Do Angelfish eat their babies?

In this post, we will answer the question “Do Angelfish eat their babies?”. We will also discuss Angelfish biology and behaviour.  

Do Angelfish eat their babies?

Yes, Angelfish may feed on their eggs and youngsters to make up for the lack of food and energy. This is because they spend lots of their energy on the parental care of their offspring. Some other reasons could be to reduce competition and stress.

Why do Angelfish eat their eggs?

Although science is still looking further into this topic, there are a few theories on why animals, in general, eat their eggs.

No, differently from other animals, Angelfish may end up eating their eggs because of:

·      Hunger

·      Resources competition 

·      Quality control

·      Stress

While Angelfish parents are busy guarding the eggs full-time, leaving the area to feed and exposing the hatchlings to danger is not an option. Thus, they can get tired and hungry and start looking to eggs as a food source.

Survival is instinctive to any animal species. No different is the Angelfish. Resources can be scarce in a given environment, and that does not look well for weaker individuals, in this case, the eggs and youngsters. So, if the parents feel that a large number of fry is a threat, they will eliminate them to avoid any type of competition.

Angelfish parents, especially males, can eat underdeveloped and damaged eggs. It is still not known how these Angelfish can determine which egg is which, but they seem to know if the eggs contain a diseased or deformed fry.

They also seem to eat those eggs that have mould, usually those that have not been fertilized. In addition to seeing this as a nutritional resource, the Angelfish may be trying to stop the mould from spreading to the other healthy and fertilized eggs.

Angelfish are not the only species to eat their eggs and fries, in fact, many other fish species practice branch cannibalism. Although some researchers have theorized that this behaviour might be linked to a “spill-over reaction” that fish regulate, the reason why fish do this is not always evident. Another possibility is that the fish try to offer more oxygen to the surviving healthy eggs. 

While some Angelfish remove some eggs during the cleaning and care process, certain Angelfish may consume all eggs in reaction to particular stressors. If the spawning takes place in a communal tank, the Angelfish may become overly protective of the eggs in order to protect them from other fish who could try to raid them. Even if the Angelfish hatched in their own tank, away from the threat of other fish, stress situations that can evoke the same response from Angelfish parents can occur. 

Here are some more possible explanations for why Angelfish devour their eggs before they hatch:

·      Too much movement

·      Lighting issues

·      Too much noise

·      First-time Angelfish spawning

Some Angelfish parents can be quite delicate regarding sudden instabilities around the tank.

Why do angelfish eat their babies?

Angelfish do not devour their babies as frequently as they do their eggs. Angelfish normally don’t consume their fry until they’ve learned to swim on their own. If the eggs have hatched in a community tank, other fish are more likely to eat the fries but not the parents themselves.

Angelfish, on the other hand, may take a few spawning cycles to find out how to be parents. As previously said, stressful situations might induce parents to consume the eggs or even the fry; but, as their parenting abilities improve, this becomes less common.

How do avoid my angelfish eating their own eggs?

While angelfish that are left with their parents have the highest chance of surviving, if your Angelfish devour their young, you should remove them from the tank immediately and leave the tank exclusively for the fry. 

Until the fry are a few weeks old, feed them a diet of freshly born brine shrimp and micro worms. After that, gradually introduce crushed flake food and gradually replace it with conventional fish food. 

It’s recommended to remove the fries if your Angelfish eggs hatched in a communal tank and you suddenly have fries swimming in the tank. Thus, other fish will not eat them.

If you do not want to take care of the fries, you can leave them in the tank. However, you’ll need to provide plenty of vegetation for the fries to hide in, or lay a mesh net at the bottom of the tank to keep other fish out of the fry zone.

How often do Angelfish lay eggs?

The frequency at which an Angelfish pair spawns will depend on how clean the tank water is and how healthy the Angelfish diet is. A healthy Angelfish pair will lay eggs every 5 to 10 days if their eggs are taken away. Angelfish parents that are caring for their fry will not spawn again right away and will probably take some time to be ready for spawning again.

How do I feed a baby angelfish?

The Angelfish fry will stay sedentary for the first week, feeding on their yolk sacs. Once the hatchlings begin to swim freely, you can offer young brine shrimp or tiny worms. It is crucial to keep them fed for most of the day. You may augment the brine shrimp with crushed fish flakes when the pups are 3 to 4 weeks old, and when they are 4 to 6 weeks old, you can convert fully to flakes and freeze-dried, frozen, and pelleted feeds.

How do I keep baby angelfish with the parents?

You may keep the newborn Angelfish in the aquarium for up to three weeks with their parents. Adult Angelfish will often refuse to consume their young, especially if they have already gone through several breeding cycles. Because the parents will be concentrated on the offspring in the tank, keeping the fry with the parent pair will postpone another reproductive cycle.

How do I keep baby angelfish in communal tanks?

For newborn Angelfish, living in a communal tank can be risky. The majority of them will be eaten by other fish, but there are a few things you can do to improve their chances of survival.

As soon as you detect the eggs in the tank, try to set some tall plants to provide the babies with hiding spots. You should also feed different sizes of brine shrimp many times a day to avoid larger fish eating the young Angelfish and to ensure that the babies have enough food to survive.


In this post, we answered the question “Do Angelfish eat their babies?”. We also discussed Angelfish biology and behaviour.  

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do Angelfish eat their babies?

Why do my Angelfish eat their youngsters?

Angelfish can eat their youngsters for several reasons. Among them are the lack of food or hunger and high-stress levels. To avoid this behaviour, you can opt for taking the parents or the fries to a separate tank. 

Should I keep the Angelfish fries separate from their parents?

It would be safer for the fries if they are kept away from other fish in general, their parents or not. This would guarantee they would not be attacked or eaten.

How many babies can Angelfish have per breeding cycle?

Each reproductive cycle, an Angelfish pair may produce between 100 and 1,000 eggs. However, if the parents are kept away from the eggs, they can spawn every two weeks.

Will my Angelfish eat their fries?

In general, Angelfish parents do not eat the fries. It is more common for them to eat eggs. However, some Angelfish can take a few breeding cycles to adjust their behaviour to reproductive success. Also, some conditions may provoke such behaviour in experienced Angelfish.

How long do Angelfish take care of their fries?

Angelfish will start taking care of the offspring right after the spawning. Thus, the total length of parenting behaviour is around 2 months.

Do male Angelfish eat the eggs?

Usually, the male Angelfish tend to eat the eggs more frequently. This happens mainly because they are the ones that clean and keep the nest. Also, they usually search for mould to avoid further contamination of healthy eggs.


 Lass, D. A. (2012). Angelfish: Understanding and Keeping Angelfish. Fox Chapel Publishing.

Wilkinson, L. (2010). Angel Fish.

Tun, Y. W. Reproductive Behaviour of Ornamental Angel Fish, Pterophyllum Altum (Peilegrin, 1903) Under Aquarium.