How Long Do Molly Live? Tips For A Long Life

How Long Do Molly Live? Tips For A Long Life 1

Molly fish belongs to the species of livebearing toothcarps.  Scientifically known as Poecilia Sphenops they are a variety of fish called Pocelia and we commonly address them as Molly 🙂 These fish will naturally inhabit in freshwater and marine waters of Mexico.

Mollies are one of the most popular feeder fish.  They boast a very high growth rate, impressive ability to reproduce, and high brood number.

Male mollies generally tend to be mildly aggressive than the females and are often not the best aquarium community fish.

Mollies are generally accepted as hardy fish, however, extra care is needed to be taken in order to make sure that they live their full life span.

There have been instances where mollies had lived well beyond their natural life span.  This is possible only if they are given the best living conditions, proper and adequate nutritious food and taken good care of.

So, how long do Molly live? Typically, a molly fish can live up to 5 years, they can survive well beyond this period if they are well cared for and live in omptimum conditions.

Types Of Molly

Beside this, there are different kinds of mollies are found certainly known as black molly, white molly, golden molly, balloon molly lyretail, Dalmation Molly, and short-finned molly

Black Molly: It is one of the most popular and most well-known aquarium fishes and is easy to keep.

White Molly: They are White in color slightly uncommon than the other ones.

Golden Molly: They are golden in color. They are popularly known as 24 karat.

Balloon Molly: They are a rare breed, but are becoming more readily available in the market. They have a short life span and susceptible to health problems.

Lyretail: This molly breed has an altered causal fin structure and is rare to find.

Dalmatian Molly: A silver colored in nature breed in molly species with black speckles.

Short-finned Molly: They are wild type in their kind. They are dull silvery in color. They are commonly known as Sailfin Molly.

What Factors Impact Molly Lifespans?


Molly fish are omnivores and feed on small invertebrates, algae and plant matter. In the home aquarium, they should be fed a high-quality flake food, and a variety of vegetables.

These species’ favorite veggies are zucchini, cucumbers, shelled peas etc. While in their breeding condition they need to be fed live or frozen foods as a treat like bloodworms, brine shrimp. Those are their special favorites.

However, it needs to be made sure that they are fed with sufficient amount of veggie fibers because it helps them to improve their digestive system and keep things moving.

Size Of The Aquarium

Making sure the tank or aquarium where the mollies are stored is sufficiently big in terms of size should be one of your top priorities.  There should be enough space for the fish to roam around freely. 

At a minimum, you’ll need 10 gallons for some of the small Molly variety such as short-finned.  Larger Molly varieties will need 30 gallons or more to thrive.  Basically, provide them with as much room as you can.

Heaters And Filters

Firstly, anyone who wants to adoMollylly should have decent aquarium filter and an established tank. Established tanks will already have beneficial bacteria and are less likely to suffer any sort of detrimental effect due to an increase in bioload.

As the mollies are tropical fish so that means it needs an aquarium heater as well. The water temperature should be between 78 to 82 deegrees fahrenheit. Most importantly, cleaning the aquarium is a huge deal and it needs to ensure that the water of the tank needs to be well cleaned on a regular basis and free from all kinds of contaminants.

Read our guide on how to clean an aquarium correctly here.

Male & Female Molly

Male mollies: To determine the sex of a male molly is easy, the males are slightly agrresive and can be differentiated by their looks as they are more torpedo shaped and indeed have bigger fins than females mollies have. Dominant male mollies intensify in colors and grow larger fins to produce a mating show for females.

Female mollies:  Female mollies have bulky figures, they are wider than the male ones. When they become pregnant, they take on a bulging appearance and their fins are shorter and the anal fins are triangular.

Breeding Molly

When it comes to breeding, Mollies are quite similar to that of Guppy. No special treatments are required for the Mollies to breed. Mollies don’t lay eggs. They are an ideal choice of live bearing fish and they are easy to breed.

A single female molly can produce around one hundred baby mollies. They come with a variety of colors and remain well with other fish species. The following steps are the best way to breed them:

  1. Allow the fish to mate with one another
  2. Remove the female fish from the tank before the birthing is yet to begin
  3. Reintroduce the female pregnant molly to another tank as they have a tendency of eating their own young.
  4. Feed the fish with sufficient amount and their favorites like blood worms algae brine shrimp etc
  5. Wait for the fish to mature nearly a couple of months. Proper cares are needed for baby fishes to mature till they grow in size and then shall be reintroduced them to the tank with the rest of the fish.

Mollies are exotic and stylish species. In order to make sure that they live their full life span it is very important to take good care of them.

What Is The Expected Lifespan of Black Mollies?

Black mollies are fully matured when they are four months of age. However, an adult black molly could grow up to a maximum of five inches in length. The longevity of a molly fish might extend to five years if it is properly taken care of. Molly fish is presumed to go well with tropical fish and are not susceptible to territorial aggression.

A common tendency to feed a molly fish is found amongst the owners. It might even snatch food items belonging to other members of the family. It is highly recommended to feed a black molly if they are able to consume food within three minutes. Frozen or live foods like black worms, brine shrimp and blood worms should be included in their diet if molly fishes are involved in breeding.

How to Care For Black Molly

Black mollies should be placed along with two to three similar black mollies in a tank. Since they are omnivores, their primary diet is algae and essential proteins such as tubifex worms, shrimp and blood worms. It is always better to add a pinch of salt in the water in order to mimic actual conditions of marine life. If molly fish are properly fed and housed, the life span can be multiplied by years.

What Is The Expected Lifespan Of A Dalmation Molly?

Dalmation molly is one of the popular freshwater fishes that falls under the category of Molly fish. The average lifespan of a Dalmation Molly starts from three to five years. However, in favourable circumstances, it could even extend to six years if it is housed and taken care of in an effective manner.

How To Extend The Life Of Dalmation Molly

In order to ensure a stable life span of a Dalmation Molly, there are few feasible tips and advices to be taken into consideration.

  • In general, Molly fishes are mucky. As a result, it is imperative to make sure that a proper filter is available. Plenty of ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and toxins are excreted from their body. Food particles are also found to be left behind at the bottom of the tank. Grab a filter that has the ability to remove debris like ammonia and toxins. Filtering ensures optimum safety and life span of a Dalmatian Molly.
  • Experts would recommend adding one table spoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water in the tank. Even though they are brackish water fishes, the chances of thriving in fresh water conditions are high. Dalmation fish is a tropical fish which require warm water to remain alive for a longer period of time. You will need a water heater and allow the water to be heated at a temperature of seventy eight degrees on a daily basis. To keep it safe and in a healthy condition, adjust to either 78 or 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Another best option to increase the longevity of a Dalmation molly is to provide them top quality nutritious food items. For example, you may feed them tropical fish flakes, pellets, freeze dried foods such as brine shrimp, insect larvae and daphnia. These are presumed to be a rich source of vitamins, minerals and proteins.
  • Keep changing the water at least twice a week to ensure optimum quality.

How Many Mollies Can You Keep In An Aquarium Safely

There are several things to be taken into consideration while picking a reliable aquarium for mollies. At first, determine the total number of molly fishes to be included in a tank. On average, about five to ten mollies can survive in a 30-gallon water tank. The overall capacity of the tank should be increased if it is more than ten. However, this is largely dependant on the type of Molly.

In order to successfully breed, a minimum ratio of 2:1 (female: male) has to be maintained. There should be ample space to feed them with food items and a supply of oxygen.

Choosing a reliable aquarium is required to breed a molly fish. For example, a short finned molly can be easily accommodated in a ten-gallon tank despite its variation in size. A 29 gallon tank is recommended if the owner intend to keep them for a longer period of time. Sailfin molly which could extend to a size of 15cm might need a tank with a capacity of 29 gallons meaning 110 litres. Larger the size of a tank, better the lifespan of a molly fish. In short, the majority of the molly fishes are susceptible to variations in water quality especially when they are kept in a smaller tank.

A tiny cluster of molly fish can be housed seamlessly in a 29 gallon tank. On the other hand, larger ones might need forty five gallon tank to thrive in favourable water conditions.

Common Molly FAQ

What Are The Best Plants For Mollies?

Anubias, vallisneria and java fern are some of the plants suggested increasing the growth of molly fish.

Can Mollies Live In Hot Water?

Fish molly is presumed to be one of the restrained tropical fishes which is capable of consuming water rich in salt and Ph. The fact is that they cannot take warm water if the temperature rises above ninety degree Fahrenheit.

Can Mollies Live In A Fish Bowl?

Yes. It is possible to keep a molly fish a bowl; however, you need to make sure that the bowl is big enough, at least 10 gallons. Those who are looking for a temporary housing may use a plastic bin.

A ten-gallon tank or a plastic bin is more than enough to accommodate a couple of Mollies for a short period of time, as long as its clean, aerated and heated.

Can You Keep Mollies With Gold Fish?

It is definitely not recommended to place Molly fish with a Gold Fish as they do not work well together. One of the major rivals of a Gold fish is mollies, barb, koicarb, cichlids and tinfoil.

Tammy Slater

Tammy Slater is the founder of, a home and garden blog that provides inspiration and resources for homeowners and renters alike. A self-taught DIYer, Tammy loves nothing more than tackling a new project in her own home. When she's not blogging or spending time with her family, you can usually find her rooting around in the garden or at the hardware store.

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