Disclosure: When you purchase something through my links, I earn a small commission - read more

Molly fish are characterized by a lot of variety, making them a popular choice for tropical freshwater aquaria.

They’re a livebearer species that requires a spacious tank with temperature-controlled water to avoid sudden and dramatic temperature fluctuations.

In this article, I’m going to go over the most common types of molly fish to give you an idea of the different types of mollies you can keep in your home aquarium.

molly-fish-types

Here they are:

Common Black Molly

common-black-molly

Common Black Molly

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 3 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-7.8
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

Sporting black colored scales, the common black molly is a typically peaceful fish that does well in a community aquarium if it’s offered enough space and a planted aquarium.

If kept in a community aquarium, you should choose size-appropriate tank mates that share the same personality traits as the black molly.

Black mollies are omnivorous (you can feed them algae-based flakes, brine shrimp, freeze-dried bloodworms, etc.), they have a strong appetite, but be careful not to overfeed them.

All mollies enjoy live plants in their aquarium and the black molly is no exception as it likes to graze on plants and algae that grows on plants.

Dalmatian Molly Fish

dalmatian-molly-fish

Dalmatian Molly Fish (source)

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 4 ¾ Inches
  • Temperament: Generally Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-7.8
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

Having the same color combination as the Dalmatian dog (black and white), the Dalmatian Molly is an interesting molly strain with beautifully patterned scales.

They grow a bit bigger than the common black molly, averaging a little under 5 inches. They require a large tank with plenty of swimming space, well-oxygenated water, and live plants.

As with other mollies, make sure you set up a heater for your tank and a filter to help keep the water at optimal levels.

Dalmatian Lyretail Molly

dalmatian-lyretail-molly

Dalmatian Lyretail Molly (source)

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 3 Inches
  • Temperament: Generally Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-7.8
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

The Dalmatian Lyretail Molly is a color variation of the Sailfin Molly and has white-black patterned scales that give a marbled effect.

It’s a beginner-friendly molly strain that reaches a maximum size of 3 inches. Its diet is that of an omnivorous fish, feeding on flake, frozen and freeze-dried foods.

As with any live-bearing fish, make sure females outnumber males by 2-3 to one. This molly variety enjoys a planted aquarium and requires good water conditions for optimal health.

Black Sailfin Molly

black-sailfin-molly

Black Sailfin Molly Fish

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 4 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

Sailfin mollies feature beautifully flowing fins and because of their long fins, they should not be kept with fin-nippers. Therefore, choose tank mates carefully if you want to avoid injuries.

They’re easy to breed and care for, which explains why they’re often recommended for beginners.

That said, however, there are certain keeping requirements that must be met – spacious tank, water parameters in the optimal range, stable water temperature and well oxygenated water.

Keeping live plants in the aquarium as well as setting up a heater and filter will help with these issues.

White / Silver Sailfin Molly

silver-sailfin-molly

Silver Sailfin Molly (source)

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 5 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

An aquarium strain of hybrid mollies, the White or Silver Sailfin Molly has silvery scales and beautifully long fins.

Females of this strain grow larger than the males and are heavier. Males on the other hand are a bit more colorful displaying orange markings in the dorsal region and their bodies as well as turquoise markings on their caudal fins.

Black Lyretail Molly

black-lyretail-molly

Black Lyretail Molly

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 5 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

A hybrid variation of the Sailfin Molly, the Black Lyretail Molly has black scales with white highlights on its fins and lyre-shaped caudal fins.

It’s a community-friendly fish because of its peaceful nature and should be housed together with fish that are similar in size and can withstand the same water conditions.

Because of their high appetites and resulting waste production, a good filter system is a must for these fish.

Gold Dust Molly

gold-dust-molly-fish

Gold Dust Molly Fish (source)

Quick Stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 5 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

The Gold Dust Molly is an excellent alternative for those that like the Black Molly but would prefer having a bit more color in their aquarium.

It’s a short-finned variety with an interesting color scheme of dusty gold and black. Males of this variety are slenderer, females are fuller and develop a pregnancy spot.

A planted aquarium is ideal for this fish that enjoys a diet that should include algae-based flakes, brine shrimp, and freeze-dried bloodworms.

Balloon Belly Molly Fish

balloon-belly-molly

Balloon Belly Molly Fish

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 3 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-7.8
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

Named after their balloon-shaped bodies (arched back and rounded belly), Balloon mollies should be housed with fish that have similar temperaments.

They’re available in yellow, white and black color combinations and feature a lyre-shaped caudal fin.

They require both meaty foods and algae and should be housed in a thickly planted aquarium.

Marble Lyretail Molly

marble-lyretail-molly

Marble Lyretail Molly

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 5 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

This beautiful black and white fish is a variation of the Lyretail Molly. To make sure the tall dorsal fin of the male molly develops normally, plenty of swimming space should be provided.

For optimum health, a minimum amount of one teaspoon per gallon of water should be provided. Because of the salt, it should only be housed with other fish that tolerate salt in their water.

Gold Doubloon Molly

gold-doubloon-molly-fishQuick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 5 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

This is a short-finned molly variety that’s a good alternative to the Harlequin Sailfin Molly that impresses with its dorsal flair.

Its black and gold color scheme creates a beautiful contrast and makes for an interesting addition to a community tank.

Like most mollies, this variety too requires plenty of space, live plants, and a mixed diet high in vegetable matter.  

Harlequin Sailfin Molly

harlequin-sailfin-molly

Harlequin Sailfin Molly (source)

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 6 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

The body of Harlequin Sailfin Mollies is speckled with gold, white and black patches. Besides their dazzling colors that make them stand out, their temperament is also suited for community aquarium housing.

They grow a tad bit bigger than the average molly fish and feeds on a variety of foods. If not fed properly, they won’t hesitate grazing on live aquarium plants.

Platinum Lyretail Molly

platinum-lyretail-molly

Platinum Lyretail Molly

Quick stats:

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 5 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.5-8.5
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 75-82 F

This hybrid of the Lyretail Molly features a platinum/gold body and tall dorsal fins that will only develop beautifully if enough space is provided in the aquarium.

They do well in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. If housed in freshwater aquariums, one teaspoon of salt per gallon is recommended for optimum health.

Golden Sailfin Molly

golden-sailfin-molly

Golden Sailfin Molly (source)

The Golden Sailfin Molly is best suited for community aquariums with hard water. They grow a bit larger compared to the average molly and require an aquarium with plenty of space.

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Max Size: 6 Inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Water PH: 7.0-8.0
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Water Temperature: 68-82 F

They prefer a heavily planted aquarium, which can allow them to munch on soft algae that grows on these plants.

Golden sailfin mollies are classified as omnivores; however, their diet should be rich in plant material, which you can achieve by feeding them algae wafers as part of their diet.

Creamsicle Sailfin Lyretail Molly

creamsicle-sailfin-lyretail-molly

Creamsicle Sailfin Lyretail Molly (source)

Red Sunset Molly Fish

red-sunset-molly-fish

Red Sunset Molly Fish

Wild Molly Fish

wild-molly-fish

Wild Molly Fish / Poecilia Sphenops (source)

Conclusion

When it comes to molly fish there’s certainly enough variety to work with. Some mollies can get accustomed to salt water, others require a bit of salt for optimum health.

Most molly fish are peaceful, and you should take their specific requirements into consideration when housing them with other fish, especially when it comes to fin-nippers as a lot of molly varieties have long fins.

They also require enough tank space to swim and develop all their beautiful markings and fins.

I hope some of the molly fish varieties I discussed in this article have caught your attention and you’re ready to set up the perfect aquarium for them.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

This article has 4 comments

  1. Andreas Reply

    I’ve purchased a pair of Tuxedo Gold Molly at my local pet store because I want to breed mollies. While doing some research I found your website and realize that there are red mollies too. Where can you buy red mollies? Do you have any recommendation?

    • avatar
      Fabian Reply

      Hey Andreas! Tuxedo Gold Mollies are also known as Gold Doubloon Mollies – which are a great choice if you want to breed them.
      Red mollies are in high demand and usually there are out of stock on most online stores. These molly fish types are also more expensive than most mollies. It can cost up to $15 / fish.
      I don’t have any store recommendation for you from where to buy, so you will have to do your own research on this.

  2. Galena Wallenburg Reply

    I had a male black Sail Finned Mollie and a plain white female Mollie, they bred and their fry’s turned out to be white with black polka dots and black fins and their fins are a bit more prettier than an average Mollie.

    • avatar
      Fabian Reply

      That is really interesting. I always enjoy seeing the results of any crossbreeds. Do you have any pictures of the fry?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *