Care Guide for Mollies: Feeding, Breeding and Tank Mates
One of the most popular aquarium fish found at pet stores are mollies because of their wide selection of colors, energetic behavior, and ease of breeding. If you are looking for a livebearer (or fish that bears live young) that is bigger than a platy but smaller than a swordfish, then mollies strike a happy medium. While molly fish are fairly easy to care for, beginners sometimes struggle with them, so find out the secret to caring for mollies and successfully breeding them in your home.
What are Molly Fish?
The prolific livebearer can be found in saltwater, freshwater, and brackish habitats from the Southern United States to Columbia. They have a more streamlined body compared to platies and can reach up to 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length. They are surprisingly good at cleaning aquariums, constantly scavenging for leftovers and pulling off hair algae with their flat mouths.
What are the different types of mollies? The most common species in the aquarium trade include Poecilia sphenops (short-fin molly) and Poecilia latipinna (sailfin molly). The hybrids can be selectively bred to produce black, dalmatian and balloon mollies, as well as gold dust, platinum, creamsicle and other varieties.
Mollies are very popular due to their many colors and patterns.
Mollies require salt in their water. There are many fancy mollies that have been bred in exotic locations, where salt water is more affordable than fresh water. The fish farms often raise them with brackish water, which has high pH and GH (or high water hardness). When these brackish-bred mollies are transported to wholesalers, fish stores, and home aquariums that use fully freshwater setups, the change in water parameters can cause their kidneys to shut down. Your mollies might not experience any problems if they have hard tap water. However, mollies who have soft tap water may be susceptible to diseases such as ich, livebearer disease, and white spot disease. To increase the beneficial minerals of your fish tank, Wonder Shells or Seachem Equrium can be added to people who have soft tap water.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Mollies
Depending on the type of molly fish, we recommend getting an aquarium that holds at least 20 gallons of water, but a 29- to 55-gallon tank is more suitable for larger species. For most homes, they require an aquarium heater to raise the temperature to 75-80degF (24-27degC). Because of their tolerance for salt, they prefer higher pH, KH, or GH.
How many molly fish should I have? As with many livebearers, mollies love to breed, so we recommend getting at least two to three females for every male. This ratio allows the girls to get a break from the boys’ constant attention. A male is identified by his stick-shaped gonopodium (an anal fin), while a female has a fan shaped anal fi.
Female and male sailfin mollies
Do mollies nip the fins of other fish? Generally speaking, mollies are peaceful fish. Mollies are active fish and can often be seen nibbling on food items to check if they’re edible. Slow-moving, long finned fish might not make the best tank mates.
What fish are you able to put with mollies. They can be kept with other community fish who live in the same environment and are similar in size, in order to avoid predation. Ours have been kept with cory catfish and cory catfish as well as tetras (tetras), loaches, barbs and other livebearers. You should not put larger mollies together with smaller animals such as cherry shrimp, because they are more likely to be eaten.
What are Molly Fish Eaten?
Mollies are not picky eaters and are first in line to gobble up anything you drop in the aquarium. Mollies are omnivores and need a variety of protein and vegetable options. You may need to reduce the amount of food you give your mollies if they have a lot of normal-colored poop hanging off their bodies. If they seem to be outcompeting other fish, you might consider feeding them fish foods that are scattered throughout the tank. This will give them a chance for other animals to eat.
Balloon moles are bred to be rounder. Check the amount of waste they produce to determine if you’re overfeeding.
How to Breed Mollies
Hobbyists joke that you only need to add water to make your livebearers multiply. You should have at least one male, one female and wait for the baby fishes to arrive between 30 and 60 days. A new female may only give birth to a handful of fry, but a veteran mom can produce more than 50 offspring at a time. The adult mollies will predate on their own young, so increase their survival rate by providing lots of dense aquarium plants like water sprite, water wisteria, and Pogostemon stellatus ‘octopus’ as hiding spots.
Baby mollies may be born with relatively drab colors at first, but they will quickly develop the vivid hues of their parents.
Livebearer fry are much larger than the tiny eggs that hatch. They can eat crushed flakes and small fish food, Repashy gel (in powder form), as well as live baby brine shrimp. Depending on the water temperature and amount of food eaten, it may take four to nine months for a baby molly to reach juvenile size and be ready for rehoming. Learn more about how to sell your extra mollies in our article on How to Breed Aquarium Fish for Profit.