Viviparous, nimble, peaceful and unpretentious fish. Many species and breeds of absolutely different colors and shapes will decorate and color almost any aquarium!

Strictly speaking, there is no such type of fish as mollies. Molliesia is the Russian name for pecilia fish, derived from the melanistic (black) forms (Mollienesia). However, the name stuck and many decorative forms of platies began to be called mollies.

Briefly about the main

Conditions of keeping

Temperature : from 23, preferably 27 C. Acidity : 7.5 - 8.2 pH.
Hardness : 11 - 30 gH. Adult size : up to 6 - 14 cm.
Habits : peaceful, gregarious. Feeding : omnivores.
Minimum volume per flock : from 50 liters.
Benefits in the aquarium : they eat algal growths.
Attitude towards plants : they rarely chew.


Family : Peciliaceae.
Detachment: Kartozubye. View : Plenty.
Latin : Poecilia.


Mollienesia or mollies are viviparous small fish from the Poeciliidae family, the Poecilia genus. They appeared in aquariums at the end of the 19th century; they came to Europe from the American continent at the beginning of the 20th century. Currently, they are resettled not only in aquariums, but also in some reservoirs in Europe and Asia.


Natural area

In their natural environment, mollies live in both fresh and salt waters of North, Central and South America: in rivers, lakes, sea bays or in the coastal part of the seas. In addition to the American continent, which is the homeland of mollies, they are currently found in water bodies located in Japan, Israel, Singapore, Taiwan, Eastern Europe, where they were introduced and distributed.
Mollies can also be kept in a marine aquarium. Even a mollie raised in a fresh aquarium can be gradually accustomed to salt water (very slowly increasing the salinity level). According to the observations of aquarists, these fish grow faster in salt water and feel even better.


Molly's appearance

Natural species of mollies have an oblong, strong body with flattened sides, a wide mouth and a noticeably prominent lower jaw, large eyes, a modest color, most often silver, less often yellowish. Sometimes there are blue, green or black specks on the body. The belly is lighter than the rest of the body. The fins of mollies, depending on the species, have a different size, color and shape. In most species, they are rather short; velifer mollies are distinguished by a well-developed dorsal fin.

Under natural conditions, the size of fish reaches 14-18 cm, in an artificial environment - 6-12 cm, females are larger than males. Velifer mollies have the largest sizes. In females, the tail is more round, the anal fin is triangular, the abdomen is noticeably thicker than in the “males”. Males have a special organ in the form of a tube - gonopodia (modified anal fin), which serves to introduce reproductive products into the abdominal cavity of the female. Females become sexually mature at 6 months, males at 10-12. The life span of fish is short - on average 3-4 years.

Breeders based on natural species of mollies have bred a large number of breeds specially for breeding in aquariums, differing in color, size, body shape and fins.


The content of mollies in the aquarium

Mollies are unpretentious and easy to maintain and it is quite possible for a beginner to create suitable conditions for them. Schooling fish - it is recommended to keep in the aquarium from 3 to 10 or more individuals with a predominance of females (2-3 females per male). In the daytime, the fish swim alone or in small groups, and at night they unite in flocks.

Желтая моллинезия

Water and temperature

Molly do not tolerate even small fluctuations in water temperature, so it should always be constant and change gradually. They live in both fresh and salt water. If other inhabitants allow, then you can add a little salt to the water (1 tbsp. L per 20 l of water).

Favorable water temperature - + 23-28 degrees, the warmer - the faster they will grow, multiply and, alas, grow old. Hardness (dH) - 10-20 degrees, acidity (pH) - 7.0-8.5.

Water changes of 25-30% of the total should be done weekly (but this is standard practice). In this case, you need to monitor the temperature (it is advisable to fill it a couple of degrees warmer than the aquarium). It is enough to defend the water for a day (and chlorine comes out and the temperature levels off), but if there is no time and you have to use tap water, it is recommended to use a thermometer and drugs that neutralize chlorine.

Aquarium and aquarium equipment

The volume of the aquarium is chosen based on the planned number of inhabitants. The larger the volume of water for 1 fish, the less often it will be possible to clean and change the water. Beginners often start small aquariums, which are more difficult to maintain and face fish conflicts, greenery on the glass, cloudy and blooming water, disease and fish death.

A flock containing 10 fish needs a tank of about 60 - 100 liters. If other types of fish are kept along with mollies, the volume of the aquarium should be even larger, since space is required for a comfortable stay of all inhabitants.

Mollys get used to living at room temperature, if, of course, it is stable in the room, but it is better to put a heater. The heater is equipped with a built-in thermometer and will occasionally turn on itself, if necessary, and heat the water, this is especially important in the off-season (heating off, drafts, etc. ...). Electricity consumption for a penny, and the joy of beautiful and healthy fish - the sea!

Aquarium lighting and plants

They are not demanding for lighting. They live in both bright and low light. As a rule, only plants should be provided with lighting. It is imperative to keep plants in an aquarium with mollies - this will prevent blooming and cloudiness of the water, provide shelter for fish and young animals, and can also provide natural feeding in case you have to leave the aquarium unattended for a long time. There are many types of plants that are extremely unpretentious to light and water.


Transferring mollies to and from a marine aquarium

Mollies is a fish that is not very suitable for a marine aquarium: it is completely defenseless, can neither stand up for itself, nor hide, nor occupy a certain territory and will most likely be eaten or nibbled by other marine fish. There are only 2 advantages of molly:

1.price compared to any other marine fish,

2. The mall eats up algal growths and other plaque.

Ordinary freshwater mollies can easily be converted to marine maintenance. The only rule is to do it slowly, gradually increasing the salt concentration. In terms of translation, from several days to a month.


Feeding adult mollies

Adult mollies are fed as standard - 1-2 times a day. The portion of feed that will be eaten without residue in a few minutes is usually determined empirically. Food is taken both from the surface and from the bottom.

Molly prefer variety, feeding only animal feed leads to gastrointestinal disorders. With a shortage of plant food, mollies begin to eat up algal formations, which is useful, as well as the leaves of aquarium plants.

Mollies are not fastidious, they are happy to eat dry, frozen, live food, you can give scalded and slightly boiled natural vegetables: lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, spinach, nettle leaves. Bloodworms, tubifex, brine shrimp and other crustaceans are suitable as animal food. The easiest and most useful option is to prepare the feed mince in advance: finely chopped vegetables, seafood must be boiled and washed from turbidity, add dry fortified feed, fresh live food, mix and freeze for future use. Breaking off and feeding as needed, you can provide fish with everything you need. You can also use surplus aquarium plants such as limnophila duckweed, pondweed, naiad, wolfia

It is recommended to arrange a hungry day for the fish once a week.

To make mollies, in the color of which there are red, yellow, orange tones, to be even brighter, feeds containing carotenoids are added to the diet - pumpkin, carrots.

It is important to keep live plants in the aquarium, mollies will not harm them, but this will be additional feeding (including in case the owner leaves for a long time).


Compatibility of mollies with other inhabitants of the aquarium

Molly is a peaceful fish. They can show aggression towards neighbors only if they keep one fish among other species. If there is a school in the aqua, then no attention is paid to other fish. Of course, if someone's eggs or fry are found, everything that fits in the mouth will most likely be devoured.

Intraspecific aggression is rare, but they can chase each other in tight reservoirs or during breeding periods.

But to stand up for themselves, quickly run away, or even hide in shelter, these pot-bellied fish will not be able to, so they should be kept only with peaceful fish of approximately the same size (so as not to get into the mouth).

To preserve a pure breed, you should not put different types of mollies in one aquas. If this is neglected, the offspring will mix and lose their decorative qualities.

Plants are usually not touched. Only with a lack of plant food will nibble green growths and / or plant edges.


Reproduction and breeding of mollies

In females, sexual maturity occurs by 5-6 months, in males by 8-12. Mollies are viviparous fish. The development of offspring in them occurs inside the abdominal cavity of the female after mating with a male. But pregnancy does not always occur after the first sexual intercourse. In good conditions, females give birth to offspring almost monthly, producing from 10 to 200 or more fry, depending on the number of previous pregnancies.

Fertilization of females can take place in a common aquarium as a matter of course, without special training. Conception can be organized in a separate tank with specially selected mature males and females (2-3 females per male). Expectant parents are fed mainly with live food containing a large amount of protein.

As a rule, when creating suitable conditions, the male chases the female for several days and, after about a month, the first fry begin to appear

Bearing eggs lasts an average of 1.5-2 months, depending on the conditions of keeping the fish, on the age and health of the female, her belonging to one or another species. The birth of fry lasts about 3-6 hours, sometimes several days, as the cubs are taken out of the mother's body in “portions”. Part of the offspring often remains inside the female, gradually emerging for six months.

The birth of fry, in accordance with the circumstances and desire of the owner, can take place:
- in a common aquarium,
- in a hotel jar,
- in a suspended (floating in a common aqua) container (with subsequent transplantation of fry).

The birth of fry in the general aquarium

If it is not possible to plant pregnant fish in a separate container before the fry are born, or if the task is not to preserve most of the offspring, the birth process can take place in a common aquarium. In these cases, places are needed for small mollies to hide: thickets of grass, driftwood, rocky areas or grottoes. Otherwise, the kids will be eaten by neighbors, including their parents.

Reproduction in a jig

It is better to plant pregnant individuals shortly before the birth of offspring in a separate spawning grounds, creating favorable conditions there. The parameters of the aquatic environment must be identical in both containers. The minimum volume of spawning grounds is 30 liters, filtration, aeration, lighting are required, plants are desirable. Water temperature (constant) - +25 - 28 degrees, hardness (dH) - no more than 20-25 degrees, acidity (pH) - 7.0-7.5. A daily water change of 25-30% is required.

On the eve of childbirth, the shape of the abdomen changes in the fish, from round it turns into almost square, and the dark spot that appears on the anal fin during gestation of eggs noticeably increases in size. Before the fry are born, the females are actively looking for a secluded place to hide. After the appearance of offspring, it is advisable to immediately return them to the general aquarium.


Mollies fry care

The fry do not need their parents; rather, on the contrary, they will most likely be eaten by them. When babies are born in a common aquarium, it is better to protect them from other inhabitants by catching them and placing them in a separate tank. If you do not have a suitable container at hand, you can temporarily use a well-rinsed jar in an “emergency” manner by filling it with water from an existing aquarium. But it is better if the jig is prepared in advance, since unnecessary movements of the fry from one place to another are stressful for them. And of course, the water parameters must be the same.

The nursery aquarium is equipped with a low flow aerator or filter. To prevent the fry from being sucked into the filter, a nylon stocking can be pulled over it. Heater with thermometer. Depending on the volume, the water is changed daily or every 2-3 days. Any plants, preferably floating: duckweed, riccia, hornwort, elodea. The soil is undesirable, it is not harmful, but waste accumulates in it, and siphoning the soil in a scum with fry is another problem. If the fry are growing in a large aquarium, there are no such restrictions.
If the fish were born in suspended or floating pots (inside a shared aquarium), they will need to be transferred to a growing tank.

In good conditions, mollies grow very quickly, reaching a size of 1.5-2.0 cm in a month. As soon as the fry reach the size of "not fitting" into the mouths of other neighbors, they can be moved to a common "jar".


Feeding mollies fry

You can feed the fry within two hours after their birth. During this period, the most ideal food will be "live dust" - numerous colonies of rotifers or ciliates of shoes, as well as nauplii of cyclops and Artemia crustaceans, vinegar eels. However, it is not easy to find live dust now, so you can start feeding with special dry food for fry, gradually adding live food (cut bloodworms, for example). If you plant small-leaved plants hornwort, kabomba, elodea in a small-leaved pot with water from the main aquarium, then ciliates will be bred among the small leaves, which will also become the initial feeding for the fry.

As soon as the size of the mouth allows, it is advisable to feed it with daphnia, cyclops and other small crustaceans, aulophorus - a nutritious annelid worm (crushed). After 2-3 weeks, the fish can be fed with a cut tubifex or bloodworm. Herbal supplements (such as dried spirulina or food with it) can be added. After about two months, young mollies are transferred to an adult diet.

Newborn fry need to eat 5 - 7 times a day in small portions, grown up - 4 times a day. In this case, you need to gradually move from small feed to a larger one. In order to avoid water contamination, food that has not been eaten must be quickly removed; an ampullaria, a large voracious snail, can be planted (however, the snail's waste must also be removed).


Types and breeds of mollies

As already mentioned, the very name Molliesia is the name of the decorative species and species of pecilia, and if you look at the Latin name of the species, everything falls into place ("Poecilia" and in Latin: "Poecilia")!

Aquariums usually contain artificial mollies. Natural species are very rare in aquariums.

Main natural types of mollies

Small fin mollies or sphenops (Poecilia sphenops)
Free mollies (Poecilia salvatoris)
Velifera mollies or sailing mollies (Poecilia velifera)
Mollies latipina or high finned (Poecilia latipinna)

Mexican mollies (Poecilia Mexicana)
Calico mollies (Poecilia calico)
Peten mollies (Poecilia petenensis)
Dwarf mollies (Poecilia chica)
Cauca mollies (Poecilia caucana)
Ocellated mollies (Poecilia vivipara


Mollies sphenops, black mollies (mollies) or fins : natural and selective forms.

In nature, in small-fin mollies, the color of the scales is silvery. Individuals of this species have a dense, elongated body, slightly compressed from the sides. The size of aquarium fish varies from 6.0 to 10.0 cm, they have medium-sized fins with about ten rays, and a tail is well developed. In most aquariums, breeding forms of sphenops mollies live.

Often at home they contain individuals with absolutely black, non-shiny scales, reminiscent of velvet. The eyes of these fish are also black, unpaired fins may have a cherry edging. Black mollies with scales, as if sprinkled with gold dust, are very beautiful. Other variations have different body colors: yellow, orange, golden, two-color (for example, yellow-black) or spotted, with a greenish and blue tint.

Lyre-tailed mollies, which have a tail fin shaped like a crescent or a lyre, are also popular with aquarists. The very first breed of fish with such a tail was obtained with the participation of the sphenops mollies. Later, breeders used other types of mollies to breed lyre-tailed breeds.

Molliesia free (free molly) . Earlier (until the beginning of 2000), this fish was not classified as a separate species, considering it a color variant of the sphenops mollies. Free mollies are rarely kept in aquariums. Adult fish can grow up to 7.0 cm in length, have silvery-yellow scales with a light blue tint, and have beautiful bright fins: black, red, orange, white, contrasting with the main body color. There are dark blotches on the tail and dorsal fin. Females have transparent fins.

Sailing mollies or velifera in nature and in the aquarium. A distinctive feature of velifer mollies is a fan-shaped large dorsal fin (4.0-5.0 cm), similar to a sail. In females, in comparison with males, its size is more modest, as is the color. In nature, the fish reach a length of 16.0 cm and more, in captivity they grow up to 13.0 cm. The natural color of males' scales is silvery, with a large number of small iridescent specks. Females are usually grayish green. The fish breast can be yellow-golden or orange. In natural individuals, the caudal fin is rounded, in breeding forms it is found in the form of a lyre. The tails are painted turquoise with orange, red or black edging.

Taking “natural” sailing mollies as a basis, the breeders bred breeds with various body colors, including albinos. For example, snowflake mollies (silver) has snow-white scales, black eyes, fins with a beautiful blue tint. The coffee molly has a matte brown body color, with specks of the same tone on the tail and dorsal fin. On sale there are fish with yellow, black, red, orange colored scales, two-color (for example, marble mollie) or having spots of several tones. Albinos and marble mollies were bred without the participation of other types of mollies.


Molliesia latipina or broad fin: natural and artificially derived forms

Molliesia latipina resembles a velifer, but has a smaller size - up to 12.0 cm in nature, up to 8 cm in an aquarium. A rather high elongated dorsal fin (in females it is smaller) resembles a rectangle, the tail is rounded, has a wide base. The natural color of the body is most often gray-silver (olive-gray) with shiny specks. In males, the abdomen is orange, the fins are blue, have a contrasting orange edging, multi-colored dots and strokes. On the sides there are five transverse stripes of dark color and rows of mother-of-pearl specks.

Breeds of broad-finned mollies, bred specifically for keeping in aquariums, have different colors and body shapes. For example, the popular balloon fish (disc mollies) have a short body and a sort of inflated abdomen. Individuals of this breed have a curved spine and reduced compressed internal organs. Because of this, they have poor health, which affects their life expectancy, which does not exceed 2 years. The color of the body of the balloons can be different: black, white, red, orange, yellow, solid or spotted. The caudal fin is common or crescent-shaped (lyre).
Breeding forms of molliesia latipina, often found in aquariums, have a green, orange body color or in the form of black and white spots (Dalmatians). A rare morph derived from broad-fin mollies is the red leopard. The fish got its name because of its variegated color, reminiscent of the skin of this beautiful wild animal.


Other forms of mollies

Most breeding forms were obtained using 4 main types of mollies, described below.

As already mentioned, most breeds were bred using 4 main types of mollies. Other natural species also took part in the development of scientists-aquarists. For example, calico mollies have been implicated in the creation of some lyre-tailed and spotted forms.

Gold (yellow) mollies are the result of the work of scientists who, based on mollies sphenox, velifer, latipina and their morphs, received their color variations. The breed called spotted mollies, marbled or Dalmatians (Dalmatians) is also derived from different natural species. Fish that have white or yellow scales have acquired these tones instead of red or green as a result of mutations fixed by breeders at the genetic level.

Fish with small dorsal fins were created with the participation of the sphenops mollies and the Mexican species. Such mollies as latipina, velifera, sphenops, and free are involved in obtaining breeds with large dorsal fins.

Often, amateur fish farmers do not see the difference between species, breeds, hybrids. Species are individuals that have several inherited traits that distinguish them from other fish. Breeds are artificially fixed changes in the external and internal structure of fish within a species. Hybrids are obtained by crossing different species of individuals or their forms (morphs).

Color variations of mollies should not be confused with rocks. Example breeds: Lyre-tailed mollies or balloon fish. In these cases, breeders have achieved inherited morphological changes in the structure of the body and fins. Color variations are various body colors of fish, which are not always transmitted to the offspring, it can be lost or changed. For example, the Lyre-tailed Mollies is a breed with a distinctive caudal fin and various versions of body coloration. And fish with black scales are color variations of any breed or a certain species, in particular, sphenops mollies.

But, frankly, thanks to amateur aquarists, there have been many hybrids and half-breeds lately, so finding a pure pedigree fish is very difficult.


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