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How To Look After Baby Fish At Home: Full Care Guide

An adult clown fish with 2 small younger clownfish in a sea anemone.

While it may seem low maintenance to look after baby fish, there are still some important things to know to ensure that your baby fish grow into healthy adults.

It’s important to separate baby fish from adult fish to prevent them from eating the babies. After that, a healthy environment, regular cleaning, and feeding your baby fish microscopic live food around four to six times a day are required to ensure your fry stays healthy.

If you’re worried about how to look after baby fish, look no further! In this article, you will find handy information on:

  1. What to do with baby fish
  2. What to feed them.
  3. When they turn into adult fish.
  4. How to keep them healthy.

What To Do With Baby Fish

You can put your baby fish (fry) in a fish tank in your home. Firstly, you will need to move your baby fish away from the adult fish to prevent them from eating their young by putting them in a separate tank or creating a divider.

FACT: Moving the babies away from the adult fish will also help them grow quicker since there is less competition for food.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn from qualifying purchases. See my Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

A chalk drawing of an adult fish with an open mouth chasing a small fish to eat it.
Adult fish and baby fish should be in separate tanks so the adults don’t eat the babies

Creating a good home is vital. If you don’t have a tank, your first step will be to choose an appropriate one, and consider buying equipment like:

  • air pumps
  • gravel
  • heater
  • thermostat
  • chemical additives to get rid of algae

Your tank should also be big enough to give your fish space to swim around. As a rule of thumb, each fish of 3 centimeters should get about 10 liters of water.

A tank filled with tap water must be stabilized before you can add baby fish. It should stand for two to seven days to allow the chlorine to evaporate. You will need to use a de-chlorinator before pouring the tap water into the fish tank. The pH level should be between 6.8 and 8, depending on your fish type.

NOTE: The lighting in the tank should not be too bright since this will cause a buildup of algae. Use balanced lighting.

If you have a small tank, you need to have a mechanical filtration system to remove debris and other particles.

To ensure that the baby fish stays happy and healthy, put the tank out of any direct sunlight or heat to prevent algae buildup. Baby fish need to be in a room with a temperature between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

While they are low maintenance, you will still need to care for your fish regularly:

  • check the water temperature
  • remove dead fish with a net
  • clean the tank
  • make sure the filtration system works

It’s vital to ensure that your fry has a place for shelter and refuge. Do this by adding plants or rocky overhangs to the tank.

When your baby fish reaches one inch in size, you can transfer them back to the other tank with the adult fish, or you can sell them. If it’s a large breed, you should wait until the fish reaches a quarter to half of its full size.

What To Feed Baby Fish

Newly born fry comes with a yolk sac which supplies them with nutrients. After that, they will need feeding. Give the baby fish a few drops of infusoria (you can find some on Amazon here), which is a liquid fry food, a few times a day after hatching.

NOTE: You can also crush some flake food (like this one on Amazon, into a powder to make it small enough for your baby fish to eat if you don’t have microscopic live food.

A small fish eating flake food.
Baby fish can eat crushed-up flake food

Give them food several times a day, a minimum of 4 to 6 times, for the first few weeks to ensure they grow quickly. Once they are big enough, you can feed them some brine shrimp eggs (Amazon link). You can also feed your fry vinegar eels.

REMEMBER: To keep your fish tank clean, you need to suction out the food your fry didn’t eat.

When Does A Baby Fish Turn Into An Adult?

Determining whether your fish is an adult depends on the type of fish you own. It can take several months for fry to become adults. Generally, all fish are at their fullest size when they’re one to two years old. Usually, when your fry can reproduce, it should be considered an adult.

How To Keep Your Fry Healthy

Because their immune systems are immature, fry are susceptible to diseases that are:

  • fungal
  • parasitic
  • viral

This is why a healthy environment is vital. Clean and maintain your fish tank regularly to prevent any diseases.

Remember, baby fish need extra care. Make sure to:

  1. Clean the sponge filter regularly so it doesn’t get clogged.
  2. Clean the tank once a week.
  3. Change the water regularly.

NOTE: Change 10 to 15% of the water for a small tank, and for a large tank, 20%.

If your baby fish is ill, it might showcase the following symptoms:

  • loss of appetite
  • “listing” or leaning on one side
  • skin lesions
  • floating upside down
  • poor balance
  • spots, ulcers, or growths

Consult a vet if any of your fish show one or more of these symptoms.

How To Transfer Your Baby Fish

Fish should never be out of water. This can lead to infections and other health problems. If you must transport your baby fish, use a watertight clear plastic bag half filled with water and the other half with air.

Fish in a plastic bag half filled with water and half filled with air.
Fish can be transported quickly in bags that are half water half air

Transportation should take place quickly. This is especially important if you remove the fry away from the adult fish


It may seem daunting to raise baby fish, but it’s pretty easy. Just ensure you get the basics like correct temperature, filtration, etc., right, and feed them four to six times every day for the first few weeks.

Remember, baby fish should be taken careful care of because their immune system is immature, so ensure you clean the tank and filter regularly and change 10 to 20 % of the water each week. You can sell your medium-sized fish once they reach one inch in size or if it’s a large fish, a quarter to half of its full size.

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