Molly Fish Types – Explore the 39 Species of Mollies

Mollies are often thought to be a single breed however this isn’t true. Molly fish types come in a plethora of species adding an abundance of color to your tropical freshwater aquaria. Native to the Americas there are currently 39 species of mollies.

Molly fish types and their descriptions

Here is a list of the few common types of mollies that you can keep in your home aquarium. We’ll be coming out with a part two soon for the remaining molly fish types!

Black molly


The common black molly sport black scales which are their most distinguishing feature. They are very peaceful fish that do well in community tanks. Black mollies love plants and have large appetites. They are omnivores that like feeding on algae-based flakes, brine shrimp, and freeze-dried bloodworms. Black mollies especially fancy live plants in their aquarium as they enjoy munching on the algae that grow on them. They require 30-gallon tanks which give them enough room to grow, quality supply of oxygen and plenty of swimming space. The water temperature for this type should be anywhere between 68 to 82 °F (20 to 28 °C) with a pH level of 7 – 7.8.

Dalmatian molly


As the name suggests the dalmatian molly is a black and white fish with beautifully patterned scales. It is also commonly known as a marbled molly fish or marbled sailfin fish. Just like the black molly, these fish also enjoy aquatic plants that they can feed on all day. They are a little larger than the black molly and require well-oxygenated spacious tanks to grow in. These fish are generally friendly and adaptable. They require a small amount of aquarium salt, a pH level of 7 – 7.8 and water temperature ranging between 68 to 82 °F (20 to 28 °C) . They also feed on algae-based flakes, brine shrimp, and freeze-dried bloodworms just like the black molly.

Platinum lyretail molly


Aptly named for their platinum scales, the platinum lyretail molly is a small peaceful fish that requires hard water. This species enjoys meaty food as well as algae. Platinum lyretail molly must be housed in tanks with an algae mat or thick aquatic vegetation. These tanks must also have enough room for swimming and growth as a cramped space will prevent the tall dorsal fin from developing in the males. This fish is also called the Mexican lyretail molly, giant lyretail molly, Yucatan molly, and sometimes simply lyretail molly.

Gold dust molly


An excellent alternative to the black molly variations is the gold dust molly. This breed adds a pop of color to your aquarium and is short-finned. The gold dust molly as the name suggests is a dusty gold color with spots of black. Males of this variety are slender whereas females are rounder in appearance. They have a lifespan of 5 years and thrive in densely planted aquariums. Their diet is similar to that of the common black molly.

Balloon belly molly


The balloon belly molly fish get their names from their balloon-shaped bodies which are rounded with an arched back. They are available in yellow, black and white combinations and feature a lyre-shaped caudal fin. Balloon molly fish and pot belly molly fish are the perfect tank mates because they share similar swimming abilities and looks. The life expectancy of this type of fish is between 3 – 5 years in ideal conditions such as brackish water or saltwater. Balloon mollies cannot survive in freshwater and will develop diseases and illnesses if kept in it.

Harlequin sailfin molly


The dazzling harlequin sailfin mollies are speckled with black, white and gold spots. They grow larger than the average molly and feed on a variety of foods. They will even graze on the live plants in your aquarium without hesitation. Interestingly these fish get their names from the classic colors of the harlequin clowns but are more friendly and peaceful. Their recommended tank parameters include a pH level of 7.5 or higher and the temperature should range from 72 – 80°F (22 – 27°C).

Amazon molly


The Amazon molly is an interesting little fish that is making a big splash. It is a freshwater omnivore. This amazon molly spends their days feeding on small invertebrates, algae and plant matter in rivers and streams along the Gulf Coast of Mexico and Texas. It gets its name from Greek mythology as these fish are all-female and reproduce asexually making them an interesting bunch for scientists to study. They are highly adaptable to their environments and have evolved with the times.

Blood-red molly

As fascinating as its name is the blood-red molly. Their characteristics are similar to that of the common black molly but it is their striking red color that distinguishes them. They feed on meat and algae, munch on live aquatic vegetation and are calm and quiet creatures.

Creamsicle lyretail molly


The creamsicle lyretail molly is named after the very famous orange sherbet ice cream popsicle. The orange scales merge into the pearly white scales making them shine bright. They prefer warmer temperatures and are most comfortable in waters that range from 78 – 80°F (26 – 27°C). Water sprite and java ferns are good aquatic plants to have in the aquarium housing these precious fish.

Chocolate sailfin molly


A chocolate sailfin molly would be a funky addition to your home tank. It displays hues of red and brown throughout its body attracting one’s attention. They are active swimmers who chase each other but are rarely aggressive. A pH level of 7 with moderate water hardness is recommended for them to thrive and live long. Live plants are a fantastic addition to their habitat and help improve the water quality for the fish.

Green sailfin molly


The green sailfin molly is an energetic fish with a beautiful and attractive metallic sheen. It can brighten up any aquarium and is relatively easy to care for. Though they are more herbivores than omnivores and feed on a vegetable-rich diet, including spirulina-based flakes, algae wafers, and herbivore foods. They must be housed in a tank that is well-lit and well-planted with plants that can withstand salt like java moss. The tank must be large enough to accommodate this fish as it requires a lot of space to swim freely.

Black sailfin molly


With a beautifully flowing fin, the black sailfin mollies grow up to 4 inches and are simply the best choice. They require well-oxygenated water, plenty of room to swim and grow in and of course live plants to feed off of. Since they have such attractive, long fins its best to keep them in tanks with fish that aren’t fin nippers. A water filter and heater can help with controlling their environmental conditions so they can live a healthy life.

White/silver sailfin molly


Silvery scales and mesmerizing long fins distinguish the white/silver sailfin molly. The females from this species are larger and heavier than the males. The males on the other hand sport colorful orange markings in their dorsal region as well as turquoise markings on their caudal fins.

Black lyretail molly


The black lyretail molly has a lyre-shaped caudal fin with white highlights. These fish have large appetites and therefore produce a lot more waste. A tank that houses them requires a good filter system.

Gold sailfin molly


Gold sailfin mollies are an exquisite group of fish. They are best suited to community aquariums with hard water and grow a bit larger than the average molly. They require a large tank that is well oxygenated and heavily planted. Though they are classified as omnivores their diet needs to be plant-based and feeding them algae wafers does the job.

Gold doubloon molly


A good alternative to the harlequin sailfin molly is the gold doubloon molly. It is a short-finned fish with an impressive dorsal flair. Its mix of black and gold hues are contrasting yet alluring. Like all other mollies these fish require plenty of room and aquatic vegetation to live. Their diet, however, needs to include rich vegetable matter along with their meats.

Conclusion to our list of molly fish types

We hope this article helped in choosing which molly fish type you’d like! To learn more about how to take care of mollies, check out this article!