Molly fish is a well-known fish species among fish keepers because of their hardy nature, color, size, and shape variations. They are considered beginner-friendly fish as they can stand quite a few mistakes beginners make.
Mollies are livebearers that are easy to breed and can fit into a tank as small as 10 gallons. There are around 40 species of Mollies. Below is a list of some Molly types.
Common Molly Fish Varieties
As the name suggests, Dalmation molly looks like a Dalmation dog, with black markings on white body. They are a generally peaceful species and grow a bit bigger than common molly.
Dalmation Molly is a hybrid variation of Poecilia latipinna, the Sailfin Molly. They require a minimum of a 30-gallon tank to thrive because they grow up to 4.75 inches long. Dalmation mollies prefer a planted environment with well-oxygenated water to thrive.
The black molly is a relatively small molly type which grows up to 3 inches. Black mollies get their dark, distinctive color from their skin condition called melanism.
Sometimes black mollies come with a yellow streak that runs down the dorsal fin or a slightly silvery color on the flanks. Black Molly is the common molly found on Southern North American waters and is a peaceful species.
Black Lyretail Molly
This fish is a hybrid variety of the Poecilia latipinna, the Sailfin Molly, and it is a farm-raised fish in Singapore. Black Lyretail Molly is a black color fish with white highlights on its fins.
The caudal fin is lyre-shaped; hence it’s named as black lyretail molly. This fish can live in either freshwater or saltwater aquariums with gradual acclimation. Like other mollies, Black Lyretail Molly is also an omnivore fish.
Sulphur Molly is a wild freshwater fish that is listed as a critically endangered fish. This fish is endemic to Mexico, specifically to the Baños del Azufre (Grijalva River basin) near Teapa, Tabasco.
The name sulphur molly uses for this species because of their high tolerance of toxic Hydrogen Sulfide naturally contains in their habitats. It is a silver-colored and short-finned molly that grows in the wild. We can not find this type of mollies in aquariums.
Amazon molly is a wild freshwater fish not usually found in captivity. Their natural habitats are in Southern Texas and North Eastern Mexico coastal areas. They are a unique species of mollies because of their asexual organism, which means all Amazon mollies are females, and they reproduce themselves.
Amazon molly grows up to 4 inches long and has silvery scales and the shape of common molly. Amazon molly is a peaceful fish species but, you may not find any Amazon moly in aquarium shops as they are not captivity bred fish species.
Cauca molly is also a wild freshwater fish that is found in shallow waters in the basins of the Lebrija, Magdalena, Cauca, and other rivers.
This fish grows up to 2.4 inches and generally silvery in color. It also has a black blotch at the base of the dorsal fin. Like other mollies, Cauca Molly is also a peaceful fish, but it is rarely seen in aquaria.
Harlequin Sailfin Molly
Harlequin Sailfin Molly is a freshwater fish native to southern North America to Mexico. It reaches 5 inches when it matures and has a long dorsal fin. Captivity bred Harlequin Sailfin mollies are generally gold in color with black and white markings, and wild ones are grey with rows of dark spots.
Although this fish is an omnivore, they are highly herbivores that eat vegan food most of the time. Harlequin Sailfin Molly is a peaceful fish that can fit in community tanks but shouldn’t be kept with other types of mollies to prevent hybridization.
Golden Sailfin Molly
Golden Sailfin Molly is one of the most popular aquarium mollies. They are entirely orangish gold with large dorsal fins, and the wild forms are grey in color with rows of dark spots. Like most other mollies, they are native to southern North America to Mexico.
Golden Sailfin Molly is peaceful fish that get along with other fish very well. However, you should avoid cross-breeding by separating different molly types with Golden Sailfins. Golden Sailfin Molly grows up to 6 inches long.
Silver Sailfin Molly
Like most other molly species, Silver sailfin mollies are also native to North American waters. Silver Sailfin Molly grows up to 6 inches long and has a shiny silver color all over the body. They also have a large dorsal fin which is also silver in color.
They are good community fish and are omnivores. Silver Sailfin Molly can live in both freshwater and saltwater aquarium if introduced gradually.
Gold Dust Molly
Gold Dust Molly, mostly known as Gold Panda Molly, is a half black and half golden colored, short-finned fish that prefers hard water. They are compatible in both fresh water and saltwater aquariums and are omnivore fish.
Their natural habitats are the waters of Mexico and northern South America. Gold Dust Molly usually grows up to 5 inches long. They are also peaceful fish that is compatible with community tanks.
Balloon Belly Molly
Balloon Belly Molly is a hybrid variation of Poecilia latipinna, the Sailfin Molly. It has an arched back and a rounded, large belly, and color variations are combinations of black, yellow, and white.
They have a large, lyre-shaped caudal fin and an impressive dorsal fin. This fish’s origins are from the east coast of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and North Carolina. Balloon Belly Mollies have a peaceful temperament and are omnivores. Balloon Belly Molly grows up to 3 inches long and lives up to 5 years.
General Care Tips For Molly
Molly fish is a tropical fish that live for around 3 to 5 years. It needs a heater installed in your aquarium with a temperature between 72 to 78°F.
Generally, the Ph level should be between 6.7 and 8.5, and hardness between 20-30 KH. Some mollies prefer hardy water, and some others prefer alkaline water.
Most Molly types can survive in saltwater aquariums if introduced gradually.
Mollies are schooling fish. So, they admire ample space even though they are small fish. The minimum tank size for one molly is 10 gallons. You should increase the tank size accordingly with your fish number.
As mollies are schooling fish, they prefer to stay in groups. However, you can keep a single molly in a tank, and it will be fine. But, many fish keepers recommend keeping at least 3 fish in a tank.
All molly fish types are peaceful, but they can be aggressive when surrounded by aggressive tank mates. Mollies are omnivores. They can eat both meat-based food and Vege based food, including fish flakes and pellets.
Molly fish is an excellent addition to a community tank; however, you shouldn’t mix different types of mollies to avoid cross-breeding.
They are livebearers and breed a lot. So, you may need to prepare for molly babies if you plan to keep mollies in your aquarium. Otherwise, they are a great fish that is fun to watch.
Dr. Chamika Siriwardhana
Dr. Chamika Siripardhana is a water and environmental researcher and the editor of life of fish website. He is a passionate fish keeper and has years of experience in the field. His mission is to help fellow aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.