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Mollies: Basic Care Information

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Mollies have been a part of the aquarium hobby for years (actually over 100 years to be specific). They are beautiful fish, hardy, and are able to adapt to a wide range in conditions that make it possible to keep them in a wide range of tanks with a wide range of other fish. This fish is often considered a beginner fish, however it should be noted that it is a great fish for anyone and you can enjoy keeping it with just a bit of work!

Freshwater, Brackish Water, and Salt Water Fish!
There aren't many fish out there that can survive in a freshwater tank, a brackish water tank, and a salt water tank. This is especially true when we are talking about keeping them in there long term. However, the molly can. You can keep a molly in any type of tank as long as you acclimate it to the salt levels slowly. This is because these hardy fish live in areas near the cost. They are often found in the salty shoreline waters, the estuaries, and even fresh water lakes, ponds, and streams. They are found from the Carolinas on south to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

A Little Salt.
While the molly can live in completely fresh water they are a fish that does benefit from the addition of a bit of salt. You need to make sure that any tank mates that they will be able to handle a bit of aquarium salt before you do add it to their water. Plecos, corydora catfish, and tetras are all fish that are commonly kept with the molly that can't handle the addition of salt long term.

The Hardiest of Fish.
While there are some really hardy fish out there, the basic molly is among the top. These ones come in a number of colors, but they lack a lot of the fancy fins including the sail fin and the lyretail. None the less they are beautiful fish and one of the hardier options for new fish keepers and old ones alike.

Hard Water.
Mollies want hard water. This means that you will need to use treated tap water (you must remove any and all chlorine) and not water that has come from any sort of RO system. If you water is soft you may struggle to keep your mollies alive.

The Great Tank.
It is important that you choose a tank that is large enough. While regular fin mollies and balloon mollies never get particularly large, a larger tank is often a good thing and sailfin or lyretail mollies need a larger space. A ten gallon tank is a small space for mollies. You should have at least 20 gallons and it should be noted that mollies like a taller tank better because of the swimming space.

Choosing Mollies.
You can choose any molly that you want and put it in with any other molly that you like. This means that you can choose mollies of different colors, different fin shapes, and even different body shapes. Go ahead and get a pot belly (or balloon) molly if you want to put it in there with your silver lyretail! Yes, they are likely to cross breed with one another, but it will all work out just fine!

One thing that you should note is the sex of the mollies that you choose. You want to have one male to every two or three females (or less!). Males can become very pesky in their advances toward the female and it is best if you have plenty of females to make it so that one poor female doesn't feel picked on all the time.

Another great option is to keep all males. Males often have better colors and prettier fins, plus they won't multiply that way. Lots of molly keepers find themselves with lots of babies and no where to put them. You don't want a tank with just females because they often come home pregnant and can have as many as 6 batches of babies from stored sperm! That means that your females could produce a lot of babies without any males in the tank! If you aren't wanting babies, bring home just the males.

Sexing The Mollies.
Mollies are live bearers and as such they are easy to sex. You will need to look at their anal fin (the one on the bottom). A female will have one that looks open. It is triangle or flag shaped. The male has one that is all hooked together and points backwards. If you watch the tank for awhile you will see the males flip this fin forward and try to "poke" the female with it. Watch any tank with mollies for a few minutes and you will be able to sex mollies after that!

Feeding Your Mollies.
Your mollies will like a wide variety of foods, but they need a good amount of vegetable matter. It is a good idea to feed them a high quality flake that includes algae. You should also offer them the occasional algae pellet. In addition to all of that you should give them frozen and or fresh meaty foods such as blood worms and brine shrimp. They also love vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, and spinach. They will pick at and eat algae from the walls and plants of there tank as well. Make sure you offer them a wide and varied diet for best results. For more information on feeding a varied diet check out the article Tips For Feeding Your Fish a Well Rounded Diet.

Temperatures.
Because the molly is so adaptable, they will accept a wide range of temperatures. You can leave them in a tank without a heater as long as the temps aren't dipping dramatically low (below about 72 degrees). However, if you are wanting them to breed higher temperatures are necessary. For breeding purposes it is best to keep the temperatures between 76 and 82 degrees. For more information about breeding mollies check out the article Breeding Your Mollies: All the Tips You Need to Be Successful.

Water Quality.
For the healthiest mollies you will want to make sure that you keep your water quality high. You should do weekly water changes. If your tank has a lot of mollies in it or you are trying to get them to breed then it will be helpful to do more frequent water changes.

This is all the information that you need to raise happy and beautiful mollies. To find out who you can keep mollies with check out the article Mollies: Great Tank Mates. If you are wanting to breed them then you should check out the article Mollies: Easy Breeding.

Keeping the beautiful molly is always fun and can be very rewarding. you have many different fish to choose from and with some care in choosing you could have a tank full of great looking fish. They are often fun to watch and with easy care you can definitely enjoy your tank!


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