Very popular in aquariums, the Molly (Poecilia shenops) is an ideal fish for both beginners and experienced fish, as it is easy to breed and reproduces very easily. Lively, but never aggressive, the Molly is appreciated for its great variety. On the other hand, it remains fragile and will need quality water. Discover the characteristics of this small Central American fish and our techniques to raise it without difficulty.
Who is Molly?
The Molly, native to Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, comes from the large family Poeciliidae. It is one of the most common and popular species of fish in the aquarium hobby. Very varied and easy to reproduce, it is ideal for beginners as well as for experienced amateurs.
The Molly was first introduced in Europe in 1899, initially in Germany. The Black Molly was already widespread from the beginning of the 20th century and the species standard was set in 1989.
The most common varieties are the Black Molly, the Dalmatian Molly, the Gold Dust Molly and the Balloon Molly. On the other hand, it is not recommended to buy the latter in pet shops, because this fish comes from several successive selections made by breeders and its shape has been obtained artificially. However, you should know that the animal is suffering from scoliosis which causes it severe pain, disrupts swimming and which generally leads to the death of the mother during the laying of the eggs. He is recognizable by his big round belly, hence his name.
The Molly generally lives on the surface and in the middle part of the tank. It is recognized for its robustness and longer life than its other cousins. Poelicia famous as the Platy and the Guppy. Very peaceful and peaceful, the Molly reproduces without difficulty several times a year. It can reach 4 to 8 cm in length and has an average life expectancy of 2 to 3 years.
Being gregarious, the Molly is purchased in schools of at least 6 individuals. It is advisable to adopt at least two females for one male, because during the breeding season, the ardor of these males can be very exhausting for the females. Opt for a tank of at least 200 liters and which has a long frontage of at least 80 cm to allow them to swim at ease.
The reproduction of the Molly
Molly breeding is very easy to achieve, as the fish are able to breed as soon as they are placed in the aquarium and old enough to do so. The females can lay up to a hundred fry per month, after a gestation period of 26 to 45 days. Being particularly prolific, it is not recommended to let the Molly live in an aquarium whose volume is less than 200 liters, otherwise you will quickly be invaded by fish.
It is by means of his anal fin, the gonopod, that the male fertilizes the female. This gonopod is the only way to truly distinguish a male from a female, although the former is usually smaller and more colorful than the latter. The fry are already born autonomous and able to feed themselves. Being already large, they are rarely eaten by their parents, but it is not impossible. Consequently, it is advisable to isolate newborns so as not to take any risks and allow them to develop normally and without stress. Feed them well so that they grow quickly, especially with Artemia nauplii (larvae), and make sure to preserve quality water, without nitrates.
Prefer to adopt two to three females for one male, because the latter constantly court the females and end up exhausting them until they fall ill. However, stress promotes the development of bacterial and parasitic diseases in the Molly, which can then die of white spot disease or fin rot.
How to raise the Molly in the aquarium?
The Molly needs a tank of at least 200 liters for 8 individuals and basic and hard water, with a pH between 7 and 8.2 and a GH between 10 and 30 (water hardness) . The current can be relatively slow, even stagnant.
Due to these requirements, few other species can truly live in good conditions with the Molly. In any case, avoid other species of fish so as not to lead to hybridization or rapid overpopulation. Keep the water at a temperature between 18 and 28°C, although they are most often acclimatized to a temperature of 26°C in breeding.
Provide a decor of bushy plants, stones and roots to allow the females to hide when the males have the unfortunate tendency to chase them constantly to reproduce.
What food for Molly?
You can feed the Molly with regular flakes and pellets, but be aware that it prefers live or frozen prey, as it is an omnivore with carnivorous tendencies. In addition, you will need to supplement its diet with vegetables such as spinach or blanched zucchini.
One meal a day is sufficient, but be careful not to overdose it too much, because the Mollys will not eat everything and the rest may rot at the bottom of the tank and promote the development of bacteria.