An In-Depth Look At Molly Fish

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I used to be a big fan of goldfish, I wanted nothing but goldfish, fancy tailed goldfish to be precise, but now... Well, now it is all about Molly fish. Poecilia Sphenops (Short-Finned Molly) is my favourite and the kind that I keep now. Right now, I have Bait and Tackle and seven fry that one of them dropped in my tank on Day three of my new aquarium. They are Lyretail short-finned Dalmatian Mollies and watching them has driven me to learn everything I can about them and what they need to be happy, healthy and to breed. This post is to share my love of mollies with you and maybe some helpful information for anyone looking to bring some of these fish home.

1. The Molly

2. Varieties

3. Water requirements

4. Tankmates

5. Breeding

6. Diet

7. References

8. About Me and My Fishes


Molly fish are often quoted as an easy going beginner fish and are usually quite cheap to buy at the local fish store (LFS). They are usually said to be great community fish, peaceful and small and perfect for people just starting the hobby. While some of this is true, Mollies have a bit more complexity to them than that. Mollies are livebearers, meaning instead of laying eggs they “drop” baby fish called fry. They are a muddled species and it is often hard to tell exactly what kind of fish you have. They are members of the genus Poecilia. Mollies had previously been placed in their own genus, Mollienesia, and it was from this that the common name ‘molly’ was derived. The name Mollienesia was coined in honour of François Nicolas Mollien, a French politician of the late eighteen and early nineteenth centuries. Practically all the mollies sold to aquarists are hybrids of a number of species found across Central America and the southern United States. They are often said to be brackish fish, however in the wild they exist in both completely freshwater areas as well as almost full seawater. They spend much of their time foraging for food among the various plants and most of their diet consists of algae and other forms of plant life. While they are omnivores (eating both meat and plants) their diet in the wild is only supplemented by live foods.


Mollies are a hard fish to place. There are several muddled varieties and colourings to confuse you. I probably will miss a few and I won’t be able to provide pictures of them all (I’d need a book to do that), so I will just include some of the more popular types and something about them to get you started. There are 32 known species of Molly that I could find. However, most Mollies that you get from the LFS are hybrids so it is difficult to determine just what type you have. They can come in many different colours such as black, marbled, gold, red, white, green and in the case of the Liberty Molly, red, white and blue. Mollies can come with many different fin types as well, such as the common fin, the lyretail, and the sailfin. Some of the popular ones are as follows:

Dalmatian Short Fin Molly

Poecilia Sphenops (Short-finned or Common Molly):

Size: Males approx 3 inches, Females can get up to 4 inches

Temperature: 77-82 degrees

Lifespan: 3-5 years


Male and Female Sailfin Mollies


Poecilia Latipinna (Sailfin Molly):

Size 4-6 inches

Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Lifespan: Short, 1-3 years. Males can die one year after reaching sexual maturity


Yucatan Molly

Yucatan Molly.jpg

Poecilia Velifera (Yucatan Molly): Though remarkably close to the Sailfin Molly this fish is a class of it’s own. This fish is hard to find in shops as it is often not a true form but a hybrid or, even worse, a Sailfin Molly in disguise.

Size: 3-4 Inches

Temperature: 77-80 degrees

Lifespan: Can live up to 5 years


Balloon Belly Molly

A balloon molly and male sailfin molly by guppy man

Balloon Belly Molly: Though not a species of it’s own, and although I dislike them personally, I suppose I should include the Balloon Belly Molly. This fish can be created from any of the above species with varying colours, but it always has the distinctive round belly and curved spine that is creating by purposely breeding deformed fish. This fish is a complete hybrid and is manmade. It has a much shorter lifespan and it’s immune system is weakened so it gets sick much easier.

Size: 3 inches to 5 inches

Temperature: 75-82 degrees

Life Span: Up to 5 years, if you are lucky


Dwarf Molly

Dwarf Molly.jpg

Poecilia Chica (Dwarf molly): Hard to find miniature fish.

Size: 1 - 2 inches

Temperature: 75-79 degrees


The distinctive red, white and blue of the Liberty Molly

Liberty Molly.jpg

Poecilia Salvatoris (The elusive Liberty Molly):

Size: Up to 5 inches

Temperature: 71-80 degrees

Lifespan: 5 years

There are many other types of Molly especially wild species that are out there. A good reference to see all the different types is

A petenensis on the right and mexicana campeche on the left, image by Snowman


Mollies can be said to be hardy fish, but that all depends on the type of Molly you get. For instance, the Balloon Belly Molly is prone to disease and swim bladder issues due to its deformed frame. Hardy fish or not, they still need certain water parameters to do well. The long argument with mollies is: Freshwater or Brackish.. that is, to add salt or to not add salt. In the wild Mollies can live in near seawater or pure freshwater. The choice really is up to you. HOWEVER, bear in mind, mollies like HARD (15-30 dH) water with a high Ph, preferably close to 8.0. Adding salt to your aquarium if you have a low Ph or soft water can make the environment much more suitable to Mollies. Mollies like to munch on algae so having some in your tank is actually a good thing. Mollies are extra sensitive to Nitrites and Nitrates so it is best to keep these as low as possible (Nitrites at zero and Nitrates below 20 ppm). Doing extra water changes of 20-30 % is recommended. They like a temperature of 75-85 degrees. Mollies are best kept in larger aquariums and a minimum size recommend is 20 gallons.


Mollies are said to be a good community fish. This is not as easy as it sounds. As Mollies age, they can get to be a bit aggressive and tend to get nippy (Biting on the fins of other fish). Some Mollies have been known to “pick” at other fish, especially goldfish, and remove some of the slime coat that protects the other fish. Mollies are a tropical fish, they cannot be placed with cold water species and should never be put with a fish that is smaller than them, like neon tetras as they will chase them down and eat them if they can. Mollies like to live in groups, so one male to three or four females is the best situation for them. If you don’t want fry (good luck with that) keeping all females is okay. Never keep all males together as they will fight and nip fins. Mollies will eat the fry of their own and other fish so baby fishes should be removed from the tank if you don’t want to lose them. Mollies have been known to eat small snails. If you place salt in the aquarium, only place salt tolerant species with them. Although Mollies are said to be a good peaceful community fish, males of the species will harass other fish if not given enough females to give their attentions too. Also, male Mollies will bother other males in the tank if there are too many. As a personal choice, I prefer to keep Mollies in a single species tank, but others will gladly tell you of their success with them in a community tank.


Mollies are Livebearers. What this means is that instead of laying eggs, they give birth to live, swimming fry. Mollies breed like rabbits! It is best to keep one male to three or four females or the male will stress out the female trying to copulate. Male and female Mollies are really easy to tell apart. The female’s anal fin is shaped like a fan, while the male’s anal fin is shaped like a stick, straight and thick. (This is called the Gonopodium, and he uses this to hook onto the female and insert *****.) All Mollies will look like females until they reach sexual maturity at about 8 weeks. They are fully grown at 3-4 months.Male and Female Mollies

Male Female Mollies.jpg

Mollies are prone to abort births when stressed, so it is best not to move the female too close to the drop date. If you are not sure, then its best to leave them where they are and move the fry after the birth. You can try providing the fry with lots of bushy plants to hide in. Floating plants, like Hornwort, work best, but plants like Java Fern can also be good. Remember to cover the intake tube of your filter as little fry can get sucked up into it. The gestation period for mollies is 21 to 30 days and they can get pregnant again in a few hours. Female Mollies can “store” ***** and get pregnant again up to three times within six months even without a male fish present. Mollies are almost always pregnant. Mollies can give birth to as few as 5 fry or as many as 100 (sometimes even more!). The first batch will almost always be small however. A female Molly will begin to get a very round belly when she is pregnant and when she is ready to drop her fry she takes on a squarish shape. Also, on some Molly fish, you can see a dark patch by the back of her anal fin. This is called the gravid spot. It is harder to see on some Mollies than on others.

Pregnant Molly

Pregnant molly.jpg

Mollie fry are ready to begin eating as soon as they are born. Live plants or algae are really good things to have so they can feed right away. You can grind up adult flakes (into a powder) and feed them this or buy specially made fry food for them. They also do well with live or frozen (THAW FIRST) baby brine shrimp. Some people have had success with cooked egg yolk mixed with some water and made into a paste. My fry wouldn’t eat it.

The fry are ready to be put back in the main tank (if you moved them) when they can no longer fit in the mouths of the adult fish in the tank. Mollies like a warmer temperature to breed in so keeping the tank up at 80-82 degrees really helps them along. Remember, Mollies and their fry are sensitive to water parameters so keep the Nitrite and Nitrate low. Many people have reported that Mollies like to give birth at night.


Mollies are technically omnivores. HOWEVER, in the wild they mostly eat algae and plant life so they could also be called herbivores. Feed them lots of greens. A flake food for herbivores is good as are algae wafers. Mollies will eat live foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp, as well as the fry of other fish. You can feed Mollies a bit of boiled, de-shelled pea as it is said to help fix constipation from a protein rich diet. I feed my Mollies twice a day, a tropical fish flake food in the morning and an herbivore fish flake food at night.

BE WARNED! Mollies are beggars! They are said to be swimming stomachs and will try to eat you out of house and home. Do not overfeed these fish. They like to munch on algae so it may be a good idea to let some grow in your tank for them. Feed no more than what the fish can eat in three minutes. Also, it is best if you feed fry up to five times a day. Small meals. I feed mine three times a day and an algae wafer they can pick up all day long.


I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions to get the information in this post and opinions vary widely on these fish. If you would like to know more or disagree with the information here are some links to sites I used over the course of my studies on these great fish!

<p - This site is VERY helpful as it posts FAQs about mollies asked by people like you.

Edit: All pictures beside the one for Poecilia Sphenops were found on the internet. They were used in a non profit, non personal gain way for information purposes only and can be removed if the owner wishes.


Hi, I am Wythori and I just recently got back into fish keeping. I was going to get a goldfish, but when I told the store I had a 10 gallon (I actually have a 20 gallon) they told me goldfish get too big and showed me the tropical fish section. I was going to get platies, but when I looked down and saw the Lyretail Dalmatian Mollies I fell in love. I immediately bought two, never knowing anything about the Nitrogen Cycle or how to care for them, or anything about Mollies at all. They were just pretty fish.

I came to this site and learned pretty quick that I went about getting fish the wrong way. So, I am, as of today, on Day 13 of a fish-in-cycle and am hoping my fish survive the hardship of this process. On Day 3, one of my Molllies gave birth to 5 fry. I was flabbergasted... I didn’t know how to take care of baby fish! So, I read a lot, asked a lot of questions and now, on Day 13, they are slightly bigger, well fed and now there are 7 of them.

My two fish quickly wormed their way into my heart by their silly antics. Bait, the white one with black spots (See picture for Poecilia Sphenops), is not the least bit shy and always comes to the glass to greet me whenever I walk by. Tackle, the black one with the white spots (Again see above picture), likes to swim circles around a leafy plastic plant that I have and take the air bubble express to the top of the tank (He swims through the aerator!). She must have taught this trick to Bait because they both do it now.

Whenever I do a partial water change (Daily right now) they are very curious and will be right there giving me fishy kisses. I have to be very careful not to siphon them up with the water! The fry are in a breeder net (To keep them from becoming snacks) and they are also very unafraid of my hand. When I clean out their net, they are all there smacking my hand to see what I taste like. I have taken more pictures of my fish than I have of anything or anyone else (besides my fiance). I know there are many other types of fish in the sea, but I fell in love with the Molly fish and I see a long future of my taking care of them.

I hope this post helps you and encourages you to take another, closer, look at these wonderful fish.

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment or give me a


  • Nightstar99: Great blog, I will definitely think about mollies next time I have room in my tank.
  • johnarthur: That’s a great blog. Thanks for sharing.
    My favorite trick for protecting live bearing fry is a large float of bushy plants like hornwort. This avoids the hazards of moving them to another tank.
  • LilShortRib: Thanks for the info. I was just like you - wanted goldfish and ended up with mollies but I love them!
  • tropical_tiffini: Also it will be interesting to note that my Dalmatian lyretail Molly grew from a white with black spots into a more black than white fish. I noticed her daughter (when she was still alive, rip) did that as well. Grew more black spots as she aged. I’d be interested to see how yours age as well! Great blog!
  • rchatto: I just lost a completely black male Dalmatian molly that I bought about 2 months ago for no reason. it was lethargic and died, may be it’s old age.
  • amneris3: Great post!
  • Aliyah: Great post!
  • alex6163: nice article!i am a molly breeder,so i sort of take this personally,nice job!
  • Johnrileyhughes: Great post. I also love my Mollies and find them extremely fascinating...
  • melissavee: Your mollies are beautiful! I think mollies are so attractive in their many varieties and they certainly do look like they have a lot of personality! If I didnt already have 2 tanks, a big tank of mollies would be my next choice!
  • annamarie: Hi, I have a Molly and she has had about 20 babys but she is still very big and I think she may still hav babys in her. What should I do? As I dont want to keep her with her babys as she will eat them but am qlso scared to put her back in the main tank please help I want her to be happy and safe what should I do?
  • arnabbar: great information!!!!!
  • annamarie: Think all ur info has helped me loads thankyou but am in need ov sum help and dnt know who to ask usseem to know alot so wud b very gr8ful :-)
  • homer1: Very Very helpful i kept Mollies when i was young I still like them and now because of your research i am better informed.
  • Susan: Wow I wish I’d have read this before getting my fish (my kids chose a variety of fish , some neon tetras, other tetras and one male and one female Molly) I hadn’t cycled my tank but took water sample to store and was told it was fine and to go for it! Female Molly had some fry and that’s when my learning/ addiction began- we only have 2 fry remaining and I doubt I’ll ever let them out as I fear they’ll be eaten. I am currently trying to set up a second tank to put all Molly or all tetras in- have had to buy one extra female Molly to give original female Molly a break from daddy Molly’s affections - they are great fish, cheeky, they jump, so inquisitive- love them!
  • bry: I have 3 dalamation fish in my tank and one neon fish.
    They dalamtion has jsut given birth to 19 babies, will the neon and other dalamations eat them?
  • Susan: I personally would move fry into a nursery tank within main tank initially and try and set up a small cheap tank (they have complete set up 2.5 gallon tanks in pets at home all u need is a heater (plus to cycle it) then once waters ok move them into new home ( that’s just me though and I am a novice, some people leave fry in tank if its planted and there’s lots of hiding places but I wouldn’t ) just my opinion though and hope someone more experienced adds to this :-)
  • Jebson: I have 39 molly babies at 23 march 2013 but today< April 18> I have only about 19 molly babies.many of them died ,i don’t know the reason but when they born they have a cut on their stomach
  • briantheref7: Thanks for the info about mollies. We bought 4 dalmatian mollies on the 25th march 2013, but 2 of them died overnight, because one of them was a bit aggressive towards the other 2. The aggressive turned out to be pregnant and on the 14 april she gave birth to about 12 fry. we have caught 6 of them, we are assuming that the mother and other female ate the others. I am hoping that at least 1 or 2 of the fry are males so we can have some more.
  • TankBird2: I love the picture of the black belly molly!
  • LeighFields: I have Mollys and love your remarks. Yes they are beggers!! and the babys learn Mine line up across front of tank and I drop their food in the flow of their filter the food is sent directly to their waiting mouths with minimal work on their part! how is that for working the buffet! o.O As the new fry get to size they take there places in the food line. Funny as heck to see ;)If the ability to breed is helped by being in a happy tank then mine must be on cloud nine....150+ fry in just over a month! I now have gone from a small unit to full battalions! Who knew 2 males and 4 females could lead to an army! So the willy wag rule was adopted (first to wag willy gets new home)so as soon as they identify them selves as male they get new home. o.O lol!!
  • Ringo: Hi , I’ve just bought 4 balloon mollies for my 75l tank . 1 boy and 3 girls . I also have some platys , guppies, a swordtail . One of my females is being chased and bullied by the other mollies . I know tge boys can chase but the girls are chasing her too . Why are they doing this ? She tries keeping out the way but they won’t leave her alone
    Any ideas ?
  • Mel: Just had to throw in my 2 cents’... Mollies are great fish, livebearers in general seem to have lots of personality! My first Molly, and one of my first fish ever, Onyx - black molly - does exactly the same - he "tastes" my hand whenever he finds it in the water!! I feed them algae sheets in the morning and he and Miranda go crazy - every single time. She’s pregnant right now so she actually chooses algae over anything else, Onyx can get distracted by other food but Miranda goes after the algae regardless, til it’s done. Recently got swordtails - still in quarantine - and they seem to love the algae as much as Miranda does. Hmmm...
  • Shantha dias Gunaratne: Thank you for the great information. My second daughter was gifted with two mollies few weeks back and after one week they bred eight fries. This prompted me to find more details of mollies and help my daughter more meaningful way. I’m too a lover of ornamental fish. This whole episode took me into my childhood again.
  • Vivas: Thnx a lot!!!!!!!!! ur article helped. :-)
  • nazira03: Wow, the Yucatan Mollies look very pretty. too bad that its hard to find them. :(
  • briantheref7: I gather that Liberty Mollies are also hard to find. My LFS are selling Liberties, as soon as my 5th tank is cycled, i will get some.
  • Evergreen and Willy: Good blog
    I also do not like balloon molly:-)
  • Elizabeth Briggs: You have a wonderful gift of teaching. I have been breeding mollies for over a year and lately I have been losing some (no need to comment), but it has been a lot of websites and yours was wonderful. Thank you so much for the time you spent helping the rest of us.
  • Gracee: Can male molly fish have babies if so how?
  • Gracee: Can male molly fish have babies?
  • Snowman: This is a really good blog! Contains a lot of useful information and stays on topic well, no irrelevant minutiae. A new molly keeper would be successful if they were to follow the advice here. The one clarification I’d like to make is sailfins are whatever species/types have the long dorsal shown in the second two pics, wild or hybrid. The three wild sailfin species are latipinna, petenensis and velifera. Petenensis have short bottom swords, too! Nice work, wythori! :)
  • Jordyn: Hi, I have a pregnant creamcicle mollie an I have her in her own tank with a warmer, is that okay? Also, I was going to make that tank the fry tank and keep the babies in it alone. What else can we do it’s a 20 gallon tank. Any advice will be helpful! Thanks
  • jojo0858: Hi, may i know why does my balloon molly seems to be at the top of the fish tank, i have a 10 gallon tank and they dont seems to be gasping for oxygen.
  • briantheref7: jojo,
    If you post your question on one the catagories, someone will get round to answer you.
  • Sam: Great read! I have a question. Is it harder to breed pot-bellied mollies or sail-fin mollies than the normal types. I’d really want to know. Thanks!
  • Snowman: No. All about the same. The larger fish need larger tanks, though, so they may seem more difficult if in a tank that’s too small. All mollies need super clean water and may not breed in average tank water.
  • briantheref7: I have only just noticed, the very first picture on the blog is a platy.
  • briantheref7: I’m sure that platy picture was not there before
  • Snowman: Sure is! I don’t remember what what was there?
  • briantheref7: I’m pretty sure it had a dalmatian
  • Vivas: A query :
    i have a relatively new setup 15 gallons. water change 10 % daily. i had 8 tiger barbs in it but 1 day all of them died suddenly. with Cloudy eyes and white spots on the fins etc. Didn’t give me a chance to even put medicine etc. Now this tank was kept as is for maybe 7 days.When i try to introduce a full grown black molly, it develops white spots on the fins and on its mouth in maybe 5 minutes flat. when i take it out and keep it in its small tank, it again gets better in another 10 minutes.
    I have changed water from this 15 gallon tank, put water conditioner (liquid promoting the growth of healthy bacteria). Tried putting molly 3 times with same result.
    what is wrong? i cannot test water quality as we do not have pet shops which can test the water and water test kits are exorbitantly priced online (Rs.4500 about 90US$). No local pet shop sells the test kits even though i stay in the best part of Mumbai (Bombay India)
    I need help please. Same water conditioner put in my other tank of same capacity gave me different results. after 2 days the tank became cloudy. now i have 2 angel fish in this tank and every alternate days they also turn up with cloudy eyes and spotted fins. i do a 20 % water change every alternate morning.
  • briantheref7: Vivas,
    Could you post your question on the catagories page, more people will notice it. You will get more replies there.
  • 123418: I have a white and black balloon Mollie in my tank and he is one of my favourites.
    I <3 YOUR BLOG!!!!!!!!
    Don’t stop righting.
    I also have a question for you, how many aquariums do you have?
  • cindyhadden: My black molly was swimming vertically and when she wasn’t she seemed to be frantically swimming but never moved. I changed out some of the water & had no peas. Peas it seemed silly, but I took some lettuce and micro wave it for about 5 sec. 3 times. I tore into small pieces & dropped into tank. By the next morn she was no longer swimming vertically. Still some stationary swimming. By the 2nd day she was doing good.Its been a
    Week & all us well. I cant believe the lettuce really worked!!!! Thank you
  • Snowman: cindy, what you’re describing is shimmy, a neurological condition which comes from too soft water, very common in mollies. Likely the water change increased hardness, reversing the problem. Roughage probably didn’t; if there’s any algae or plants in your tank, mollies will get all the vegetable matter they need, provided they’re not overfed.
  • keith: Will the female mollys behavior change before giving birth and if so how will she act?
  • cool !: cool
  • Vivas: Dear Keith,
    Over last 2 weeks period, 2 of my mollies (black and orange) gave birth to babies. However the Orange Molly died after 2 days. The Black one is right now fine and seems to be pregnant too.
    She is enjoying the tank life too. As Cool said, she is Cool.
    The Orange one died because of other reasons. I guess she came down with some disease maybe flukes etc. She had stopped responding and lay down in a corner for a day.
    Today another molly has given birth and she too is doing good. I will keep you posted on her behavior.
  • Jelly belly: Awesome post, your information really helped!
  • Lisa Newton:

    I have had mollies for many years and I mean by that at least 25. Over time and with much experience I have found that my gold sailfin, black sailfin and some marble mollies and some sunset or black and orange sailfin females as well as some neon tetra large variety and a couple of black skirt tetra’s in a 36 gallon fish tank prefer salt water to non salted water. I use a mixture that I slowly got them used to of 3 tsp salt per 5 gallons of water. When I buy new fish I then have to acclimate them to the brine water by making a saline drip for approximately 45 minutes then it is ok to add them to the tank. I find that they are a lot healthier and hardly ever get disease like ick, or fin rot. They are flourishing, I recently had a black molly give birth to 100 babies which I have a birthing tank 5 gallon for the mother to have them and then remove the mother and leave the fry to grow. When the fry reach a size of 1 to 1 1/2 inches I take them to the local pet store minus my favorites of course and I either sell them to them or trade for other mollies that I want. This keeps fresh stock in the tank at all times. I love sailfin mollies I watch them with their dorsal fin up chasing the females and they are beautiful.

  • Brian Russell: There is an argument for and against salt in a molly tank. I have never used salt mainly as my mollies are with other live bearers (platys, swords, endlers and guppies), and I can also say that my tanks have not experienced diseases like ich or fin rot.
    BTW, 25 years is great for keeping fish, you must have had 10,000+ or even more fry. Nice one.
  • Vivas: @Lisa,
    Although i follow my own routine of mixing saltwater bit by bit to the tank for the new mollies, your technique of putting a drip is simply great.
    yes i have noticed that mollies do pull on more, they actually thrive in the salty condition. but i have also noticed that few of my healthy mollies suddenly die after giving birth. Can you please help me on this as you are more experienced in raising the baby fry.
    can you also tell me some tips which you follow for raising the fry.
  • guppy man: What happens when a male sailfin molly a female balloon molly and a female dalmtion molly are together mine like to breed together. THANK YOU
  • Miss Cellany: Mollies were my first tropical fish too! I love them but I have guppies at the moment - can I put mollies with guppies or will they attack them? I don’t mind if they eat fry (the guppies don’t seem to eat their own fry) but I wouldn’t want adult guppies harassed by mollies.
    I know that they can hybridise but I think that if I provide both male and females of both species they won’t crossbreed.
    I might turn my guppy tank into a livebearer community tank after all :)
  • Brian Russell: Guppies will get on with mollies. I have a live bearer community tank, it has mollies, guppies, endlers, platys and swordtails. So far none of mine have crossbred.
  • guppy man: My opinion balloon mollies r the best
  • black molly jay: I just put a almost small molly male in with my small but nice fed female molly and she keeps chasing him and I was wondering is that ok til she gets use to him
  • Brian Russell: He’ll be alright eventually. If she was the dominant fish in the tank, she is just letting him know. The tables will be turned on her soon enough when he tries to mate with her.
  • ahmed: Hello,
    my silver molly fish gave birth to around 35 babies, when should I start feeding these babies? I did grind the flak food to be like powder and introduced two hours after birth, I realized that they don`t eat, do you have any idea?
    Best regards
  • Elizabeth: In my experience of Molly babies has been, as soon as I see the babies I start feeding all the Mollies, Hikari’s First Bites along with a little adult food. I happen to love the Hikari products and I’ve never gone wrong.
  • Vicky: So I read this article because I also have mollies, tried out different types of mollies from my local pet store. There are something’s I would like to say about baby fry. I understand that they can be eaten by the adults. In the past I have had swordtails and platies. They have eaten their babies. I really never had a problem with my mollies eating their babies. They are the only fish that I will leave the babies with the adults and not worry. I have great success raising fries. So that is one thing I have to give my input due to my experience with mollies. And yes, I actually had some get sucked up in the filter and found them still alive. Another thing I would like to add about keeping the fries with the adults. The only time I will separate them is when I have African Dwarf Frogs, because they will be the ones who will eat them not the fish.
    One thing I have to add about this website and giving my advice and get others input. I have talked to people in person about goldfish and how they don’t belong in a fish bowl as well as a 10 gallon. It seems like nobody listens to me about goldfish. It is like beating my head against a brick wall because they will argue with me and not listening. This is the only website where there are people looking for advice and I can give my input and they listen. I have learned a ton of fish information from my local pet store, became very good friends with a few and friends on social media.
    So that is what I have to say about that article on mollies and my experience with my mollies and their babies for the last two years.
  • vivek: I have molly fish in the bowl, whenever molly give birth the small babies die off. I am not able to figure out the reason.
    Please help me out,
  • Brian Russell: They need to be in a filtered and heated tank. A bowl is no good for fish at all. They are most probably dying due to ammonia poisoning.
  • Heatherglo: Great blog!!
  • Beth: I am hoping you are still quite amorous w your mollies...I am also...I currently have a tank(30 gal) just for all my babies...(4 different sets...) I just had new fry 2 nites ago, after taking male out 3 mos ago...these look like they are more white shaded then my previous orange w black spots that my lyretail had...also...never having had a female guppy...some of the fry(1st batch) have guppy markings...only 20 or so born,2nd & 3rd batch, just like mommy,& the 4th...looking like white sailfin.. my question...can they store more than 1 males *****?...anyways...I am in love too...luckily my friend has a 60gal & he’s taking quite amorou get & my LFS is taking the rest...(they can’t get preggers at 8 wks can they?
  • Shantha Dias Gunaratne: Hi Beth,
    Female mollies can carry ***** of more than one male at any given time and they can retain them up to about 6-8 months. Mollies can get pregnant just after their maturity. i.e. after about 8-12 weeks. Good luck.
  • Snailgeek88: Your blog is brilliant, Ive been looking into getting some Mollys in the near future. Can you help me with something? Im trying to post a blog but it keeps saying
    Request Entity Too Large
    The requested resource
    does not allow request data with POST requests, or the amount of data provided in the request exceeds the capacity limit.
    Do you know what this means by any chance? I only have 5 pics & a little writing but I noticed your blog is very in depth & beautiful with lots of pictures & info. Any Ideas?
  • Vivas: put 1 picture at a time.
  • Janice Ryan: Hi I loved reading’s also nice that you have mentioned how you feel about your fish.....and there interaction with you..I agree I also adore these little fish, and there cheeky character’s which has made learning more about them so enjoyable...I’m just at the stage of my first fry ready to be born...I feel like a chicken sitting on eggs:)..I have two mom’s in a breeding net, and already feel I shouldn’t have gone with a net...and left them to get on with it with extra plant’s for hiding, I don’t want to stress them again by moving back into the tank..keeping fingers crossed they’ll be okay.
  • short Boss: Hey...great blog....I hv a question tho...I bought a molly about a month an a half ago an I bought her with visible eggs in her belly an up on till now she haven’t given birth. ....can u give me any info on Dat? ?
  • Lil: Hi I have a question about molly colouration as my silver/ghost short mollies have had a batch of fry they are about 3 weeks old and some I’m guessing used to be black and brown are now white with either brown or black stripes down their backs that lead into like tiger stripes from head to the tips of their tails the others are all white so was wondering if it’s a normal colouration their healthy I check and clean my tank regularly and everything is as it should be.
  • Srihari: Great blog!
    I have a doubt
    I have money plant in glass bowl. Can I have black mollies in it? Will they damage the tender roots of the plant?
  • Fishobsessed: " Mollies are best kept in larger aquariums and a minimum size recommend is 20 gallons."
    Copied and pasted from the above blog so unless your bowl is 20 gallons or more then no the bowl is not suitable.
  • Gouramiluv: The first pic looks like a platy.
  • Brian Russell: The first picture IS a platy, but I would not worry about it.
  • dan: my baby black mollies are 4 weeks old or more, but there the me size as when they where 1 week old or less, what hapend!?!??!?!?!???!?!??!?!??!?
  • lisa andrews: How do i post photos?
  • Gourmai groove: The first one is a sunrise platy,I have one in my tank if you would like to see!
  • Brian Russell: We know about the platy in the first picture, we just do not know how it got there.
  • mako-pato: "We know about the platy in the first picture, we just do not know how it got there."
  • Gourmai groove:

    edited by mod team.

  • Elizabeth: Hi my name is Elizabeth. I have fell in love with my lyertail mollies. Minestrone gold and black and are breeding like rabbits. I thought when I got them one was a male and other was female I was wrong I also have 2 8 week old dalamation mollies which I think got the older lyertail mollies pregnant . So do u know-how young mollies can get pregnant ? Because my 4 week old looks as if they are. Please help I only have a 10 gallon tank as is getting super crowded.
  • Brian Russell: Mollies can be sexually mature after about 3 months.
  • caz: I too made the mistake you made and am now on my 3rd week of fish in cycle. So far I have lost only one a few days after I put it in the tank i have 6 fry and to be honest the adults leave them alone. I also do a water change very day of 15% qnd they come to nibble on my fingers. i have 3 very sociable fish and one shy one. i am hoping she is shy and not ill. i did have a tetra but it vanished? They like soft water and as you know mollies like hard. happy mollie keeping and thanks for the article
  • Ebony: I thought I was the only fish lover lol.. My name is Ebony I’m from Boston I bought fish about a 2 months ago 4 in all 1 died on me I bought 2 more 1 died yesterday my Molly fish surprised me with fry. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this too catch the fry fast enough they were all eaten but 1. I read everything I could online. Went to petsmart bought the breeders net now my Molly is growing the opposite of her mother.. The fry is white with black spots.. Nice to hear from you buddy
  • Benevolent Betta: Great info! What are the preferred water parameters for balloon belly molly? Would those parameters be different if the balloon was also a high fin (or sail fin)? I saw a beautiful Dalmatian balloon belly with a sail fin at my LFS and was curious about them. I am aware of the care of molly fish, but this blog was VERY informative!
  • Brian Russell: I would say that the water parameters would be the same.
  • Benevolent Betta: Ok, thanks. They are beautiful fish!
  • Dave: Have a yellow/black lyretail and silver/black balloon with many much smaller fish like neon tetra, endlers and others w/no problem. They never chase the small fish. Only at feeding occasionally and not the small ones. More medium sized food rivals.
  • vivas: 😆😆😆😆
  • ashley: hi i have a male and a female black molly after they where done matting i notice a couple days later that my male molly is now bent over but he is still alive and eats just looks like he has a hard time swimming is this normal?
  • Brian Russell: I would say it could be a water quality problem. To get more answers, post your question on the forum
  • Mollys: The top fish is a sunset platy not a Molly tho the make good tank mates
  • Brian Russell: We know it is a platy, the author of the blog must have put it there by mistake
  • Lisa: I enjoyed your article very much, like you I fell in love with a bunch of molly’s only my variety is the sailfin mollies. I have a forty gallon standard tank full of them. They are notorious beggars if you walk near the tank they are all at the top in a frenzy trying to get your attention for more food. I have had great luck with this variety in orange, green, black, white, and sunset (a cross between orange and black) they have babies every 28 days or mine do, usually I know they are pregnant and move the female to a five gallon tank a week before delivery. The females usual drop of fry is around 50 to 100 they can be any color and we have lots of live plant cover and floating plants in both tanks for fry to hide in. The babies grow quickly on algae and ground up adult food, within four weeks they are large enough to go back into the main tank within 3 months they are about 2" long and can be sexually differentiated at which point I pick my favorites and take the rest to the pet store to trade for new breeding females. It is possible that one of you have fish that I raised which is a great thought to me. Salt , mollies tolerate and do very well in a salt mixture of 1tsp to 3 gallon of water some will tell you different but disease is a lot less likely to happen in salted water however if you salt your tank you cannot have algae eaters they do not tolerate it and you cannot have live freshwater plants. In my opinion salt is a poor trade when you can warm your tank to 80 degrees to ward off disease have live plants and algae eaters mine flourish like this. When it comes right down to it I love mollies and have been raising them for over twenty years.
  • hfgh: nice
  • Vivas: Lisa , can you post a pic of your tank if you do not mind.
    I have mollies and they act just as you have mentioned. however i am not as successful in keeping the fry alive for long time.
    Also the green molly you mentioned , well i just want to see it. Never seen those in my part of the world. :-)
  • Mollymama: My black molly had about 15 babies two months ago. I am now down to just 3 babies! I’m doing everything you have recommended. Will they eat each other?!?!
  • Brian Russell: If they can fit into their mouth, they will be eaten.
  • Mollymama: Brian, all of the babies are the same size. That’s why I’m puzzled.
  • NavigatorBlack: Molly fry are sensitive. If I want a bunch, I give them their own tank and change half the water every week, ideally in two changes if I have time. I lose a lot of them if the water gets the slightest bit polluted, but in a spacious tank, they grow fast and get out of the danger zone quickly.
  • Brian Russell: I did not realise that Mollymama, I do apologise. NavigatorBlack is right in what he says. I have a seperate tank for my fry, and when they have grown out, I then transfer them to my big community tank.
  • Mollymama: Brian, the fry have been in their own tank since birth.
  • vettikart:

    Cool pictures and informative. Check out the foods available for these lovable pets.  

  • Ashu: Hi, I have one question. I have 3 gold panda mollies, while purchasing them I have been told that 1 is male and rest 2 are female. I have them for 4 days now and it seems that male is not at intrested in female.
    Is it noraml or do they have any healt issue or water issue?
  • Harp2015: This site was very helpful we have a ten gallon tank that already houses two betas a male and a female, today we added three Dalmatian mollies that are all slightly bigger then our betas and they are getting along well. Our betas barely even notice the mollies except when Zeus our male Molly decides to try to nip at our male beta.
  • Ingrid: Great article, thank you. I also made the same mistake, likewise got a tank without researching fish too well, thought I’d get goldfish and got pointed at the tropicals too and ended up with 2 Dalmatian Mollies. I’m on week three of establishing the tank. I have live plants and moss balls and they seem to munch a lot on all of those things. Mrs Mollie gave birth yesterday, three fry seem to be holding their own so far. Love watching them all and hunting to see if I still have fry. Fingers crossed!!
  • Amanda: Is this normal please, none of my fry are being eaten, I have aprrox 30-50 at the moment and I have resorted to removing the male as I just don’t know what to do with them, I really thought that most would be eaten and that would keep the balance. Also since removing the male (4 weeks) another batch of tiny fry have recently appeared and they seem to be thriving too.
    Loved your blog
  • Brian Russell: It is quite normal Amanda, there is nothing to worry about. The hardest thing you have now is trying to rehome the fry.
  • Sabrina Shepard: I am 90% Positive that I have a male and female Yucatan. I have two very strange mollies that I got at Wal-mart. One a bit smaller than the other one is very dark in color with a blue back fin, the other is pale in color with a blue top fin . I found them to be beautiful fish and I’m really not sure what kind of molly they could be.
  • GeeMom: What a great job you did on this blog! It’s very informative and well written!
    I recently added 2 Dalmatian Mollies (a male & a female) to my 75G community tank. The tank is peaceful, no nipping, no aggression, no chasing. But, I think that I might have made a mistake by adding them to my tank because most people, like you, say that they will become aggressive with age. I guess that’s something that I’ll deal with it when and if it occurs. For now, they love their tank mates and they definitely eat a lot!
    I learned a lot of new information about Mollies from your blog, so I really appreciate the time that you took to prepare it.
  • Grace silk: Me and my boyfriend Blake have just bought two male Mollies and we are not sure what breed they are as we got them from a pet store where his dad lives. They have been pretty good so far but they are constantly trying to fight each other. We are going to get a few female mollies so that they stop focusing on each other. My question is is it going to matter what type of mollies we get? Because we are looking to breed them
  • aquachic: I have been finding it quite hard to breed my mollies. they are not taking to each other at all and i have checked and I have two males and four females but none of my girls are getting pregnant. I have had these mollies for over a year now and i did buy them when they were older from my local pet shop. Is there something I can do to set the mood for my fish?
  • Vivas: Hi Aquachic :
    I am facing the same problem too. My mollies have simply stopped breeding since last 6 months.
    don’t know the reason though.
  • eddie: I am 80 years old and have been in this hobby since before my teens.
    I have loved every moment.
  • Adam: I can hardly believe your post. I walked into an LFS tonight, to buy some bubble stones for a tad pole project, saw the Dalmatian Lyretail Mollies, and couldn’t leave without them. So now I am looking them up on the Internet for more info. The thing is, there was in a tank full of dark Dalmatian Mollies without lyretails, there were two light Dalmation Mollies - one with a lyretail and one with a normal tail. Can you tell me, are these two different sexes, as the pet store people told me, or two different types of mollies. That is to say, do male and female Dalmatian Lyrefin Mollies both have a lyretail?
  • Anita: Your article was one of the most informative that I have round and if read a fair few.
    Thank you for this brilliant piece; I have certainly learnt a lot from it.
  • ravindra.egra: really informative post. for the beginners

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