Molly Fish Care Guide – Types, Breeding & More

dalmatian balloon molly fish

Molly Fish is a great choice for those who are looking for a new addition to their aquarium.

 It can survive in saltwater and freshwater environments, making it a very versatile pet. There are all sorts of interesting things about these fish that you’ll want to learn about.

Types of Molly Fish

There are several kinds of these fishes: body and tail type (sailfin, lyretail, dust, balloon, doubloon etc.) and color type (black, gold, dalmatian, platinum, etc.). First, we will take a look at some of the most common types of Molly fish so you can choose the right one to get.

1. Black Sailfin Molly

black molly fish

The Black Sailfin Molly is among the most common sub-species of this fish. It can grow to about four inches and has an extravagant fin, hence the name. This fish is a very popular choice for fish keepers, and it has a very peaceful temperament.

2. Dalmatian Lyretail Molly

loretail molly fish

The Dalmatian Molly gets its name from its striking resemblance to the dog breed. This black and white fish is a great choice for beginners. It can grow up to three inches and needs to be kept in a tank no smaller than 30 gallons.

3. Gold Dust Molly

The Gold Dust Molly is another great pet fish for beginners. It has a dark gold and black coloration that is quite beautiful. This fish has a very short fin and is a great choice for those who want a Molly fish with some color.

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4. Balloon Molly Fish

dalmatian balloon molly fish

Lots of people love the Balloon Molly fish because of its quirky personality and unique overall appearance. This fish was named for its balloon-shaped body, which gives it an interesting look to say the least. It is mostly yellow with a little bit of black on the tail and fins.

5. Marble Lyretail Molly

This variety of the Molly fish is similar in appearance to the Dalmation Lyretail, but it is a bit larger with a maximum size of five inches. It also has more of a silver coloration than white.


Most Mollies are very calm and peaceful, though they can become aggressive when kept with too many fish at once. This is why it’s so important that you get an adequate size tank. They are social fish that thrive with their own kind.

Natural Habitat

Molly fish tend to flourish and thrive in freshwater streams, though they can also live in salt water without any issues. They tend to be found in coastal oceanic regions as well as swamps.

Molly Fish Care Guide

1. Tank Setup

Most Molly fish will require an aquarium that is at least 30 gallons, though you may be able to get away with a 20-gallon tank. It is important to factor in the size of the fish. The fact is that some Mollies are larger than others. The bigger the fish, the larger the tank should be.

You will be able to use a bubbler without any issues, as these fish do not mind the air bubbles. In fact, this is probably the ideal setup for this particular species. There are also sponge filter configurations that you should consider.

It is also a good idea to have a good amount of sandy substrate in this fish’s tank. This will allow you to put in plants, which is important. You will need to provide them with caves, rocks and other things they can take shelter in. This is a crucial aspect of keeping your Molly happy and healthy over the long term.

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You don’t need any special lighting for these fish, so your basic lighting setup will do just fine. You also won’t require a water or air pump. Mollies are accustomed to slow moving water, and the filter will take care of this.

2. Water Conditions

It is crucial that you keep the water in your Molly’s tank between 72 to 78 degrees. There shouldn’t be much fluctuation. Make sure that the water has a hardness of 20 to 30 KH and a pH of 6.7 to 8.5. These are the ideal living conditions for this particular fish.

While you can use semi-brackish water in your Molly’s tank, this will seriously limit your options for tank mates.

3. Molly Fish Tank Mates

There are plenty of different fish that you can keep with Mollies, so you are going to have lots of options. You will, however, want to stay away from putting any aggressive or big fish in with your Molly. This includes most Cichlids, though there are some exceptions. Snails and shrimp make nice tank mates for these fish.

4. Molly Fish Food

Because Mollies are omnivores, you can give them just about anything to eat. They prefer algae and plants, though there are lots of other options. These fish need lots of vegetation on a regular basis. You can put everything from spinach to lettuce in their tank, and they will gobble it up.

Some people who keep Mollies even make their own food at home, which is something else to consider. There are plenty of frozen foods to choose from as well. Mollies like Bloodworms as well as brine shrimp. Keep in mind that they respond best to live food.

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It is important that you feed these fish two times each day. This will help them digest their food properly so there aren’t any issues.

Common Health Problems

Molly fish have a tendency to develop a variety of serious conditions, including velvet and ich. Keep an eye out for any strange spots or marks on them. You also want to note any changes in color or a sudden lack of appetite.


  • There are a number of different Molly fish to choose from, so it is important to examine some of your options.
  • These fish are typically found in freshwater streams, but they can also thrive in salt water environments.
  • You’ll most likely want to keep your Molly in a tank that is at least 30 gallons so it has plenty of space.
  • You can use a bubbler in your fish’s tank without any issues, but air and water pumps are not needed.
  • Make sure that you provide them with plenty of places to take shelter, such as caves and various rocks.
  • Keep the water in the tank between 72 and 78 degrees at all times.
  • Mollies can eat a wide range of food, but it is important to provide them with lots of vegetation.
  • Your Molly will take to live food the best, so keep that in mind.
  • Ich and velvet are two common conditions these fish have a tendency to develop.
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