Mollies were introduced to the hobby in 1899 and have become very popular both for variety and
personality. They come in a variety of colors and finnage types, including Albino, Sailfin and Lyretail
varietes. The vast majority of the Mollies seen at the commercial level have been crossed between P.
Velifera, P. Sphenops and P. Latipinna somewhere in their lineage, in order to obtain certain color or
finnage traits. The Balloon Belly Mollies were selectively bred from a genetic deformity in P.Sphenops.
There are Molly strains in which all of the fry (babies) will look much the same as the parents (true
breeding) as well as mixed Mollies, who produce a seemingly unlimited variety. Premium Mollies are
much more expensive as they are bred to show quality standards and come in true breeding pairs.
Although classed as a freshwater species, Mollies can be found in freshwater, brackish and marine
conditions in the wild, along with everything in between. Some Mollies are tossed between one or more
environments on a regular basis. This has left a highly adaptable fish which can be acclimated to full
marine conditions or kept in freshwater. They appreciate an environment in the hard, alkaline range
with an emphasis on calcium and temp's in the upper tropical range. The addition of small amounts of
sea salt is an option that many recommend. Mollies are a good indicator fish, meaning they will be the
first in a tank to show signs of stress when something is wrong with the environment, even if only a
water change is due.
Mollies are Livebearers, meaning they give birth to live young as opposed to spawning eggs. They are
easy to breed and give birth approximately every 30-45 days to at least 20-50 fry, often many more. This
reproduction rate can quickly overwhelm the hobbyist with a small tank. If you would prefer to not have a
population explosion, it is better to purchase only males. Females can inseminate themselves for up to
six months from one fertilization. For an illustrated guide to sexing your Molly, please click here.
These stunning Livebearers are easy to care for, requiring only very clean conditions, good filtration and
a proper diet. They benefit from both protein and high vegetation content in their diet.. Pealed, quartered
peas, cooked slightly to soften, is a favorite vegetable. High quality flake, freeze-dried, fresh and frozen
foods are all eagerly devoured and contribute to a healthy diet. There are many books available about
Mollies and Livebearers in general, which will provide you with more detailed information and
guidelines should you require them.