Why Is My Molly Hiding?

Why Is My Molly Hiding?

If you’ve ever had a fish, you know that they can be unpredictable at times. One moment they might be swimming around your tank energetically and the next they might seem to have disappeared. 

Actually, there are many reasons why molly fish hide. Maybe they’re scared, maybe they’re sick, or maybe they’re just trying to avoid predators. In any case, it’s important to know why your molly fish is hiding so that you can take steps to ensure their health and safety.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about why molly fish hide and what you can do to help them feel more comfortable in their environment.

Do Molly Fish Hide?

Yes, Mollies dwell in rivers, streams, and marshes with a lot of aquatic plants in the wild. They utilize the vegetation to hide from predators, and they have been seen hiding beneath floating vegetation to avoid detection.

However, it’s not fine to have mollies that spend the bulk of their time hiding. To put it another way, this behavior is not normal. If your molly fish is constantly hiding, something in the tank has gone wrong.

11 Reasons Why Molly Fish Hide

There are quite a few explanations for why your molly fish might be hiding. The most frequent ones are listed below.

1. They Are Introduced to a New Tank

You shouldn’t be worried if you recently acquired a molly fish and observed an unusual behavior like hiding.

When fish are moved to a new location, they get frightened and need time to adapt to their new tankmates and environment.

For this reason, they usually hide in the new tank, but once they feel at home, they will come out and start swimming around.

2. They Are Sick

Mollies are susceptible to a variety of illnesses, including those they acquire from other fish in the same tank. If you see your Mollies hiding in their cave all day, it’s very likely that they’re sick.

3. Pregnancy

It’s not only for fish, this case also happens to humans. When they are pregnant, they usually want to rest in a safe and comfortable place.

So, if your Molly is pregnant, she will find a hiding place to rest in and protect her future fry from other fish in the tank.

4. They Feel Threatened

Mollies are timid and can get afraid of anything new in the tank, such as an invertebrate, a hiding place, or even another fish.

As a result, if you want to add any of these elements, do it when your Molly is not present.

If you’ve recently adjusted anything in your tank or relocated it, the likelihood is that your Molly fish are frightened and hiding due to anxiety.

5. They Are Housed with Aggressive Tank Mates

When there are other aggressive fish in the same tank, Molly fish tend to be more skittish and hide a lot.

For example, barbs and bettas are well-known for being territorial and attacking other fish. So, if you have these aggressive tank mates with your Molly, it’s no surprise that your Molly is hiding.

6. They Feel Lonely

Mollies are schooling fish, so they like to be in groups. If you only have one molly fish in the tank, it may become anxious, leading to hiding all day.

7. Low-Water Quality

Mollies are resilient and adaptable fish that can survive in a variety of habitats, including freshwater, brackish water, and saltwater.

However, there is a limit to what they can endure. Your duty as an aquarium keeper is to provide the conditions needed for them to flourish.

Therefore, if the water quality in your tank is not up to par, your Molly might be trying to tell you something by hiding all day.

8. Improper Water Parameters

Despite being adaptable to different environments, mollies still have specific water needs that must be met for them to thrive. If you didn’t meet these requirements, your Molly will get stressed.

The poor molly will search the tank for a suitable hiding place to protect itself from the stressful environment.

The water parameters for molly fish are:

  • pH level: 7.5-8.5
  • Ammonia levels: 0 ppm
  • Nitrites levels: 0 ppm
  • Nitrates levels: 20-40 ppm 
  • Temperature: 75-82 °F (24-28 °C)
  • Water Hardness: 10-25 dH

9. Improper Tank Lightings

Apart from water quality and temperature, you should also consider the lighting in your aquarium.

Mollies are tropical fish that originate from areas with lots of sunshine and they feel at ease in well-lit tanks.

Therefore, if you don’t provide enough light or utilize the incorrect kind of light, your fish will feel that it is not safe to come out and hide all day instead.

10. Overpopulated Tank

When your tank is filled with other species of fish besides mollies, you are creating an uncomfortable living situation for them.

The mollies will have less space to swim and may feel cramped. As a result, they might hide away all day to escape the congestion.

11. Poor Diet

A poor diet is one of the most common reasons why molly fish hide all day. Mollies are omnivorous, meaning they need both plant and animal matter to survive.

A diet that lacks essential nutrients will lead to health problems, such as malnutrition and molly fish diseases.  As a result of these diseases, your fish will become ill and barely able to move, let alone swim around.

How to Keep Your Mollies From Hiding?

As mentioned above, there are many reasons why your mollies may start hiding.

The good news is that you can take measures to prevent it from happening or, at least, reduce the frequency at which it happens. Here are some tips on how to keep your mollies from hiding:

1. Provide a Proper Diet

To keep your mollies healthy, you need to provide them with a well-rounded diet that includes both plant and animal matter.

You can also supplement their diet with live foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

Further, there are many commercial foods available that are specifically formulated for mollies, these foods will ensure your fish get all the nutrients they need.

2. Clean the Tank

It’s important to keep the tank clean to prevent the build-up of ammonia and nitrites, which can be harmful to your mollies.

To ensure there isn’t anything in the tank, you should do a weekly water change of 30%. You need to check the filter as well to be sure it’s functioning properly.

You should also have one air stone for every ten gallons to prevent oxygen deficiencies.

We recommend the Pawfly 1 Inch Air Stone. It does an excellent job of oxygenating the aquarium and is very cheap.

3. Maintain Water Temperature

Maintaining water temperature is also important for keeping mollies healthy. The ideal temperature for mollies is 75-82 °F (24-28 °C).

4. Add Decorations

Molly fish will also appreciate some decorations in their tank. This will make them feel more comfortable and help reduce stress.

For example, fill your aquarium with floating vegetation. It will provide a sense of refuge for them as well as a place to hide and rest.

Be careful and avoid anything with a sharp edge that may harm your molly.

5. Introduce the New Fish Gradually

When first introducing your molly to the tank, you should do so gradually. First, you need to acclimate them to the temperature of the water.

You can do this by keeping the new fish in the carrying bag inside the tank for a few hours. It will be able to comprehend its surroundings without being subjected to direct stress like this.

Resting the fish in this manner will also alleviate temperature variances. The bag in which we purchased the fish is frequently colder or warmer than the tank itself.

As a result, we will achieve a gradual equilibrium by placing the bag inside the tank.

7. Stick with Docile Tankmates

When it comes to schooling, mollies are highly social. They need the company of others of their kind, and being alone will drive them further into hiding.

So it’s critical to match your mollies with tankmates that they can get along with.

The suitable tankmates for molly fish will help to ensure that they don’t hide and cause a ruckus in the aquarium. If you’re stumped, go with platies or guppies; they’re both suitable with mollies.

8. Avoid Overcrowding

Mollies are social creatures that do best in groups. However, this doesn’t mean that you should overcrowd the tank.

As a rule of thumb, you should have 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water for each inch (2.5 cm) of fish.

9. Maintain Water Current

The current in your tank should be mild. If the current is stronger than your mollies can handle, they will have a difficult time swimming.

You can generate a mild current by using an air stone or powerhead. Just be sure not to overdo it, or your mollies will be constantly swimming against the current, which can be stressful.

10. Provide High Water Quality

High water quality is very essential for molly fish. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates should all be at 0 ppm.

To achieve these levels, you will need to do a 25% water change every week and vacuum the gravel to remove waste build-up.

You can check for nitrogen compounds such as nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia by the API Aquarium Test Kit.

This kit includes several test vials for measuring these toxins in minutes. That is without a doubt the most efficient kit you may ever purchase.

12. Disease Treatment

If you notice worrisome symptoms such as loss of appetite, sluggishness, and bruising, move the fish to a separate aquarium and begin treatment.

Also, before adding new fish to your molly fish aquarium, make sure to quarantine them for seven days.

This is because they might pass on illnesses that will subsequently harm your mollies if you don’t.

When Does Hiding of Molly Fish Indicate They Are Scared?

Molly fish that are skittish or easily frightened will spend a long time hiding.  This is because they feel unsafe and are trying to avoid potential threats.

Here are some signs that may indicate your molly fish is scared:

  1. Hiding in the corner for a while longer
  2. Fins near their body are at risk of being injured
  3. Floating at the top of the tank
  4. Sudden color change
  5. Avoiding light
  6. Not eating

Are Mollies Shy?

Mollies sometimes act timid; if you see your Mollie fish hiding, it’s probably just nervous, especially when they’re in a new location.

As with fish, some mollies are naturally more skittish than others. If your molly fish is hiding, give them time to adjust to their new surroundings. With a little patience, they’ll eventually come out and explore their new home.


Why Does Molly Fish Hide Under Plants and Rocks?

Mollies might frequently swim underneath plants or rocks for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  1. To ensure themselves from predators like large fish
  2. To provide shelter for fry
  3. They’re just relaxing and conserving energy for a meal or another round of breeding

What Is the Best Plant For Mollies To Hide?

There are various plants that Molly fish will hide in. In captivity, mollies need living plants to conceal and have a homely appearance.

The Melon Sword and Amazon Sword are both great sources of shade for mollies. If they aren’t available, Java Moss, Java Fern, and Anubias Nana are all excellent alternatives.

What Is the Best Tank Decor for Mollies to Hide?

The Mollies are adaptable, and they will utilize almost any kind of aquarium décor for concealment, although some choices work better than others.

Driftwood, holes in rocks and plastic plant branches are all good choices.

Do Mollies Hide When They Are Pregnant or Giving Birth?

Mollies will often seek out a secluded spot when they are pregnant or giving birth. This is to protect their fry from being eaten by other fish in the tank.

New Mollies Hiding Is Normal?

If you notice that your new Molly is acting strangely, hiding in various locations throughout the tank, you shouldn’t be concerned.

When you relocate a Molly from an aquarium into a fish tank with other fish, it feels threatened and insecure; as a result, they hide to keep themselves safe.

It takes time for a molly fish to get used to its new surroundings, but once it does, it no longer hides and instead becomes interactive and social.

Last Words

Molly fish are one of the most popular aquarium fish for good reason. They’re beautiful, easy to care for, and can live in a wide range of environments.

However, like all fish, they have their unique behaviors that you should be aware of.  One of these is hiding.

If you notice your molly fish frequently hiding, don’t worry; it’s perfectly normal behavior. In most cases, they’re just feeling insecure or need some time to adjust to their new surroundings.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

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