Sail Fin Mollies (Poecilia latipinna) > Quick Stats
||Scientific Name: Poecilia latipinna
|Family: Poecilia latipinna|
|Adult Size: 4-6"|
|Social: Community Fish|
|Lifespan: 3 years|
|Tank Level: Top, Mid dweller|
|Diet: Flakes, Plant Matter|
|pH: 6.0 - 7.0|
|Hardenss: 4.0 - 10.0 dGH|
|Temperature: 72-78 F (22-26 C) |
|Popular Molly Hybrids
Gold Dust Molly
Platinum Lyretail Molly
Pot Belly Mollies
Sail Fin Mollies
Dalmatian Sail Fin Molly
Sail Fin Metallic Molly
Principal habitats of the Sailfin Molly are edges of streams, ponds, canals, and swamps with heavy vegitation. Native range occurs along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast drainages from Cape Fear drainage, North Carolina, to Veracruz, Mexico. Restricted to coastal areas in most of range; found farther inland in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
Diet/Food & Feeding Habits
Sailfin Mollys are omnivorous and requires both meaty foods as well as algae. Provide these fish with an algae-based flake food, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp.
Gouramis, other livebearers, peaceful cichlids, Corydoras. Sometimes they will attempt to chase others around a bit, but do not hurt them in most instances. Mollies do best in a group with a few males and several females. Mollies are good tank mates for Swordtails, Platies, Angel Fish, Corydoras, Plecostomus, and bigger Tetras such as Black Tetra, Red Serpaes, and Silver Tips.
Live-bearing aquarium fish, often simply called livebearers are fish that retain the eggs inside the body and give birth to live, free-swimming young.
The sailfin molly is a small species, seldom exceeding 12.5 cm (5 inches) in length (Robins and
Ray 1986); however it can attain lengths of 15 cm (6 inches) (Rohde et al. 1994). The sailfin
molly is sexually dimorphic; males have a longer, higher sail-like dorsal fin that lies close to the
fish and that can be extended like a sail. Females have a smaller rounded dorsal fin (Boschung
and Mayden 2004). Both sexes have a small head and are a light gray to olive along the sides
and lighter on the belly. The body is laterally compressed with five rows of spots on the side that
may appear as stripes (Page and Burr 1991). The caudal peduncle is deep in both sexes
(Boschung and Mayden 2004). Breeding males turn more greenish and frequently have
iridescent aqua and orange accents on the tail. Mature females are more heavy-bodied than are
males, particularly those with distended belly containing developing young (Boschung and
The salt tolerance of mollies allows them to live in water ranging from completely freshwater to completely marine, which makes mollies potentially compatible with a wide range of setups. This is fairly unusual, as most fish are compatible with only freshwater, brackish water or that of only saltwater environments. This ability allows mollies to live in a variety of coastal environments.
An overcrowded tank will lead to stunted growth and the male may not develop their beautiful sailfin. There are several color variations including the Albino, Black, Red, and Green hybrids. Often P. velifera and P. latipinna crosses are sold. The only way to distinguish P. velifera from P. latipinna is that P. velifera has 18-19 rays on its dorsal fin, while P. latipinna only has 14.
Follow the above recommendations and you should have a joyful Molly experience. Send any questions, comments or pictures to Ask An Expert If you are interested in helping out visit our contributions page.
Andrews, C. 1986 A Fishkeeper's Guide to Fish Breeding. Salamander, London. 117 pp., color illus.
Boggs, Sallie S. 1981. Mouthbrooding Bettas (Betta pugnans, B. picta, B. taeniata, B. brederi). FAMA 9/81.
Lucas, Gene A. 1987. Betta pugnax: Observations on a large mouthbrooding Betta. FAMA 3/87.
Mills, D. 1984 A Fishkeeper's Guide to Community Fishes. Tetra Press, Morris Plains, NJ. 117 pp., some color.
Pinter, H. 1986 Labyrinth Fish. Barron's, Woodbury, NY. 144 pp., some color illus.
Richter, Hans-Joachim 1988 Gouramis and Other Anabantoids. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 224 pp.er,
Vierke, J. 1986 Vierke's Aquarium Book. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 352 pp.
Vierke, J. 1988 Bettas, Gouramis and Other Anabantoids: Labyrinth Fishes of the World. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 192 pp., color illus.