Do Mollies Eat Their Babies? {Everything You Need To Know Here}

Are your mollies babies missing and you are worried they might have been eaten? Is it possible that newly birthed mollies are at risk of being eaten by their mother?

In this article, we would review all you need to know about mollies and their babies.

Do Mollies Eat Their Babies? Yes, Mollies eat their babies when they are birthed as a baby fry is considered a meal to the mother molly, and other mollies, who, like other fishes in its genus, possess the cannibalism instinct.

Baby mollies enjoy no protection from their mother as they are at immediate risk of being eaten once they are birthed.

Do Mollies Eat Their Babies

Why Do Mollies Eat Their Babies?

Mollies eat their babies because they have cannibalism instinct and would feed on anything that fits into their mouth, including its fry. Mollies are live breeders, which makes them more likely to feed on their babies.

The cannibalism instinct of the molly fish makes the babies of the molly fish prey for their mother. The relatively small size of the fries at birth makes it easy for the mother molly to feed on its offspring.

Furthermore, since the molly fish lacks the mother instinct of mammals, it sees the baby fry as a pellet.

Since it would feed on anything that fits into its tiny mouth, the small size of the fry makes it consider its baby as typical pellet food that adult mollies would naturally feed on.

Do Black Mollies Eat Their Babies?

Black mollies also eat their babies as well since they belong to the same genus as other species of mollies and, as such, exhibit similar traits, including the cannibalism instinct.

Do Black Mollies Eat Their Babies

Babies of black mollies, like other molly species, lack protection from their mothers and are also susceptible to varying harm.

Therefore, if you wish to breed these fries successfully, you should endeavor to take them out of harm’s way – which is most likely their predator mother.

However, it is essential to note that it is possible that the baby fry would not be eaten by its mother in the aquarium and might be eaten by other adult fishes in the aquarium.

If you happen to keep one – emphasizing the need to monitor the pregnant mollies as the baby fries are going to need a lot of help from you to survive.

How To Protect Baby Mollies From Adults?

You can protect your baby molly from its mother by using a breeding box attached inside the aquarium, or you can wait for the pregnant molly to deliver the baby mollies and then separate it.

If you are using a breeding box to protect your molly babies from their mother, the baby fries will drop into a different compartment the moment they are delivered, which would immediately keep them out of the reach of their mother.

However, if you employ the breeding net, you need to scoop the mother out of the net once the fries are delivered.

Another way of protecting the baby fries is by keeping them in isolation.

This can be achieved by maintaining the fries in a different aquarium with conducive conditions for their survival until they are fit enough to fend for themselves or large enough not to fit into the mouth of the adult mollies.

YouTube video

What I do is add shrimp to the tank as this could give the adult fish something else to go after which will keep them away from the babies

How to Locate Baby Mollies in the Tank

You can find your baby mollies in the fish tank by shining a small light in the corner of the tank – the fries would be drawn to the light, then you can net them off the tank.

Finding your baby molly could be a bit difficult, and you may not see all of them due to their small size, which is why you might adopt the trick of shining a light in a corner to attract the fries – then you proceed to scoop them out of the water.

Another method that you might adopt is to remove the mother molly out of the tank after delivery- leaving just the babies in the water until they are big enough to be found easily.

How Many Babies Do Mollies Have?

The female mollies can deliver up to 100 mollies in one gestation period meaning that the molly fish can have up to 1200 baby mollies in a single calendar year.

The number of babies is dependent on the proximity of the female molly to its male counterpart. An aquarium that contains a mix of male and female mollies would result in many gestations in a calendar year for the pet keeper.

Another factor affecting the number of mollies that a female molly can have is the aquarium’s condition. An aquarium kept under the requisite temperature and adequate water PH would lead to more productivity in the molly.

Do Male Mollies Eat Their Babies?

Regardless of gender, all mollies are capable of eating their babies. This is because they are nippy eaters and would feed on anything that would fit into their mouths.

The nature of the molly fish is that it lacks any protective instinct for its young, making the babies vulnerable to being eaten by the adult mollies; therefore, you should note that all mollies possess cannibalism and would eat their babies.

You can help protect the baby mollies from being eaten by adult mollies by isolating them in different tanks until they are big enough to survive on their own and not fit into the mouth of the adult mollies.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know when my Molly will give birth?

You can determine if your molly fish is about to give birth by watching it closely near the end of its pregnancy. You would notice that the molly fish would become slower in water and would get bigger and rounder. A Blackish spot would develop near the Anal vent, which would get broader as the molly fish nears birthing, and you would be able to detect the fry’s eyes as the mark stretches. This information is crucial as it helps you prepare to protect the baby mollies from being eaten by adult mollies.

How often do mollies give birth?

Mollies can give birth to baby mollies up to 12 times in a calendar year, making them a very productive fish species. The number of times a molly can give birth is also dependent on factors such as the mix of sex in the aquarium and favorable water conditions. You can, however, control the number of times mollies can give birth by keeping only one sex of molly in an aquarium which would successfully eliminate the chances of pregnancy.

How many fries do mollies have?

Mollies can deliver between 20 to 100 baby mollies per pregnancy- implying that aside from having consistent gestation periods, the molly fish can provide a lot of babies at once. The large number of each birth of a pregnant female molly means that you need to be deliberate about whether you would want a litter of baby mollies or not. If your decision is not to keep many baby fries, you might want to reduce the chances of the molly getting pregnant, thereby littering your aquarium.

How often do mollies have babies

Mollies are very productive fish species and capable of gestating every thirty days- meaning that mollies can have babies up to twelve times in a single calendar year. This consistent gestation nature of the molly fish makes it a lucrative fish if you are looking to keep the fish for production reasons; however, this could also create a challenge for you as a pet keeper if you do not want to contaminate your aquarium with unwanted fries.


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.