Do Ember Tetras Eat Their Babies?

Do you have a beautiful Ember Tetra living in your main tank? If so, you may be wondering about the best ways to care for them. Of course, one of the most common questions is whether or not they eat their babies. Breeding ember tetras in the tank are cool but what if they eat their babies? Do Ember Tetras Eat Their Babies? If they do, how can you save ember tetras babies in the tank?

Yes, Ember Tetras eat their babies, and it is quite normal for them to do it. However, ember tetras don’t eat their babies intentionally but rather as a habit to eat anything present in the tank that fits in their mouth.

Some say it’s normal, while others believe it is unnatural and should be stopped at all costs. But, first, we’ll take a look at some of the most popularly asked questions about this phenomenon so you can make up your own mind about what to do with your tetras.

In this article, we will answer that question and more.

Do Ember Tetras Eat Their Babies?

Yes, Ember Tetras eat their babies. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that Ember Tetras eat their own babies. This is a topic that has been hotly debated in the aquarium hobby for many years. Some people believe that Ember Tetra mothers eat their babies because they are not getting enough food and nutrients. Other reasons for this behavior include the mother’s health, an accident, or a lack of oxygen in the water.

However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims about what may lead to eating one’s young. There has been some speculation that the mother may be removing her babies from the nest to lay more eggs, but this is also not supported by scientific data.

Is It Normal For Ember Tetras To Eat Their Babies?

It’s normal for ember tetra mothers to eat their own young if there are too many in a small tank or certain tank conditions are not right for the babies.

Ember tetras eat their babies without knowing what they are doing. It is their natural habit to eat anything that they can fit in their mouth.

It’s also normal if there is a lack of food and resources in the tank or other changes that may affect how many eggs she lays, such as moving her to new water with different parameters from what was in her old tank.

Why Do Ember Tetras Eat Their Babies? Reasons Why Ember Tetras Eat Their Babies

Ember tetra mothers typically eat their own babies in the main tank for three reasons: too many eggs, lack of resources, or an accident.

When there are too many babies in the tank or not enough food for all of them, ember tetra mothers will eat their babies.

There are a few reasons for this habit.

Appetite For Living Prey

The first is that ember tetras have an appetite for living prey, so when they do not see any live food, they will turn to whatever else is in the tank, and since their babies are just jellyfish-like little creatures, it’s no surprise that these get eaten too.

Too Many Eggs:

When a female is pregnant, she will produce more eggs than the male can fertilize. To avoid this from happening, make sure to remove any un-fertilized eggs, or hungry mothers will eat them in the main tank before they are viable. Another reason Ember Teatst may eat their babies is because the mother wants to get rid of them to lay more eggs.

Lack of Resources:

If there isn’t enough food for the number of fish in a tank, then those hungry ember tetras will eat whatever they can find, including their babies. However, if there is nothing but eggs and babies available to them, then this means these fry have little chance at survival.


Sometimes it’s just bad luck or an accident when one mother eats her eggs and babies in the main tank. You cannot blame them for this. However, you can manage it by removing any un-fertilized eggs and separating the pregnant mother from others in the tank.

Do Ember Tetras Eat Their Eggs?

Yes, ember tetra females can and do consume eggs that they have released into the water column. They may also steal eggs from another female’s nest as a way to ensure that she has enough for herself in case her own tank becomes too crowded or food resources are scarce.

Ember tetras eat their eggs when there are too many babies in the tank or not enough food for all of them. Eating their own eggs is a common trait for many fish. Some species, such as the African cichlid’s Crenicichla ocellaris, live and breed in large colonies to keep up with their high egg production rate.

What Do You Do If Your Ember Tetras Eat Its Own Eggs And Babies?

If you notice your fish eating their own eggs or babies, the best thing to do is remove any un-fertilized eggs and/or separate the pregnant mother from others in a tank. Be sure that all other conditions are favorable for her health. And that she has plenty of food available if you want to prevent her from eating more eggs.

How To Save Ember Tetra Babies In The Main Tank?

It is quite a job to save the ember tetras babies in the main tank. I will list out all the loopholes to save ember tetras babies.

Get A Net Filter

One way to save them is to use a net filter and remove them from the water column by catching them in your hand or with a cup.

Breeding Box

Another option would be to move all of the fry into a breeding box that you can keep inside an air-tight container that has been drilled for aeration, cooling, and water drainage. You can get an aquarium breeder box from amazon at a very low expense too.

Move Pregnant Ember Tetras To The New Tank

One way to save ember tetra babies that adult ember tetras might eat is by moving the breeding pairs to another tank. You need to do this before they lay eggs. And move them in the tank with more resources and food than the original tank.

This is just a temporary fix, though, because, as mentioned before, ember tetra mothers eat their babies when there are too many in one small space or do not have enough to go around.

That’s why moving the parents’ ember tetras from that tank to the main tank almost immediately after they lay eggs and fertilize them.

Put Them In A Small Container For A Time-Being

One way to save these baby ember tetras is by removing them, putting them into a smaller container with fresh water, and then moving them back to the main tank when they are big enough.

Another option is to hatch their eggs in a separate container and move them into the main aquarium or release newly hatched babies in the tank with adults of that species.

How To Know If Ember Tetras Is Pregnant Or Just Fat?

Ember tetra mothers are usually fat when they have eggs, but it is difficult to tell if she has been pregnant from looking at her. One way to check this would be for a fish breeder or an experienced aquarist who knows the species well to examine her, for a pregnant ember tetra will have an extended abdomen.

Signs That Shows Ember Tetras Are Gravid With Eggs:

  • An extended abdomen.
  • A fat belly and a lateral line with darkened markings is the color of eggs in some species.
  • The pregnancy can also be confirmed by looking for an egg thread coming from her cloaca all the way down to her ventral side. This will happen when she releases them into the water column.


In conclusion, Ember Tetras can and do eat their eggs and babies. The best way to save ember tetra babies in the main tank is by moving pregnant mothers along with male ones or hatching them yourself.

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