Mollies are omnivores, which means that they feed on almost anything from plants to insects, and even smaller fish and fry. For that reason, you should expect mollies to eat live plants in your aquarium in addition to just about anything edible that they can consume.
If you’re curious about mollies’ feeding habits and what plants they like to eat, you’re in for a treat!
In today’s article, we’ll take a brief look at the nutrition of mollies and how to stop them from nipping on your aquarium plants. Let’s jump right in!
Do Mollies Eat Live Plants?
Since mollies are omnivores, they will happily consume plant matter found in your aquarium. However, despite being generally omnivores, they have a mostly plant-based diet.
For that reason, they like to consume large amounts of plants and you can typically find mollies nipping and snacking on live plants in your fish tank to sustain their requirements of greens.
Some mollies will only eat small bits of the leaves while other species, especially larger ones, may end up consuming the entire plant.
Additionally, they can also eat residual plant matter that grows in the tank and will even scrape them off stones and rocks inside the aquarium.
Moreover, mollies like to eat algae, and since they originally live in brackish water, they can consume both freshwater and saltwater algae.
In fact, a lot of aquarium owners try to introduce mollies in their saltwater fish tanks just to help them clean it off algae regularly.
What Should You Feed Mollies?
To understand the variety of feeding ranges of mollies, let’s have a quick look at what mollies usually eat.
As previously mentioned, mollies are omnivores, so they don’t mind eating just about anything you have in mind. For instance, you can simply feed them commercial flakes and pellets sold at pet stores.
Additionally, they can eat microworms, bloodworms, brine shrimp, small insects, tiny fish species, and even baby mollies (fry), as they’re rich in proteins. You can feed them frozen food. However, live food makes your fish more interested as they chase and catch their food.
Mollies also don’t mind eating small bits of vegetables and you can feed them anything from peas, lettuce, zucchini, herbs, and more. However, you should avoid feeding tomatoes to your mollies because they can be toxic.
Providing your mollies with a combination of all these foods is the best approach to keep your mollies healthy and help them thrive in captivity.
How Often Should Mollies Eat Plant Matter?
Plant matter provides mollies with minerals and vitamins that they don’t typically find when feeding on live food like worms and insects.
For that reason, it’s quite essential that you feed mollies plant matter on a daily basis if you want them to become healthy and grow.
However, this doesn’t have to be a daunting task, as mollies can simply feed on the plant matter scattered around the aquarium, and as previously mentioned, this is a win-win situation for you, as they’ll end up cleaning your aquarium for you while providing themselves with necessary nutrition.
What Kind of Plants Do Mollies Like to Eat?
Mollies can eat just about any kind of plant, but they typically enjoy eating duckweed and algae. These plants grow rapidly and are pretty safe for the fish.
You should also keep in mind that mollies don’t often swim in the bottom of the aquarium, so they typically enjoy relatively taller aquatic plant species, such as anubias and java fern.
Will Feeding Mollies More Plants Stop Them from Eating Live Plants?
As previously mentioned, mollies are overeaters, so they might start feeding on your plants even if you’re feeding them properly.
So, unless you’re not providing them with enough plants in their diet, increasing their plant intake isn’t usually the right solution.
Even if overfeeding your mollies may solve the problem, you should keep in mind that more food means more waste.
Rotting food can pollute the water in the aquarium and cause various health problems that can be fatal to the fish.
How to Prevent Mollies from Eating Your Aquarium Plants
Some fish owners are annoyed about mollies eating their live plants, especially if you’re trying to create a good balance between flora and fauna in their aquariums.
Since overfeeding is not the best solution, you can try some of these options to prevent mollies from munching on your aquarium plants:
- Reducing the number of mollies in the aquarium so that it has enough plant matter to keep the rest well fed
- Replace your soft plants with other options that are larger and harder to chew
- Remove live plants from your aquarium and use artificial aquarium-safe plants instead
Keep in mind that even with all these measures, mollies will still chew on the plants in their aquarium, but they’ll reduce the frequency of that happening.
The only approach that you should avoid is using more live plants to make up for the eaten parts.
After all, plants consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide, especially at night, and crowding the tank with plants may suffocate the fish and kill them.
With that said, you now know more about mollies’ dietary habits and whether they’ll eat live plants in your aquarium.
Since mollies are overeating who like to consume plant matter, you should expect them to snack on live plants in the aquarium every once in a while. They can also eat more of the plant if you don’t provide them with enough plant matter throughout the day.
For that reason, if you want to reduce your mollies from eating aquarium plants, you have to make sure that they’re well by other plant matter, such as algae and vegetables like peas, spinach, lettuce in addition to trying some of the tips mentioned above.