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Poecilia sphenops

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Molly - Poecilia sphenops

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Molly_Poecilia_sphenops_7.jpg (17kb)
Photo Credit: Dusko Bojic

Name: Poecilia sphenops
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Mexico to Colombia
6 cm 60 L 7.5 27C


Mollies are some of the easiest species to raise once you know what you are doing. They can be raised equally in fresh water, brackish, or fully saltwater. As a matter of fact, when I cycle a new saltwater tank, I alway use, green, any color, it doesn't matter as the mollies swim bladder can easily adjust to the salt content as long as it stays on the lower level of seawater, like 1017-1022. No higher than 1022 is recommended, but can be done for short periods. The key to keeping mollies is that the tank needs to get an adequate amount of sunlight, so that natural algae can grow in the tank, which they will quickly devour like crazy. Only the green algae, not the hard or blue-green algae. Also, they need an abundance of live plants if possible, or vegetable flakes of some kind. They are omnivorous, but are mostly on the vegetarian side. The tanks need to be large and warm, no lower than 24C or they will start to shimmy. At lower temperatures they will develop all kinds of illness: ich, velvet (most common) and flukes. 25-26C is ideal.

Green mollies and short fin sphenops are extremely aggressive on females so you always need a 3 to 1 ratio otherwise the males will literally harrass them to death for sex. Lyretails are the most delicate and need to be kept away from aggressive fish that will nip their finds. Balloon mollies should never be overfed. After the first generation of mollies have bred, the young should be set up in their own tanks for full growth and maturation, otherwise they will quickly inbreed (amongst their siblings) and never grow to more than 5 cm. For proper growth, females should be keep separate from males for at least 6 months and fed on a varied diet. Store bought brine shrimp should never be feed to mollies, only home-grown. Best is frozen or freeze-dried to prevent parasites that come in off live shrimp. Keep the tank always on the hard water side and this will prevent skin infections. If you don't have live plants, crushed coral is the ideal bottom medium for mollies. Keep the tank swept or use fish that stir the bottom medium otherwise the rotting waste on the bottom of the substrate will cause the pH to turn acidic. Never overfeed your mollies, best to underfeed and let them forage for the rest of their meal thoughout the tank. I believe using this advice will give you as many wonderful years of pleasure that it has given me raising my mollies. Good Luck!

Contributed by Joe L

This is a popular fish that doesn't lay eggs. It's not very nice with its young but a nice fish to start breeding with. It's a beautiful fish because the fish seems as soft as velvet in the tank.

Contributed by Han

Ever go to a fish store and run your finger along the glass (or right in front of it) by a tank full of mollies? They usually swarm to your finger and follow it around and around. Now THAT'S entertainment, especially for the younger kids. Mollies are adorable.

Contributed by (no name given)

These fish are beautiful! I have a pair of Silver Lyretail mollies and they are a real couple. They swim around together all the time! They are great beginner fish that are very very hardy (not to mention inexpensive in case your fish isn't hardy enough). They seem to have a routine because everytime I watch them they swim side by side scaling the tank and it seems as if they know exactly the spot to turn around and start again. In conclusion these fish are hardy, interesting, beautiful, and very friendly!

Contributed by David

I personally have only owned two black mollies. I happen to work in the pets department at a Wal-mart, and I know of several breeds of mollies. There is the gold dust, the black, the silver, the sailfin, the balloon, the Dalmatian lyretail, and the marble. Hope this is some help to you. Oh, yes also black lyretail, and silver lyretail.

Contributed by Lee

One day my boyfriend and I bought this absolutely beautiful black molly to add to my always-growing aquarium. Little did I know just how quickly it was growing when we awoke the next morning to see, not just one molly, but 30! The little devil (which is quite a coincidence since her name is Mephistopheles) had 29 babies during the night! I have now been raising the babies (minus 5 that died shortly after birth) for several weeks and love them to death! They are so easy to care for and such little darlings to watch. Their birth has made me a fish-fanatic and I've been dedicating much of my time to my aquarium. We love our mollies! Oh, and for a little fun, stick the tip of your finger in your tank and see if your molly tries to nibble on ya!

Contributed by Wolfbone

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