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It is possibly to identify the ancestors ofthe aquarium fish though, and doing so reveals some valuable clues asto the optimal conditions under which these fish should be maintained. and are two rathersimilar species both known as shortfin mollies. They are both rathervariable in terms of colour, though typically greenish-silver withpatterns of olive, brown, yellow, and black spots. It is often said,though not without any overwhelmingly compelling evidence, that in particular was the 'rootstock' fromwhich most of the aquarium strains of molly were derived by carefulcrossing with other species of molly displaying desirable features.
Of course mollies do eat a certain amount ofanimal prey, particularly the larvae of insects such as mosquitoes andmidges. But in the wild at least such foods are a supplement ratherthan a staple. As with many other herbivorous fishes, such assurgeonfish and catfish, when given nothing but foodsrich in animal proteins, such as standard fish flake, the overallhealth of the fish actually declines. Experienced molly breeders havealso found that the more algae and vegetables in the diet of themothers, the bigger and healthier their broods. In short, the seriousmolly keeper should be providing them with algae and algae wafers, softvegetables such as courgette, and vegetarian flake foods. Bloodwormsand live daphnia make excellent treats, but they shouldn't be usedtoo often, once or twice a week at most.
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Of course, the serious molly appreciates that mollies are perfectly capable ofbeing fascinating and rewarding animals kept all by themselves. Thoughsadly misunderstood, mollies remain wonderful fish well worth gettingto know better.
Whether you are getting your fry from a pet shop or have a female molly fish that is ready to give birth, it is important to ensure that you have the right setup for your molly fry as soon as they arrive. You may opt to use a nursery tank or a breeder trap, but whatever you choose your fry should have a safe, sheltered space to grow until they reach a reasonable size. By equipping your fry with a safe environment, caring for them with regular feedings and water changes, and acclimating them into your aquarium when they are large enough to handle other fish, you can help ensure the long term safety and health of your new baby fish.There are primarily four families of Live-bearing fish. Three of these groups originated in the Americas but some were introduced into Asia and from there spread to almost all tropical and sub-tropical areas including southern Europe. The familiar guppy, molly, platy and swordtail are members of the largest group, the Live-bearing Toothcarps (Poeciliidae). Then there are the Splitfins or Mexican Topminnows (Goodeidae) and the Four-eyed Fish (Anablepidae). The LIve-bearing Halfbeaks (Hemiramphidae) originate from Asia.All Mollies need an aquarium that is well-planted and not overcrowded. These moderately-sized, active fish need plenty of swimming space. A 20 gallon tank is the smallest tank advisable for the larger Sailfin Mollies. The Common Molly could go down to 15 gallons if there are only a few small companion fish in the tank. A single sex group or a one-to-three ratio of males to females is preferable to reduce quarrels among the males over potential mates. If both sexes are housed in the aquarium, the aquarist should plan for monthly breeding from these prolific fish.Most Mollies do best in slightly brackish conditions. However, Mollies can live perfectly well in freshwater as long as it is not too soft and acidic. In a freshwater tank, the water needs to be hard and alkaline for the Mexican Sailfin Molly but they can do equally well in brackish conditions.Disease resistance appears to be improved by the addition of 1-1.25 teaspoons of aquarium salt per gallon. Evaporated water leaves salts behind so there is no need to add more salt if one is topping off evaporated water. The Common Molly and its hybrids can even live a happy life in a fully saltwater environment, which makes these fish a popular choice to cycle new marine aquariums. The Mexican Sailfin Molly can also be acclimated to fully marine conditions without much difficulty.Most types of gravel work fine for a substrate, though lighter gravel will show their colors best. Good filtration is very helpful in maintaining stable water. Filtration systems remove much of the detritus, excess foods, and waste, which helps keep the tank clean and maintain the general health of the fish. The Mexican Sailfin Molly is a bit more difficult to maintain than the other two species and their hybrids. They have a much lower tolerance for suboptimal or fluctuating aquarium conditions. Good water quality is also essential for the males to develop their best colorations.The Molly appreciates some plants in the aquarium for cover and supplemental nutrition along with some open space for swimming. However, these are highly vegetarian fish, so choose plants with care. Soft-leaved plants may be destroyed. The use of breeder traps is hazardous to these fish, and it is recommended that you provide floating plant cover for the fry instead. Avoid too much driftwood as these livebearers do not like acidic water.