43 Types Of Molly Fish – Varieties And Care Guide

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Molly fish are an extremely popular tropical aquarium fish species. Mollies are ideal for beginners, being easy and fun to keep. These brightly colored fish tank favorites give birth to live young, so you can experiment with creating your own variations.

But do you know just how many different types of Molly fishes to choose from? 

Read this guide to discover no fewer than 43 types of Mollies and learn more about how to care for this beautiful community fish.

What Are The Different Types Of Molly Fish?

Mollies all belong to the same Poecilia genus, which also includes several other home aquarium favorites, such as Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, and Endler’s Livebearers. 

All Mollies are found right across the Americas and Mexico where they live in a variety of habitats, including brackish water. That’s why Mollies are so tolerant of various tank conditions, making them extremely easy to keep and virtually beginner-proof.

Other Types Of Molly Fish

Within the Molly species, there are many different varieties that come in various colors, shapes, and patterns such as the Gold Doubloon Molly and black and white Dalmatian Molly.

For example, the following fish are all different kinds of Mollies:

  • Poecilia Latipunctata
  • Poecilia Dauli
  • Poecilia Wandae
  • Poecilia Boesemani
  • Poecilia Caudofasciata
  • Poecilia Hispaniolana
  • Poecilia Sulphuraria
  • Poecilia Waiapi
  • Poecilia Elegans
  • Poecilia Marcellinoi
  • Poecilia Koperi
  • Poecilia Petenensis
  • Poecilia Nicholsi
  • Poecilia Teresae
  • Poecilia Rositae

So, although all the above species are basically Mollies, they all look completely different from each other.

All the different species of Mollies have been created by selective breeding and hybridization over many generations. However, all the Mollies that you see in the trade today can be divided into three distinct groups:

Shortfin Mollies (Poecilia sphenops)

Shortfin Mollies are generally the smallest of the two groups, measuring up to 3 inches long, and they don’t boast the showy finnage of the fish in the other group.

Within the Shortfin Molly group, you also have Balloon Mollies that have rotund bodies and arched backs.

Sailfin Mollies (Poecilia latipinna)

Sailfin Mollies are showier than their Shortfin cousins, usually having long, flowing finnage, including a large, sail-like dorsal fin. These fish are also larger than the Shortfins, measuring up to 5 inches in length.

Yucatan Lyretail Molly (Poecilia velifera)

Lyretail Mollies are easily distinguishable from the other types, as they have beautiful lyre-shaped tails.

In all the groups, males are easily distinguishable from females because they are generally larger and more brightly colored.

Colors

Mollies come in a dazzling array of beautiful colors. 

However, all the colors and patterns are derived from three primitive color schemes: black, orange, and white. 

Can Different Types of Molly Fish Breed?

Since all species of Molly fish belong to the same genus, they can interbreed. Generally, it will be the largest, most vibrantly colored male that will breed with all the females in his tank, as Molly fish are quite hierarchical. 

Coppia di Black Molly
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

In fact, like most livebearers, Mollies are very prolific breeders, and males will readily breed with females of different forms and finnage. So that the female fish don’t get too harassed by males, I always recommend keeping one male to two or females.

Although some of the fry will most likely survive in your community tank, most will be eaten by the parents or by other fish, which will keep their numbers under control.

Will Different Mollies Live Together?

Again, since Mollies all belong to the same species, you can mix them in a community aquarium without issues once the pecking order is established. However, be careful that you don’t overcrowd the tank, or the Mollies may display slightly aggressive behavior around feeding times.

Which Type Of Molly Fish Is Right For You?

When choosing your Molly fish, remember that the Sailfin varieties can grow up to 5 inches long, so you’ll need a tank of at least 30 gallons, ideally larger. These are also very active fish that can get feisty if kept in overcrowded conditions, so if you want to keep a group of them, you’ll need a 40 or 50-gallon tank.

As well as being very active fish, Mollies do consume a lot of food, and, therefore, produce a fair amount of waste. So, you need to provide the largest tank that’s feasible for your budget and the space you have available.

More Types of Molly Fish

Now, here are some of the types of Molly fish that you can find in your local fish store and buy online.

Poecilia Latipinna

Sailfin Molly
  • Common Name: Sailfin Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 5 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Sailfin Mollies get their name from their large, upstanding dorsal fin that resembles a sail. The fish come in a wide range of colors.

Poecilia Gillii

Poecilia gillii hembra
Source : commons.wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: Costa Rican Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 20 gallons

The Costa Rican Molly is a short-finned Molly fish that is found throughout Central America. The fish are generally silvery-green with lines of lateral spots. 

Poecilia Sphenops

Neon Orange Molly Fish
Source: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: Short-fin Molly, Common Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 20 gallons

The Common Molly is a short-fin Molly that comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. However, the wild version of the fish is a dull silvery-gray. 

Poecilia Chica

Poecilia Chica
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Common Name: Dwarf Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 15 gallons

Dwarf Mollies are a smaller version of the Short-fin Molly, males being slightly smaller than females.  

Poecilia Velifera

Poecilia velifera
  • Common Name: Yucatan Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: Up to 8 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Yucatan Mollies look similar to Sailfin Mollies, although males have a higher, longer dorsal fin. Large females can reach 8 inches.

Poecilia Butleri

Pacific Molly
Source : inaturalist.org
  • Common Name: Pacific Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: Up to 4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Pacific Mollies get their common name because they are found exclusively on Mexico’s Pacific slope from the Rio Comasagua to the Rio Fuerte basin. 

Poecilia Wingei

Brightly colored Endler’s livebearer fishes.
Image Source : wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: Endler’s Livebearers
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: Up to 1.8 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 10 gallons

These fish are also known as Endler’s Livebearers and are native to the Paria Peninsula in Venezuela.

Poecilia Kykesis

Poecilia Kykesis
Source : instagram.com
  • Common Name: Péten Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 4 to 5 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

The Péten Molly is a variety of Sailfin Molly.

Poecilia Mechthildae

  • Common Name: N/K
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Poecilia mechthildae is another variety of Shortfin Molly fish.

Poecilia Vivipara

Poecilia vivipara
Image Source : wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: Southern Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

The Southern Molly is found in hypersaline lagoons and brackish conditions from Venezuela to Argentina.

Poecilia Catemaconis

  • Common Name: Catemaco Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

The Catemaco Molly is a short-finned species of Molly that’s native to Veracruz, Mexico.

Poecilia Formosa

Poecilia Formosa
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Common Name: Amazon Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Amazon Mollies are freshwater fish that are unusual in that they reproduce through gynogenesis, so basically, all the fish are female.

Poecilia Reticulata

Guppy fish pregnant
  • Common Name: Guppy
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 10 gallons

Native to South America, Guppies are one of the most popular aquarium fish. They are also known as Millions fish and Rainbow fish because of their prolific breeding habit and array of brilliant colors and patterns.

Poecilia Caucana

Poecilia Caucana
Source : aqualog.de
  • Common Name: Cauca Molly, South American Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 2.4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

The South American Molly comes from Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama, where it lives in shallow freshwater habitats, feeding on algae and mosquito larvae.

Poecilia Hondurensis

Poecilia Hondurensis in white background.
Source : aquaportail.com
  • Common Name: N/K
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 2.4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

These short-finned Mollies are only found in the Caribbean drainage basins of Honduras. Interestingly, these fish have slightly different teeth from other species of Mollies.

Poecilia Vandepolli

Poecilia Vandepolli in white background.
Image Source : biogeodb.stri.si.edu
  • Common Name: Island Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 2.4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

The Island Molly is an unusual species of short-finned Molly that is gold, orange, silver, and blue in color.

Poecilia Salvatoris

Poecilia salvatoris
Source : wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: Liberty Molly
  • Experience Level: Semi-aggressive
  • Max Size: up to 2.4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Liberty Mollies are a species of short-fin Molly. Unlike other Mollies, male Libertys can be aggressive fin-nippers toward other fish in an aquarium setting.

Poecilia Mexicana

Poecilia mexicana female
Image Source : wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: Atlantic Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 2.4 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Atlantic Mollies are a short-finned species of Molly fish that are found in fresh and brackish water habitats in Guatemala and Mexico. There’s a population that’s found in caves, which are known as Cave Mollies.

Poecilia Kempkesi

Poecilia kempkesi
Source : wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: N/K
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: 1.5 to 2.0 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 15 gallons

Poecilia kempkesi is a species of Guppy that’s found in the lowland bodies of freshwater of Suriname.

Poecilia Maylandi

Poecilia maylandi
Image Source : fishbase.in
  • Common Name: Balsas Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

The Balsas Molly lives in the Rio Balsas freshwater system of Guerrero in Mexico. This is another species of short-finned Molly.

Poecilia Sarrafae

Poecilia latipinna
  • Common Name: N/K
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Poecilia sarrafae is a very recently discovered species of Sailfin Molly that was first described in 2011. These pretty fish live in the Mearim and Parnaíba river basins in northeastern Brazil.

Poecilia Parae

Poecilia Parae
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Common Name: N/K
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Poecilia parae is found in northern South America, ranging from Guyana to the Amazon River’s mouth. There are at least five different color morphs in males but just one female color form.

Poecilia Orri

Mangrove Mollies (Poecilia orri) feeding on a leaf
Source : wikimedia.org
  • Common Name: Mangrove Molly
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Mangrove Mollies are a species of Sailfin Molly that’s native to Southern Mexico, specifically Quintana Roo to Northern Honduras and Colombia, specifically the Islas de Providencia.

Poecilia Obscura

Poecilia Obscura
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Common Name: N/K
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 1 inch long
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 5 gallons

Poecilia obscura are tiny fish that are not as brightly colored as Guppies but just as easy to care for. These active, peaceful little creatures are perfect for a kid’s nano tank

Poecilia Dominicensis

Poecilia Dominicensis
Source : akvaristalexikon.hu
  • Common Name: N/K
  • Experience Level: Easy
  • Max Size: up to 3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Min Tank Size: 30 gallons

Poecilia dominicensis is a species of short-finned Molly that’s found in bodies of freshwater in Hispaniola in Central America.

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed our list of different species of Mollies. If you did, please share!

Most Mollies are brightly colored, active fish that make a popular member of many tropical home aquarium community setups. Since these are lively fish, they prefer a large tank with plenty of swimming space. Although Mollies are generally peaceful, overcrowding can encourage nippiness.

What’s your favorite Molly species? Tell us in the comments box below!

Alison Page has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 years and has owned many different species of freshwater tropical fish including bettas. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. The first tank has two huge fancy goldfish who are almost ten years old and still looking as good as ever. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies.

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