There’s no secret that molly fish love to eat and, to be honest, feeding time is one of my favorite moments with my molly fish. Their great appetite and liveliness always put a smile on my face.
If you’ve never kept mollies before and you’re planning to, this article will answer all your molly fish feeding related questions including: “How to feed molly fish?”, “How often should you feed mollies?” and “What’s the best food for molly fish?”
I’m going to share the feeding schedule I prefer and the types of commercial and home-made molly fish foods for molly fry and adult fish.
Here we go…
How to Feed Your Mollies?
Overfeeding is a problem with mollies since they seem insatiable. Mollies would eat as much and as many times as you’ll feed them.
This is a problem, especially for beginners who might not resist the temptation of feeding their molly fish multiple times a day with amounts bigger than recommended for mollies.
Overfeeding is problematic because of the following reasons:
- Too much food will increase the waste production of you fish, which in turn will foul the water;
- Any leftover food that’s left to decay in the aquarium will also foul the water;
- Overfeeding causes a series of health issues that can range from constipation to other digestive issues.
To avoid all these problems, moderation is key in feeding your fish. Offer your mollies a small amount of food once or two times a day.
Besides moderation, variety is another key element in feeding molly fish. Since these fish are omnivores, they require a variety of foods and a balanced diet to stay healthy.
From commercial foods to live foods, mollies will eat anything. I will even offer you a few tips on home-made food options you can prepare for them.
Best Commercial Foods for Molly Fish
Commercial fish foods are usually at the front and center of the diet of many fish. They’re easy to come by, they pack all the necessary vitamins and nutrients required for your fish, plus dosage is easy to manage too.
Here are the commercial foods you can feed to your mollies:
There are many types of flake foods you can buy your mollies. They’re a widely available fish food that’s a good source of protein and other nutrients for your fish.
Feed your mollies a quality flake food once a day and choose one that’s as natural as possible. Read the label for a complete list of ingredients to know exactly what you’re feeding your fish.
Flakes are a convenient way of meeting nutritional needs of your mollies, especially if you’re choosing one that’s high-quality.
2. Veggie Pallets & Tablets
Because molly fish are omnivorous, it means that meaty foods alone aren’t enough to keep them healthy, they also need foods with a high vegetable content.
Veggie pellets and tablets contain algae, spirulina and plankton, which are essential greens for your fish. High in vitamins and minerals, veggie pellets are a healthy snack that complements their diet.
Spirulina tablets have the added benefit of helping your fish develop beautiful colors and they protect the skin, fins, and tails of your fish from infections.
3. Freeze-dried Foods
Freeze-dried brine shrimp, tubifex and and blood worms are an excellent source of protein for your mollies.
You can feed them freeze-dried foods once or twice a week, making sure to offer them small quantities divided up in multiple doses.
Live foods are an even richer source of protein for your fish, however, if they’re not cultured under proper conditions and the place you’re getting live foods from is not a reputable one, there’s a high risk of it carrying diseases and parasites that can infect your mollies.
Since the freeze-drying process kills off bacteria and parasites, they’re a safe alternative to live foods.
Best Homemade Foods for Molly Fish
If you want to put your molly fish on an all-natural, nutrient-rich diet, the following homemade molly foods are all great options:
1. Cultured foods
When it comes to cultured foods, brine shrimp is my favorite to feed to my mollies. It’s a suitable food both for molly fry and adult fish. It has a high protein content (around 60%) and it can be cultured at home.
To make your own brine shrimp culture at home, you’ll need a hatchery kit and brine shrimp eggs. It will take around 3 days for eggs to hatch and if you want to feed your molly fry freshly hatched brine shrimp, you’ll need to run multiple hatcheries.
Daphnia is another healthy food source that can be cultured at home. It requires feeding with yeast and algae and they prefer cooler water temperature 18-22°C (64-72°F).
Vinegar eels can also be cultured at home and while they’re easy to culture, harvesting vinegar eels is a bit more difficult. Vinegar eels have a 50% protein content and 20% fat content, so you shouldn’t feed your mollies too often with this type of cultured food.
Micro worms are a good alternative to vinegar eels if you don’t want to deal with smelly vinegar and difficult harvesting.
2. Beef heart paste
When it comes to preparing fish food at home, beef heart paste is my favorite thing to prepare and it’s a fish superfood, although be careful with feeding it to adult mollies as it has a high fat content. However, you can feed it to molly fry and as an occasional snack for adult mollies.
All you need is a blender, cleaned beef heart (remove the fat), shrimp (use shrimp instead of gelatin for better consistency), spirulina powder, and veggies. Blend the ingredients into a paste, freeze it and break off small chunks to feed it to your fish.
3. Egg yolk
Just like with beef heart paste, feeding adult mollies with high quantities of egg yolk is not recommended because of its high fat content. However, you can offer it to them as an occasional snack.
Simply hard boil an egg, remove the yolk and crush it into a paste. Feed small amounts and be careful as it can foul the water.
I mentioned that vegetable matter should be part of a balanced diet for molly fish. I usually take whatever veggies I have at home (carrots, cucumber, broccoli, zucchini, etc.) and blend them together. You can do this with frozen veggies too.
Take the paste and place it into a seal bad and freeze it. To feed your mollies, simply break off small chunks of the frozen paste.
If you want to take things one step further, you can prepare flake food from the veggie paste. Place the veggie paste in a pan coated with parchment paper and set the oven to 250 °F.
Dry out the veggie paste, and then crush it into small pieces. Store the flakes in a sealable container or seal bag.
Best Food for Molly Fry
Technically you can feed molly fry with any food I mentioned for adult mollies but do account for the fact that they have smaller mouth openings, therefore, crush any flakes into a powder to make sure it will fit their mouths.
If you want your mollies to develop faster and give them a healthy start in life, I recommend feeding them live cultured foods (baby brine shrimp, daphnia, vinegar eels, blood worms, etc.).
Therefore, if I were to pick one type of food that’s best for molly fry, I’d go with live cultured foods, which are packed with protein and other useful nutrients.
In the absence of live cultured foods, frozen or freeze-dried alternatives are completely acceptable along with beef heart paste or egg yolk paste.
The key to feeding molly fry is to maintain a strict schedule and go for variety. Feed them around 5 times a day and offer them a little over 12 hours of light per day to stimulate their growth.
How to Feed Mollies While on Vacation?
If you’re going on a week-long vacation and you don’t have anyone who you can trust with feeding your mollies, don’t worry — healthy adult molly fish can go two weeks without food if their water conditions are optimal.
Molly fry, on the other hand, aren’t that resistant and won’t survive past 3 days unless you have an aged aquarium. In an aged aquarium they may be able to survive up to a week without food.
Setting up an auto-feeder that releases small amounts of food once a day (to avoid fouling the water) is a good way to manage molly fry feeding while you’re on vacation.
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to molly fish foods and I encourage you to rotate the foods you feed your mollies to create a complex and balanced diet that will meet all their nutritional needs.
If you’re raising molly fry, feed them frequently with small amount of foods and, whenever possible, offer them live cultured foods.
Whether you’re keeping adults or molly fry, be careful not to overfeed and aim for a balanced diet that includes both meaty foods and vegetable matter.