Molly Fish: Types, Care and Breeding

Molly Fish: Types, Care and Breeding

Have you ever heard about the Molly Fish or do want to know how to care for them? Let me tell you this. 

Molly Fish is easy to care even for beginners who are about to take their first step in the fish keeping world. 

They are very popular and available at almost every fish keeping store. 

Let us quickly have an overview of Molly Fish, their types, and how to care for the Molly Fish with some FAQs.

Molly Fish: Overview

Molly Fish are live-bearer freshwater fish who are native to South America and Central America.They are active and social and also come in lots of varieties with different colors and shapes.They belong to the Genus family of which 39 species out of 40 species are Molly Fish. The one exception being the Endler’s livebearer.

FYI: Livebearers are fish who hold their eggs within their body until they give birth to a new live-bearer.

They are hardy and easy to care for peaceful community fish.

Ya! Males can be aggressive sometimes. So mix them with females with equal or larger ratio.

Name Molly Fish
Group Freshwater Fish
Family Poeciliidae
Native Region South America, Southern North America, and Central America
Diet Omnivore
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Live-bearer
Likes Dense Vegetation such as Plants and warmer waters
Temperament Peaceful
Size 5 inches
Lifespan 5 years 
Swimming Level Medium (active)
Colors Multi-Color 
Compatibility Other small peaceful fish

Molly Fish: Types

We know that there are different species of Molly Fish available. But mainly the following species are much more popular for aquariums at home.

Molly Types

1) Sailfin Molly

These fish live in the coastal regions of Southeast America and around the Gulf of Mexico. As they live in the coastal regions, they are resistant to tougher environments and are sometimes even found in the ocean. Sailfin Mollies are well-known breeders and have distinct colors and patterns, especially a taller dorsal fin.

2) Common Molly or the Short Finned Molly

These fish live in the parts of South America, Mexico, and Central America.
Like the Sailfin Molly, these fish can tolerate high saline waters.
The Short Finned Mollies have a flattened body just like a balloon and a dorsal fin resembles a fan when it is spread.
Due to this, they are also known as Balloon Fish.
Breeding is also easy.
Females which are larger (about 4.5 inches) can mate with the males which are comparatively smaller (about 3 inches)

Other popular species of Molly Fish are the Mexican Sailfish Molly, Black Molly, Orange Molly, Red Molly, and Lyretail Molly.

Molly Fish: Care

1. Create a Natural habitat and Set up the Tank

Mollies are accustomed to different living environments or conditions in the wild.
Naturally, they prefer living in warmer waters with plenty of plants and sand as a substrate.
So, set up a tank with a layer of sand at the bottom and place plenty of tall plants.
This helps the Molly to take shelter and also decorations with a rocky cave can allow the Molly to hide behind especially when the females get pregnant.
Normal aquarium lighting and a filter to keep the water clean are enough.

2. Water Conditions in the Tank

We already know that Molly Fish prefers warmer water with a bit alkaline one.
Try to maintain the water temperature between 70°F- 78°F with the help of a water heater.
Keep the pH levels between 7.0 and 8.3 and maintain the water hardness between 20-30 KH
Also, keep the water current coming out of the filter slow as possible as the Molly Fish is used to slow-moving water
You can also buy test kits to maintain the above-mentioned water conditions.

3. Larger Aquarium Size

The size of the aquarium depends on the species of Molly Fish you have.
It is recommended to at least have an aquarium size of about 15 Gallons for a maximum of five Common Mollies to live together.
But if we choose a Sailfin Molly, then a tank size of about 30 Gallons would be required.
The Larger the aquarium size, the Molly Fish would thrive for a longer period.

4. Feeding the Molly Fish

Molly Fish are omnivorous i.e they can eat both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Molly Fish mainly eat plants and algae. You can feed them vegetables like Spinach, Lettuce, processed foods like flakes, homemade foods, and frozen foods like bloodworms, shrimps.

The best combination of both meat and vegetables can keep your Molly’s diet protein-rich and healthy.

How many times a day, should we feed them?
Twice a day.
You can feed them small amounts of food which they can finish in nearly two minutes.

5. Molly mates

Molly Mates

We know that Molly Fish is peaceful.
So they can get along with other peaceful fish like the Platy Fish, Guppies, Dwarf Gourami, and Rosy Barbs.
Aggressive fish like the Cichlids should be avoided. Also, large fish can eat up Mollies or cause harm to them. So they should not be kept with a Molly.

What about one Molly with another?

Yes, they can be kept in a group of five to six comprising mostly the females.
Males can show aggressive behavior towards females as a means to mate and initiate the reproduction process.
If you want to know more about breeding the Molly Fish, read it below.

6. Cleaner Water means Healthy Living.

If you are living in a hazardous environment, it affects you undoubtedly.
What might be the cause? Pollution – Air and Water.
Even in the case of Molly Fish, an unclean water tank or improper maintenance of the water conditions can lead to Molly Disease.
This can make the Molly Fish inactive and move at a certain spot continuously.

Another common disease can be Ich disease. Mollies might show signs of spots, wounds, inactivity, and loss of appetite.

Cleaning the tank, maintaining the nitrogen cycle, a balanced diet, and monitoring the water conditions regularly is a solution.

FYI: The Nitrogen cycle helps to create a non-toxic environment by keeping the toxic elements like the ammonia and nitrites in check.

Molly Fish: Breeding

Breeding a Molly Fish is easy. They are livebearers and they mate regularly.
Females prefer larger males to mate with.
Males approach the females and when the females agree, they start the breeding process i.e. females allow the males to fertilize her eggs.
The gestation period takes nearly 40 to 50 days after the fertilization process. After this, the offspring is born.

FYI: Larger females can give birth up to 100 offsprings.

The ideal conditions for breeding are nothing but the water should be clean and the temperature shouldn’t exceed 78°F.

The young ones should be kept separate in another tank to prevent the adults from eating them.
In this case, a breeder box might be handy which will allow the young ones to move freely and be separated.
You can feed them broken flakes until they become grown-ups.

Related Questions or FAQs on Molly Fish

1. Does Molly Fish die easily?

No. They are resistant to almost every water condition.
But without proper care and clean water, they can die younger.

2. How to identify male and female Molly Fish?

Males have longer elaborate tails, pectoral fins, dorsal fins than females do.
But the easiest way to distinguish between them is the anal fin.
Females possess fanlike anal fins while males have pointed ones.

3. Does Molly Fish sleep?

Yes. They might sleep at the bottom of the tank.

4. Is an air pump required for the Molly Fishtank?

Not necessarily.

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