Why You Don't Want A Molly Fish

Cori Elizabeth
  • #1
I've seen a lot of people getting Mollies lately and a lot of beginners seeing them as a good starting fish. Many people believe livebearers are all hardy fish and whilst that's true with water conditions, they're also EXTREMELY perceptible to illness, we're talking ich, fungus, parasites, bloat/dropsy, shimmies, live bearer disease. I don't think I've ever bought a Molly that hasn't had parasites.
Whilst your fish may look happy and healthy, it mysteriously dies a few days/weeks later. Why? Probably because of parasites.

MOLLIES ARE NOT A GOOD STARTER FISH.

- Mollies thrive in brackish water, that means they like hard water. Most people make the water harder by adding a little salt, most beginners don't know what the correct ratios to adding salt in the water is.
- Mollies are very cute and interactive, however they need big tanks. Most beginners have a 5gal to a 10gal tank. A single Molly needs double that, a 20 gallon. However Mollies are sociable, they like to have more of their kind, a 29 gallon will fit 4 Mollies.
- If you get a female from a pet store she's probably going to be pregnant and that means even without a male she's going to be having fry for 6 months. That means 6 batches of fry. Now most beginners want to try and save the fry however most of them will end up being eaten or not survive the next few days due to tank parameters not being level.
- Mollies are tropical and like to be kept at 28 degrees Celsius. Extra expenses for a beginner that needs to buy a heater.
- Male Mollies will fight over territory so even if you don't get pregnant females, you're going to have aggression issues in your tank.
- Balloon Mollies whilst they look cute and waddly to you, are due to a genetic defect that literally kills the fish. Balloon Mollies have half the lifespan of a normal Molly because their insides are squished up. By buying balloon Mollies you are supporting those that breed them and this is cruel to the fish.
- Sailfin Mollies, get up to 6 inches in length and are not suitable for a 29 gallon tank.
- Mollies get sick like crazy and it takes about a week for it to show up unless you know what you're looking for, by that time your fish is probably too far gone or already dead in your tank.

Many people just walk into petstores and grab what they think is cute, I too am guilty of this in my early days. If you are considering pulling the trigger on a tank, please research your animal before hand. This is for the safety of the animal.

(DISCLAIMER: This information is based on my years of experience with keeping Mollies. Also with the fact that I live in Australia and where you may be living the conditions could be different.)
 
MattS99
  • #2
There's always a couple people who don't research before they buy. But if we're talking about someone who's serious about the getting into hobby, has proper housing for them and has done research, I respectfully disagree with you. There's one point in the beginning that irks me a bit:
Many people believe livebearers are all hardy fish and whilst that's true with water conditions, they're also EXTREMELY perceptible to illness, we're talking ich, fungus, parasites, bloat/dropsy, shimmies, live bearer disease.
I've been keeping livebearers for pretty much my whole life and they're by far one of the hardiest fish. I've rarely seen them get sick, and it's only been tail rot. I also love the balloon molly and have owned a few in the past, but I don't feel like getting into that on here.
 
Cori Elizabeth
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
There's always a couple peoplewho don't research before they buy. But if we're talking about someone who's serious about the getting into hobby, has proper housing for them and has done research, I respectfully disagree with you. There's one point in the beginning that irks me a bit:

I've been keeping livebearers for pretty much my whole life and they're by far one of the hardiest fish. I've rarely seen them get sick, and it's only been tail rot. I also love the balloon molly and have owned a few in the past, but I don't feel like getting into that on here.
Whilst I understand where you're coming from, and I respect your opinion. I'm just stating my experience with these fish, I've been keeping them for years and breeding them. In my experience they have all been sick, and I've gone to a number or suppliers.
Thank you for pointing it out to me that it can be different though, if you want to discuss where you are provided your mollies from then I'd be happy to

However with the balloon mollies I must disagree with you. The genetic defect of the spine is bred out and that itself kills the fish.
 
MattS99
  • #4
Whilst I understand where you're coming from, and I respect your opinion. I'm just stating my experience with these fish, I've been keeping them for years and breeding them. In my experience they have all been sick, and I've gone to a number or suppliers.
Thank you for pointing it out to me that it can be different though, if you want to discuss where you are provided your mollies from then I'd be happy to

However with the balloon mollies I must disagree with you. The genetic defect of the spine is bred out and that itself kills the fish.
I don't have any mollies right now and probably won't for a long while, I got most of mine from PetSmart. Given we have a very good PetSmart here, though. I've had a few live 3-4 years from there.
 
Cori Elizabeth
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I don't have any mollies right now and probably won't for a long while, I got most of mine from PetSmart. Given we have a very good PetSmart here, though. I've had a few live 3-4 years from there.
I'm assuming you're from America or something if there's petsmart's there? However in Australia we don't really have good petstores very much, maybe that's why I've always gotten bad batches.
 
MattS99
  • #6
I'm assuming you're from America or something if there's petsmart's there? However in Australia we don't really have good petstores very much, maybe that's why I've always gotten bad batches.
Yep, America. Maybe ordering online?
 
Cori Elizabeth
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Yep, America. Maybe ordering online?
Last time I ordered online was the worst case of illness I've ever had, I bought 15. There's one alive today. And there aren't many people that ship oversees due to restrictions
 
MattS99
  • #8
Well, did you buy from a reputable dealer?
 
Cori Elizabeth
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Well, did you buy from a reputable dealer?
"The best Australia wide"
 
NavigatorBlack
  • #10
Mollies need large tanks, but only two out of more than a dozen species are brackish or need salt. Only black molly hybrids need water that hot - I kept and bred all of mine at 23c.

In Australia, with the import restrictions, you probably only get the hybrid forms, which skews the info a bit. I'm less than 40 hours' drive from where I can catch my own!

That said (sorry, but I love wild type mollies...) the rest of the article was dead on.
 
Katie13
  • #11
I think I've only got a handful of Mollies in my nearly 10 years I kept them that had parasites. They are also hardy fish. Mine lived through ich and a few other illnesses introduced by another fish species. My very first moly was in an uncycled, well not completely cycled, 20 gallon and ended up just fine. The tank part is true as is the part about them reproducing. As for illness, all stressed fish are more succeptible to illness. Balloon Mollies are not caused by a genetic defect. Their shape comes from altering their genetic structure. They do live shortened lives because of that. When keeping tropical fish, a heater is a must unless you live in a warm region. Sailfin Mollies get to be about the size of an adult male Swordtail including the sword or slightly larger.
 
OnTheFly
  • #12
I raised mollies without many issues when I was 12 years old. So this thread made me wonder why it worked out. That was a very long time ago and I believe pet store stocks were generally MUCH healthier. Honestly I bought many of my fish at K-Mart when I was a kid. An occasional bout with ich and that was about it. I did salt all my water though because that is just what you did back then. Perhaps that was an important factor? I know I have invested effort into learning disease prevention and treatment since I got back into the hobby. It's not optional now.
 
Fishpuns
  • #13
My mollies are a pain because they're too rowdy for my more delicate fish, but I also think they are very hardy fish. And I got mine from petsmart, which isn't always great.

I agree they are much higher maintenance than most people realize though, myself included. They're complicated fish and are all too often kept incorrectly. I made a lot of mistakes when I started with mollies, but they were very forgiving, still healthy and happy.
 
NavigatorBlack
  • #14
Balloon Mollies are not caused by a genetic defect. Their shape comes from altering their genetic structure. They do live shortened lives because of that.

I would greatly appreciate if you would elaborate on that, from genuine curiosity. The balloon mollies, rams and such seem to be very cruel breeding, but I have not before heard it was not a linebred disease.

I have had six inch/15cm sailfins here, wild caught from Texas.
 
BeanFish
  • #15
Wether they are good beginner fish or not is debatable because of their breeding and tank size... I will give you that, but anything else is just innacurate. I am yet to have sick Mollys and I get them from random pet stores. They don't need brackish water, they need hard water, very different, one has an increased salinity, the other one does not. Sure, you can keep them in brackish water, but they don't need it. They also don't need water that warm, in fact I think Mollys can do well as "low" as 18 Celsius and the wild ones can probably tolerate cold better.
The only thing I dislike about Mollys ifs the fact that they are a genetic mess. I have thought about throwing wild Mollys at tubs in my yard, but goodeids are cooler and endangered...
Perhaps you should see if a guy called Greg Sage can ship some of his Yucatan Mollys (Poecilia Velifera I think its their scientific name) to Australia. Sounds expensive, but seeing how you are getting sick fish from all sellers it may be worth the money.
 
Cori Elizabeth
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Wether they are good beginner fish or not is debatable because of their breeding and tank size... I will give you that, but anything else is just innacurate. I am yet to have sick Mollys and I get them from random pet stores. They don't need brackish water, they need hard water, very different, one has an increased salinity, the other one does not. Sure, you can keep them in brackish water, but they don't need it. They also don't need water that warm, in fact I think Mollys can do well as "low" as 18 Celsius and the wild ones can probably tolerate cold better.
The only thing I dislike about Mollys ifs the fact that they are a genetic mess. I have thought about throwing wild Mollys at tubs in my yard, but goodeids are cooler and endangered...
Perhaps you should see if a guy called Greg Sage can ship some of his Yucatan Mollys (Poecilia Velifera I think its their scientific name) to Australia. Sounds expensive, but seeing how you are getting sick fish from all sellers it may be worth the money.
Once again I must say that this is based on my own experience with Mollies. Mollies can also live in either brackish or hard water, some people have them in full salt water, and I must argue that they do benefit and thrive from bracksih waters, but it is not essential.
 
BeanFish
  • #17
What exactly do they get (that is benefitial) from brackish water that they don't get in hard freshwater? I am not saying they will suffer in brackish water (I think whether they are kept in freshwater, brackish or saltwater does not matter to them), but it is not necessary, the main benefit from brackish water is the fact that not many brackish water diseases have established themselves in the hobby so I see why some people would enjoy keeping them in brackish water, plus if you have soft water from the tap Brackish would also be way better.
 
Katie13
  • #18
What exactly do they get (that is benefitial) from brackish water that they don't get in hard freshwater? I am not saying they will suffer in brackish water, but it is not necessary, the main benefit from brackish water is the fact that not many brackish water diseases have established themselves in the hobby.
If I'm correct, it's suppose to help prevent diseases in them as well as mimick their wild habitat. I've never kept them in water that wasn't brackish.
 
BeanFish
  • #19
Not all wild species of Mollys live in brackish conditions, I think the only benefit is what you mentioned, illness.
 
Katie13
  • #20
Not all wild species of Mollys live in brackish conditions, I think the only benefit is what you mentioned, illness.
Not exactly live. I think a lot of the Molly variations live around saltwater, but in freshwater and the ones that live in brackish water live in or travel through stream/water sources that connect to the sea/ocean.illness is most definitely one though.
 
Cori Elizabeth
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Not all wild species of Mollys live in brackish conditions, I think the only benefit is what you mentioned, illness.
Agree with Katie, a lot of Mollies live in brackish or salt water.
 
OnTheFly
  • #22
If I'm correct, it's suppose to help prevent diseases in them as well as mimick their wild habitat. I've never kept them in water that wasn't brackish.
I am going to speculate there are two primary factors. Fishkeeper has no clue they were raised in salt and does not acclimate them gradually to fresh. And now the fish is stressed and also facing disease they were never exposed to in brackish water so no immunity exists. So perhaps it's not a beginner fish since you need to be informed or you will likely struggle.
 
NavigatorBlack
  • #23
Mollies need minerals. Poecilia velifera, and some populations of Poecilia latipinna or orrI need salt, or they fall victI'm to a range of diseases.

Contrast that with Poecilia mexicana, sphenops, butleri, gillii, caucana, petenensis, and salvatoris, all of which come from hard freshwater, and all of which I've bred for multiple generations at various points. All were in hard fresh water, as were populations of orrI and latipinna caught in freshwater.
Wild mollies are way more interesting than hybrids. Stores don't sell them. But looking at them and their water needs buries the old salt myth.

Australian laws don't permit shipping in of fish. Neither do US laws, if any of you have tried to buy outside your country without expensive permits.

The problem we face is poor raising practices on farms. A lot of mollies are increasingly fragile. I have seen wonderful ones out of US farms, but the far eastern farms that would serve Australia are rough on many types of fish healthwise.

I can believe this poster is consistently getting horrible stock. It is not the situation everywhere.

Look at it this way. An Australian can get rainbowfish a Canadian or American can only drool at...
 
Katie13
  • #24
I am going to speculate there are two primary factors. Fishkeeper has no clue they were raised in salt and does not acclimate them gradually to fresh. And now the fish is stressed and also facing disease they were never exposed to in brackish water so no immunity exists. So perhaps it's not a beginner fish since you need to be informed or you will likely struggle.
It can go either way. Seeing as I never know, I begin with a very small quantity of salt and gradually increase it. Beginners who haven't researched would likely slip up easily.
 
OnTheFly
  • #25
It can go either way. Seeing as I never know, I begin with a very small quantity of salt and gradually increase it. Beginners who haven't researched would likely slip up easily.
Or the beginner attempted to research in good faith and read on the net that it is not necessary and any use of salt is actually harmful to all tropical fish (other than salt species). I have read that countless times. I have very hard water so I might get by with that guidance, but it is a gross generalization.
 
Lindsay83
  • #26
I would greatly appreciate if you would elaborate on that, from genuine curiosity. The balloon mollies, rams and such seem to be very cruel breeding, but I have not before heard it was not a linebred disease.

I have had six inch/15cm sailfins here, wild caught from Texas.

As I understand it, the "Balloon" variants of any fish are selectively bred for that shape. It's not a disease, any more than is veiltail/longfin, etc variants are "diseases", but breeding practices that certainly shouldn't be encouraged and I would refuse to buy any of them.

Most of the balloon varieties will have been bred in South East Asia, in conditions which leave a lot to be desired, and, while the "Balloon" etc varieties are not diseases in and of themselves, the conditions in which they are bred and raised can certainly lead to increased likelihood of disease.
 
BeanFish
  • #27
I think everything has been said already. Mollys need hard water, not salinity, at least most of them. If someone can explain me why Poecilia Sphenops needs a brackish salinity I would appreciate it.
I think it all boils down to where you get your fish for. A guy that had his own aquarium told me that all Mollys in Mexico came from Yucatan, which sounds like a good source to me, they are still a genetic mess tho, sometimes you get to see Mollys with the fins of a short finned Molly but the size of a Sailfin one.
 
Drynn
  • #28
everyone says mollies and guppies for starter fish lol
 
Cori Elizabeth
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
If someone can explain me why Poecilia Sphenops needs a brackish salinity I would appreciate it.
Its been proven that they thrive more with harder water
 
chromedome52
  • #30
Hard water is not brackish water, and brackish water, while it has a high TDS, is not necessarily "hard" water. Calcium and Magnesium are what make water hard, not Sodium. In fact, water softeners work on the principle of replacing the Calcium with Sodium. This is an important difference. Adding salt to make your water harder doesn't work; it just makes it saltier. (Unless you use a good Marine mix.)

As for balloon body in mollies, it is a genetic defect/mutation that has been selectively bred to fix a strain. It is one of the rare instances where a spinal deformity is actually genetic. There are no balloon body mollies that are "less deformed", they are either identically deformed or not deformed at all. I have not heard anything as to whether it is a dominant or recessive gene, because I don't know any serious breeders who would bother with them. Also, just because a fry shows up with a spinal deformity doesn't mean it is a balloon body. There are also spinal deformities that are caused by environment. What I don't know is how this balloon body genetic deformity is managing to show up in so many very different species of fish almost at the same time. Since the development of the balloon body MiDevil, aka Bloody Parrots, it has been introduced to various livebearers, other Cichlids, and even Tetras. It worries me.
 
BeanFish
  • #31
Brackish refers to salinity, I agree with chromedome. Hard water depends on calcium and magnesium, both which you can add to your water in the form of crushed coral (calcium) and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate).
 
Atomicfish
  • #32
Every molly I ever had was in normal fresh water. I currently have one in with my betta lol.
 

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