Caring for Your New Molly                  Info from Aqualand Pets Plus on various molly species

 

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Molly Factoids

Origin

Southern USA and Mexico

Maximum Size

2 to 4 inches depending on species

Housing

20L aquarium great

Security

Loves planted aquaria

Temperature

Prefers 80o

Attitude

Good natured, eager eater

Foods

Loves all foods.  Needs vegetable matter.

Water

Prefers pH above neutral.  Add salt.

Gestation Period

Eight weeks.  Susceptible to premature birth.

Number of Young

Dozens

Life Span

Two years

LA
We used to call them black mollies.

LA
Mollies don't look like mollies anymore.

LA
Mollies come in many colors and shapes these days.  This is one of the red strains.

LA
And mollies all get mixed together from time to time, yielding some nice looking fish.

LA
Long ago, we used to call these liberty mollies.  You can see where the colors came from.

Original Origins:  We’ve seen large schools of the smaller black and marbled mollies in the river flowing along San Antonio’s famous River Walk.  They seem to thrive on a diet of popcorn and potato chips.  We’ve seined the larger, high-finned green mollies from ditches in Alabama (where they use them as good-looking bait).

LA
Yes, mollies still come in the original black.  There's just lots of other types out there.

 

New Origins:  Most of the smaller-finned molly varieties come from fish farms in Florida.  Most of the fancier-finned varieties come from Singapore and other far eastern fish farms.

LA
Gold dust lyre tail mollies catch your eye.

LA
Some of the tails go to extremes.

Water Conditions:  Mollies prefer a pH above neutral.  Our Des Moines water works great.  Mollies also like salt in their water – one teaspoon per gallon minimum.  They can handle many times that much salt.  Some species will even adapt to straight sea water.  Keep their water around 80o although they can stand it cooler or hotter.

LA
Are balloon body mollies an improvement?

LA
Black mollies are an attractive and economical fish.  Always add salt.

Appeal:  Anyone spotting the jet-black smaller mollies can’t resist their velvety beauty.  Those who like fancier varieties admire the finnage on the high-finned varieties.  Mollies now come in black, marble, silver, Dalmatian, chocolate, gold, red, green and blends of these colors.  Their fin types now include the high dorsals, lyre-tails, and veiltails.  And do not forget the balloon bodies.

LA
You can find several colors in the sailfin vellifera mollies.

LA
Sailfin velliferas grow larger than most mollies.

Size:   The smaller finned molly varieties top out at two inches.  Some of the fancier-finned varieties approach four inches.

Jumpers:  All livebearers like to jump.   We recommend a good tank cover.  Mollies especially like jumping from their tanks after water changes.

LA
Young mollies mix well with young African cichlids.  They like the same water conditions.

LA

No Goldfish:  Oddly enough, mollies don’t mix well with goldfish.  Mollies constantly pick, pick, pick at goldfishes -- apparently snacking on their slime coating.  They will also pick at gouramis.

LA
Lyre tail albino mollies make a nice contrast with the original black mollies.

 

Foods:   Mollies will eagerly eat whatever you feed them.  They need foods with algae in them.  They also constantly snack on the algae growing on your tank’s surfaces.  Mollies also love live foods and frozen foods.  Mollies respond well to those worm flakes that increase their litter sizes.

LA
Another one of the red molly strains

LA
Usually you can tell when mollies get pregnant.  She needs her own tank.

LA
Fresh out of the bag, these mollies gave birth in transit.

LA
Female mollies can give birth to numerous fry.

Saving Fry: Molly fry taste good to other fishes, although they start life much larger than most livebearers.  If you want baby mollies, you need to keep your eyes open.  Healthy females release live fry every eight weeks.  Give your expectant mom a well-planted 10-gallon tank so the babies can hide. Mollies often give birth prematurely, if you move them less than two weeks before their regular due date.

LA
These mollies gave birth in their shipping bag.  Luckily, their fry were viable.

Protective Plants:  Water sprite makes the ideal plant in a molly tank.  It grows well with salt in the water.  It also grows thousands of tiny rootlets for the babies to hide within and provides excellent areas for tiny edible protozoans to thrive upon.

LA
New mollies show up almost every year.

LA
Quite a ways from the original black mollies.

LA
Albino gold sailfin mollies look great.

Fry Foods:  Baby mollies eagerly eat powdered dry food.  They also love newly hatched shrimps – even the frozen ones.  Microworms rate high on their tastometer.  All baby fishes grow best when fed several times a day (up to a maximum of five times).  Add snails to clean up the excess.

LA
Female gold sailfin molly at top.  Male below.  Sailfins come in many colors.

LA
At last, the original Yucatan mollies.  They still exist.

LA
Mollies have come a long way.


LA
My personal favorite -- the male gold sailfin.

Filtration:
Mollies like clean water, but avoid those baby-eating power filters when raising babies.  Use an under gravel or sponge filter.  LA.
 

Terri, Kentucky, May 3, 2011
I just have to say your website is awesome! I found it when doing a search on how to care for my mollies. You have so much information on there and I can tell that you really know your pets! My husband said that my mollies would torture the goldfish during the day while I was at work and  I didn't believe him. Now you confirmed that he was right and explained that mollies don't mix well with goldfish because they do indeed pick on them. Your website is so great! (Even though my husband did win the argument). If I lived in Iowa I would go to your petshop all of the time.

A:  Nearly all the livebearers will pick on goldfish.  And sometimes they'll pick on gouramis and angels.  Obviously goldfish taste good or college students would not eat so many.  However, not as many as they used to.  Thanks for your report.  I'll add it to my molly page.  LA

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