With the number of different species being bred these days, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to Molly fish breeding.
But don’t worry, this guide will take you through the basics of what you need to get started, and provide some tips to help you on your way.
So, without further ado, let’s start.
Set up the Breeding Tank
The first and most important step to breeding molly fish is to set up a tank that will be specifically used for breeding.
In this section, we will go over the basics of setting up a breeding tank for mollies.
1. Tank size
In general, molly fish do better in larger tanks with more room to swim about.
So, a tank size of at least 20 gallons is recommended.
Smaller tanks may lead to a slew of difficulties, including:
- There’s less swimming space to avoid aggressive fish, which equals stress.
- Because it’s more difficult to clean, it’s more prone to illness.
2. Ideal Water Parameters
Mollies prefer a tank that is around 80°F for breeding.
Also, they like water with a pH of neutral to slightly alkaline (up to 8).
Although some suggest adding aquarium salt to the breeding tank, I think that having potable-quality water works just fine.
Not all mollies can tolerate salt in their water, so if you have other freshwater fish, we strongly discourage using it in your aquarium.
3. Set a Filtration System
Since molly fish produce a lot of waste, it’s important to have a good filtration system in place.
A canister filter or a HOB (hang-on-back) filter work well for breeding tanks.
Just make sure to clean your filter regularly to avoid excess bacteria build-up.
4. Tank Heater
A water heater is essential to maintain the temperature of the water at the level that your mollies require it.
You won’t be able to keep temperatures high enough in a tropical environment unless you live there.
5. Place Some Decorations
Although mollies like the large swimming area, they also like to have some decorations in their tank.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to add some artificial plants, rocks, and caves.
This will help to make the tank look more natural and provide the fish with some hiding places.
Live plants are also an excellent source of algae that both adult fish and fry can feed on.
Purchase Your Fish
Now that your tank is all set up, it’s time to purchase your breeding pair.
When choosing a mate, it’s important to select fish that are the same size and have similar coloring.
If you’re not sure how to determine molly fish gender, don’t worry – most pet stores can tell you.
The male molly has a gonopodium, or long stick-like fin, on his lower half, which he uses to fertilize the female.
The female molly, on the other hand, has a softer, fan-shaped anal fin that is also on the lower half of her body.
When purchasing your fish, it’s critical to keep the number of males to a bare minimum, as the male to female ratio should be 1:3, or one male for three females.
Because more males are continuously looking for females, which puts too much strain on female mollies, they aren’t required.
Introduce the Pair in the Breeding Tank
Set the bag of fish in the tank for 10-15 minutes before adding water.
This will help to acclimate them to the tank’s temperature and pH.
After the 10-15 minutes have passed, slowly pour the fish and the water from the bag into the breeding tank.
Provide Your Fish with a Good Quality Food
Molly fish are omnivorous and will eat a variety of food items.
However, to ensure that they are getting the proper nutrition for breeding, it’s important to provide them with good quality food.
There are many different types of molly fish food on the market, so be sure to do your research before selecting one.
Some good options include:
Flake food – This is good all-around food that most molly fish will eat.
Live food – This includes bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other small live insects.
Frozen food – This includes frozen brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and daphnia.
Wait for them to Mate
You may already know that livebearers do not lay eggs and instead give birth to live fish.
When it comes to mating, male mollies will chase the female mollies, in which the male is typically beneath the female molly, a sign of copulation.
Female molly fish are constantly pregnant if male mollies are present; even when they aren’t, it’s theoretically possible for the female fish to get pregnant.
Females can keep sperm longer and fertilize eggs even when males aren’t around.
As a result, if you’ve ever wondered why your molly fish was already pregnant from the shop, now you have your answer.
Remove the Female from the Aquarium Before Birthing Begins
When you notice that your female is already pregnant, it is recommended to remove her from the aquarium.
This is because the male fish frequently chases after and desires to mate more often than not, which may put a strain on the pregnancy.
Also, female mollies will give birth to live young, and if they’re in the tank with the other fish, they may eat the fry.
The fry will also need good quality food to grow and thrive.
Remove the Female Again After She Put the Young Babies
Unfortunately, the female may eat her own babies, so it’s best to relocate her with the other fish for the safety of the fry.
If you can’t remove it again, it is recommended to add a lot of plants and hiding areas in the tank so the fry can hide.
Taking Care of the Fry
1. Feed the fry
Because molly babies don’t have yolk sacs to eat after they’re born, they need to be fed and can’t subsist on algae and whatever else they may find in the aquarium.
As a result, you must feed them tiny portions of food that will fit into their mouths.
They also require frequent feedings since their digestive cycle is quite quick.
Feeding them frequently (up to five times daily) and with little portions is crucial for quickly raising molly fry.
You should aim for a varied diet that includes both live and flake foods.
Baby brine shrimp, micro worms, daphnia, and vinegar eels are all viable options when it comes to the livefood.
If you can’t get access to live food, frozen or freeze-dried alternatives are acceptable.
As for flakes, finely crushed adult flakes may be fed to little fry if they’re available; alternatively, you may offer them adult flakes in a powder form.
You may also administer hard-boiled egg yolk paste as a high-protein alternative for live foods.
2. Put an Eye on the Water Quality
Because Molly babies are susceptible to elevated toxin levels in the aquarium, they should be raised in a tank that has a filter system.
As they’re still tiny, make sure you get a fry-safe filter so they don’t get sucked into it.
A too powerful or non-existent filter will suck your fry away.
Also, a heater is required to maintain consistent temperatures (up to 80°F) to ensure that your fish are healthy.
Baby mollies’ metabolism will be accelerated by warm water, encouraging them to eat more and grow faster.
Make sure you perform weekly water changes and check the water quality regularly to determine whether you need additional frequent water changes in bigger volumes.
Wait for the Fry to Mature
Molly fry will reach maturity in about two months, but it will depend on the water temperature and food availability.
When they reach maturity, they’ll have a more robust coloration and markings as well as be able to reproduce.
At this point, you can put them in your community tank.
Separate the Males and the Females
This step is up to you, but we recommend it because if you don’t, you’ll likely have more fry.
Males and females should be separated when they reach maturity to prevent uncontrolled breeding.
This may cause overcrowding and future problems in your tank.
Molly fry is a joy to have in an aquarium, and With proper care your molly fish will be beautiful fish., they will grow into beautiful fish.
Make sure you provide them with a healthy diet, good water quality, and plenty of hiding spots, and you will be rewarded with happy and healthy fish.
Good luck with your new babies!
If you still have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment.