Do Betta Eat Guppy Babies? (Finally Answered!)

Bettas are hardcore carnivores. There is no doubt that in the wild their diet would include bugs that fall into the water, small crustaceans, and baby fish.  Even though the Bettas we keep today are many, many generations from their wild ancestors, their instincts still exist deep inside them.

If Betta fish are kept in the same aquarium as baby guppies, the Betta will eat any baby guppies that it can catch.  Betta fish are carnivores and their natural diet would consist of many waterborne creatures including baby fish.

Will Betta Fish Eat Baby Guppies?

The simple answer on this one is yes, Betta fish will eat baby guppies.  Betta will eat just about any protein-rich source of food they can fit into their mouths, including baby fish. 


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Using Betta Fish to Control Guppy Population​

There are many occasions when people keeping guppies don’t want the guppy population to explode.  As guppies are a live-bearing species of fish, their numbers can rapidly swell, even in the community aquarium.  By adding a Betta to the guppy tank, you can rely on the Betta to keep the guppy population low.  

When the female guppy drops her babies, the babies will quickly try to hide.  A Betta will seek them out and chase down and eat as many of the babies as it can find.

Feeding Guppy Fry to Betta Fish as Live Food​

If you have a tank of guppies that produce lots of babies, those babies actually make excellent live food for your Bettas.  I know of two Betta breeders who use guppy fry as a way to condition their Bettas into spawning mode.

Guppy babies can either be added to the Betta tank as newborn babies or fed high-quality food for a few days first, meaning they will have a higher nutritional value to your Betta.  Just don’t let the guppy babies get too big otherwise your Betta may now be able to eat them.



How To Prevent Betta Fish Eating Guppy Babies?​

If you keep a Betta in with your guppies and you would like to actively try and stop your Betta from eating the guppy babies, you are going to have a fairly hard job.  

To give the baby guppies the best possible chance of survival, provide them with as many hiding places as possible, ideally in the form of live or artificial plants. I have had good success in the past using these plants from Amazon. The more hiding places the baby guppies have, the greater the chance they can grow large enough not to be seen as prey by the Betta.

You might be able to get your guppy fry to grow quicker by power feeding them, but they will be at their most vulnerable to being eaten every time they come out of hiding to eat.

If you want to stop your Betta from eating your baby guppies, consider moving the baby guppies to a separate tank where they can be raised to semi-adult before being returned to the main aquarium.

My Final Thoughts on ‘Do Betta Fish Eat Guppy Fry?’​

If a Betta fish and baby guppies are in the same aquarium, the Betta WILL eat as many of the baby guppies as it can find.  Depending on your needs, this might or might not be a good thing.  Betta fish are a great way to control a guppy population.  If on the other hand, you want to increase your guppy population, consider rehousing either the baby guppies or the Betta.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
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