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Mollies are a good fish to start learning about breeding fish. You can raise a few baby fish in your aquarium. Mollies are the easiest fish to breed, and you can quickly learn a lot about breeding fish by breeding Mollies.
All Mollies are the same species, so all the various colors and shapes of Mollies are the same species, and any female can breed with any male. For example a Gold Sailfin Male Molly can breed with a Dalmatian Pot Belly Female Molly, even though their shapes and colors are very different.
Almost all female Mollies are pregnant. The females are usually plumper than males, and you can determine the gender of Mollies by the shape of their anal fins.
Mollies are livebearers, which means the female Mollies do not lay eggs, like most female fish, but release live baby fish.
Here is a list of conditions that will help your female Molly produce babies.
1. Mollies do not do well in fish bowls and small aquariums. They need an aquarium with at least 15 gallons of water and 29 gallons is much better. Be sure the aquarium has good water.
2. Mollies like warm water at about 78 to 82 degrees F. So your aquarium should have an Aquarium Heater.
3. Add one Tablespoon of Aquarium Salt per each five gallons of aquarium water. So for example, add 3 Tablespoons of Aquarium Salt to a 15-gallon aquarium and 6 Tablespoons to a 29-gallon aquarium.
4. Feed your female Molly lots of good food including floating flake food and freeze dried blood worms. If you can obtain live or frozen brine shrimp, feed her a few of them each day. If you can get live Black Worms, feed her about three live Black Worms each day.
5. Change 20% of the water in her aquarium each day.
6. Be sure your female Mollie is not being stressed by other fish, such as being chased and annoyed by a male or several male Mollies. Remove the males or be sure there are lots of female Mollies and just a few male Mollies.
With all of these conditions most female Mollies will release babies about once a month. Female Mollies can deliver several batches of babies without a male in the aquarium. So once your female Molly is pregnant, you don’t really need a male Molly for several months, and male Mollies will often annoy female Mollies.
If you want to have a few baby Mollies, get two or three plump female Mollies. If you want to have lots of baby Mollies, get at least three male Mollies and about twice as many female Mollies. Each adult Molly will need about 3 to 5 gallons of water. So 8 adult Mollies will need an aquarium with about 24 to 40 gallons of water.
How can you tell when your female will release babies? That is very difficult to describe, but you can learn by watching your females, and after they have released babies a few times, you will be able to recognize the change in a female’s appearance a few days before she releases babies.
When your female Molly is big and looks like she’s about to release babies, gently move her to another aquarium or put her in a contraption to protect her babies, so they will not be eaten by larger fish.
There are two types of these contraptions available, and both fit inside aquariums. One such contraption is called an Aquarium Net Breeder, and it has a thin frame made of plastic that’s covered with a fine net to separate the babies inside the net from the larger fish outside the net.
The second type of contraption is made of solid plastic and has an upper space for the female. There is a second space below and a slotted divider between the upper space and the lower space. The slots are small enough to keep the female out of the lower space, but big enough to allow the babies to fall through to the lower space, after the female releases them.
After she releases her babies, remove the female Molly from the contraption. Leave the baby Mollies in the contraption and feed them powdered flake food.
To make powdered food for Baby Mollies and some other types of baby fish. Put 1 or 2 tablespoons of flake food in a plastic bag. Make sure the bag doesn’t have too much air inside, then tightly seal the bag with a rubber band. Squeeze the bag between your fingers to mash the flakes inside the bag into a powder. It may take you 10 or 15 minutes to mash all the flakes into powder.
It’s difficult to get a small amount of the powdered food out of the bag and into the aquarium. Here’s another hint. Use a toothpick. Dip just the tip of the toothpick into the water. Then wipe the tip off with your finger, so it’s just moist. Dip the moist toothpick into the powdered food in the plastic bag. A very small amount of the powder will stick to the end of the toothpick.
Just touch the tip of the toothpick to the surface of the water above the baby fish and watch them eat. They’ll need several feedings each day. When your baby fish have grown to double their original length, they can usually be released from the breeding contraption into the aquarium with the other fish.