We know that breeding fish for the first time might seem challenging, especially if you don’t know the difficulty level with which mollies breed. Thankfully, mollies are easy to breed in a contained environment, making them a great choice for newbie fish breeders.
In this article, we’ll share with you all the information you need to know about molly breeding so that you’re completely ready for the task.
Let’s dive right in!
Why Are Mollies Easy to Breed?
Some people will say that “easy to breed” is a loose term. What may appear simple to you might seem intimidating to your neighbor or friend. This is why we must address what exactly makes mollies a breeze to breed.
First off, you should know that one female molly can give birth to up to 100 fries (baby mollies) in a single birth. This means that your population of mollies could grow incredibly fast if you only have a few adult females in the tank.
Second off, mollies are livebearers; meaning that they don’t lay eggs. So, the females have the ability to store sperm inside their bodies for entire months. Better yet, they could fertilize their eggs every three weeks or something.
In other words, even if there hasn’t been a male in the tank for some time, your females could still give birth to baby mollies for months afterward. Pretty impressive, right?
Third of all, the breeding process itself is pretty simple to make happen and supervise. It doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part and you don’t need to have experience with fish breeding to do it.
How Long Do I Have to Wait Until a Female Molly Gives Birth?
After a successful mating session, babies will usually take between three to five weeks to emerge.
In one birth, you can expect from ten to 60 fries, which is the average. A hundred fries is also a possibility, so make sure you’re prepared for the big event!
How to Prepare My Fish Tank Before Breeding Mollies?
As we’ve previously mentioned, the entire process of breeding mollies is low-maintenance. Therefore, to prepare the tank for breeding, there are only a few things you should do:
- Buy a separate fish tank (larger tanks are preferred because they allow your mollies more freedom)
- Decorate the aquarium with rocks, live plants, and substrate (provide your fish with plenty of hiding places)
- Add clean water to the tank (ensure the pH level is 8)
- Install a water filter and a heater
- Set the water temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
If you ever consider adding aquarium salt to the water, we recommend against it. The reason behind this is that, oftentimes, mollies don’t tolerate salt. So, it’s best to steer clear of this not to harm the parents or the fries.
How to Prepare My Mollies for Breeding?
Mollies will need a healthy diet, along with adequate living conditions for a successful breeding session.
It all starts by picking the best male and female candidates for this goal. A rule of thumb is to choose larger fish. Plus, it’s a great idea to go for mollies that have active, lively characters so that they can get along with the other sex easily.
After that, make sure you feed your fish a high-quality diet before breeding. You may want to introduce the following food options to them:
- Top-quality flakes or pellets
- Brine shrimp
How to Breed Mollies: A Brief Guide for New Fish Breeders
Now that you’re ready to breed your mollies, it’s time to get things done. In this section, we’ll discuss how to breed mollies step-by-step so that your experience remains mistake-free.
Step 1: Transfer Your Mollies to a Breeding Tank
The first thing you should do is gently drop your mollies into the new tank after making sure the temperature of the water is 80 degrees or slightly more.
For quick results, your best bet is to pick one male and three females to place in the breeding tank. Usually, only one male molly is enough to fertilize several females and produce a wealth of baby mollies.
If you have several eligible males and are unsure which one to pick, always go for the largest since most females will be more willing to mate with him.
Step 2: Monitor the Behavior of Your Mollies
Your mollies will show many signs that will let you know if the breeding process is going smoothly.
For example, if the male puts a courting display for the females, it’s a signal that he’s ready to mate. Afterward, you might notice the male under a female molly, which means that the couple is mating.
Sometimes, a female might reject a male, which will require your action if they don’t mate in two days. In this case, you’ll have to return this poor guy to the main tank and choose another male.
Step 3: Give the Pregnant Mothers Their Privacy
It’s important to separate the males and females after mating. This is because the males tend to want to copulate again and again, which could stress the mothers out and affect their pregnancies.
Therefore, once you notice the mothers’ bellies getting bulkier, it’ll be time to say goodbye to the male fish!
After returning the male to the main tank, keep a close eye on the mothers so that you’re ready when it’s time to give birth. Usually, it’ll happen within 45 days after mating.
Step 4: Supervise the Birthing Process
You’ll know if the mothers are close to giving birth if they keep hiding in dark corners of the tank. Once that happens, you must be prepared to move the mothers outside the breeding tank when they’re done.
The reason behind this is that adult mollies tend to eat their babies, so you want to protect the fries from such an unfortunate fate!
Step 5: Take Care of the Baby Mollies
After they’ve been born, the fries will move around the tank searching for food. So, you must offer them powdered flakes to help them overcome their hunger.
Keep feeding your fries this powder until they’re old enough to eat adult fish food. Normally, that’ll be once they’re around two months of age.
Are mollies easy to breed?
Yes. Mollies are a piece of cake to breed because they don’t require a lot of work on your part to mate and produce dozens of baby mollies at a time. Only one male in a breeding tank can do the job, and the females could keep getting pregnant off of his sperm for months!