured the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. Renowned for their captivating beauty and relative ease of care, guppies have graced aquariums for over a century, making them one of the most beloved and iconic freshwater species in the hobby.

Reproduction in guppies, marked by their prolific breeding habits and livebearing nature, is a phenomenon that never ceases to amaze. Yet, it is within this very process that the intriguing query of “will guppies eat their fry?” unfolds once again. As these miniature marvels give life to their broods, the survival of their offspring becomes a delicate dance, both in the wild and the controlled confines of aquariums. In this article, we will delve into the captivating world of guppies, exploring the intricacies of their reproduction, the challenges faced by guppy fry, and the factors influencing their survival, all while addressing the enduring question: “will guppies eat their fry?”

About Guppies

Guppies, scientifically known as Poecilia reticulata, are one of the most beloved and iconic freshwater fish species in the aquarium hobby. These small, colorful fish originate from the freshwater streams, rivers, and ponds of South America, particularly in countries like Venezuela, Trinidad, and Barbados. Guppies owe their popularity to their strikingly vibrant colors, playful personalities, and their relatively easy care requirements, making them an ideal choice for both novice and experienced aquarists.

Guppies have been part of the aquarium hobby for over a century, and their enduring appeal can be attributed to their adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a low-maintenance pet or an enthusiast interested in selective breeding to produce unique strains, guppies offer a world of possibilities.

Reproduction in Guppies

Reproduction in guppies is a fascinating and distinctive process. These fish are livebearers, which means they give birth to fully developed, free-swimming fry rather than laying eggs. This livebearing trait is one of the key factors contributing to their popularity in the aquarium world.

Guppies are prolific breeders, and a single female guppy can give birth to a large number of fry in a single brood. This prolific breeding habit is both a blessing and a challenge for guppy enthusiasts. The female guppy carries the developing fry within her body for approximately 21 to 30 days, depending on water temperature and other factors. During this gestation period, the fry receive nutrients from the mother through a yolk sac.

Once the fry are fully developed and ready to be born, the female guppy gives birth to live, miniature versions of guppies, which immediately start swimming and seeking refuge. Guppies are known to give birth to anywhere from a handful to over a hundred fry in a single brood, and the exact number can vary based on the individual guppy, her age, health, and environmental conditions.

Guppy fry are tiny and vulnerable, but their rapid growth and vibrant colors make them endearing subjects for aquarium enthusiasts. It may also make you wonder, “Will guppies eat their fry?” Understanding their reproductive process and the behavior of both adult guppies and their fry is crucial for successfully managing these colorful fish in your aquarium. In the following sections, we will explore topics related to guppy fry survival, parental care, and strategies to ensure a healthy and thriving guppy population in your tank.

Will Guppies Eat Their Fry?

So, will guppies eat their fry? Yes, adult guppies have a natural tendency to eat their fry. This behavior is not uncommon and is rooted in their instinct for survival. Adult guppies may view their own fry as a potential source of food, especially if they are hungry, stressed, or if they perceive their environment as a limited food source.

To increase the chances of guppy fry survival in an aquarium, it’s essential to take measures to reduce the risk of cannibalism by adult guppies. This may include providing hiding places, maintaining optimal tank conditions, ensuring the adults are well-fed, and possibly separating the pregnant females from the main tank before they give birth. These strategies can help create a more favorable environment for guppy fry to thrive and grow.

Strategies to Improve Fry Survival

Raising guppy fry in an aquarium setting can be a rewarding experience, but it does require careful attention to various factors to ensure their survival. Here are some tips and strategies for increasing the chances of guppy fry surviving in an aquarium:

  • Hiding Spots: Provide ample hiding places for guppy fry. Live or artificial plants, caves, and decorations can serve as shelters where fry can evade adult guppies. Dense vegetation not only provides hiding spots but also serves as a source of microorganisms, which are a suitable food for fry.
  • Separation: Separating pregnant female guppies from the main tank a few days before they give birth is a common practice. You can place them in a separate breeding or nursery tank with suitable conditions. This reduces the risk of adult guppies preying on the newborn fry.
  • Feeding Schedule: Ensure that adult guppies are well-fed. A well-fed adult guppy is less likely to view the fry as a food source. Offer a balanced diet and stick to a regular feeding schedule.
  • Live Food: Guppy fry benefit from live or frozen foods, such as baby brine shrimp, micro worms, and daphnia, as they contain essential nutrients and encourage healthy growth. You can culture these foods at home or purchase them from pet stores.
  • Proper Water Quality: Maintain stable and optimal water conditions. Guppy fry are sensitive to water parameters, and poor water quality can stress them and make them more susceptible to diseases. Frequent water changes and monitoring water parameters are essential.
  • Separate Guppy Fry: As the guppy fry grow and become less vulnerable, consider separating them from the adults. This can help prevent any potential aggression from adult guppies and provide a controlled environment for their development.
Will Guppies Eat Their Fry? - "Baby Guppies" by Falashad is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Will Guppies Eat Their Fry? – “Baby Guppies” by Falashad is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Guppy Fry Separation

Separating guppy fry from adult guppies is a common practice that has its pros and cons:


  • Increased Survival: Separation significantly increases the chances of guppy fry survival. Without the presence of adult guppies, fry can grow without the threat of being eaten.
  • Controlled Environment: In a separate nursery or breeding tank, you can closely monitor the water conditions, temperature, and food availability to ensure ideal conditions for the fry’s growth.
  • Selective Breeding: If you’re interested in selective breeding to produce specific guppy strains, separating fry allows you to carefully choose the parents and maintain genetic purity.


  • Additional Equipment: Setting up and maintaining a separate tank requires extra equipment, including filtration, heaters, and possibly lighting. This can increase the cost and complexity of your setup.
  • Labor-Intensive: Caring for fry in a separate tank can be labor-intensive, as it involves feeding and cleaning the tank more frequently.
  • Reduced Social Interaction: Separating fry means missing out on the natural behaviors and interactions between adult guppies and their young. Some aquarists enjoy observing these interactions in a community tank.

Guppy fry separation is a valuable strategy to improve their survival, especially if you are focused on breeding and preserving specific strains. However, it does come with additional responsibilities and costs. Ultimately, the decision to separate fry or keep them with adult guppies should align with your goals and preferences as an aquarium enthusiast.


In conclusion, the question “will guppies eat their fry?” underscores a fundamental aspect of the guppy breeding experience, both in their natural habitats and in the controlled environment of aquariums. Understanding the challenges guppy fry face in the wild, where predation and habitat instability are prevalent, is essential for appreciating the remarkable adaptability of these small, colorful fish. Moreover, in the context of aquariums, where the survival of guppy fry can be influenced by factors such as tank conditions, food availability, and stress, the question of “will guppies eat their fry?” remains a critical consideration for aquarists.

To improve guppy fry survival in an aquarium, a variety of strategies can be employed, including the provision of hiding spots, maintaining optimal water quality, ensuring adult guppies are well-fed, and possibly separating pregnant females from the main tank. These tactics aim to reduce the risk of cannibalism and create an environment conducive to the healthy growth of guppy fry.

Ultimately, the ability of guppy fry to thrive and mature depends on the careful balance between their natural instincts and the efforts of aquarium enthusiasts. By implementing these strategies and considering the pros and cons of guppy fry separation, aquarists can not only answer the question “will guppies eat their fry?” with greater confidence but also foster a thriving and colorful guppy community in their aquariums.