Many aquarists recognize mollies as peaceful and adapting with other aquarium lives, which is true to a certain extent.
However, you can’t fully trust your mollies around all aquarium species, because mollies can and will eat your shrimp.
Mollies aren’t aggressive by any means, so don’t get the wrong idea. However, the thing about shrimp and mollies is that shrimp can sometimes be so small; small enough to fit easily into the mouths of mollies.
That’s why, if you plan to keep both tiny shrimp and mollies in the same aquarium, there’s a big chance your shrimp will not survive. Read on to learn more.
Why Do Mollies Eat Shrimp?
Molly fish are omnivorous, which means they’re willing to consume anything that can fit into their mouths. However, being tinier than mollies isn’t the only reason mollies are likely to eat shrimp.
Some other reasons that encourage mollies to eat their neighboring shrimp include:
Food Chain Compatibility
Shrimp is a very delicious snack for mollies. Even though shrimp exists deep down in the molly fish’s food chain, it still is a tasteful type of food for the mollies.
Another point is that shrimp provide mollies with the essential nutrients they need, which gives the mollies no need to hesitate before chasing the shrimp and trying to attack them.
The shrimp’s vibrant colors don’t help them at hiding from the mollies at all. In fact, it makes them look more appealing and easier to spot.
These bright colors make the shrimp more outstanding in the aquarium and thus help the mollies get attracted to them faster.
Sometimes, molly fish get angry and frustrated due to various reasons, and this causes them to nip at other fish species in the aquarium.
Since shrimp are an easy target because of their small size and their attractive colors, they will be easily devoured and attacked by angry mollies.
When this is the case, you’ll notice that your mollies are consuming more shrimp than usual. Try to figure out why they’re irritated and look into ways to help them so you can avoid your shrimp getting eaten.
Can Mollies and Shrimp Coexist in the Same Aquarium?
The short answer is yes, but it will be extremely hard to keep them peaceful towards each other. Shrimp is mostly unproblematic, but mollies, on the other hand, require a certain attitude to stay calm.
How to Keep Your Shrimp Safe From Mollies
- If you are planning on keeping them both, make sure your aquarium has a lot of hiding spots for your shrimp. These hiding spots will ensure that whenever your shrimp are uncomfortable or scared, they’d have somewhere to hide and gain some relief.
- Ensure that the hiding spots are located away from the open space and are surrounded by various tall plants to make it harder for the molly fish to follow your shrimp there.
- The best plants for shrimp are aquatic mosses, such as Christmas moss or Java moss. Make sure you have some of these in your tank as they provide shrimp with the best hiding spots.
- Mollies aren’t naturally aggressive. Therefore, if you feed them on time and limit stressful situations, they wouldn’t have a reason to attack your shrimp.
- Take care of your mollies’ stress level by managing the water temperature and pH level. If they’re not stressed, your shrimp is no longer in danger.
Some hardships you’d have to deal with if you have molly fish and shrimp in the same aquarium include:
Molly fish can be greedy when it comes to food. Imagine trying to feed your little shrimp with these gourmands swimming around; that would be quite the challenge.
Since your mollies are most likely to eat your shrimp’s food and only leave little leftovers for them, it would be hard for your shrimp to live off leftovers, and that would cause them to get weaker and weaker over time.
This is one of the main reasons you should avoid putting mollies and shrimp in one aquarium.
To get shrimp to reproduce in the same aquarium as molly fish is going to be nearly impossible.
Shrimp breed a lot, but the babies have a zero chance of survival with predators like molly fish around. So, if you care about your shrimp having a little family, it won’t work around mollies.
This is yet another reason to separate shrimp from molly fish.
Shrimp Friendly Species
If you’ve decided to place your shrimp and mollies in two different aquariums, you might want to learn about some shrimp-friendly species.
First things first, though, try to avoid mixing various shrimp species together. Yes, they won’t go about eating each other. However, they’d try to interbreed, and that would result in having weak offspring and dull colors.
Secondly, make sure your shrimp avoid all goldfish no matter their size. This is in addition to any large rainbowfish, spiny eels, and most loaches.
That being said, you can mix your shrimp with smaller peaceful species such as:
- Otocinclus catfish (safest fish around shrimp)
- Ember tetras
- Endler’s livebearers
- Pygmy corydoras
- Harlequin rasboras
- Sparkling gourami (pygmy gourami)
- Kuhli Loach
Mollies Friendly Species
As far as choosing a friendly species that can coexist with mollies, you must take that species’ defense mechanisms into consideration.
One invertebrate that is known for its great defense mechanisms is a snail. Snails can feed on algae and you can find a lot of beautiful ones to share your mollies’ aquarium, such as:
- Nerite snails
- Rabbit snails
- Trumpet snails
- Ramshorn snails
Molly fish and shrimp can hardly be friends and are almost impossible to keep them together in the same tank.
Shrimp is rarely good with any bigger fish since the shrimp’s defense mechanisms are so weak. With that said, it’s a better decision to pick more compatible mates for your mollies and to keep your shrimp in a separate tank with all the other tiny fish.