why do fish eat their babies

Why do Fish Eat their Babies

Some people may find it shocking that fish eat their babies, but it is a fairly common behavior in the animal kingdom. There are several reasons why fish may consume their offspring, and the motivations can vary depending on the species of fish involved.

While it is unfortunate that baby fish sometimes become food for their parents, this pattern helps ensure the species’ survival as a whole.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why fish eat their young and how this affects the ecosystem. We’ll also examine some possible explanations for why this phenomenon occurs in the first place. Stay tuned!

Why fishes eat their eggs and babies

1. Trying to survive

In many situations, baby fish cannot fend for themselves and are easy prey for predators. As a result, parents may consume their offspring to reduce the risk of them being eaten by other animals.

This type of behavior is prevalent in species that are struggling to find food.

In some cases, fish may also eat their young because they compete for resources. If a parent fish cannot find enough food to support itself and its offspring, it may consume the young to increase its chances of survival. This type of competition can be particularly intense in environments where food is scarce.

2. Ensuring the survival of the species

In many species, baby fish cannot survive on their own and will quickly die if their parents do not protect them.

By consuming their offspring, parents can ensure that at least some of their genes are passed on to the next generation. This type of behavior is known as natural selection, one of the main drivers of evolution.

In some cases, fish may also eat their young to control the population size. If there are too many fish in an area, it can lead to competition for resources and a decrease in overall fitness.

By eating some of their offspring, parents can help keep the population size under control and ensure that there are enough resources to go around.

3. Protecting the young

Fish may also consume their young to prevent them from being cannibalized by other members of the same species. This type of behavior is known as infanticide, and it is pretty common in the animal kingdom.

While it may seem counterintuitive, cannibalism can benefit the species’ survival as a whole.

4. Reducing stress

Fish may also eat their young to relieve stress. If a parent fish is under a lot of pressure, it may consume its offspring to cope with the situation. This type of behavior is known as self-medication.

5. An honest mistake

Sometimes, fish eat their babies when mistaking them for food, especially when the fries are too small.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

why fishes eat their eggs

Why do male fish eat their eggs?

Blenny fish is a familiar pick for aquarists, as the species is colorful and hyperactive. So, it might come as a shock when you see them eat their babies. Well, the male one does this when they think raising those babies is not worth the food and effort.

Why do guppies eat their babies?

Female guppies often eat their babies to compensate for the energy and fat they lost during birth.

You might notice guppies feeding on their own fry. Such action is due to their self-preservation and survival instinct.

You can stop this by separating the female guppies from their babies right after they are born.

Keep the babies in a breeding box for two weeks. And when the babies are back in the tank, ensure enough food for the moms and hiding spaces for the babies.

Does goldfish eat their babies?

Yes, sadly, they do.

Goldfish eat their babies purely due to the survival instinct. When they are starving, they will eat anything just to get enough fat and nutrition.


There are many different reasons why fish eat their young. In most cases, this behavior is driven by the need to survive.

What do you have to say about young fish being devoured by their parents? Do you think there could be a deeper meaning behind this act? Let us know in the comments below!

why do fish eat their babies infographic

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