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Molly Fish

The genus Mollienesia has been vacated from which the name Molly fish was derived. Today the scientific name for Mollies are Poecilia and are considered to be in the same genus as the Guppy.

It's been noticed over years that under certain circumstances the Guppy will interbreed with the Molly. This close relationship has now been confirmed.

Mollies like hard, alkaline water conditions. This can be achieved by adding a level teaspoon (5ml)of salt per 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of water.

There are three species which are important to the aquarist, namely Poecilia sphenops, Poecilia latipinna and Poecilia velifera. Latipinna and velifera are known as sailfin mollies.

The name "sailfin" derives from the dorsal fin of the male which becomes greatly enlarged as he matures. Latipinna and velifera are quite similar with the difference being the number of rays in the dorsal fin, eighteen for the velifera and fourteen for the latipinna. In nature these fishes are gray-green and the occasionally melanistic black specimens are found. The dorsal fin of the sailfin species originates in front of the hump on it's back.

The dorsal fin does not achieve the size of the sailfin species dorsal in the sphenops species. The original sphenops molly is mottled black and silver. The posterior edge of the tail in the mail is usually bordered with yellow or orange. The dorsal fin of the sphenops molly originates behind the high point of the back.

Mollies, like Guppies, can be acclimated to sea water and are frequently found in the sea in coastal areas. Mollies are live-bearing fish and fry are born between 28 and 35 days of free-swimming. The adult female can have between 50 and 60 fry at one time, but offer no parental care for the young.

Mollies enjoy algae growth to feed on in the aquarium. They are true omnivores and will feed basically on anything that comes along like a varied diet of flake foods, once or twice a week live food such as tubifex, bloodworms and glassworms as well.

TOP: A male and female pair of Sailfin Mollies

Read also about Aquarium Care

Learn about Setting Up a New Aquarium

Back to Tropical Aquarium Fish from Molly Fish

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