Do Molly Fish Eat Their Babies? (how To Protect The Fries)

Being a parent, they often tend to protect their children, but is that true in the case of Molly fish? 

Many fish farmers were in doubt about whether they should put Molly fish and fries together or separate them immediately after birth. They are so confused because many people reported that Molly parents would eat their children. Is it true? Do molly fish eat their babies

The answer will surely shock you. The answer is “Yes, Molly fish eat their babies.” But why do they do that, and how to protect the baby molly from their parents? Keep reading this article to get a detailed answer.

Do Molly Fish Eat Their Babies?

Molly Fish eat their babies because the fries are very tiny and fit molly fish's mouth
Molly Fish eat their babies because the fries are very tiny and fit molly fish’s mouth

As I have said, Molly fish will eat their babies. It is definitely weird but true. In spite of the fact that they are parents, Molly fish do not nurture or feed their fries, they even eat them instead.

The Molly fish are known for their tendency to consume everything they fit into their mouths. Whenever there is a little bit of food in the tank of Molly fish, they will eat it without a second thought. If it is either their food or their small tank mates’ fins, it is likely that they will nip everything they come into contact with.

The molly fries, which are also very tiny, pose a similar risk as they can consume the fries if they are living together in the tank. 

Molly fish will begin nibbling the fries once they fit into their mouths.

Does All Molly Species Eat Their Babies?

Molly fish may have variety in look, and appearance but there is no difference between Molly fish species in terms of their traits, styles, or natural behaviors.

As such, Mollies are not very good at caring for their babies. It is common for Molly species to eat their babies if they share a tank with them.

In this case, you should consider it highly important to care for Molly fries by yourself after birth. Don’t count on parents Molly. Their neglect will cause harm to the fries physically and mentally, as opposed to nurturing them.

Protecting Mollies Babies

Fish children can be attacked and hurt by their parents or anything else. I will show you some tips to protect your molly fries from these dangers.

Offering A Separate Tank

When Molly babies are kept with adults and parents, they often perceive negative traits. This is caused by Mollies intentionally causing a great deal of stress to their young. But it is possible to avoid such cases in a separate tank.

Thus, if you want to keep the Molly babies safe, you should provide them with their own tank. Because there will not be any other adult fish to nip at the babies, they will be completely safe here. This will prevent them from developing any negative attitudes since they can stay in a calm environment.

Molly babies are able to relax not only physically, but mentally in a separate tank.

Every tank arrangement for a Molly fish must be included in the separated tank. In this case, you will have to separate the baby Mollies from their parent fishes once they have fully grown into adult Molly fishes.

Offering a separate tank for Molly fries to prevent them from being eaten
Offering a separate tank for Molly fries to prevent them from being eaten

Having An Adequate Setup In The Tank

A good setup in the tank is essential if you wish to make sure that the baby Mollies are properly cared for and kept safe. Setting up the aquarium with things like building hiding spots, maintaining the water parameters, planting live plants, and so on, are some of the elements that are indispensable for the development of a baby Mollie.

In order to keep your Molly fries comfortable and calm, you will need to maintain your aquarium in such a way. The tank environment is also crucial to ensure the safety and welfare of the Molly since their survival is directly related to their tank environment.

Clean Environment

There are certain aspects that must be maintained in Molly fries’ aquarium, it is a clean aquarium. It is very important to maintain the cleanliness of the breeding box and tank regularly. If you see the water getting dirty, clean it right away. It is essential to exchange the water in order to maintain a clean tank. As a result of the clean water, the baby Mollies will be safe as chances of getting infected afterward will be very unlikely.

Don’t worry! There’s no danger for baby Molly during the changing of the water.

Prevention From Disease

There are many microorganisms in the water, including parasites and fungus, which can greatly harm baby mollies due to their lack of immunity to fight them. Consequently, they will eventually acquire many diseases.

In order to prevent the development of such diseases, you must maintain a hygienic environment in the tank and make sure that the water is kept clean.

The baby Mollies can also be treated with a preventive chemical that will help in the healing of the disease. It is however important to be careful when using such chemicals and to only use them after you have observed some symptoms of the disease.

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How Long Should You Keep The Baby Mollies Separately?

The baby Mollie will begin growing approximately 4 to 6 weeks after its birth. Once this period of time has passed, they will no longer be as tiny as they were. The first thing to note is if their size is large enough to prevent them from fitting in the mouth of other Molly fish.

You can keep them with others when their bodies do not fit the mouth of an adult Molly fish anymore. 

You can wait almost four months until the baby Mollies becomes an adult if you are uncertain. As soon as they reach the full size of a Molly, you can keep them with other Mollies with confidence.

Video: How To Save Molly Fish Babies Fries Without Removing The Female Or Babies Fish?


How many babies does a Molly fish have?

Mollies give birth to their young after 60 days of gestation. The number of fry they can produce during one pregnancy ranges from 40 to 100. It is likely that young mollies or those going through a first pregnancy will give birth to a smaller number of fry than those going through multiple pregnancies.

How do I set up a tank for my Molly babies?

As stated earlier, mollies eat up their babies, as they do not care for them. Also, if you will be keeping the fry with their adults, there is a probability that they will only live for a short period of time.
So, to ensure that the young fish survive, set up a small separate tank for them. But ensure it still follows the same diet, appropriate temperature, and water condition.
However, you can change the tank, if you feel you need to keep more fish. As the number of fish increases, the gallon size should also increase. This will prevent the fish from fighting one another for survival.

What does Mollies fry eat?

Unlike their adults, Mollie fries do not require a special diet. 
As for mollies’ fry, they have a tiny mouth and a small body size. Food is often larger than their mouth in most cases. To make it easier for them to pick and swallow, you should crush their food into small pieces.
Mollies are born with definite colors and shapes, but with proper feeding, they are able to develop their color and shape even further.
Meaty foods like glass worms, blackworms, bloodworms, and brine shrimp are some examples of food you can feed them. These are foods that will help your fish grow quickly and can also help them stay healthy.

What should you do when a Molly fish has babies?

After the pregnant molly fish has given birth to all her fries, it is time to remove her from the tank and place her back in the main display aquarium. Keep the fries separately. You should feed the fries with quality food such as baby brine shrimp, baby fish food, or flake food that has been ground into fine powder. 

Does Molly fish eat other fish?

Molly fish will eat their fries if they can, but I’ve never seen any of the normal livebearers, including molly fish, eat other fish.


There is nothing more adorable than to see Molly give birth to her babies. However, if they are kept in the same aquarium, the number of Molly fries will gradually decrease. This is because the Molly fish eats the babies as if they are their regular food sources. That may sound weird, but it is actually true.

If you hope to see the baby Mollies growing well, it is, therefore, necessary to keep the baby Mollies separate from the parents Molly fish. 

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