Wild Molly Fish – Habitat, Types and Tank Mates

A wild molly fish is an adaptable fish that inhabits freshwater streams and coastal brackish and marine waters of Mexico. It is dull, silvery in color, and one of the most well-known aquarium fishes and nearly as easy to keep as guppies.

A wild molly is the most misunderstood fish, and this negates its typical peaceful nature. Despite this, this fish has been successfully nurtured by humans, therefore, you can too. How then do you nurture them?

This article contains adequate information on a wild molly fish. Also, we would share some known and unknown facts about wild dust molly, demystify myths, and mention its various tank mates.

Physical Features of a Wild Molly Fish

It has a variable coloration and patterning. Also, this means you will get a wide variety of Mollies that have different colors, patterns, sizes, and shapes. A common molly has a flat body, large fan-shaped caudal fin, flat fan shaped dorsal fin and a narrow-pointed mouth, when you are trying to describe its features.

Typically, aquarists are attracted to its beautiful fins, patterns, and colors such as white, orange, yellow and green. Usually, this makes them want to adopt them. Also, the female often have a triangular fan-shaped anal fin, while, the male fish has a pointed anal fin with gonopodium. Moreover, female Mollies are fatter and longer than male Mollies. Furthermore, the pregnant female Mollies looks bigger because of their protruding bellies, containing eggs called fry.


You can find them in rivers and streams near Columbia, Central America, Mexico and brackish water near Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Carolina. This fish is a hardy fish and it has a unique ability to adjust in both saltwater and freshwater habitats with varying temperatures. Typically, because this fish is an easy-to-breed fish, fish keepers select this Molly for their aquarium.


Wild Molly fish is an omnivorous species. Also, this species have a wide variety of food choices.. Therefore, the basic thing you need to know is the quantity and the type of food to feed them at a specific time.

This fish likes consuming both meaty and vegetable as food. Typically, it scrapes algae from rocks and driftwoods underwater with its mouth. Some vegetable and protein foods you can feed this wild molly fish are:

  • Small Pieces of Green Vegetables
  • Spinach
  • Squashed Lettuce Leaves
  • Zucchini
  • Boiled and Raw Cucumbers
  • Bloodworms
  • Brineshrimps and
  • Tubifex

Also, in the market you will find various frozen pellets or dried flakes that are highly nutritious for your pet Molly fish.

Types of Molly Fish

A wide variety of molly fish belongs to the same family but it usually looks different from each other. Also, you can add this breeds in your personal or commercial aquarium. Therefore, below are a few names of mollies;

White/silver sailfin molly

Just like the common molly fish, a white/ silver sailfin can live in various types of water conditions. Typically, you can find a turquoise blue marking on the caudal fin of this fish. This molly fish can bring ecstasy in your aquarium. This is because of this 5″ (12.7 cm) molly fish long fin, white body, and silvery scales. Therefore, both beginners and experts love molly fish.

Black sailfin molly

This fish does not have a bright appearance, but what attracts the fish keepers is its fan-shaped fins. It is a 4″ (10 cm) species. Which is also hardy and a peaceful fish and it is entirely black in color. Therefore, you should find a 30-gallon tank. Also, to safeguard your pet fish from injuries and fights, always avoid keeping fin-nippers with the breed.

Golden sailfin molly

This golden-colored fish prefers dwelling in a green environment and is an algae eater. Therefore, always try to arrange a heavy-planted 30-gallon tank for this fish. Also, it is suitable for both tropical and brackish water tank. Typically, this peaceful and hardy fish is suitable for an aquarium and it grows up to 6″ (15.24 cm) in captive.

Harlequin sailfin molly

This golden-yellow colored molly fish has speckles of black and white patches on its body. Along with the dazzling colors and patterns, many people appreciate the peaceful and hardy nature of this 6″ (15.24 cm) fish. Furthermore, this is the main reason that this breed is globally popular.

Gold dust molly 

The golden-yellow body and blackish fins of this peaceful fish. it is a 5″ (12.7 cm) fish and is quite attractive. Moreover, all types of fish-keepers love them. Typically, their females are larger than males and during pregnancy, they also develop spots. Therefore, ideally set a 30-gallon fish tank for your pet fish.

Gold doubloon molly

This fish has a shimmering body with small fins. it is bicolored. This molly fish is vibrant-shaded and it needs a huge space with live plants, and small pebbles. This is because of its jumping nature. Typically, it as an average length of 5″ (12.7 cm).

Black lyretail molly

On the body of this fish, there are large black scales. It is also a passive-natured fish and its caudal fins are lyre-shaped. It is also a 5″ (12.7 cm) fish that you can keep in a 30-gallon tank. Therefore, you should install a good filtration system in its tank. This is because it excretes a lot of poop than other mollies.

Platinum lyretail molly

This bright platinum body molly fish has a lyre-shaped tail. Typically, it can dwell in both freshwater and saltwater like the common molly fish. Compared to other mollies, this 5″ (12.7 cm) fish dorsal fins is small.

Marble lyretail molly

This marble lyretail molly is multicolored with a shining black and white marble. Typically, its tail is colored dark grey and shaped just like a hand fan. It has bright eyes and a lyre-shaped caudal fin. Also, this fish is attractive to fish keepers because of its pattern and multiple color shade. Typically, they require a 30 to 35-gallon tank. This is because this fish is an active swimmer.

Dalmatian lyretail molly

Usually, many people misidentify a marble lyretail molly and a dalmatian molly. This is because they have the same black and white shades on their bodies. However, you can differentiate them from their tails. Usually, the tail of a dalmatian lyretail molly is curvy and bigger when compared to that of a marble lyretail molly. This fish is peaceful and typically has a length of 3″ (7.62 cm).

Dalmatian molly

This black and white fish can grow up to 5″ (12.7 cm).  This is why, they need a large and spacious tank for swimming. We recommend a 30-gallon. Also, try to put a good filter and heater for the well-being and comfort of this fish.

Balloon belly molly fish

A 25-gallon aquarium is enough for this 3″ (5 cm) fish. Its caudal fin is lyre-shaped. Also, it has a protruding black spots in its yellow-white body. Typically, it has acute and fat tummy that is like a balloon, and this is its most prominent physical characteristics.

Diseases of Wild Molly Fish with Interventions

Molly fish is the easiest fish compared to other freshwater breeds, and it also does not face any trouble during the breeding process. Because some bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections can harm your cute little molly fish. You will need to maintain the quality of water in your aquarium where you keep your pet wild molly. Furthermore, mollies are prone to some diseases, and this includes:

  • Ich
  • Molly disease or livebearers disease
  • Shimmies
  • Velvet disease
  • Appetite problem
  • Discoloration
  • Wiggling in weakness

Most of these diseases occur because of the poor quality of the water, unhygienic environment, stress and wrong diet. Therefore, you must avoid this by replacing the tank water weekly or monthly, and feeding nutritious foods to your wild molly fish.

To Salt, Or Not to Salt, That Is the Question!

If mollies can survive in freshwater within the wild, why do numerous experienced aquarists recommend keeping them in brackish water? To know this, it`s important to comprehend that marine salt mix does over simply raise the salinity.

Marine salt mix contains flavoring plus an enormous type of other mineral salts, including an oversized quantity of salts that raise pH, and increase hardness. Typically, putting marine salt to a molly tank provides mollies with water conditions much closer to its which they like and it also moderates it, inhibiting any subsequent water chemical changes.

Tonic salt can’t do that, because it contains nothing by common salt, a chemical that cannot modify pH or hardness in any form. An aquarist adding a particular amount of salt to the molly aquarium is effectively guaranteeing the proper water conditions with none have to loaf with pH buffers or water hardening agents.

Salt: An Anti-Parasite to a Wild Molly Fish Aquarium

Salt, whether marine mix or flavoring, is additionally an efficient anti-parasite and antifungal medication when utilized in the right proportion. Although, the recommended is teaspoon-per-gallon quantities. In which, will have at the most a marginal effect compared with commercial white spot or fungus remedies.

Once the salinity gets to a reasonable level, around 20-25% the salinity of normal seawater (sg 1.004-1.006) then most freshwater parasites find it very difficult to survive. Also, fungal infections tend to turn rapidly.

Naturally, wild mollies kept in around half-strength seawater (sg 1.012) will nearly as good as never get infected with parasites. This can be because, very few, if any, brackish water parasites have managed to become established within the aquarium.

By contrast, wild mollies kept in freshwater aquaria are at risk of variety of diseases, including whitespot, fungus, finrot, and ‘the shimmies’, which is a neurological disease that manifests itself as an inability for the fish to swim properly. Instead, the fish can rock from one side to another in water.

Factors to think about When Keeping a Wild Molly Fish

Low temperature is probably going to be a very important factor. This can be because, a fish’s system is going to be optimized to figure within a particular range of temperatures. Typically, the aquarium standard 25ë°c (77ë°f) is at the low end of what mollies enjoy, and it`s probably this, plus a poor water quality, that makes them vulnerable to disease in the average community tank.

Another essential factor to be noted is always the salinity of the aquarium. This can be because, as stated earlier, salt acts as an anti-parasite and anti-fungi to an aquarium fish. Therefore, the salt content of the tank should meet the essential parameter requirement.

Although, the absence of salt may not cause any of these problems, adding salt is certainly a method to cater to them.

11 Compatible Wild Molly Fish Tank Mates

Here could be a few of the simplest tank mates for Mollies:


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Moderately peaceful; varies by individual

Tank size: Minimum of five gallons

Water temperature and pH: 74-82° F, 6.8-7.8 pH

Lifespan: a pair of years

Guppies could be a terribly flashy fish, distinctive for its bright and varied coloration. In contrast to several captive fish species, male guppies is smaller than their feminine counterparts. Like mollies, it`s little and fast, that means they are going to get on well, enjoying friendly competition for food. However, they ought to largely keep out of every other fish way.

Guppies is analogous to tetras and betta fish in look. Male guppies is a lot of colorful, growing to a goop length of 1.5″, whereas the females is not as flashy and grey in color. Also, the females grow larger, to about 2.5″ in length.


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Peaceful

Tank size: 13+ gallons

Water temperature and pH: 72-78° F, 7.0-8.3 pH

Lifespan: Three years

Platys is little, fast, friendly, fun to observe and colorful fish. Also, they need fan-shaped tail fins and are available in a wide range of colors, from black, blue, brown, red, gold, and green. There is even a cool variant of poeciliid fish that includes a distinctive black pattern on its tail that resembles Mick Mouse’s head!

These seafood is ideal for beginners and it`s best fitted to ten gallon tanks. Fortuitously, they eat a similar food as Mollies, creating them even a lot of ideal as tank mates. What is more, platys become old to be 1.5-2.5″ long. Like guppies, the feminine is bigger than the males.


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Usually peaceful, will be aggressive throughout feeding.

Tank size: 30+ gallons per angelfish

Water temperature and pH: 78-84° F, 6.0-7.5 pH

Lifespan: Ten years

Angelfish is perhaps a number of the foremost well-known hobby fish. Also, it`s fashionable because of its distinctive body form and color, furthermore, as its swish, hypnotizing movements. Also, angelfish is native to tributaries of the Amazon in South America. Its natural environs include shallow, slow moving water with vegetation and hanging trees that makes shady concealment spots.

The biggest issue that hobbyists usually face with angelfish is that the tendency for smaller aggressive fish to nip their fins. This implies, it is crucial to analysis the compatibility between angelfish and alternative fish within the tank to be positive that they`re all compatible. Angelfish is peaceful, however will become territorial throughout breeding.


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Peaceful

Tank size: Fifteen gallons

Water temperature and pH: 70-82° F, 7.0-8.0 pH

Lifespan: 3-5 years

Swordtails could be a seafood species that`s originally from central America, associated in its natural environs, comes in a green color. Also, it is currently on the market in a very wider array of colors, most typically red or orange. Typically, it`s an awfully hardy fish, and is most identifiable by the long extension on rock bottom half their tail fin. Usually, helleri could be a peaceful, active community fish, creating a great company for mollies.


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Peaceful

Tank size: 10+ gallons

Water temperature and pH: 75-78° F, 5.0-7.5 pH

Lifespan: Eight years

Tetras could be a slim very little seafood, famous for its element varieties that add dazzling color to the tank. It is social like danios and likes to be among other school of fishes. Also, it should not be placed among any fish with long fins because it is understood to nip. Even though, angelfish, gouramis, or alternative long finned fish might be sensible tank mates for mollies.

Though, it`s associate omnivore in its natural habitats, it will do well on flake food once unbroken in captivity. However, it might probably appreciate a snack of branchiopod or bloodworms often. For this reason, it would not not be the simplest tank mates for shrimp.

Cichlids (Some Species)

Care level: Moderate

Nature: Famous to be territorial and aggressive supported species

Tank size: 20+ gallons

Water temperature and pH: 72-82° F, 7.8-8.5 pH

Lifespan: 10+ years

There is over 1,200 species of cichlids, thus, this can be an awfully broad class to debate. Cichlids are available in all colors of the rainbow, from solid silver to blue-green noticed to red-mouthed!

Cichlids is native to the waters of Continents such as Africa and Southern Asia, the bulk of the species housing in massive lakes. Also, it is distinctive for its coupling and breeding activities, that sometimes involve suit, nest creation, and protection of its young, in contrast to most alternative fishes.

Generally speaking, most cichlids species is friendly enough to be compatible with mollies, however to make certain it is vital to visualize on the particular species. Some species that observe Molly tank mates is Dwarf Cichlids, Discus, Rams, hole Cichlids, and Severums.

They need a minimum of a 20-gallon tank, as they will grow old to 8 inches in captivity. Also, cichlids will be feeder or omnivores in nature, looking on the species. But, in captivity it will be fed a mixture of flakes, branchiopod, and seared cut spinach.


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Usually peaceful, however, might nip fins

Tank size: 5+ gallons per danio (best unbroken in teams of 5-6)

Water temperature and pH: 70-75° F, 7.0-7.8 pH

Lifespan: Two to three years

Danios could be a hardy schooling fish that comes in many sorts. It is one among the foremost well-known being equine danios (also referred to as zebrafish). Also, it is a slim very little fish with forked tails, and most of its varieties have nice color and it is horizontally patterned. Typically, it is fast and prefers to be unbroken with some alternative danios in a community tank.


Care level: Moderate

Nature: Peaceful

Tank size: 10+ gallons for dwarf species, 30+ for larger species

Water temperature and pH: 75-80° F, pH

Lifespan: Four years

Gouramis is loved by both beginning and advanced fish keepers because it is a very special fish. The easiest variety to find in most pet stores is the dwarf species. Typically, its larger variety is more visually attractive because of its bright colors and interesting patterns. But, it may not be as suitable as tank mates as the other dwarf species, because it is more aggressive. All varieties will live up to 4 years and it is a hardy fish. Furthermore, it is the most sociable.

They have an adaptation that makes them especially hardy. it has a special organ. Which is called labyrinth organs, that helps it breathe with very little oxygen at the water`s surface. Typically, their natural habitats in Asia is shallow waters. Furthermore, this adaptation helps it to thrive in community aquariums.


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Peaceful

Tank size: 5+ gallons

Water temperature and pH: 78-80° F, 5.0-8.0 pH

Life span: 2-3 years

This fish is not famous like other fishes on this list, but it should be! Endlers is sometimes referred to as a species of guppy and typically it is crossbred with guppies. Usually, it has a similar size as a molly. Also, there is a really unique coloration with black, red, and iridescent blue-green scales in their males. Typically, its sociability level is similar to mollies, and this feature makes them an ideal tank mates.

Endlers only grow to reach a length of about 1inch, so they should not be kept with tank mates who might prey on them, such as Oscars. Furthermore, endlers are omnivorous and need a diet that provides algae and plant matter as well as brine shrimp and bloodworms.


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Peaceful

Tank size: 1-2+ gallons

Water temperature and pH: 75-86° F, 7.0-7.5 pH

Lifespan: 1 year

Snail is a great addition to most fish tanks. This is because, it typically will not disturb the other fish at all and it is also very useful in keeping the tank clean! It feeds on all of the waste of the tank, and to prevent itself from other fish’s curiosity it simply tucks itself into its shell.

There are many aquarium snail species to choose from for freshwater tanks, including mystery snails, inca snails, apple snails, and rabbit snails!


Care level: Beginner

Nature: Peaceful

Tank size: 5-10+ gallons

Water temperature and pH: 65-80° F, 6.0-7.6 pH

Lifespan: 1-2 years

It does not feed on waste as much as snails do. Typically, it will not bother any freshwater fish it is kept with. Also, it will add an interesting element to the bottom level of the tank and it is very beautiful to watch. This is because, it is a bottom feeder fish.

You should read up on the basic requirements of different species of shrimp. This is because each species has slightly different requirements for pH and temperature. Therefore, make sure they always fit with the fish you already have in the tank.

It is important to keep in mind that freshwater shrimp can be very sensitive to changes in water parameters such as temperature and pH.

Good choices that can keep your tank clean include: Amano shrimp, ghost shrimp, red cherry shrimp and grass shrimp. Also, this fish can be very useful to the tank community, on a condition that it is not paired with any fish that can prey on them!

Keeping Molly Fish Together

Wild mollies co-exist fairly well with some other types of fishes and require a moderate level of care. Usually, you should ensure to keep them in groups of at least four or more, when keeping them together.

The group should be made of mostly females since their males are known to harass and stress the females. Typically, the major cause of aggression is usually reproduction. Most times, keeping different molly fish together can result in hybridization.


How long do wild mollies live?

Wild mollies will live for between 3 and 5 years and can grow to 5.

Are wild mollies fish mammals?

No, they are not mammals. Typically, a fish can either lay eggs or be a livebearer.

How do I keep my wild molly fish happy?

The highly acceptable recommendation is to keep the water temperature and pH as stable as possible to avoid unnecessary stress for your fish. Typically, this fish prefers hard water of 15 to 30 dGH. Wild mollies thrive at a higher pH, preferably 8.0. Although, the main pH varies for different types of mollies, but the values from 7.5 to 8.5 are mostly preferred.

Can wild mollies mate with other fishes?

Naturally, this fish is more peaceful than most other aquarium fishes. As I have already said, a wild molly is a livebearer. Also, it is one of the most common community livebearer fish, although, guppies are also. Therefore, mollies can also breed with guppies.


Although, it may seem like a lot of work to rear a wild molly fish. I can assure you your effort will be rewarded with some bright colors and unique social behaviors. Once the tank is up and running you shouldn’t experience any problems.

A wild molly fish is one of the most long-lived aquarium fish when given the right habitat. Therefore, choose a roomy aquarium, provide a good filtration system, feed it the proper diet, and meet all of its tank requirements.

If you like to add this adorable and calm-nature fish in your aquarium, then we hope the guide above is detailed. Also, this will help you take care of your pet molly fish properly. Remember, fish-keeping is not a hobby, but a responsibility. Finally, if given the chance, a wild molly fish will quickly work its way to become one of your favorite fish.