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FAQs on the Molly Reproduction 1

Related Articles: Mollies, & Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner,

Related FAQs: Molly Reproduction 2, Molly Reproduction 3, Molly Reproduction 4, Molly Reproduction 5, & Mollies 1, Mollies 2, Molly Identification FAQs, Molly Behavior FAQs, Molly Compatibility FAQs, Molly Selection FAQs, Molly System FAQs, Molly Feeding FAQs, Molly Disease FAQs, Livebearers, Guppies, Platies, Swordtails

Male and female Albino Sailfin Mollies, Poecilia latipinna.

Molly fry filtration - 12/14/05 Hi there! <Hello! John here this evening> I'm writing all the way from the UK ! <And I all the way form China.... what a small world!> I really like your site and it is so informative. I just need a little help with my Molly fry. Two months ago my White Molly (Snowflake) gave birth to her first batch of fry. I was very unprepared and after much help from your site they have been doing well. She had 39 in all and a few days later my Orange Balloon Mollie gave birth to 10 fry these were all put together in a 12gal tank just on there own decorated with a couple of rocks, artificial plants and a sponge filter. <Sounds good.> They have been doing very well and growing fast, I do water changes twice a week (about 10%) and do water tests every week, these are always optimum (Ph -- 7.6, Ammonia -- 0, Nitrite -- 0, Nitrate -- 5, can never seem to get this to 0) I don't add any salt as they seem to be doing fine without it. <Sounds fine.> Last night I changed 10% of the water as usual (always add a water conditioner to make it safe for them) and decided to take out the filter sponge and replace with a normal filter as they are bigger now and not much chance of them getting sucked in and killed. The filter I put in was a hang over the side of the tank type with sponge and carbon inside which I had used a few months ago in a cold water tank but was cleaned after use so thought it would be ok. I checked they were ok with the filter, i.e. not getting sucked in and after I saw them picking at it, assumed they were fine. A couple of hours later I noticed I couldn't see any of the fry, this is very unusual they are normally swimming around following anyone that passes the tank, I investigated and found them all hiding at the bottom of the tank, under the filter and in the corners not moving much if at all they were darting around, I knew straight away this wasn't normal behaviour. I then saw the remains of one the babies (it was missing a head!) I quickly got my fish net and got it out of the tank but as I closed the tank hood the babies seemed to get in a frenzy over the light to which point I turned off the light and removed the filter, <Yikes.. you'll need a filter. I would recommend the sponge filter even for growing out fry.> as this was the only new introduction to the tank. I know the water I changed the tank with was ok because I have two batches of  babies and changed 10% of their water with the same bucket of new water and they are fine, no change in their behaviour. I immediately did another water test all was ok apart from Nitrates which was quite high about 10/20, I did another water change about 15% and added some Cycle treatment to the tank which is intended to bring down ammonia and nitrates, etc. <I would not bother with the "Cycle" product.> This morning they were doing much better, swimming around more and once again interested in food and any traffic passing their tank, although 4 or 5 were still hiding in the corners darting around. Could you tell me where I went wrong, I suspect putting in the filter which had been used in a coldwater tank where goldfish were once was, was not a very intelligent idea! Should I keep doing water changes and testing the water until I see their behaviour back to normal and water tests are ok? Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated as I am quite attached to those little old fry! <Sabra, you're halfway there to a diagnosis... yes, the filter change was the problem. But no, not the source of the filter. As you seem to know, you need to "cycle" a new tank. Well, for the most part, it's not the tank that you're cycling... or the water  but, rather, the biological filter. By throwing out the sponge filter, you've removed the capability of the tank to process nitrogenous wastes (ammonia, and later, nitrite). Water quality is therefore deteriorating. You'll need to monitor the water parameters closely, and do regular water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite as low as possible until the new filter has become established. Best regards, John.> Many thanks Sabra Can I Control It?  Birth Control for Mollies  12/5/05 Can you please give me some suggestions for choices of fish that will eat sailfin molly fry? I have a 58 gallon planted tank & will soon be overrun with mollies. The only other fish in the tank at the moment are 3 Siamese algae eaters, 1 Oto & Nerite snails.  <If I could make molly birth control, I could become rich. Mollies are pretty hardy fish, but they do like brackish water. I don't think your Siamese algae eaters and especially your Oto would appreciate the salt. If you go brackish, you could go with knight gobies. Many larger fish will love the chance to go after molly fry. Depending on how hard and salty your water is you might consider various barbs, loaches, some of the freshwater minnow sharks, or gouramis. Check www.liveaquaria.com  for some quick comparisons. Their information tends to be accurate in terms of tank size and conditions.> Thanks, Kim  <Please don't hesitate to ask follow up questions -- I know I gave a broad answer. Catherine>

An Unholy Union - Male Gourami, Female Molly have hooked up (Or, You Never Know Where You'll Find Love, Ain't it Grand?)  12/03/05 I hope you can help us, we are really stumped on this one, even after internet searches and calls to the tropical fish supplier. We have a female molly, about four years old, whom was very anti-social and quite hostile to male mollies, in addition to just about everyone else in the community tank. We gave up on her as a breeder, as all male mollies ended up dead after being put in the same tank with her, and it has been many moons since she has seen one.  About two months ago, we purchased a flame gourami male, whom miss molly tried to bully as well. After about three days, he began to put her in her place and she not only calmed down in general, but seemed to become rather submissive to him. He frequently "herds" her and feels her with his "arms", and they are very close companions and devoted, but we thought they had just made friends.  Several weeks ago, she began to "love up" on him, in similar fashion to breeding embraces of mollies. About a week ago, I noticed she was spending a lot of time up in the corner top of the tank, in a sheltered area, and was looking indeed very plump, to say the least. I put her into a maternity ward enclosure, since she appeared to be pregnant, just in case. She is currently looking very boxy and huge, to the point her scales are almost sticking out, and also has a noticeable gravid spot.  Now, the gourami spends his time next to the maternity ward, with her avid attention and excitement when he is around. Lo and behold, he is now busy building a bubble nest around the ward. What is going on? This doesn't make any sense to us, as she is a live bearer and he is of the egg bearer type. Could these be hybrids she is expecting? Is she trying to pull off a "Jerry Springer" and pawning off some other guy's fry as his? Please shed some light on this, if you would, we would be most appreciative. Thank You :) <Hi! I'm glad the fish seem to be getting along. So, as you correctly pointed out, these two fish are quite different. There is no way that they can successfully interbreed. However, mollies can store sperm for about 6 months. Maybe the molly is suddenly happy enough to get pregnant. The bubble blowing is a sign that you have a healthy, happy gourami. The "maternity cage" may just be a convenient place to stick the nest. If I were you, I'd take the molly out of the breeder net. She's likely to be stressed in there and eat the babies once she has them. Use a turkey baster to move the babies once they are born. Good luck with this pair.  Catherine.> 

Help with Molly fish please  11/24/05 I've recently became the owner of silver and black mollies.  I purchased 3 females and 1 male.  The day after they were put into their new home, I found five babies / fry.  Unfortunately, I was only able to save four of them. This number is small considering all the things I've been reading.  I only suspect that "Dolly" is their mother because she has a hanging belly.  My question is "How can I tell if she's a balloon molly OR if she's still pregnant (if that's even possible)?  She's a black molly, so it seems almost impossible. <The vent area becomes somewhat clearer...> I'm afraid to lose any more, so I'd like to keep her in a breeder's net, but I'm afraid it's too soon or it will stress her out.  Please help.             Jennifer <With? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

New Mama Molly  11/23/05 Hi WWM Crew, <Vic> Firstly I want to thank Sabrina for her excellent advice last time I e-mailed you, around two weeks ago now. My guppy (Ziggy) has survived the outbreak (of whirling disease) quite happily - so happily in fact that yesterday I purchased a companion for him - a black lyretail molly, who I haven't named yet. I bought a female since the size difference between a lyretail and a guppy is quite considerable and I didn't want little Ziggy to get picked on. I was planning on e-mailing you today to ask how to tell if a black livebearer is pregnant, since I imagine seeing the black eye spot I've read about is somewhat more difficult in that situation. No sooner had I started checking to see if anyone had already answered that question did I notice a little black dot swimming in the tank.  <Neat!> Yes, my molly has gone and had babies! At the moment I count two fry - one is absolutely tiny and hiding under my rock decoration, and the other is slightly larger. The latter is worrying me a little - she (I think she's a she, anyway - a bit small at the moment to reliably tell!) is sitting on the leaves of one of my plastic plants, "wiggling" but not swimming. She's pretty well hidden at the moment so I'm reluctant to move her, but I'm also worried that she might be injured, stressed, or shocked. Should I try and encourage her off the plant, or leave her be and hope for the best? <I'd do the latter... or move the larger fishes, or just add more decor/cover... like "breeding grass"> Needless to say I'm currently reading up on how to look after these tiny fishes (my culinary skills are about to extend to powdered flake food) but I'm not sure how to make sure they eat since they're not in a breeding trap of any kind. There's plenty of places for them to hide and the one that I've spotted swimming seems to be pretty fast already, so I think they have a relatively good chance of surviving - am I being hideously optimistic? <Nope> Thanks in advance (again!) for all your help. Regards, Victoria <Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Incredibly unexpected Mollie Fry  11/17/05 Hi there... <Howdy> I purchased a pair of Mollies over the weekend- a male Dalmatian lyretail & a female Creamsicle lyretail. Apparently the female was pregnant as my little 5 gal tank is OVERRUN with approx 20 or so fry. <Congrats!> I have no other tank to put the babies in & to be quite honest, have no idea when they were born as I forgot to feed the fish this morning. Is it alright for me to keep all of the fish together until I can get to the store to purchase another tank??? <Mmm, some to many are likely to be eaten...> I do have some plants that are fairly leafy in which the fry can hide but they seem to just hang out in the open water. As of right now, the adults *seem* to be leaving the fry alone. Any suggestions??? Thanks for any advice!!! ~Amber <Large... like one gallon jars... frequent water changes and small feedings... A breeding net/trap... Bob Fenner> 

Molly Reproduction - 11/14/2005 Hi, I recently have been given two Dalmatian molly fish and apparently one was pregnant because now I have approximately 18 fry in my tank of 1 betta and 1 gold dust molly (in addition to the Dalmatians). I was wondering what can I do about all of their babies? I mean, will they all survive? <Some may; many/most will likely be eaten.> I separated the two mollies because I think they are opposite sexes and I don't want them to keep having more and more babies! <Keeping the young in with the parents will ensure that most become snack food.... Otherwise, you'll need to not keep both genders together if you do not want fry.> I also put some of the babies in with the mother in a separate small tank. What exactly will happen and did I do the wrong thing?? <What will happen only you and time will determine. If they are in an appropriate setup, and many of them survive, you might consider trading them in at your local fish store for fish, supplies, or credit.> Please help before fish take over my life!! <Whoa, hey, you're talking to the wrong crowd for that! It's our job to HELP the fish take over your life.... or something like that.... (grin) > Thanks!! - Heather <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Molly Reproduction, Bad Fry - 11/06/2005 Hello. I have a 75 Gallon fresh tropical water tank.... my question is.... I bred a male golden sailfin molly with a female black molly and half the fry did not develop properly and the survivors are inactive slow swimmers. Is this normal as I have never bred mollies before?  <Mm, no, not "normal" per se. It could just be that these two parents don't have great genetic diversity.... to much line/inbreeding. Or maybe the female, being a "new mom", released the fry prematurely, or something. I'd just try again.> I also have the babies in a crib and was wondering if maybe they need more room to swim as they are not swimming at all. <I prefer to see the fry raised in a separate, dedicated tank, if possible.> I had a total of 21 fry born but only 11 survived. <Wait for the next batch or two, and see how those go.... And be sure to maintain optimal water quality.... Be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Molly Refuses To Give Birth? - 11/05/2005 Hello!  <Hi!> I just found your site and am eager to read all the information provided here. <Heh, an ambitious task, to be sure! I've been volunteering with WWM for some years now, and I *still* haven't read but a fraction of the info.... There really is a LOT.> My question is about a pregnant black molly I have. I bought her pregnant and the 21st of October. Having had black mollies before and many other live bearers, I knew she was pregnant. She was already very pregnant and showing very much then. Today is Nov 3 and she still has not delivered. I have watched her like crazy and I know she hasn't delivered. I thought she would deliver her fry just days after I bought her and am surprised she hasn't yet. I know she should be pregnant for only about 30 days. I have had her 2 weeks and as I said she was very pregnant when I got her. My tank is in a mini cycle but nothing is EXTREMELY lethal.  <Uhh, between a little bit dead and EXTREMELY dead, dead is still dead. Be doing water changes to correct/compensate for this.> She is in a 10 gallon with lots of salt. Her tankmates are an algae eater, 2 small guppies and a male molly. None of these fish bother her. She is the bully of the tank.  <To be expected in a pregnant female.> She is also the most active fish in the tank. She is very healthy looking and her look like velvet.  <?> I have raised the temp in the tank. There are lots of plants, two small terra cotta pots and a clear betta tank without the lid inserted in the water with plants in it. She has pretty of hiding places but shouldn't feel threatened anyway. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think she may just be older and get bigger so that she looks like she is farther along than she may truly be?  <Entirely possible.> Could the mini cycle be affecting her so that she is putting off delivery?  <Also entirely possible.> If there is anything else I can do that may help induce her, if she is ready and just having trouble getting there, could you please tell me. <Good water quality is of the utmost importance - I would urge that you correct this; be sure to maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm.> Thanks so much! Jana <You bet! Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Feeding Molly Fry - 11/03/2005 Can I feed baby mollies finely crushed sun dried blood worms or baby brine shrimp? <Sure. Crushed flakes are generally accepted, as well. -Sabrina>

That's what happens when you don't use protection'¦. unexpected molly fry 10/18/05 Please help, we are extremely new to the wonderful world of tropical fish and were not prepared for this little bundle of joy!  <My 'senses' tell me freshwater livebearers.>  I just noticed, hiding under a decoration, what we believe is a baby Molly. We have a black Molly that we now believe is or was pregnant.  <I wouldn't doubt it, if you keep males and females together you'll have an endless bounty of babies all the time.>  She seemed just a bit plump when we purchased her and never put much more thought into it. Now I am very concerned, since we just started have our tank "stable" and I now fear for this little one.  <Molly fry are quite easy to rear, the babies are relatively large and usually begin feeding on prepared foods right away.>  What information I have been able to find is that Molly's release 15-30 babies at a time, where are the others.  <Possibly hiding in decorations or possibly they have not been released yet.>  We "view" the tank multiple times a day and never noticed any release of any babies. This one just appeared, are more coming?  <Could be there already, hiding as I mentioned before or possibly destroyed by your filtration. Could also as you suspect still be in pre-birth.>  My question is simple, what do we do now! Help.  <See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyreprofaqs.htm. In short if you want to ensure the life of young molly fry (in a tank with adults) you will have to separate them in one way or another. Either to a separate tank or possible an in tank breeder net.>  Does the little one require special food, <No. Just smaller food.> safer housing, <Yes, somewhere they will not get eaten or destroyed by a large filtration intake.> do we send Mom with him/her?  <Mom may try to eat her babies.>  Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Jill Killo <Adam J.> 

Calling All Midwives!  Dalmatian Molly Expires After Giving Birth 10/15/05 Hi, I have a Dalmatian Molly who gave birth last night to about 45 fry. About 8 or 9 where dead. <Dead upon birth? This may be an indication that something went wrong with the pregnancy....> The mom seemed fine last night and most of the day today, but this evening she began flopping around and spinning in circles constantly. She has not stopped for a few hours now. I am really concerned.  <I am, as well.... isolate the mom from the rest of your fish, and use the Google search bar on our homepage and search for "whirling disease".... also look on the 'net for this term, as well, and see if the symptoms of this match your fish. If so, there is really not much you can do but make her as comfortable as you can.> Does this mean she is going to die from the stress of giving birth?  <It may be entirely unrelated if it is "whirling disease".... However, also be sure to test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> This is her 4th batch of fry and she seemed fine after the other 3 litters. HELP! <Try researching whirling disease, and keep your water quality optimal. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Pregnant Mollie changing sex?  10/3/05 Hi, I have a 10 gallon tank with 1 male Mollie and 3 females,  all females have had fry, my black female is pregnant, but over the last  week I have noticed her anal fin is no longer a fan, but is very much like the male's, is this possible she is changing sex? The only male in the  tank has been chasing her for a while, and doesn't leave her alone. Please  help, thank you in advance. Jess <Hi Jess, Jorie here.  I've never heard of a livebearer changing sex, most likely it was just difficult to tell the fish's true sex when he was younger.  It can be really tough to differentiate when the fish are still juvies. The chasing is probably the one male establishing his dominance over the other.  Keep an eye on everybody and make sure there's no "bullying" going on.  Sadly, I recently lost a beautiful sailfin male due to this...he was always the "alpha" male, but once one of the other male's grew larger, he lost his title (and sadly, his eye, then his life.) Some chasing is normal, but if you see battle-royal going on, you'll need to separate the two males. Good luck! Jorie>

Guppies and Mollies Cross  9/29/05 Hello.  I have been reading your site for the past 6 months and you have been so very helpful. I have two questions....up until this point we have been doing the research ourselves and getting on well.   1.  One of my female Mollies had babies.  We have no males in the tank.  One is a black Molly and one a Dalmatian Molly.  I'm assuming the Dalmatian came pregnant because the babies are all white and there are two with black and white spots (not all over and one of them has orange spots as well)  Is it possible that our one male guppy had made these fry? < Depending on how long you have had the female it could have been the guppy or  a male Mollie prior to your purchase of the female.> 2. Due to this situation, which was not intended, we now have a 20 gallon tank.  We put the two female mollies, three female guppies and all the fry in this tank once it was cycled (and moved them over a period of weeks...not all at once).  In our old 10 gallon tank we left our upside-down catfish (all three), two tetra, and our only male livebearer....."Maddy" (our daughter named him prior to us understanding how to tell the gender apart) the fancy yellow guppy.  So our question is:  is he lonely?  Does he need a male friend or will he just fight with a friend? < While he still has a desire to breed the little tetras will keep him company.-Chuck> Thank you for any help and insight you can give. best, Rebecca

Mollie eggs??  9/22/05 Hi guys, <Hello.  Future reference, PLEASE capitalize the beginnings of sentences so we don't have to retype for posting on our site.> We have a molly, which we must admit has had a bit of a rough trot over the years, but she's looked after well now.  Anyway she lives in a tank with two goldfish, fantails, <Goldfish and mollies have different preferences on water temperature....> who have been laying eggs but eating as quick as they come out.  But this morning our molly laid eggs, ??? <??? is right....  Mollies don't lay eggs....  It is possible that they can give birth to underdeveloped young, or release eggs before they develop, but this is quite rare.> They are a golden opaque colour with a white dot in it.  What's going on there? <Are you positive it was the molly?  I mean, did you actually *watch* these coming out of her?> Is she thinking she's a goldfish? We know she should be a livebearer, we're not sure. <She is a livebearer, and what you describe doesn't sound like anything I've seen from a molly.  My guess is that these are goldfish eggs that the goldfish decided not to eat.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Sexing Mollies  9/7/05 Hello. I am having trouble distinguishing between the males and the females. Do you have any pics? I can't find the right ones on the internet. Thanks! <Mmm, you might try Google Pix... they're easy to discern if you have good vision... look at the anal fin, the area under the belly... males have an organ for genetic transmission (the gonopodium) that is a modified, tubular structure... Females have rounder abdomens, and fan-shaped anal fins. Most all libraries have beginner FW books that should show this. Bob Fenner>

Molly gonopodium 8/28/05 Hi, sorry to trouble you, but I have tried to find the answer to my  question in all of your answers but I can't seem to hit on the right way of  phrasing it. My male molly, a sailfin, about 2 years old, has an embarrassing  problem! His gonopodium is poking straight down instead of laying flat to his body.   <Happens> He seems to be in some distress as he as taken himself away from the other fish, and has stopped bullying the other male molly in the tank. It seems that he can't retract it or whatever they do, and that it's stuck in the downward position. <Likely a physical trauma> Is there anything that can be done. I do hope so, because he looks so  sad, he's usually so busy pestering the living daylights out of all my female mollies! I hope to hear from you soon. Kind regards, Sue <Mmm, often such troubles prove to be self-rectifying... I would do your usual best to provide good environment and nutrition... and try not to worry. Bob Fenner>

More Mollies On The Way - 09/19/2005 Hi, I bought some mollies 10 days ago.  One of the black ones had  babies, but only 3 made it. I now wonder if my other mollies are expecting.  I have sent 2 photos, sorry they are not very good ones.  Thanks. <The black molly does look like she might be pregnant.  The silver does not, but it is hard to tell in the image.> Sally <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Molly births 7/31/05 G'Day My name is Shane <Hello, mine is Bob> Today I brought 5 female mollies and tonight one gave birth to about 60 fry. All I need to know is when best to let the female back into the main tank as she is beginning to eat the fry. <Just net her out and place her. Bob Fenner> Mollies 7.23.05 I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank.  I got off to a bad start and lost several fish.  Totally clueless when I decided to start my new hobby but I have educated myself, cycled my tank, and am now the proud owner of healthy fish.  Your site has helped immensely.  Enough of that.  I have one female black molly that had 12 fry a month ago.  She just gave birth to 22 more.  I read that they can actually give birth up to 6 months after mating.  I do not want to kill any of them and I have had not one death.  They are not being eaten and are thriving.  Are there places/people that will take some of them?   <I would check with the local pet stores to see if they would like to take some off your hands.  You could also see if anyone in the local clubs might want them.  One place to check for clubs in your area is the WetWebForum http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ -Best Regards, Gage> Molly fry 7/19/05 I was out of town for the weekend and came back to 7 little baby fish in my five gallon tank.  I had no idea that anyone was expecting and didn't have a clue as to who was responsible. At any rate, I think they are the offspring of my black molly.  This fry are black and seem to be shaped like my Molly.  I found your website this morning and read that the Molly will eat her babies.   <Most all fishes with large enough mouths will> This doesn't seem to be the situation in my tank at all.  In fact, the first thing that helped me figure out who the mother was is that I noticed some uncharacteristic behavior from the adult Molly.  she is very aggressive toward one particular fish in the tank.  Unfortunately I don't remember the species name and can't find it in my Aquarium Owner's Manual.  However, the offending fish is a very attractive one with a dark orange tail and bottom fins until right before the tail, when the bottom fins are black.  It also has a black spot near it's gills.  The point is that I've been observing for two days now and none of the babies are missing, in fact none of the fish even seem to be inclined to eat them.  Perhaps the one being chased would if the mother Molly gave him a moment's peace. The other interesting thing is that the Molly is frequently going to the surface and does what looks very much taking about 15-20 sips of water from the surface (perhaps it is breathing air, but it looks more like it's drinking the water). My questions are these: 1. Since the fry don't seem to be in any danger, do I need to remove them from the tank? <Mmm, no... will survive or no> 2. Is the mother's "sipping" behavior an indication of any problems? <Not likely... mollies do this> Looking forward to hearing from you.  Many thanks, Rhonda   <Bob Fenner> Molly fry 7/6/05 Hi, my female molly had babies a little while ago and I have a couple of questions about the fry.  When will the fry begin to mate? <With good care in a few months> Also I had moved all of the fry from the main tank in which I had all of my adult fish.  When will I be able to move the fry back into the main tank? <When they've grown more than mouth-size. Bob Fenner>                                                         thank you, Molly Fry  9/19.5/05 I know that this is a small tank and way over crowded but I don't have enough money for a new tank right at this moment. <Yep,  it's overcrowded.>  And ahead of time, thank you if you answer this question.  <That's what we're here for>  Ok here goes - I have 4 molly Fish And 2 Rosy Reds <Barbs, minnows?> and 2 platies in a 5 gallon tank. <Wow, that is WAY overcrowded.  You might get away with 2 platies, but none of the rest of them.>  I have a male and female - Silver Lyretail, Black and Dalmatian (both girls), and 2 red/orange/black Small Platies. None of the females looked pregnant. The Dalmatian Molly looked a little chubby but she's always looked like that. (I've had the tank for probably 2-3 weeks.) The water is salted too. <What kind of salt?  How much?  It's great that you know that these fish appreciate salt, but table salt won't work.  You should be using a couple of tablespoons of marine salt.>  One morning I went to feed them and noticed that when I put food in that approximately 9-12 fry showed up out of nowhere and started eating the small pieces. I've had them for 3 days now. I don't know what female they are from. They are all pink.  <Pink?  Sounds like platies maybe'¦ not mollies>  A couple a little darker and a few with may have stripes.  It's very difficult to tell in such small fish. <Yep.>  I don't have any pink fish except the rosy reds and they don't have live birth babies anyways. <True.>  None of the big fish go after the fry , they eat side by side and the fry seem to be happy eating things off the (fake) plants too. I was hoping you could tell me - How long until they show parent coloration or will they stay pink? - How long till when I can sex them. <I doubt they will change color dramatically unless they are the guppy babies and then the males may change a bit as they grow their tales.>  Basically I'm hoping for an answer in coloration because I have no idea which mom it could be, and I desperately want to know. <My guess is Mom's a platy.  They can store sperm for several months and have multiple batches of fry.>  And I had 3 guppy females and one male that died about 5 days ago. Any possible way that they could have stayed hidden that long?  <Absolutely, especially if you weren't looking closely.>  Please Respond . <You do have a much bigger problem that you know about.  That is, your tank is overcrowded.  As you know, fish poop.  Fish poop contains ammonia that is toxic to the fish.  After your tank is set up for a month or two, bacteria will grow in the tank that convert ammonia to nitrites.  Nitrites are also toxic.  Eventually, another species of bacteria will grow that convert nitrites to nitrates.  Nitrates are bad, but not nearly as bad as the other two.  When you measure them with a kit, ammonia and nitrites should be zero and nitrates should be less than 20.  Your readings will be bad because the bacteria can't keep up with that much waste.  I hate to be a pessimist, but your fish will meet the fate of the guppies unless you get a bigger tank (at least 30 gallons for this many fish).  You will need a heater and adequate filtration.  No magic cures here.  Please take the fish back to the fish store unless you can provide them with a more suitable home.> Thank you again. Surprised and Confused 15 yr old Grandma of Fry <Anytime, Catherine>

Reproducing black mollies 6/29/05 Hi! I have 2 black female mollies (I had a male we recently lost him), one female is smaller then the other, and the smaller female had babies 1 week after purchase. We had 15 babies! A web site and a fish store said that we could release babies after 2 days. <As food?> We released and within minutes the big black molly was eating up the babies. I was able to save 5. Two days later I put the big molly in a net breeder because she looked like she was ready to deliver herself. I was lucky enough to see her deliver! But, as she was delivering she was eating her fry! None were saved. Since I have had her in the breeding net my first 5 babies are out and swimming. My question is: Is it normal for a delivering molly to eat her fry? <Mmm, yes... if crowded, hungry...> If I put her back into the community will she eat my 5 babies? <Possibly> How do I know if she is even done delivering? <Real only time going by> A website also said that mollies that deliver have a hormone released that makes them not hungry, if this is true why did she eat the babies? Please help me? Thank you.    From Kim <Kim, look into placing some "spawning grass", either live or faux for your baby mollies (most of them) to hide-out in till they've grown more than mouth size. Bob Fenner>

Re: reproducing black mollies 30 Jun 2005 Thanks for your answers Bob. I Do have spawning grass in the tank, and she still got them. We have removed her from the community tank and gave her to a neighbor. She was too aggressive for us. <Does happen. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Mollies Breeding Time Hi, I would like to ask some question about balloon mollies: 1. How do I know when it is ready to breed? 2. Should I separate it from the male? Thanks, <1. I assume by "breed" if you mean "give birth". Hard to guess, especially with a Balloon Molly. Watch for her to hide away from the other fish or at least aggressively defend her area. 2. If you mean "mate", then no. Mollies are not too bad when it comes to taking fry. You may loose a few leaving them together, but most will survive. Don>

Balloon Mollies Hey. I am looking into breeding balloon mollies, but surprisingly I can't find any info on them at all !?! I was wondering if you could give me some info on breeding and specifically of there are any complications ? Thanks in advance. ~Mollielover <Pretty straight forward. Just add water. The care of Balloon Mollies would be the same as for Black Mollies. They like high pH, hard water with some salt added. Always pick young healthy stock when starting a breeding program. Don>

Molly Mating Habits why does my black molly try to mate with my female Betta now the molly look's like a female but don't know if the molly is mature enough to tell if male or female >> The Betta has a similar body shape, so the molly may be going after it for that reason. Likely your molly is a male. Not much you can do about it, except maybe add a couple of female mollies. Good Luck, Oliver

Mollie Fry Hello, I have an established 10 gallon tank with the following fish: 4 Silver Lyre Tail Mollies (all female)   2 Red-eyed Barbs 2 Cory Cats 1 goldfish (an acquisition from last years county fair, lol) 1 Red-finned Shark 1 Neon Tetra We purchased a pregnant female Silver Lyre Tail Molly last year, and the other two females, now full grown, are all that's left of her fry.  We did have one male left, who wasn't thriving, and he died a couple months ago.  A month ago, I noticed a single fry while cleaning the tank, it's female, and just today, another one, too small to tell the sex.  Where are these mystery fry coming from?  Is it possible to have fry appear one & two months after a male was in the tank?  Thanks for any info! Pam <The time period between when your male died and when the fry were probably born still works out. He could have still mated with her and then he passed away in the time frame you describe.-Chuck>

More fry than I thought Thanks again! <Welcome> Guess it's time to buy a new tank!  I decided on the cautious route - change the H2O before it got icky and simply removed the bigger fish, all the decor and most of the substrate by hand (slow and tedious - but) so I could count the little buggers and change some off the water.  Discovered we have 8 living fry (kinda hard to see black little fishies in the middle of mostly black gravel...) and found about 5 that looked like they were not completely formed. <Happens, especially first batches> The good side - momma molly seems to have no interest in munching the babies - and I don't think the rasboras and neons are a particular threat - and the pleco just sort of, well...ignores everything except the algae. Once again - thanks! You guys are life savers... A note - I've been reading this site ever since we got our first "real" fish tank (I am not counting the nasty goldfish-from-the-fair thing) and have always found the answers to my innumerable questions. You guys kept me sane through the first cycling of my tank, and through a very horrid bout with ick. Serious kudos!!!!!! <Ah, thank you> I've become addicted enough and brave enough that we're planning on adding on - keeping the small tank, and getting a larger one as well.... Rochelle <Outstanding. Life to you Rochelle. Bob Fenner>

Molly Sex Hi: Appreciate if you can guide me to a source for information on how to determine the sex of a molly fish. Thanks and great site. Regards, Yasin. <Look at the anal fin. In a mature molly the male's will be pointed, the females fan shaped. All young mollies will appear to be female until they mature. Don>

Molly Fry Hi there! Well, it is about 12:15am and I just finished scooping 5 what I think are red platy fry out of my 44 gallon aquarium. I just set this tank up some time ago. I am not sure if they are platy fry or not as the are just very tiny and very dark. Also in the tank I have Neon Tetra, Kissing Gourami's and Silver Molly's. It is possible one of them could have been pregnant as well? I have only noticed the large belly on the one red platy and it is still VERY large right now. I have no idea when she dropped the fry, or if she may drop more. Any feedback you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. -Matthew <Mostly likely one of the Mollies. Neons are egg layers, a spawn in a community tank is unlikely. Same for the Kissers, which would need to be very large to breed. If you want to raise them you will need to keep them away from the Gourami. Feed crushed flake food. You can also hatch some baby brine shrimp for faster growth. Stay away from frozen BBS. Hatch your own or stick to flake. Keep them clean, siphon out any waste and old food ASAP. Don> 

Re: I've got Fry! Well - thanks for the advice re: my new molly - she's a beautiful fish... However....Little did I know that she was also a pregnant fish. Day before yesterday, we discovered four little fry hanging out around the rocks in the tank. A few questions - Is it MANDATORY to move them? Or can I just provide extra hiding places? <Can do the latter> I've got a school of 5 (neons/rasboras), one small pleco and one lyre-tail black molly - plus the 4 fry. Right now, I've just added some extra (fake) plants - and my substrate was already a mixture of black aquarium gravel and a large collection of cleaned and processed brackish rocks collected at various river mouths - gorgeous stuff - lots of hiding places. <Good> How do I safely do a water change? I'm used to just netting my fish out and then syphoning the water out.  I can barely SEE these guys - much less net them! I'm terrified of sucking them up with the syphon. <Posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm> Right now my water is still fine - but I know it's going to get really bad really fast. How quickly will these little guys grow?  How soon will I need to be either getting rid of some fish or increasing the size of my tank? (I'm at just 10g - which I KNOW won't support that many fishies) <Posted on WWM> And why did no one warn me that fish in general (and the mollies in particular) are so darned addictive?  These things actually have personality....(can you tell I started the aquarium because my kids wanted it - and now I do it for myself?) Thanks so much!!! Rochelle <A wonderful venue for self, world discovery eh? Bob Fenner>

Molly fry hi, My female molly just had about 12 babies a couple of days ago.  When we had seen that she had had babies, we removed her from the 5 gallon tank.  Is it ok that they are living in the 5 gallon tank? <Sure> They are not eating that well and so I was wondering, what I could give them as a snack?  Maybe a piece of cut up fruit? <Mmm, better to grind some flake or pelleted food up between your fingers for them... a few times a day. The fruit might spoil your water quality> Also, could I put a catfish in the tank with the baby mollies?  Would the catfish eat them? <Small sized and mouthed cats like Corydoras will be fine here> And, how many times can a molly have babies? <Many... dozens. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time.            From,            Evan Watkins

Molly fry with an algae eater? Hello, <Hi! Ananda here this morning...> 2 of my Balloon Mollies gave birth today so I now have a total of about 20 fry.  I have the fry in a 10 gal tank set up just for them. <Please do "over"-filter this tank with a sponge filter rated for at least double the tank volume... frequent feedings = lots of waste.> I was wondering if I could put a algae eater in this tank also or will it eat the fry? <I would be cautious in this regard. If you have algae, it's likely a sign of high nitrates, and fry are more susceptible to poor water quality. You need to change water pretty frequently in a fry tank (think 25% weekly, if not more often, depending on how efficient your filtration is). Also, fry will nibble on some algae. The other concern is the type of "algae eater" you're considering. Some, like the fish commonly called the Chinese algae eater, are okay at eating algae as juveniles, but prefer more meaty fare as adults -- and that meaty fare might extend to sleeping fry. Also, several algae-eating fish will get too big for a 10 gallon tank. IF your tank parameters are not conducive to algae -- nitrates less than 10, phosphates less than 1 -- I might consider something small, IF you also have room too keep it when it has outgrown the tank. Otherwise, manual removal coupled with frequent water changes is probably your best route of action.> Thanks, Robyn <Welcome to molly-world...where they make more...and more...and more.... Do come and visit our freshwater forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk !!  --Ananda>

Pregnant Molly Hello. <Hi Becki, MacL here with you tonight.> I have a red molly/guppy <Molly, guppy, or perhaps its a swordtail or platy?> and I have noticed that it (I don't know the sex for sure) has gotten a little bigger around the waist line. <It could indeed be that it is pregnant but also could be that its eating a lot.> I have never seen a pregnant fish before and I was wondering what one looks like. <Live bearers get rounded bellies and then a black area appears in the belly area before the tail.> Thanks- Becki

Should I separate the molly fry from adult molly and guppy? Hi, I just bought a pregnant molly and few other guppies. Although they seem to be living in harmony now, I'm worried about the baby mollies that would be born really soon. Should I separate them from the adult molly and guppies? Is it necessary to get fry food for them? Please reply ASAP. Thanks! Justine <<Justine, for future reference, please send all emails with the proper capitalization and punctuation. Saves me from having to re-type your words. Thanks. For babies, yes, you can separate them, otherwise they will be eaten by the adults. -Gwen>>

Black Molly Babies Hi Bob, <<Or Gwen :)>> I recently (January) started a small 10 gallon tank at my office. I had four black mollies.  By two weeks before Memorial Day, I was left with only one molly. Now I know nothing about these fish and was disappointed when each one died. I was not going to try anymore. I came back from the memorial day weekend holiday and found tiny dots moving around the back of my tank in the plastic plants.  After close examination, I realized that these were baby fish. I had left a weekend feeder in the tank so the mother had not eaten any that I could tell. (by the way, she eats constantly).  So now these babies get to be about 3/4 of an inch long and I realize that I have to take them and place them in a larger tank.  I started a 55 gal tank at my house. (It was an old one I used for salt water 10 yrs ago)  I brought 4 home first when the water seemed right. When the 4 survived after 6 days, I decided to bring home most of the others. I brought 12 more home and left 5 with the mother.  Everyone was happy ( I did lose a total of 4 babies). Mommy continued to get fatter and fatter and fatter. She ate and ate and ate. Just this Monday, I went into my office and found that over the weekend she had another at least 30 babies. I am confused.  How could she have more kids with no dad.  She had at least 21 with the first batch and a little over a month later, she had another approximately 30. Is this possible and will the 55 gal be big enough for all of them?  I feel really lucky and feel very responsible for them.  I want them to be happy. Will they breed like rabbits? Thanks for any help you can give. New Foster Mom, Tracey <<Yes, a 55g should do, just keep your nitrates low, around 20-40ppm, and things should be fine. As for how she could have more babies with no dad...all female livebearers have the ability to store sperm, it's quite normal. They are herbivores and need a high fibre diet, but the females do need protein...to build all those babies with :), so make sure your mollies are getting good food. High quality stuff like Tetra Colorbits interspersed with a good Spirulina flake, some occasional bloodworms, glassworms, and other frozen foods should keep your mollies in top shape. They also prefer alkaline water with a high pH. There are lots of good websites to find info on mollies.-Gwen>>

Black molly babies long parturition... <Hi Pat, sorry about the delay in answering your question. I think the bandits ran off with the boss> I have two black mollies. The had babies 4 days ago. Then they had them again yesterday. Then again today? Is this common? How often to they have babies? <That's an interesting question.  In my experience they only have them over a period of 24 hours but theoretically they could have them over the period of a couple of days or even weeks.  The way I understand it a female stores sperm and can then have babies over a period of time. MacL>

Baby Mollies Hi <Hi Joey, MacL here with you today.> I have 32 baby black mollies. <Awww isn't it wonderful>  I was wondering how long it would take them to reach a size that would not put them in danger if I moved them with their parents. <They need to be bigger than their parents can open their mouths.> Also I have them in a 15 quart plastic container with about 4 inches of water in it and java moss and Cabomba is in it too. Is this enough to support them and for how long. <It should be for a while if it doesn't get too cold but you will need to do partial water changes. You can get those little in tank containers to keep them safe while in the tank. Good luck, MacL>   love Joey Molly help I have 3 mollies 2 females and 1 male my male mollies shows no interest in my 2 female mollies and I've had them for about 1 week and I'm wanting to breed them but I need to know if I need to get another male or what because I'm thinking this male is a dud and I have one more question is it safe to have guppies, platys, and mollies in the same tank because every thing I have read says that mollies aren't tank mates with guppies but my mollies get along with my guppies but my guppies seem to eat more for some reason they are pigs. < I would make sure that the mollies are settled in before adding any new fish. Give them a couple more weeks, make sure the water temp is around 80 degrees F and that the fish are well fed and that the water is clean. They like some salt in the water too. Mollies get up to 4 inches and that is a little too big to be put in with other livebearers.-Chuck> thanks for your time Josh

Molly Breeding I just bought a Dalmatian female and male black molly. And I was wandering if they would breed together? <<Yes, they will. Good luck :) -Gwen>>

Molly Babes I have a ten gallon tank with six tetra Neons and three mollies. I got two girls and a boy to hopefully get babies. The boy seems aggressive. Should I get a third female or will they need a bigger tank for that? Thank you -Jessie <<Hello Jessie :) Yes, the males are aggressive. You should keep an eye on him, you might need to buy another female or two if he harasses the ones already in the tank too much.  Also, mollies require a high pH and hard water, and neon tetras require the opposite, they need a low pH and soft water. All in all, not the best mix of fishes.  You should test your pH and hardness, and use this to decide what to keep: You may want to remove some of the Neons and replace them with more female mollies, OR, remove the mollies and replace them with more Neons. -Gwen>>

-Livebearers doing their thing- Hi!  I am having a small crisis in my tank and it is stressing both me  and my fish out! <Oh my, hope we can help.> a few months ago I brought home 2 lemon tetras, a sunset  platy, a Dalmatian molly, and two small frogs to my ten gallon tank.   Well, it seemed my molly was pregnant and gave birth to sixteen babies about a  few weeks after I brought her home. (I also had a black molly in the beginning,  but he only lasted about a week).  I put the fry in a net and kept them  there for sometime before letting them out.  Only nine have survived up  until today.  Well, it seems my molly fish is pregnant again... <Promiscuous little critters aren't they.> now I have  all these small mollies living in my small 10-gallon tank and the pregnant molly  is starting to beat up my platy... not only that, but my two tetras seemed to  have turned on each other and stopped getting along.  I have two fish that  hide constantly, two bullies that beat them up (one who is pregnant) and nine  little mollies running around in my tank.  I don't know what to do with all  these fish and I don't have the money or space to get another aquarium  started.  I just want my happy community back!  Will the pet  store take some fish? <That would depend on the policy of the store in question although most will.> Any other suggestions? <Unless you want to make a hobby of breeding these guys, setting up another tank is only a temporary solution since this will continue through generations of mollies. My advice: If you want mollies, make sure they're all the same sex, so they can't horse around. Thinning out this population, followed by a good water change and re-arrangement of the decorations should fix everything up. -Kevin.> Anything you can offer  is much appreciated. -Nicole

My Molly Is Miscarrying Her Babies!! Yes, my female black molly is miscarrying her babies, and  unfortunately she's been doing this for about 2 weeks now and she  continues to miscarry them. At first she miscarry about 8 of them and now  she is pushing one out a day and like I said she's been doing this  behaviour for 2 week start weeks is this a normal activity when a molly  miscarriage her batch? < No not really.> If not, what do I do for her if anything? I do have  her isolated in what they a hospital tank. I have breeding and raising  fish and fry for more than a year now and this is the first time I have  encounter such an activity of this nature. Thanks-so-much, Renee Lambert,  Cool Website < Try cooling the water down to the lower 70's and add a tablespoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water. Add some floating plants so she will feel comfortable and not stressed. Keep the lights off too. If after all this then it may be a generic trait.-Chuck>

My Molly Is Miscarrying Her Babies!! I have one other question, if you don't mind, what is the best temperature for all molly fishes, breeding and non-breeding ones? Right now I have the tanks set at 80 F, is this too high or not and if so should I drop it down or up a degree or so? Thanks-so-much, Renee Lambert < At 80 degrees F your fish are most likely in their optimum temperature range for breeding and over all health. If you don't want them to breed or are concerned about them wanting to breed to much and stressing out the females then it could be dropped as low as 76 degrees without any problems.-Chuck> Re: My Molly Is Miscarrying Her Babies!! Thanks-so-much for that input, I really do appreciate it very much. I do however have one other question, how soon  should I place her back in the community tank with the other Mollies? < After she is done giving birth I would wait a couple of days for her to regain her strength.> I also recently purchased a female molly that is pregnant and she looks so big that she looks like she is about to burst so I put her in a tank by herself as soon as I got her home, I have the temperature at around 80 F, is this too high for her and is that why she hasn't pushed out her babies? < The temperature sounds good. Keep her well fed so she won't eat the babies.-Chuck>

Pregnant Molly - Isolation?? Hi I found your site to be quite helpful but could not find the answer to my question which seems to be so simple...here it goes... I had 2 silver and 1 black molly and 2 platys.   Four days after I bought my mollies, I noticed I suddenly had 3 fry's swimming around my tank - wasn't really sure who had the babies.  Next night got home and 1 of my silver mollies were dead and had something sticking out of it's tummy opening.   Anyway now 3 weeks after having the mollies my other silver molly is now very and obviously pregnant.  I did not want to isolate her as the floating breeding trap is so small, however my black molly is always very aggressive towards her and I am afraid it will cause her stress.  So I removed her today and transferred her in the floating breeding tank however she seems to be more stressed in the isolation tank and is swimming as if she is trying to break out of this tiny space - honestly don't blame her.   Now I am afraid that I am only causing her more stress....but don't really want to take her out as I want her to have her fry in peace....another problem is I really am not sure how far along she is but she is getting really big - Please Please Help as I do not one to lose my other Silver Molly. < Try and keep the tank dark until she gives birth. You are right to be concerned about her being stressed. You might have to cover the tank if it is in a high traffic area.-Chuck> Thanks so much and looking forward to your reply, Celeste

Molly mix... not mixing hey guys <Hi...Jorie here...> I have a molly question.  I just purchased a female Dalmatian molly to breed with my male fancy molly but he doesn't seem to be interested in her when I am around.  She, though, does keep rubbing and clinging to him...all he cares about is staring out of the sides of the tank.  Will they mate or is he sterile? <First off, are you sure of the sex of both fish? Secondly, how big is this tank and how long has it been setup? Have you tested the water parameters (i.e., ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels), as if the water quality is less than good, he may just not be "in the mood". Third, are there plants and/or other decoration to make the fish feel more comfortable and less stressed-out? All of these are my initial thoughts; we can go from there. As a side note, it's usually a good idea to keep mollies in a 3:1or 4:1 female: male ratio...once your boy decides he's ready, he'll likely be driving the girl crazy!> thanks <You're welcome. Let me know about the above and I'll try my best to help! Jorie>

Molly Ready to Pop Hello, I have a 35 gallon aquarium with two black mollies (1 male, 1 female), 1 harlequin rasbora and 3 tetras. My question is this. Female molly is EXTREMELY pregnant. In her last pregnancy, she had a few fry and one got stuck, which I removed with tweezers. This time around, I have had her isolated in a floating fish breeder set up so that the fry can be safe when born. She poops, but only in spider-web diameter strings, with the odd regular diameter peace.  She is bulging but lively. Her midsection is turning white (I assume from being stretched; it's NOT Ich). I did about at 75%-80% water change one week ago and have Epsom salts at about 1tsp per 3 or 4 gallons to try to open the birth canal, but no luck so far. I'm feeding her Nutrafin Max flakes, and I have the temperature at around 75 degrees. I haven't tested for ammonia, etc. My question is: is this extreme building normal, or should I be worried? Is there anything I can do to help her along? Thanks for any help, Derek <Hi Derek, Don here. Of course it's impossible for me to be sure, but your description is not of a normal pregnancy. Try feeding her a shelled pea. If she's constipated that may help. Raising the temp to 78 or 80 would not hurt. You say you have Epsom salt in the water. What about aquarium salt? Mollies are brackish fish. They need salt to stay healthy. It may be the reason she's not dropping. It could also be an internal infection. Especially if the poop is white. Or damage to the birth canal from the last pregnancy. No way to be 100% sure at this point. But the salt, pea and higher temp will give her the best chance. And PLEASE get a test kit. They save lives> Raising Mollies HI. In reference to your response, there was one bit of info in particular which I found interesting/important. You said keeping the newborn fry in the breeder was  "almost sure death"---Why? My reasoning is that w/all the fry in one locale it would assure (that when fed) all would receive some food & would also cut down on tank pollution as a result of having to spread the food throughout the tank to make sure all the fry eat because when occupying a tank they tend to spread out making feedings larger because all the various areas of the tank need to have the fry food (drops) dropped in to them. Perhaps my line of reasoning is off. Please let me know. Also, I felt that w/all the newborns in one location I'd be much better equipped to monitor a head count to see if there is any unusual death rate because once released from the breeding trap it's difficult to keep track of them & if there's a big die-off one might find out too late. Another ?-you mentioned something about moving the newborn to my 10g & moving the adults (in the 10g) to my 20g. Would this move prove stressful to the newborns & if so what's the smoothest way to achieve such a move? Thanks for all your help & support. I'm determined to have these newborns reach a ripe old age. RIC V---aka-"THE MOLLY MAN" (MM) <Most breeders are too small and enclosed to give good circulation. Ammonia can build up very quickly. The ten gallon is a great size to use as a grow out tank. It will give everyone plenty of room to swim and grow strong. Baby Mollies are big enough to take crushed up flake food. They will quickly learn to search for it when you feed. The drops work fine, but add a lot of waste to the water. I suggest switching them to flake as soon as possible. A ten is small enough to clean with a gravel vac in a few minutes to get rid of waste and leftovers. About moving them. If the breeder is floating in the ten now, and has at least some vents, you can just release them. If in the twenty, bag them with their current water and float it in the ten. Add a little water from the ten every 15 minutes or so. In an hour, release them. If you're checking pH and they match, just float for 15 minutes and release. Don>  

Molly Fry Hello & Happy Holidays! I know you must get asked this question a thousand times but here comes 1001 (I couldn't find the answer amongst other WWM letters). What is the best way to care for & raise black molly babies?? I have 2 tanks, 1=10g, 1=20g with the only difference being the ones in the 20g are in a baby breeder & the ones in the 10g are with the general population (3 adults). Both tanks are black molly only tanks. All were born today! Please give as much info as possible i.e.- how much & what to feed, frequency & amt of water changes & all other info pertaining to their survival. I'm striving to not have any newborns die. Give it to me w/everything you got. I'll do any & all work necessary. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise. RIC V. <If all the adults will fit in the 20 I'd move them and use the 10 to grow the fry. If that's not possible, I guess I'd add lots of plants like Java Moss plus a floating plant and let nature take its course. Mollies are not that bad when it comes to eating the fry. Guppies and Swords are worst, IMO,E. But they will take some if they get a chance and are hungry. Don't keep the fry in the breeder. Almost sure death. Feeding baby mollies is pretty simple. They are born large enough to take crushed up flake. Baby brine shrimp are a great first food if you want to hatch some. Feed small amounts 3 to 4 times a day for fry. Check the water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Make sure ammonia and nitrite are at zero. Nitrates below 20ppm. Do water changes to correct. If you over feed, that may be daily. Over feeding fry is not a bad thing, as long as you get out any uneaten food and waste and do enough water changes to keep the water pristine. Good luck with them. Don>    My Mollies aren't giving birth... Hello, I have a question that I haven't been able to find an answer for anywhere online--hopefully you can help me. :) I have a 35 gallon tank that has been operating for seven months. It contains: 6 Black Mollies (2 boys and 4 girls) 4 Zebra Danios 5 Neons 3 Lamp-eyed tetras (not sure which kind exactly) 1 Algae eater (Plecostomus [sp]) The water temperature is at 79 degrees, and the water quality is good (except for a significant amount of waterborne algae, which I am attempting to correct by adding live plants [I have 2 sword plants and 2 money-wort plants in there now]). There are also fake plants and a sculpture-thing for fish to hide in and around. The tank incurs 20% water changes every week, and the filter is a biological carbon filter that gets new carbon every other week. I feed the fish twice daily with tropical flake food, and I vary their diet by adding a spear of zucchini once a week, and feeding them dried blood worms about every other day in addition to the flake food. My problem is: all four of my girl mollies are pregnant (they are swelled to the point of looking square from the back). They are healthy in all other regards and the males only bother them a minimum amount. However, I've had these Mollies for 5 months, and they seem to remain pregnant without giving birth. They may be re-absorbing the fry, but it seems unlikely since their size remains relatively constant (although I do have trouble telling one female from the other, and some are slightly slimmer than others). They don't have any signs of parasites that I can tell, their scales, mouth, fins and eyes all appear very normal and healthy, and their waste is properly firm and reddish-brown. What's the deal with the perpetually pregnant Mollies? <Hi Missy...sounds like you are doing everything according to specification...based on what you're telling me, I really can't think of anything to alter.  I've got two thoughts with regard to the mollies: 1) perhaps they are giving birth and the danios (or other fish) are quickly munching up the fry?  I have only, on very rare occasion, seen any molly fry in my 44 gal. FW community tank, as I've got 3 boesemanni rainbows that I'm sure gladly eat them as soon as they are birthed; 2) are your mollies the "balloon" hybrid variety? I've got many of these, and in all honesty, it's pretty tricky to say when they are and aren't pregnant.  I greatly suspect the girls are indeed getting pregnant, because, well, that's what mollies do!, but maybe if you have the rounder-bodied mollies, that's why the size of the girls is remaining fairly constant, as you put it.  If you really want to raise the fry, try setting up a small species only tank for a few mollies...soon enough, you'll have more babies than you know what to do with!> I do not currently add any salt to the water since I'm not sure how the other fish would react (would it hurt the other fish, by the way?). <Your plants would not appreciate salt.  In my community tank, I keep it pure FW; I've recently set up a brackish (BW) 29 gal. molly tank, complete with a pair of knight gobies to control the fry population.  In all honesty, whether or not your mollies would appreciate, or even need, some salt depends on what specific type of mollies you have; the chocolate lyretails, for instance, are very fragile and I understand do not do at all well in pure FW.  This is also true of my black mollies...whenever they are left in complete FW, they tend to develop ich.  That's pretty much the reason I set up the BW tank.  On the other hand, if you've got standard plain, ol' mollies, they are very hardy and should be just fine without salt.  You'll be able to tell...if you are constantly seeing ich outbreaks, likely your fish are asking you to raise the salinity.> I also didn't intend on moving the Mollies to another tank to give birth...would either of these things help? Is it possible that my Mollies are giving birth and I'm not knowing about it? Are they stressed or sick? What can I do to help them with a successful pregnancy ending with fry? <As I mentioned above, try a small molly-specific tank (trust me, just one female in a tank alone will yield tons of fry given a few months time!  Just try not to move an overly-pregnant fish, as that can indeed cause undue stress and create problems with birth.> Thanks for your help, Missy <You're welcome.  Good luck! And, if all else fails, if you live anywhere near Chicago, I'd be more than happy to give you oodles and oodles of molly fry!! Jorie> Sick Molly Hi. Problem-- I have a 10 gal f/w tank w/5 adult B mollies & approx 20 newborns (still in fry saver). 1 of the f appears to have developed a drooping rear. In other words it's as if her tail & rear is hanging down almost @ times giving her a slight boomerang look. Last week I had another f w/same condition only worse & unfortunately I had to euthanize her. Tank has been running w/fish approx 3 1/2 weeks (still cycling---I know, bad move to start moving so fast--I'm impatient @ times), is sufficiently salted, temp=78. Other fish seem ok including f who just gave birth although all appear not as active as they should be-- a chronic problem which I guess is attributed to the cycling still going on. Please let me know what this condition is & what are it's ramifications     as I am concerned about an epidemic especially w/the newborns. What type of ailment is this? < Probably one of two things, genetic or conditioning, even a combination of both. I would separate the females from the males and feed the females well until they are in top notch condition. Only then would I add the best male. After the females give birth then I would separate the female once again and see if the condition can be helped with some live food and TLC. If not then it could be genetic and I would recommend getting some newer and hopefully stronger breeding stock.> Is it contagious? < Don't think so.>   What action should I take? < Try my recommendations and see what happens.-Chuck>  This has me bewildered.   Thanks for your help.  I greatly appreciate you being here for us newbies. Thanks--Ric V

Moved Mollies I have recently been forced to move my fish from their vastly spacious 55 gallon tank in to a slightly crowded, but not too bad, 10 gallon (Mom moved out of state and had to bring them to the dorm). I only have 2 black mollies that are of birthing age (and 4 fry), one of which I believe is pregnant (second time). She's been sitting at the bottom of the tank, not eating, and sort of wiggling. There's not many places to hide in there (yet) and she's been protecting her space against the other mollies. But now just runs away if they bother her too much and settles somewhere else. She's been doing this for about 3 days. I'm kinda worried. What should I do? <If your mollies are in freshwater, try adding some salt. They do much better in brackish to near full salt conditions. This may be the cause of the shimmying. Also, how long since the move? If the 10 gallon is not cycled, that could also be a cause. Do water changes to correct. Make sure you replace the salt at the same concentration. I also suggest you test your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Read here on cycling. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Don>

Black mollies Reading you site and very helpful.  I have a black molly who I think is about to have fry. She is very big around, her scales are sticking out and today she started hiding out at the bottom of the aquarium. Can I put her in a breeder trap to try and save some of the fry? And also when should I expect the fry to be born?  >Hard telling when they will be born.  Yes, I would put her in a breeder trap< James Good Golly, Molly questions Hi. <Hello> I have a 20 gallon tank. 6 weeks ago I bought 6 balloon mollies (2 male, 4 female) and a Plecostomus. I have been reading everything I can find about my new little friends but I am still so confused! <Mmm, why?>   1.. Three days ago we noticed that we have a baby! But there's only 1. How many babies are generally born at a time? <One at a time... but typically several over a period of hours... may be that they are hiding, perhaps consumed>   2.. Our baby is silver, long and thin, and about 1/2 inch long. He seems kind of big, how big are the babies at birth? <Quite small... maybe an eighth of an inch in length and very thin>   3.. Do the babies change color as they mature? <Yes>   4.. One site said the babies rarely live longer than four weeks. Is this true? <Mmm, would have to define rarely... some definitely/obviously do live longer...>   5.. I just cleaned my tank with a siphon and noticed A LOT of little white ball looking things (it looked like sand). Could these have been eggs? <Doubtful... most likely this is just accumulated waste, food...>   6.. If my females prematurely lose their eggs can they ever reproduce again? <Yes>   7.. What is dropsy? <A disease condition of edema... swelling brought on by fluid leaving cells, filling intercellular space... resultant from a few conditions in turn. Some microbial, others environmental>   8.. I read that my females will get some kind of red spot on their abdomens when they are about to have babies. Can you elaborate on this... <If you look closely at the vent area (near the rear edge of the anal fin), this area can appear reddish due to stretching... during and right before parturition>   9.. How long of a labor do mollies experience? <A few to several hours>   10.. What are some other signs of labor? <Hiding, a lack of feeding, hanging out at the surface>   11.. Some sites recommended separating expectant mothers then the babies. How do I go about doing this? <Mmm, not a good idea actually to move female livebearers that are close to giving birth... too easily damaged, abort... but to move well in advance, either to less-crowded quarters, breeding traps/nets, or systems that have a good deal of fine plant cover (e.g. Myriophyllum) or plastic substitute>   12.. One of my males is very aggressive and constantly breeding one of my females (and ignoring the other three females) and the other just hides on the top of the tank. Do mollies tend to have one dominate male per tank? <Yes. Good observations>   13.. Do the females have to be "in season" for the males to breed them? <Mmm, to some extent, yes... but are easily so>   14.. Some of my females have long clear strands hanging off them since I cleaned the tank. Are they miscarrying? <Not likely... this is excrement>   15.. What are the correct levels of nitrates,<10, 20 ppm or les> nitrites <Zip, zero> hardness <280 plus dH>, alkalinity <100 ppm plus>, and pH for balloon mollies <7.2-7.8>? I desperately want to provide quality care for my mollies. Please help. Sincerely, Melissa <Bob Fenner>

Molly fry dying one by one!!! Help!!! Dear WWM Crew,    I had over 40 molly fry which were born about a month ago.  A few died a couple of days after birth which I expected.  They all seemed to do fine then about a week or so ago a few fry died one by one.  One every day.   My pH, ammonia and nitrate are all fine but my nitrite is high. <How high is high?> I did go and buy Nitra-Zorb hoping it will help.  But, my question is, if it is the nitrite then why isn't it killing all the babies or even most at the same time? <Individual tolerance varies>   It's 1 dead fry every day not any more than that.  The fry are in a breeding tank and are born of 2 separate mollies.  It's an established tank.  I don't know if this will help but my snail died about 2 days ago.  Please help if you can before I lose all the baby fishes.  Thank you for your time and help in this matter.                                                                   Sincerely,                                                                  Desperate Mom <What is your pH? Do you add salt? What do you feed all? Have you done much, anything to the water during this time? It may be that your mollies are simply having defective young... this happens the first few "batches" or so at times. Bob Fenner> BLACK MOLLY FRY DEATH Hello. Happy New Year!-- I'm desperately trying to have/raise Black Molly fry in my fish tank. Here's my story/situation/problem: I have had molly births in my tank before but they died within a week but I understand that this was caused by the tank not being cycled. About 2 weeks ago my tank finally cycled & I went out & bought a few mollies (one of which was pregnant) to add to a couple I already had in the tank. A couple of days later she gave birth (I did not use a fry saver/spawning box) because I don't find mollies to be that aggressive towards the fry. I believe the pregnant F gave birth to about 14 babies all which died within a week but appeared healthy prior to dying. The water parameters on my tank are  -0- ammonia & nitrites, ph=7.4  and GH & KH=8- 10 which I think are supposed to be good for mollies. As for the salinity I use a mixture of marine salt & aquarium salt which when I measure the salinity w/ a hydrometer comes out to about 1.003-4.  Temp=78-80. So my question/problem is---What went wrong? & Why the total fry wipeout? <Very likely just simply moving the female so close to parturition... this happens> I'm thinking---Was there too much salt in the tank for the fry to handle?   Was putting a fish that was impregnated from another tank and spent most of her gestation time outside of my tank & then all of a sudden giving birth in my tank, the problem? <Bingo> Or is there something I just didn't do or supply to the fry?   Just about everything I've read says it's very easy to raise live-bearer fry but I didn't encounter it that way. Please share with me your knowledge & expertise on this matter so that I can avoid this fry death in the future. Let me know exactly what needs to get done. Thank you so much for your help. RIC V   <Did you feed the young Ric? Keep trying my friend. You'll get it right. Bob Fenner>

Who's Your Daddy? Molly fry "ugly duckling" My Silver Molly, which I had in a tank for about 5 weeks, just gave birth to a small batch of fry. The Male was also a Silver Molly in the tank (whom I suspect is the daddy due to occasions of me accidentally witnessing some love making hee hee). However, of the 8 fry I have managed to roundup into a playpen, all are whitish in color accept for one. It is a very dark grey almost black color. Is he sick, or is it possible for her to give birth to an ugly duckling? (still cute to me though) Thank you for your time. Andrea <Most of the Mollies we get today have had their genes mixed so many times and ways that almost anything is possible. But be aware that Mollies can store sperm for months and use it for multiple spawns. So just because you saw them mate does not mean that he is the father. Only time will tell if the dark fry is sick or if it is genetic. BTW Mollies can usually be trusted not to take fry. Don't keep them in an enclosed breeder for more than a few day to a week if possible. Good luck. Don>

Who's Your Daddy part 2 Thank you for the info, I have the molly fry in a pen because I have a Betta in the tank too and he's been looking at them like dinner. What would be the longest I can keep them in a breeder pen? I was hoping to let them double in length before releasing them. Andrea <The biggest problem with a breeder is the lack of circulation. Also, IMO you get stronger, healthier fry when they can swim freely. So I dislike them in most cases. But with the Betta in there you may have to raise a few couch potatoes for a while. You could also add a bunch of plants as hiding places. But with the new arrivals it may be time to add that new tank you've been wanting. Don>

Pregnancies between Dalmatian mollies Hi I have a 30 gallon fish tank with a number of community fish, including three Dalmatian mollies, one is pregnant I think and I would like to no how long the fish will be pregnant for. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollyfaqs.htm  and the linked files (in blue), above. Bob Fenner>

Molly help! Hello! <Hi...this is Jorie> I have 3 adult mollies (one black, one silver, and one Dalmatian) and 5 baby mollies (don't know what color!). I have a few questions for you, and hopefully you can answer them all! <I will try...> 1) My Dalmatian molly keeps chasing my silver molly around and 'tags' her sometimes. I have had the black [male] molly and the silver [female] molly for some time now, 5 or 6 months I guess, so I didn't think that the Dalmatian molly would be 'territorial' because I just got her 2 days ago! Why do you think the chasing occurs?? <Male mollies can be quite aggressive towards females (and even other males at times)...you should try to keep a 1:4 or even 1:5 ratio of males: females, if possible (i.e., if your tank size will allow). Otherwise, it has been my experience that the dominant (alpha) male will terrorize the female(s). How big is your tank? If you've got a 20 or bigger, perhaps consider adding more girl mollies to the mix?> 2) My silver molly has developed the shimmers since I brought the Dalmatian molly home and introduced them. Is she scared of the newbie?? <I'm not quite sure what you are describing here...is she visibly shaking? If so, that sounds to be a potential health issue. Have you tested the water chemistry lately? Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate measurements? Is this an established tank (has it completed the nitrogen cycle)? If you aren't familiar with what I'm talking about, please refer to some of the wonderful articles available on the site that discuss "newbie" issues such as these; also, I like to recommend a book that's great for beginners called "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums", by David Boruchowitz. Another factor is how much cover do you have in the tank? Fake and/or live plants, as well as decorations are great for allowing fish hiding places, and will also help with your problem described in #1 above.> 3) My black molly is quite a bit smaller than the other mollies and has developed a white/grayish stripe on his 'neck' from gill to gill. What do you think this could be?? I am worried about him, he is the 'runt'!! <I too keep black mollies, and I've noticed that their gill area tends to be more noticeable than the other colored mollies' is...so long as he is breathing normally and not acting strange, I think this is just how the coloration of the black molly plays out. I was concerned when I first noticed this, but have been watching closely for many months now, and I've not seen any problems as a result. I think it's purely cosmetic.> 4) Is it really necessary to add aquarium salt to the tank? <Not a "do-or-die" thing, but will definitely be appreciated by the mollies. Aquarium salt will reduce the outbreaks of ich and other diseases. Some mollies are more fragile than others, depending on how genetically manipulated they have become (the chocolate lyretails, for instance, are particularly fragile, as I understand). I've got a batch of mollies that I planned on keeping in a freshwater community tank (no salt at all), but in reality, they kept getting ich; each time, I'd treat with hyposalinity (increasing the level of salt) in a hospital tank, only to have them succumb again once back in the FW. I've since put this batch in its own brackish tank (salinity around 1.005) and everybody is quite happy. I've got one particularly strong adult balloon male who lives in the FW tank with no problems, but long story short, if at all possibly, I do recommend salt. Do you keep your mollies with other fish? If not, you can go ahead and salt the tank according to the manufacturer's recommendation; if yes, do read up on whether or not the other inhabitants can tolerate salt, as some fish absolutely cannot.> 5) Is it ok to feed the adults FirstBites fish food? <To the best of my knowledge, that's the powdered fry food? That won't be enough nutrition for the adult molly; I've usually begun feeding my fry Hikari's Micro Pellets (step up in size from fry food) by the time they are around 9 mos. or so...I'd definitely suggest purchasing small pellets, such as the ones sold by Hikari or New Life/Spectrum (both are excellent quality) for the adults. Also, they'd certainly appreciate some frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms and Mysid shrimp every once in a while...variety for fish food is great, and they'll be very grateful to you!> 6) One of my females gave birth to the 5 babies (which I have carefully separated from the adults), is it 'normal' or ok for there to be so few? I heard that mollies can have up to 80 fry, so I naturally became concerned. I haven't seen any other babies in the tank. <A female's first few batches of fry can be very small...as she grows, so will the amount of fry she produces! Don't worry, soon enough, there will be more than you can handle, and you'll be looking for homes for them!> 7) How can you tell when a female molly has just had babies? Are there any signs? <Well, there will be teeny little fry swimming around the tank! Best way is to identify which girl is pregnant, and observe her behavior...she'll likely go and hide while giving birth (again, make sure there's enough cover in the tank to allow for this...see response to #2 above), and emerge with a smaller mid-section...> Well, I guess I'm out of questions for now. If I have any other questions, I may email you again! Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy day to hear me out'!! ~Anissa from Rockwall, Texas <Hope I've helped, Anissa! Jorie>

Ammonia in Fry Tank I have found your website to be very helpful. First I want to say that I am a proud owner of two mollies one a balloon black (female) and the other a orange (male). Two days ago I discovered 17 fry. I was so thrilled! I need help in deciding what to do. So far the adults have left to fry alone. No problems there. I have a 2.5 gallon tank and know that that is not enough room for all of them. I am wondering if I should take the adults out (to another 2.5 tank) and leave the fry to grow a bit bigger in the existing tank. I would like to possibly keep two at the most but want them to get bigger so I can determine the sex. I have spoken to the LFS and they will take a the rest from me. My levels are at ph. 7.8 nitrite .25 nitrate 5.0 and ammonia is at 4.0. temp is 78/80. I am a determined new aquarist. What is the safest thing to do in my situation? Thanks in advance. Vanessa I. Tucker <Water changes, and lots of them. 4.0 ammonia is deadly! And .25 nitrite is .25 too high and it's about to go higher. Check the pH of your tap water. If they are within 2 or 3 tenths then match temp, dechlorinate and change 50% right now. Wait a few hours and do it again. Then daily until ammonia and nitrite are at zero. Your problem is a lack of bio filtration, something that takes time to get established. Do move the adults out. The ammonia is from fish waste. The less fish, the less ammonia will be added to the tank. Read here on establishing FW bio filtration. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm   I hate to tell you to limit feeding the fry, food is very important to growing fish. But the more you feed the more waste will be produced. Just feed them twice a day and only enough that it's all eaten within a minute or two. Once the ammonia comes down you can up this to three or four small feedings a day. When you do the water changes use a gravel vac to get any uneaten food and old waste out of the system. You are going to have to continue with almost daily water changes for a month to six weeks. It will take about that long to get cycled. That link contains the most important information a new aquarist needs to have in order to keep their fish alive. And congrats on the births. 17 is a lot for a Molly. BTW they are not as bad as guppies and swordtails when it come to taking their young. As long as they do not get too hungry they generally leave them alone. But since you need to limit feeding, move the adults out. Don> 

Mating Male Molly Mishaps Hi, have a Dalmatian male Mollie and he seems to be attacking my female black molly. <Sounds like he is trying to mate. This is fairly common behavior in livebearing fishes.> Her fin on the top of her body seems to be all torn up now that this is happened. He did this to the last female Mollie I had that was black, and to one of my other fish. The other fish and the last female I had died because of this. <Sounds like you should consider relocating him or not purchasing any more fish!> Why is he constantly doin' this, and should I take the male out of my tank and put him in his own? <He is doing this probably because he wants to procreate. To multiply. To breed. To reproduce. To propagate. To generate more mollies. To carry on the species. He is being met with resistance from the females, and continues to harass them to fornicate. This harassment is ultimately leading to their deaths. It is common practice among livebearers breeders to include several females to every one male of a species to disperse the aggression. Good luck, Mike G.>  <Excellent alliteration of the title, Mike!>

GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY Hello! I have recently started up a tank, and there are a few mollies. I do not know how to sex them. One of them was really fat, and I thought it was pregnant, turns out, it is a balloon belly.. Well, it has been hiding for 4 days now. I figured maybe it was a she and was about to give birth. She was eating a little here and there, and mostly stayed hidden. This afternoon, I got a breeder net and put her in it. A little while later I noticed a black molly was getting fat and had a clearish something coming out of it. (like a poop rope, only clear) So I stuck it in the breeding tank too. Well, the balloon belly started chasing black molly around and coming up under her like they were mating. So, I took the balloon belly out, assuming now that she is a he. The main question is, if it is a he, then why would he be all sulky and hiding? ~Charly~ < To sex mollies as well as other live bearers you need to look under the tail at the anal fin. Females have a regular looking triangular fin while males have a long tube like fin that has been adapted to insert into the females to fertilize their internal eggs. New fish may take awhile to acclimate to their new surroundings. There is a pecking order to be figured out in almost all tanks. If your fish was alone then they would feel more comfortable in schools or small groups.-Chuck.> 

Breeding mollies Hi, I have a numerous amount of female and male mollies in my tank and I have been trying to breed them forever. They haven't had babies yet. Now I am looking at a female Dalmatian molly I just bought about a week ago. It looks a little bit fat and I have a net breeder I can put it in. I just don't know when to put my Dalmatian into it. I don't even know if it is pregnant. Can you tell me how it would look, act, or any sign to where I would know if it was pregnant or not? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm.  Scroll down to Mollies... read the FAQs posted. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Breeding mollies <Live bearers get rounded bellies and then a black area appears in the belly area before the tail.> I found that on your page that you told me to look at, and I was wondering if that is all I need to know about my molly. <Is it? If this satisfies you in terms of knowing... so be it. These are the two best descriptors/indications of imminent birthing... Bob Fenner>

Cross breeding mollies Hi I had an odd question and was hoping you could help me. I have a black molly, several Gouramis and a tri color shark in a 40 gallon tank. I have had the molly for about 1 and 1/2 years, and all of a sudden she is having babies. How is this possible? I have never had any babies before (I know it was her as I saw her have a few of them) nor have I ever had any other molly in the tank. I did have 2 platies in the tank for about two weeks while my 10 year old's tank was being repaired but that was several months ago. Could they have "cross-bred". Thanks Michelle <Mmm, platies and swordtails can/do cross-breed, but I have not heard of a case of such breeding with Mollienesia... all livebearing fishes can store sperm in their tracks for a period of time... but a year and a half? Unusual... the reproductive behavior and physiology of the several Molly species is involved to put it lightly... there is even an "Amazon" Molly that produces haploid offspring... not using sperm genetically... Bob Fenner>

Molly questions I have a molly that just gave birth to a fry. I have the babies separated. I was wondering how long it with take for them to mature and joining the rest of the community (tetras and mollies). Also, what do you recommend feeding the fry? -Tara <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm.  Scroll down to the livebearer, Molly FAQs archives and read re. Bob Fenner>

Balloon Mollies I have read a lot of your Q & A's about mollies, not all of them, but enough to figure my question is not answered. we are first time tank people, have had our tank about a week. we bought 3 female (that's what I told them to give me anyway) balloon mollies yesterday. I was wondering if our 10 gallon would hold about 5 females, a small bottom feeder and 1 or 2 of those small brown frogs. <Should be fine> it seams like a lot, but it also seems like everyone else is trying to breed, we are not. from the sound of it constant baby flow is the cause of high levels. <Of?> we just set the tank up recently and of course are going to watch it for about a month before we start adding (slowly), but with weekly water changes and frequent testing I think its possible. am I full of nonsense? <No... the slow, careful approach is best here> honestly we will probably be getting a larger tank in the future, but with only 4 or so fish I think it would look kind of bare. also another question, I know pregnant mollies and tanks with males and females nip at each other, but my 3 are supposedly female and they are doing it frequently, especially to one in particular. is this natural or do I have a male or 2? <You could or not... the spawn (they likely will... can/do store sperm in their tracks) will likely produce some males> thank you very much for your time, I hope that I did not ask anything ridiculous that you have answered more than 20 times. have a wonderful day! Jackie <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Is "She" A "She"? (Good Golly Miss/Mr. Molly!) We have a black molly that seems to be pregnant (very fat) but we would like to know how we can be sure. She is all black except on her belly underneath in front of anal fin it seems to be white. <Females will not have the modified anal fin that males possess (known as a "gonopodium"), and females simply have...anal fins.> And what signs should we look for to tell when she is going to deliver? <A very pregnant female will generally display an extremely swollen belly, and in many cases, a slight swelling under the gill plates will indicate that delivery is near.> Thank you <And thanks for stopping by! Regards, Scott F.>

New Aquarium--New Birth I set up a new aquarium about 9 days ago, and bought fish to put in it 3 days ago. Not understanding the issues (though I've been reading since), I bought 3 balloon mollies and 3 neon tetras (from what I read, about the worst choices for a new aquarium). 1 neon has died; one of the mollies gave birth to 11 fry, all of which are still living, on Friday, January 2003. I've change 25% of the water each day since Saturday. I only have a 10 gallon tank. <<okay>> My plan is to give the babies back to the pet store when they're grown. <<definitely a good idea>> What else should I do? Ph is staying at about 7.5, but the nitrogen is, at the low count, 1.5 and has been up to 3, when one of the neon died. Now that I'm here, what should I do? <<Keep up the water changes. Sounds like you're doing a great job of it. Once your nitrites/ammonia drop some then decrease either the amount or frequency of your water changes. - Get or make some very fine food for the Molly fry. There are some liquid ones on the market that can be found in most LFS or you can generally mail order a very fine pellet type food. But the easiest way is to make your own by crushing up flake or pellet food (whichever you have) into a very fine powder. - You might also want to return the Neons to your LFS and wait until your tank is completely cycled before trying them again. Neons tend to be pretty sensitive fish and you will most likely lose your remaining two if you keep them.>> Thanks for any advice. Margaret <<You're very welcome. Ronni>>

How do I tell if my Molly is a male or female? Hello to all at WWM, <Hello to you!> I have a crazy question. <Can't be as crazy as some of the ones my kids come up with'¦> We bought 2 marbled mollies and were told that one was male and the other female.  Then while paying someone in line behind us said we had 2 females. How do I tell the difference (possibly with visual aid?). I read all through the FAQ's about the differences but I really need a picture they all look the same to me and I can't seem to get a clear image in my head about what the males look like vs. the females. Any help would be most appreciated. <Well, I don't have a picture to send you but if you look closely at their anal fins you can tell by the shape. The anal fin on a female will be shaped much like a fan. On a male it will be thin and pointed. This is the surest way to tell on livebearers.> Thanks in advance for any help offered. Amy <You're welcome! Ronni>

Baby Fry I have what a I hope is a very basic question.  I have a molly that just gave birth to 30 some odd fry this morning.  I am in need of some assistance in what to feed them.   <Take your normal flake or pellet food and crush it up into a fine powder for the babies. There are commercial fry foods on the market but the powdered normal food works just as well.> I got the basics off the site but my biggest concern is that we are going away for the weekend and I don't know what to do for the time that we are gone.  Can I leave extra food on the bottom of the tank and they will just eat it?   <Absolutely do not leave extra food in the tank. This will rot and pollute your water in a matter of hours. Although it's not really recommended for fry, if you're only going to be gone for a couple of days your fish will do fine with no food during this time. Just feed them a normal amount right before you leave and again immediately upon your return and they'll be OK. Alternately, if you are having someone check on your house for you while you're gone you can pre-measure the food into little cups (Dixie cups work well) and set them by the tank. This way, the person checking on your house can just walk over and dump one pre-measured feeding into the tank. This is what I do when I travel.> Also can you recommend a good weekend feeder for the big Mollies and Platies. <There are the weekend food tablets but these can and often do pollute your tank. There are also automatic feeders but before using these they need to be tested to make sure they don't malfunction and overfeed your fish. I can't really recommend any certain one because I don't have first hand experience with any of them.> Thanks in advance -- Joy <You're welcome! Ronni>

Moving Baby Mollies Hi to all <Hello!> I have my other tank set up for my baby mollies.  I was very careful when moving but they died within the hour.  I'm wondering is it to stressful to move the babies?   <Moving fish is always slightly stressful but doesn't usually result in death. There may have been something different with the water in the new tank, pH, temperature, etc that resulted in the loss.> Should I move the adults to the new tank or will I just kill them to? This has really made me gun-shy. I don't want to kill anymore fish. Thanks Again, Amy <If you move them, make sure to acclimate them to the new tank slowly. This will help prevent losses. You're welcome! Ronni>

Re: Are my Mollies breeding? Thank you so much for your help.  I appreciate it.   <You're very welcome> By the way, as far as bringing fry into the pet store, I go to PetSmart and they have a nursery in the back for fry.  They will raise them from the time they are born.  I think that's a good  thing to know for other people out there.  You may want to check with your local PetSmart before bringing them though. <That's good to know. We don't have a PetSmart in my area yet (they're building one this year), the closest one is 120 miles away so I'm not very familiar with their practices. Thanks for the info.> My antisocial Molly, seems to be a little better now then she was before, but the male has no interest in her.  Is that normal?   <Sometimes this happens so it's nothing to worry about.> Is there a time when they are fertile and not fertile?   <Nope, livebearers seem to always be fertile.> Like I said I am new, so I am not sure what to expect.  Thanks again. Jamie <Just do lots of reading and you'll do fine. Ronni>

Re: Mollie fry (replacement for brine shrimp) Hi, I am Rahul from Bangalore, India. <Greetings from NW Montana!> My marble Sailfin Mollie has littered approx 55 fries. Problem is that we don't get brine shrimps at the pet shops here. Is there an alternative? <You can use powdered regular food rather than brine shrimp and it's much better for the fry. To make it just crush up some of your regular food into a fine powder. You might also be able to buy a product called Liquifry for livebearers but in all honesty, my fish have always grown the best on powdered food.> I am feeding frozen Tubifex worms currently, is it ok? <You'd be better off to use powdered regular food or Liquifry> I have placed them separately in a clay pot and this seems to have boosted their growth. <As long as their water doesn't get fouled you should be fine.> Hoping for a reply soon. Rahul <Congrats! Ronni>

Dead Molly babies :( Dear Crew: <Hi! Ananda here tonight, with more mollies than I can shake a stick at....> A few days ago I realized my freshwater Black Molly was pregnant. I took her out of my community tank and put her in a plastic breeding container in a 10 gallon tank. I purposely left the bottom plate of the breeding container out, so the babies, when born, could fall through the slats and into the tank. (This has worked successfully for me previously.) <I dislike those breeding containers.> Anyhow, after 3 days of her being isolated, I woke up today and found 15 dead babies in the tank, all with extended sacs on their bodies. <Most likely a sign of premature birth. The female was probably stressed from being in the too-small breeding container, and birthed the fry before they were viable in the water column.> As of now, two have survived, but they are struggling to swim. <If you have any significant current in the tank, reduce it to near-zero if you wish to keep these fry.> I have checked the PH (about 7.4), ammonia and nitrite levels in the tank (both 0). What could have caused the quick death (possibly stillborn) of these babies?   <Noted above... I just wrote a bunch of stuff about breeding/raising mollies for saltwater. Most of it is applicable to freshwater and brackish mollies. Check out the ongoing discussion: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=91&thread=8500> Thanks for your help! Larry <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Are my Mollies breeding? Hi, I am new to Mollies... I have a 5 ½ gallon tank with a whisper over the side of the tank filter.  I have 2 small fake plants and a cave type thing.   The temperature is set at 78-80 degrees.  The pH level is steady at 7.6 (I can't get it any lower, no matter how hard I try). <Your pH is OK. It's better to have it a bit high and stable than constantly fluctuating.> In this tank I stock 2 marble mollies and a marble Sailfin molly.  When I purchased them I didn't think to ask what their genders were.    <The males will have a pointed anal fin; the females will have fan shaped anal fins. This is the best way to tell with any livebearers.> Since putting them in the tank, I've noticed that the Sailfin, which I believe is a male, is interested in one of the others.  I believe it is female, thought not sure.  What he is doing is, going over, seemingly, "sniffing" her under belly and poking his anal fin at her... Are they mating?  I am not sure.  If so, and she is pregnant, how long is their gestational period? What do you suggest I do after she gives birth?  I am planning to bring them to the pet store, but how should I transport them? <Yes, they are probably breeding. The gestation period should be around 30 days. After the fry are born they will need lots of places to hide so the parents don't eat them. Plants work great for this. You will need to feed them powdered food. You can make this by crushing some flake or pellet food into a fine powder. Your LFS probably won't take them until they are larger and recognizable as mollies so you are most likely going to need a grow out tank. To keep them in until they are large enough to take in. Once they are grown, you can transport them in a bucket, Ziploc baggie, or anything else that isn't going to spill.> The 3rd molly seems to be a loner, is this because he/she feels left out?  I have also observed that he/she seems to be "waddling" through the water until another fish goes near it, then it darts and seems to be moving okay. Do you suggest I get tat one a mate?  I do plan on upgrading to a 10 gallon tank soon.  Please let me know ASAP.  Thanks, Jamie <With any livebearer you should ideally have one male for every two or three females. This one isn't feeling left out though, it just doesn't feel like mingling. You're welcome! Ronni>

Mystery Molly Dad <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have another question about a different type of fish, I got a silver molly about three weeks ago along with a dragon goby and there the only two fish I have in this 10 gallon tank, for now at least, and some how my molly had babies a little while ago and she hasn't been with another molly for three weeks. How did this happen? <Well, your molly was pregnant when you got her. Molly gestation is about a month. And once she's been impregnated, she can stay that way for up to six months, despite having no contact with a male during that time. When mollies mate, the female stores the milt for future broods. --Ananda>

Balloon molly fry deaths Hello there.  I'm not sure if you can help me.   <Hi Sarah, we'll sure try!> I have a female balloon molly which had 6 babies just over 9 weeks ago.  They have all survived up until they were about 8 weeks old (about a week ago), then the smallest one of them started swimming in circles and it died during the night.  Since then, over the last week or so, three more have died.  I didn't actually notice any of the others behaving oddly.  I have now only got two babies left.  Do you know what could have killed them and are the two survivors likely to die as well?  Thanks very much for your help in advance,  Sarah. <Well, first and foremost, check your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH).  I would imagine that the likeliest cause of the fry's illness is related to water quality.  If you see any ammonia or nitrite register on your tests, do water changes immediately to correct it.  Balloon mollies are a little more sensitive than other mollies, due to selective inbreeding, and baby balloon mollies, of course, are more sensitive than adults, so anything out of whack in water quality will really harm them.  Another thing to think about, if you haven't already, is adding salt to the molly tank.  Now, since I don't know what other fish you're keeping with the mollies, the best I can suggest to you is to add one to two tablespoons of salt per ten gallons of tank water; most freshwater fish will appreciate this.  Use salt designed for saltwater aquariums.  Mollies can certainly take (and appreciate) a LOT more salt than that, and even thrive in full-blown saltwater aquariums.  To find out more, especially about mollies in brackish water, I'd recommend dropping by our forum, http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/index.jsp .  Hoping for the best for you and your remaining baby balloons,  -Sabrina>

Balloon molly fry deaths - part two The other fish that we have got are four mollies, four silver tips, five Neons, one Siamese fighter, two balloon mollies, two upside down cats and one Plecostomus. <What size tank is this?  Also, just to give you fair warning - it is certainly not unheard of for upside-down cats to snack on small fish, like silvertip and neon tetras, and also to become rather aggressive, when they get bigger....> We actually clean the tank out every other week, changing about a third of the water and cleaning the filter.   <Great.> When we put the new water in, we add fresh start (2 pipettes per 9 litres of water) and tonic salts (half a one teaspoon per 18 litres of water).  We have also got a little kit to test the nitrite/nitrate, which we do very two or three weeks and it is always ok. <Is this a liquid reagent kit, or one of the test 'strip' dipstick-type things?> The other thing you suggested was to check the ammonia, how do you do that? <Test kits are available, probably can find one at your local fish store.  Try to get a kit with liquid reagent instead of the test 'strip' type.> Also just so that you know the babies are actually in a floating tank in the main tank and none of the fish in the main tank have died which is why we thought it was probably a disease or some sort of infection. <If none of the adult fish are sick, I'd be more inclined to think it wasn't a bacterial/parasitic infection, but it is certainly possible.> Do you still think it could be something to do with the water quality? <Yes, absolutely.  I think this is by far the likeliest.  Baby fish are far, far more sensitive than adult fish.  Ammonia and nitrite must be kept at zero, anything above that will be toxic to the fish, and deadly to the (more sensitive) fry.  Maintaining excellent water quality is very important with baby fish.  Don't worry, mollies are very prolific, and you'll probably have a new batch soon.  Good luck!!  -Sabrina> From Sarah.

Molly fry Hey guys, <Hi Cindy and John, Sabrina here with you today> Just like to say you site is very informative.  I have spent many hours reading on different subjects and love the fact I am learning a wealth of information. <Wonderful to hear!  Please continue to learn and enjoy!> We have about 130 sail fin molly babies <Holy mackerel.... er, well, *not* mackerels, but wow, all the same.  'Lotta babies.> and we are wondering are what age can we determine male or female.  I have read several different articles and there is no one age.   <Well, this is due partly to the fact that there are a lot of contributing factors in the growth of the fry: food and frequency of feeding, water quality, temperature, etc., so it's not very easy to give you a good, definitive answer.  Now, to make things worse, there are occasionally (perhaps even often) late developing males, which for many months may look, even act like females, then suddenly grow male features (Sailfin, gonopodium).  These late bloomers might be identifiable by some display of mild aggression to other very obviously male mollies.> Our oldest baby is 3 1/2 months old and appears to be female. The next group of babies are 2 months and also  appear to be female. the youngest group is just 2 weeks old and growing very fast.  The mothers of the babies are the large Sailfin variety. <As you start to see males develop in your first few batches, it'll help you get a feel for it for following broods.> One female mom is chocolate chip, orange with brown all over, and the other mother is silver.  Both females are a little over 3 inches long.  The babies are in 2 five gallons tanks, we will be moving them to the 20 gallon tank within a week.   Our tanks are all exactly the same conditions: Ph 7.5 Nitrates 0 ammonia 00 GH & KH  6 <All sounds good - do please test for nitrite as well, as it is toxic to fish.> Thank you for the wonderful website.  We check your site almost everyday.  Cindy & John <And thank you for the kind words - glad to hear it.  -Sabrina>

Puffers, molly fry, and more (10/28/03) [previous message] """Actually I'd stay longer to say more, but my mollies have just started to shoot out fry and I have to catch them and separate them before they can eat anymore.   <Well, now we know that you don't have a pair of males! :-) > I don't know what you people do to catch fry, but I'll be damned if there is anything better than a turkey baster for catching those little things, lol. <*blink* Three years of keeping mollies and catching molly fry, and that never even occurred to me...I use a couple of nets.> Robert *Turkey basting the baby mollies* <Truly, some excellent ideas come from people who are do not know what they are 'supposed' to do. Thanks for the idea! --Ananda>""" [/end previous message] I must admit, after seeing that response, I bust a kidney laughing. <Which is about what I did when I read about the turkey baster! :-) > To be honest, those two I had WERE males, since I was confusing the caudal fin with the anal fin. <Ah, gotcha.> My biology knowledge from back in the high school days is escaping me. <Quick! Go chase it, catch it, and tie it down! ;-) > The mollies were actually female silvers, hand picked since I could see that they were pregnant. <The only way to be sure you're getting mollies that really are female, as opposed to largish immature males...> They are all in the 55 now, but I'm still one female short. Honestly when I noticed the fish looking like they were in a feeding frenzy, I took a closer look at them swimming after fry. Whilst I sat there looking at all the fry hiding in corners and tight spaces, I couldn't figure out how to get them out to save them. There lying against the side of the aquarium was the turkey baster, which I had used to suck up sand to make decorative waves amongst on the bottom of the aquarium earlier. <Uh-hunh, playing in the tank again, hmmm?> You could just imagine the eyebrow lift as the thought struck my mind. o.O So taking the baster I just stuck it in the corner and *thoop*, three fry in a single shot. (Great minds at work... turkey basting fish). I got about 15 of them into the separator chamber and left them in there, since I had to go to class. Sadly though, somehow the chamber was dislodged from the side and had drifted under the power filter flow by time I got back. <Doh!> The chamber was knocked under, and by time I got back I only found 4 still alive and hiding. So they were moved over to the 10 gallon where the puffer and the gobies still reside, although they leave the fry alone. The pufferfish seems more interested with scrounging around for food, although he won't touch a snail on the ground if it's not crushed first. He is still too small to pick them off the wall so the only way of getting him to eat them are to crush the snails and drop them right in front of his face or let them float on the surface. He's getting about one or two snails a day before breakfast and dinner. <Sounds good for a spoiled little puff. :) > Ok, now I have looked at the spotted green pufferfish on fishbase, and something seems wrong between looking at the online ones and the one I have. You won't be able to tell by the pictures but mine looks like he has more of a beak or extension of his jaw area, instead of a regular slope. He looks more like a ball (hence the name Meatball) than the footballish look, and the kicker is he basically NEVER fans out his caudal fin. <Mine don't, either.> He only does it when he's completely stopped in the water, and that is a very rare occasion in itself. He always keeps it squinched when he uses it like a rudder. <Yep, sounds familiar!> Ok, here are the pictures, although they probably wont help as much. <You've got a healthy-looking Tetraodon nigroviridis in your tank. --Ananda>

"Cross-breeding" mollies? (12/16/03) I have a pot bellied molly male in a 10 gal tank with two large female "regular" mollies.  Can they interbreed?   <Yup.> I've heard both that they can't and that they can.  I'm very curious to know the facts.     <Biologically, they are either the same or very similar species, depending on which "regular" mollies you have. I suspect the reason you've heard they can't is that the pot-bellied (aka balloon-bellied) molly females may have trouble carrying fry sired by a standard molly, possibly resulting in the death of the female. I have heard reports of this, but, since I prefer the standard mollies, have never seen it.> My little balloon molly is really cute.  He's jet black and I love to watch him.  I'd enjoy seeing him breed with a black female balloon molly, but haven't seen one at all.  Looked for quite awhile.  Can you help?  (I'm mainly interested in the inter-breeding question). <To find a female balloon molly, do check the web and look for more fish stores near you. You might also look for fish clubs -- if there is a freshwater fish club in your area, perhaps someone there has molly fry they do not wish to keep. Speaking of which -- what are your plans for all the molly fry you are likely to end up with? This is something you should figure out *now*, before you find yourself swamped with hundreds of fry...which, with two females, could happen in only a few months. Do please drop on by the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk and the balloon molly fans will be thrilled! --Ananda> Baby molly's disappearance I had five 1/4 inch mollies in a hanging net breeder by themselves. Over the past 1 mo, 2 died that I know of. One is bigger and the rest of them. The other day, a smaller disappeared. No corpse to be found. Since no adult fish gets into the net breeder, could a sibling have eaten him up???  <Yes, larger mollies have been known to eat small young. Also, mollies will pick at the bodies of dead fish, so, perhaps the fish didn't eat them when it was alive but nibbled it right up after it had passed on. When I bred mollies I found it best to set up a second tank with lots of (plastic) plants so that it offered hiding areas. It worked well until I felt they were large enough to go back into the display tank with the other adults. -Magnus>

Potbellied mollies I have 2 pot bellied mollies a male and female.........the female has looked pregnant since I got her about month ago but has had none......is there a way to tell for sure if she is or whether its just a big belly, thanks, Tazzy Dear Tazzy; Hello, do you know for sure that you have a male and a female? The male will have a gonopodium (small, pointy thing in the place of a regular fin at the rear part of his belly, towards his tail) and the female will have regular fin. Since their bellies are so round, it's hard to see how pregnant she is, but sometimes she will have a few babies without you knowing, they will hide, or get eaten if you are not around at the time of delivery. Look closely, you may see some lurking babies yet! It might be a good idea to add some java moss to your tank, this will give the babies a place to hide, and will help provide food for them to pick at. Make sure you do regular partial water changes :) -Gwen<<

Pot belly molly fry (03/05/04) <Hi! Ananda here this morning...> My black pot belly molly is having babies as I'm typing this. Do they lay eggs or do they birth live young? <The latter, generally, though on rare occasions, you may see a fry that is still encapsulated that has to break out of the remainder of the egg.> My male keeps attacking the babies and so far I don't see any of them moving. <Newborns often just hang out for a while before they start wandering around. Hopefully the male isn't hurting them.> I see a couple of them hidden in the leaves of the artificial plants, but they seem to be in a egg sac. What should I do? CA <Truly, there isn't much more you can do to help them. Pot-bellied mollies are highly inbred, and so the fry may have a relatively low survival rate. For the next batch, if you can figure out when the female is about to have fry, it will be easier on her and the fry if you can move the female into a maternity tank. Use a single layer of round, glass marbles as the substrate, and the fry can hide there safely out of mom's reach. If the second tank isn't a possibility, do use lots of floating and submerged plants for the fry to hide in. I've used fake wheat grass very successfully -- the leaves are so close together that the adults can't reach the fry at all. Do check out the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk -- we have a few  pot-bellied molly fans there who will be happy to chat them up with you.  Best of luck. -- Ananda.>

Molly Mom Mystery? (03/22/04) HI there! <Hi! Ananda the certifiable molly nut here tonight...> I witnessed my gold dust molly give birth last night! <Fun!> When I looked in there, she had a fry tail hanging from her vent area. It stayed in there for a bout a hour, and when she finally delivered it, it soon died. About thirty minutes later, her vent began protruding and she became very uncomfortable. About another ten minutes, her gravid area looked as if it may split in half! Then, babies began popping out. In the end, she had ten babies (it was her first delivery!) and also about four eggs.   <Ten fry is a little much for a first delivery. (I've had females have a single fry at the ripe old age of four months.) The one time I've seen molly eggs was with my first female molly to give birth -- I unknowingly stressed her after she'd started having fry, and she released a bunch of eggs.> Seven of the 10 fry have survived so far. I did not even know that she was pregnant! The strange thing is, all of our mollies are females, but we have three male platys. The other strange thing is, there is not ONE black fish in the 29 gallon tank, and EVERY SINGLE FRY looks the same, a white head and a black body! Seventuplets!! <Sounds like your female encountered a black molly at the store or earlier.> I also know that she probably wasn't pregnant from the pet store, because we've had her for about three months, and she hasn't had any fry, and they had the males and females separated. <Female mollies can store sperm for up to six months, so she was probably biding her time.> I guess she became pregnant when we added the male platys about five weeks ago! What do you think? <Unlikely, for the reason given above.> Maybe this will help some people with fish that are moms to be! RACHEL <That's why we're here. --Ananda>

Balloon Mollies gestation  I have looked at the FAQ's, and can't find an answer to what is probably a much too basic a question.  <Ananda here to tell you that we all have basic questions... :-) >  I have a balloon belly molly that gave birth to 15 fry the day after I put her in a 6 gallon tank I have at work. I took the fry back to the pet store which put them in a fish nursery they had. Any way, here we are 6 weeks later and she gives birth to more fry.  <Yep, they do that.>  I have found 7. No other molly was in the tank, just 3 neon tetras and a male guppy. From what I understand, the molly can hold sperm and give birth later.  <Yup. They can hold sperm for about six months.>  My question: is this an indefinite process?  <If there are male mollies in the tank, yes. If you remove her own fry before they mature -- which can take only a few months -- she should quit having fry in another four months or so. Molly gestation time seems to vary by species -- and tank conditions! There's not a whole lot you can do to keep her from having fry, except for isolating her from male mollies for six months and more. --Ananda>

Balloon Mollies gestation II  <Hi! Ananda here...>  Thanks so much. They are amazing little creatures.  <Aye, even though they can be dumb as a box of rocks sometimes. Don't be too surprised if the male guppy starts making advances towards your female molly...saw that happening in a store the other day.>  I'm in my 50's--you would have enjoyed the expression of the 19 yr old assistant at the pet store when I asked him how a female molly could have babies without a male!  <Oh, to have been a fly on the wall! So are you going to tell him what you've found out? >:-)  --Ananda>

The case of the disappearing fry...  <Hi! Ananda here today...>  My molly was pregnant when I bought her and after about a week with me she gave birth.  <A very common occurrence with mollies.>  5 of the 9 were stillborn and unfortunately the mother died the morning after the birth.  <That's not a common occurrence... usually happens when the fish is stressed during late pregnancy or delivery, but there are other causes -- perhaps a malformed fry that would not be born, for example. If the tank is new, poor water quality during cycling is a more likely cause.>  I gave two of the fry to a friend and kept two for myself. My two have been happy and health for three weeks. I noticed that one of the two liked to hide and would bury herself under the rocks and not come out for about a day. Then, the other day both mollies disappeared, I assumed hiding under the rocks, but they have been gone for about a week. I am very new to keeping fish and am starting to get concerned. I don't think that they could possibly survive under the rocks for a week. Any ideas?  <My guess is that something else in the tank ate them, or if you have no other fish, that the fry were simply not strong enough to survive in your tank. Molly fry are especially susceptible to poor water quality, for example. --Ananda>

Molly Help  What a neat site. This place is packed with so much info...anyway, What does it look like when a molly "goes into labor"?  I have had pregnant mollies forever and cared for fry before, but I have never actually seen them give birth. I would like to try and save the majority of the fry and by the time I notice them, there are only a few left. Any info you can give would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Wendy in PA  <<Dear Wendy in PA; mollies don't actually go into labor, per se, they drop their fry randomly. Most times the fry are eaten even as they emerge from the poor mother.. All you can do is count...or try, in some way, to keep track of the gestation period (normally from 4 to 6 weeks) for each molly, and put her into a breeding trap when she approaches her "time". -Gwen>>

Molly Babies I had 20 new mollies born last week. The one was dead. Then 2 days ago I lost another one, and yesterday morning found two more dead. It has been 20 years since I raised Mollies, and I can not remember if this is normal. The water is good, and all of the fish are healthy, eating and happy. The fry are in a breeding net. I also have a batch of guppies born two days after the mollies, and have not lost any of them. Are molly babies hard to keep alive?  < Not really but you have to look closely to see what's going on. Tiny fish babies are difficult to see let alone find any symptoms of disease. Check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels of the tank. If nothing else change some water and add a tablespoon of rock salt for every 5 gallons of water to the tank and see if that helps. Mollies like salt and it helps build up a protective slim on the fish and the guppies won't mind so try that and see what happens.-Chuck>

Kill the Rabbit! I've read all the pregnant Molly posts, but I still have a question:  I have a pregnant black balloon Molly in an existing 10g freshwater tank with a few other fishes (Mollies, Platy, etc.). The tank is perhaps even overcrowded, but I'm in the process of curing that issue with additional space. A Dalmatian Lyretail follows her around and pokes at her behind, but you already know how that goes. In anticipation, I set up the maternity tank on Sunday (3/4/2004) with eco-complete wet substrate to aid in the  cycling of the tank. I'm currently running an over the side, dual filter, Whisper for 30g-60g tanks. It's working better at cleaning the mess from the substrate then the single filter Whisper (20g-40g) I had originally set up. I plan on covering the end of the tube for the filter with a screen or mesh of some sort, to keep the fry out of there. I used 5 gallons of existing tank water to kick start things. Also, I added an existing fake plant with about a 1"x1" total area of algae on it, a few flakes of food, and I'm planning on adding a few scrapes of algae to the filter tonight.  The maternity tank is perfect at pH 7.5 +, nitrite 0.0, and ammonia 0.0,  temp. 80, but I'm sure to see a spike at the peak of the cycle. Because of  the spike, I've considered holding off on moving her because of the cycling and the fact that I have live plants coming for the tank this Thursday. I don't want to stress her by adding plants in her presence. I figure I have a week to ten days before she's due, based on a 4-week period overall, but who really knows? I decided in the meantime to buy a net breeder to house her in the original tank until I can at least get the plants in, and fake lava moss to guard her young until I see that they were born. I'm also buying some OSI Spirulina and Liquifry (spelling? - fry food) to feed them. Am I thinking of everything?  < So far so good>  Also, I want to move her before the birth so I don't endanger the fry with a change in water chem. upon moving them. With  the tank not being fully cycled, will it harm one pregnant Molly, assuming I keep a super close eye on it?  < No. Keep track of the spikes and control them with water changes until everything gets cycled>  What about her young? If a tank takes 6-weeks to cycle and a Molly take 4-weeks to give birth, how does anyone get a Maternity tank up and running in time?  < Many aquarists use bare take with a sponge filter that is already cycled from another tank. Young fish will not get sucked up into the sponge and usually find something to eat on it too.> If I have to, how long should wait before transferring her in to the new tank?  < I would transfer her anytime.-Chuck>Thank you so much ? T

Molly Fry Question Hello! I have a ten-gallon tank with two female and one male molly.  No other fish or creatures in that tank.  One of the female mollies had babies and I was not able to move her to a safer location before she gave birth.  Most of the baby fry have been attacked, killed and eaten by the Mollies, however, I do think there are a few hiding in the rocks.  At feeding time, I see them shoot up and eat then dart back into the rocks before one of the Mollies gets them.  However, I did see a few that did not make it back down the rocks and were killed.  The tank is new and I have a few plants in there growing, but they are still rather small plants.  I have a fake plant located in there to give them a hiding place until the live plants grow a bit bigger but they are not using it. What is the best way to get the Molly Fry out of the rocks and into a safer location?  Most of the time I cannot even see them, they are so small I have to look close just to see them for a second.  Would using the cleaning tube (not sure of the official name for it) hurt the fry?  The cleaning tube sucks rocks into a tube, the rocks go back down into the tank, and the debris from the tank keeps going into a bucket for cleaning so it can be tossed out. Thanks for your help. Best regards, James <<Dear James; yes, using a siphon to remove fry will work. Any piece of tubing will work. My concern is with your tank water. You say the tank is new, how new is it? Have you been testing for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates? I would highly recommend it, as ammonia at any level is quite toxic for baby fish. I would also recommend that eventually you add a couple more females for your male, once the tank has finished cycling. Otherwise your male will harass the females too much. When your females are due, placing them in a breeding trap will help, as the male cannot continue to harass the female, and you can remove the babies easier. Make sure your mollies are getting good quality foods, that the pH is relatively high, and a bit of salt won't hurt either. Mollies like hard water and will reproduce best under the conditions they prefer. It is important to keep your females healthy, stress free, and well fed. Otherwise disease and sometimes even death can occur to what seem to be perfectly healthy fish. Good luck :) -Gwen>>

Molly Fry Question II Thank you for your reply. My tank is two months old.  I test the water every week and so far all levels are normal.  The Ph is high, around 7.8 or so.  The nitrite levels got a bit high a few days after the female molly gave birth.  After I did a 10% water change I found out why, there were many unborn fish eggs at the bottom of the tank along with a few dead baby fry.  After the cleaning, the nitrite went down to almost zero again.  When I did the cleaning, I avoided the living fry because I was concerned about the cleaning tube hurting them. Will it be ok to have four females and one male in a 10-gallon tank?  I do not want to over populate the tank.  No other fish are in the tank and I do not plan on putting any other bred of fish in that tank. Thanks again! Best regards, James <<James, good job on catching the egg problem. The tank would be overstocked with four females, but with regular weekly water changes and regular nitrAte testing you should be able to control it. If you prefer, three females instead. I just find two females will give a possibly-aggressive male too few targets, resulting in the weakest females death. If you think that he is not overly dominant, you could try the 2-1 ratio, but the first dead female will be a sign that you will need more females in there with him. Are these regular mollies, lyretail blacks, or Sailfin mollies? -Gwen>>

Re: Molly Fry Question <Hi! Ananda here today...> They are Sailfin mollies. When I first purchased the mollies I purchased two, one was gold and the other was a Dalmatian molly. The gold molly was bigger and went after the Dalmatian molly all the time.  <Yep, establishing dominance in a small tank.> This is my first attempt with mollies, although I have raised other fish, so I was very uneducated about mollies. After a bit of research I found they were both males! No wonder they did not appear to be very happy! I then got two more mollies, both silver and both female. Shortly after those two were introduced into the tank the Dalmatian molly died. It was obvious the cause of death was not natural. Either the male got him or one of the new females did.  <Hmmm. Or, being somewhat weakened from stress, he succumbed to a nitr*te spike that happened after the others were introduced.> For the first week after I put in the two females, the male molly was extremely aggressive. He has mellowed out a lot since then. I still think I will try one more female. I normally do a water change every other week, but if I need to, I can do it every week. <Definitely plan on once a week with that stocking level.> If this goes the way I am planning I will be placing them in a bigger tank as the population grows, if I can catch the females right before they have more fry. It is hard to get the timing right and I am still not certain what to look for. I know the female fish gets bigger and I remember a dark spot on the female's body before she gave birth this last time.  <I've had Sailfins for 3 years and still have some difficulty with the timing. Typically, watch for a dark spot by the anal fin and a wider body -- so that it looks like the fish is bulging when you look at it head-on. Then when the belly "squares off", they're close. You don't want to catch them too close to the time when they're giving birth, or the stress can cause the egg expulsion you've seen.> I hope that I will be able to spot it this time so I can protect her before she has them and protect the fry after they are born. <Some floating grassy stuff in the tank will help with that. Have you given thought to what you're going to do with all those fry?> What is a good time to separate her before she gives birth? <A day or two early should be fine.> Is it possible to separate her too early once I know she is going to have fry? <Not really... just means you have another tank to maintain. And as long as you have males, and for six months afterward, she's going to be pregnant.> Also, can I separate her from the fry as soon as I know she is done?  <Yep. But make sure you have something for the fry to hide in until she's done. I've seen molly moms turn around and snap up their newly-born fry as snacks. I've used a single layer of glass marbles on the bottom of a tank, plastic wheat grass (floating upside down), and other stuff for fry hiding places.> Thanks again for all your help! Best regards, James <You're quite welcome. --Ananda> 

Molly fry survival Hi there! Found your wonderful website by chance and sure it is very very informative and useful to a newbie like me! I hope you can help me with this problem I currently have. I had got 3 female mollies and 2 male platies about 5 months back and the mollies had given birth several times but this is the first time which the fry had survived beyond the 4th week. However recently the fry had stopped eating and I am quite worried. I am using a breeding net and I have been feeding it TetraMin Baby powder food ever since. Thanks for looking at this! Jon <<Dear Jon; have you tested your water lately? It would be wise of you to test for ammonia (should be zero), nitrites (zero), and nitrates (as low as possible, say 20-30ppm). How often do you do water changes? How big is the tank? Do you vacuum the gravel? Do you rinse the filter media? How many fry are in with the adults? -Gwen>> 

Balloon Mollies How can you tell if a Balloon Molly is pregnant? <<Hello. I don't think that's easy to do :P Just be sure the scales of the fish are not sticking out like a pinecone, as that would indicate dropsy. Watch her closely, so that if the mother does have babies (fry) you will know her behavior for next time. Also, you might want to put some densely floating plants in the tank, so the fry have a place to hide from the adult fish, who will eat them. -Gwen>>

Black Molly Fry Good evening, You have the most informative and useful site and I want to Thank You for that. Two weeks ago our black molly had babies.  First we didn't know it was a she nor did we know she was pregnant.  She had 35 babies and we saved 31 of them. They are now alone in the 10 gallon aquarium and we bought a 29 gallon one for the adults. In that one we have 3 female mollies, 1 orange molly, 2 neon tetra and 3 glow tetra and 2 fancy tails. We do not know if she was pregnant when we bought her about 3 months ago or if the orange molly that we have in the tank is the father.  If he is, will any of the babies be orange like him or will they stay black as they are now? We have learned so much from this site and by reading almost everything you had posted on "fry" we managed to save the babies.  They are really growing fast. Again thanks for your time and hope this isn't too much of a crazy question. Monique <<Hello :) Congrats on the fry! I hope you will do some regular water changes to keep the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels under control in the fry tank? It would be a good idea. Do you have any test kits? I cannot specify enough that test kits are important, and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate test kits should be must-haves for ALL fish tank owners. That said, it's hard to say who the father is, but if they are born black, they will probably stay that color. Just be sure the momma fish gets high quality flake food, you can give Spirulina flake, and supplement it with Tetra Colorbits for a dose of protein twice a week. -Gwen>>

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