Care Guide for Mollies – Feeding, Breeding, and Tank Mates


Mollies are one of the aquarium fish that are most frequently purchased at pet stores due to their broad variety of colors, vivacious nature, and simplicity of reproduction. Mollies are a good compromise if you’re looking for a livebearer—a fish that bears live young and is larger than a platy but smaller than a swordfish. Even though molly fish are quite simple to maintain, novice keepers may have trouble, so learn the trick to molly maintenance and home breeding success.

What are Molly Fish?

This prodigious livebearer can be found from the Southern United States to Columbia in freshwater, brackish, and saltwater settings. They can grow up to 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length and are more streamlined than platies. They are remarkably effective at keeping aquariums clean because they are continuously foraging for scraps and removing hair algae with their flat jaws.

What are the different types of mollies?

The most prevalent species in the aquarium trade are Poecilia latipinna and Poecilia sphenops (short-fin molly). Black, dalmatian, lyretail, balloon, gold dust, marble, platinum, creamsicle, and other variations have been produced through selective breeding of hybrids.

Do mollies need salt in their water?

In foreign countries where salt water is less expensive than fresh drinking water, many fancy mollies are raised. As a result, fish farms frequently raise them in brackish water with high pH and GH (or water hardness). The change in water conditions that occurs when these brackish-bred mollies are transported to wholesalers, fish shops, and home aquariums with totally freshwater setups might cause their kidneys to shut down. Your mollies might not experience any issues if your tap water is naturally hard, but if your water is soft and devoid of minerals, they could contract illnesses like ich (white spot disease), fungus, and livebearer disease. To increase the amount of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals in soft tap water, we advise adding Wonder Shells or Seachem Equilibrium.

How to Set Up an Aquarium for Mollies

We advise getting an aquarium with at least 20 gallons of water, but a 29- to 55-gallon tank is better suited for larger species, depending on the type of molly fish. They need an aquarium heater in the majority of homes to raise the temperature to 75–80°F (24–27°C). They favor higher pH, KH, and GH due to their high salt tolerance.

How many molly fish should I have?

Mollies thrive in environments with lots of livebearers and, as a result, we advise purchasing at least two to three females for every male. The girls may take a break from the lads’ nonstop attention thanks to this ratio. (A male can be recognized by his gonopodium, a stick-shaped anal fin; a female’s anal fin is fan-shaped.)

What fish can you put with mollies?

They get along well with other fish in the group that inhabit the same habitat and are of a comparable size to prevent predation. With the help of cory catfish, danios, tetras, loaches, barbs, and other livebearers, we’ve had success maintaining ours. Smaller animals like cherry shrimp should not be placed with larger mollies because they will likely be eaten.

How to Breed Mollies

Livebearers will increase if you just add water, according to a popular joke among hobbyists. Simply make sure you have at least one male and one female, then watch for the young fish to appear after 30 to 60 days. A seasoned mother can deliver more than 50 young at once, whereas a fresh female may only give birth to a small number of fry. Giving the adult mollies plenty of dense aquarium plants, such as water sprite, water wisteria, and Pogostemon stellatus “octopus” as hiding places will increase the likelihood that they will survive.

Mollies’ young may have somewhat dull colors at birth, but they quickly take on the bright hues of their parents.

What do Molly Fish Eat?

Because they are not picky eaters, mollies will be the first to consume everything you drop in the tank. Give them a balanced diet of proteins and vegetables in the form of premium flakes, pellets, frozen foods, and Repashy Soilent Green gel food since they are omnivores. It’s possible that you are overfeeding the mollies and that you need to reduce the amount size if they frequently have lengthy strings of regular-colored excrement hanging from their body. Additionally, if you notice that they are outcompeting other fish for food, think about providing fish meals that spread all around the tank so that other creatures have a chance to eat.


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