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Do Mollies Eat Their Babies (And How To Stop Them)?

Most baby fishes are safe with their parents as they take good care of their babies and protect them from danger. But sadly, the same can not be said for molly fishes.

Why is it? Do Molly fish eat their fry?

In this article, we’ll discuss the harsh truth about molly fishes and give suggestions on how to ensure that your fries are safe.

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Do Molly Fish Eat Their Fry?

do mollies eat their babies
Generally, yes, molly fish eat their fry. Molly fish are nippy eaters, they usually eat anything they can fit in their mouth. No matter what it is in the tank, the molly fish will nip it instantly as soon as they find it, especially if they’re hungry or stressed.

Mostly during the first few days or weeks after the birth of molly fry (baby molly fish), they are often eaten by bigger fish, including their own mother. It is because the fries are very small, weak, and vulnerable during this time.

Moreover, the fries do not get any protection from their parents.

So now that you know that molly fry gets eaten by their mother or parents, you would likely want to know more about the reason behind this, don’t you?

Let’s take a look at them!

Why Do Molly Fish Eat Their Babies?

The primary reason molly fish may eat their fry is simply that they are opportunistic eaters and devour anything in sight. In a crowded tank with limited resources, the fry may be seen as an easy source of nutrition for molly fish and other fishes.

Moreover, if the molly fish is under stress due to poor water conditions, lack of food, etc., they will likely eat their fries without a doubt.

The final and most apparent reason that molly fish eat their babies is their small size. As the fries are small enough, other fish, including molly fish (parent fish), generally think of fries as food and eat them.

How Do You Protect Or Save Molly Fry?

You can do a few things to protect or save molly fry from being eaten by their parents or other fish. Before we discuss what these are, just be sure to properly feed the molly fish when it’s pregnant and after it gives birth to discourage it from eating their babies

Now let’s talk about what you can do to save your molly fry:

1. Separate The Fry

It is recommended to separate the fry from the adult fish as soon as they are born. It will help to ensure that they have enough space to grow and thrive and make them feel safe as they are not at risk of being eaten by adult fish.

You can use a breeding box and isolate the mother in a separate tank. At about eight weeks old, the fries will be ready to join the main tank with other fish.

2. Provide A Clean And Suitable Environment

It is likely that mother fish will get aggressive if the aquarium water parameters are bad.

Properly maintaining the water quality in the tank is essential for the health and well-being of both the mother fish and fry.

To keep the water safe for fish, be sure to perform regular water changes and ensure that the pH, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia levels in the tank are within the ideal range for the mother fish and fry’s health. You can use an API Water Test Kit to test these water parameters.

3. Provide adequate space

Make sure the tank is large enough to accommodate the mother fish, fry, and any other fish you may have. Overcrowding can lead to increased aggression and territorial behavior.

4. Use a Tank Divider

If you don’t want to separate the mother fish from the fry completely, you can use a tank divider to create a physical barrier between the two. This will allow the fry to have their own space while still being in the same tank as the mother fish.

5. Provide Hiding Space

do mollies eat their babies

                   A Molly Fry Trying To Hide

If you want to raise the fry in the same tank, try creating plenty of hiding spaces such as plants, rocks and other decorations. The space will give fry to hide when the mother becomes aggressive.

6. Keep  the right tankmates

If you have other fish in the tank with the molly fry and mother fish, be sure to choose tankmates that are peaceful and not aggressive towards fry.

The peaceful tankmates for molly fish are guppies, platies, tetras, rasboras, danios, and barbs.


That’s all for today’s blog. We hope this article has helped you know the heartbreaking facts about molly fish and provided some valuable information on how to protect your molly fry.

In a nutshell, yes, molly fish can and will usually eat their fries. These prolific breeders are known for their tendency to consume everything they can fit in their mouths, including their offspring. The fries are also at risk of being eaten by other fish in the same tank.

So next time you think of leaving molly fry with the female molly, just remember – Molly fish do not nurture or feed their fries, and instead eat them.