Antique Molly (Poecilia sphenops var.)

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Antique Molly
Poecilia sphenops var.
Antique Molly (Poecilia sphenops var.)
Name Antique Molly
Name Lat. Poecilia sphenops var.
Family Livebearers
Family lat. Poeciliidae
Order Killifishes & Livebearers
Order lat. Cyprinodontiformes
Origin Central America (breeding variety)
Habitat Streams, ponds
Diet Omnivore
pH 7.0-8.5
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Harem
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Livebearer
Breeding Simple
Life Span 2-4 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 8-12 cm
Temperature 18-28 °C
Hardness 11-30 °dH
Aquarium ~ 150 l
US Units
Size 3"-5"
Temperature 64-82 °F
Hardness 196-534 ppm
Aquarium ~ 35 gal

Distribution and habitat

The Antique Molly is a farmed form. The natural range of the Molly wild form extends from Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela. They live mainly in shallow, slow-moving or stagnant waters with sometimes dense underwater vegetation.


The aquarium should have a varied planting, with shelters and hiding places (roots) and provide sufficient swimming space. A dark substrate, some shaded light (floating plants) and medium to hard water is ideal.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


They feed mainly on vegetable food. The food supply consists of dry, live and frozen food. For a balanced diet, feed once a day with a dry food (flakes, granules, pellets) with high vegetable content as well as algae leaves, algae wafers or scalded leafy and wild vegetables, supplemented with cyclops, daphnia, artemia, mosquito larvae, etc. (live or frozen).

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day, which are eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They are peaceful fish and well suited for a community tank with other calm and peaceful fish. They should be kept in a harem, one male with several females.

Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water condition and water temperature should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

Males are smaller and have an anal fin (gonopodium) that has been transformed into a mating organ. The females are larger and appear rounder.

Reproduction and breeding

Mollies are live-bearing fish. Internal fertilization is provided by the male's gonopodium. After about 8 weeks of gestation, up to 120 fry are born. They are already fully developed and independent at birth. After filling their swim bladder at the water surface, they can immediately start feeding.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (Artemia nauplii). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the fry are easy prey.


Mollies are bred in many varieties.

Soft water is not tolerated well and makes them susceptible to disease. The addition of sea salt (mineral salt) from the pet store to harden the water prevents.

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels should be checked at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the contaminant level has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Merz Zierfischgroßhandel

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2006): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch 

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF