So you have had success in raising your tank full of molly fish. You’ve got the water temperature under control, you’ve figured out how to keep just the right amount of algae in the tank, and you’ve got a good stable environment. What’s the next step in raising fish? Well, let’s try your hand at breeding.
If you haven’t raised molly fish yet, it is quite easy to start and get them going so that you can breed and have some babies.
First off, start with your tank. To get it ready for a baby community, you will want to add some pieces of driftwood and some large and small leaf plants. The more plants you add, the more places your baby fry will have to hide. The plants that work best to in a tank are those with large groups of leaves. This provides a lot of cover for the little fry to hide in. Keep the light on constantly for the first two weeks to encourage algae to grow. Fish love to eat algae. Especially Mollies. Once your tank is set up and the environment is stable, you are ready to add fish.
If you have your tank set up already, you are well on your way. You will still need to prepare your females for breeding. To do this, feed them some newly hatched brine shrimp and white worms. You want to keep them plump, and still keep the water as clean as possible. Feeding them several small meals a day will keep your water clean, but still keep your females happy. You will also want to change 10-20% of the water once a week. Don’t take too much water out because you don’t want to shock the fish when you put the water back in. When you add water back into the tank, add ½ tsp of aquarium salt per gallon of new water.
The next thing you want to determine is how many fish and what kind that you should get? The best way to go is to start off with 3 females to 1 male. It’s best for the first time breeder to buy black or marbled fish. Bring them home and let them acclimate to the tank water while leaving them in the bag. Just let it float on the top of the tank water. Then once you release the fish into the tank, let them find each other and the action will gradually take place. You won’t have to force anything. Just watch and see what happens.
How Do You Know If Your Fish Is Pregnant
Are you ready for the next step? Once your fish have found each other and the fish have successfully bred, you’ll obviously be curious about how to tell if it actually worked. Watch the females closely. On the brightly colored mollies, you’ll begin to see a black line on the lower belly of the female. Of course the exception is on the black mollies, as it will be harder to tell by sight if they are pregnant. However you can also tell because their little bellies will get swollen. Keep an eye on them and mark on the calendar when you bred them. That is, of course, if you were able to catch them in the action. Because the gestational period for a molly fish is only 60 days, it will go pretty quickly. Once they are ready to give birth, you will get anywhere between 10 and 60 fry.
Do Molly Fish Lay Eggs Or Give Birth To Live Fish
Mollies just like the Platy, Guppies and Swordtails are live bearing fish. These fish all belong Poeciliidae family as they are commonly called in the aquarium hobby. Most hobbyist usually experience their first fry (baby fish) with one of these types of fish. Mollies are very hardy and a great fish for anyone wanting to experience a live bearer giving birth to fries.
If you are intent on raising the fry to adulthood, you will have a couple of choices to keep the females from eating the newly born fry. One is to place a breeding box in the tank. It will hold the female and allow the fry to escape into the larger area of the tank. The other choice is to watch the female closely and remove her as soon as she gives birth. On the other hand if you don’t really have a preference of how many fry make it to adulthood, just let her birth the fry naturally and let the strongest of the fry survive. If you have enough cover and hiding spaces in the tank, they will have a pretty good chance. You have provided the wood to hide under, the plants to hide within and the environment that is comfortable, the rest is up to them.
What To Feed Baby Molly Fish
Once you have little baby fry in the tank you will need to feed them. Feeding your new baby fry is fairly easy as well. They eat the same as the adult fish, just in smaller portions. They love to eat baby brine shrimp, baby fish food, or a high quality flake food ground into a powder to make it easier to consume. You will want to feed them smaller portions several times a day so that you can keep the fish healthy and well-fed, but also keep the water clean.
As the fry grow, you’ll want to keep track of how many you have. You don’t want them getting too big and making it harder to clean the tank. If you have an outlet to sell or give them away, go ahead and do that. If not, you can use them to feed your larger adult fish. Or you can have several tanks set up and just keep switching them over. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind, it’s easier to clean up after a few fish, then a hundred fish.