Hey! Are you fond of keeping freshwater mollies?
If yes, then keeping balloon molly fish in your aquarium can be a perfect choice for you. Mollies are one of the best freshwater fishes that are cool and unique. These cute little creatures are just like a beautiful embellishment for your aquarium tank. To know more details about Potbelly mollies, stick to this Guide till the end. You will get to know a lot about balloon molly fish.
I am a balloon molly. People also called me “Pot Belly Molly” because of the round belly that I have. For your information, I have three different species. The first one is Sailfin Molly (Poecilialatipinna) which is the most common and widely available type of mine. Secondly, Short-Finned Molly(P.sphenops) is my other species. The last one, Mexican Sailfin Molly (P.velifera) is my rarer species which you will hardly find.
I, as sailfin mollies, is easily available everywhere so you will get more information on my first species. Here you go.
- Body Shape: How do they look like?
- Types Of Balloon Mollies:
- How to Care a Balloon Molly Fish:
- Life Span: How long do balloon mollies live?
- What and When to Feed your Fish:
- Tank Setup: All the things you need to do
- Best Tank Mates for Pot Belly Molly:
- Breeding: All you need to do for Successful
- How to know Gender?
- Sickness & Disease:
- Wrapping Up:
Body Shape: How do they look like?
Balloon molly fish is amongst one of the beautiful fish. Their shape is almost different from the other mollies. They have an arched back along with rounded, large belly, with a lyre-shaped caudal fin that makes them quite unique in shape.
Dalmatian balloon molly fish is like Dalmatian dogs in appearance. That is completely white with black spots all over their bodies. Whereas, the lyretail balloon molly fish is tiny small fish which is silver in color with no Potbelly. On the other hand, the red balloon molly fish is red in color that’s obvious from its name.
Talking about their sizes and how big they can become, Balloon Mollies are the smallest one in all types of Molly Fishes. The adult mollies are about 2 inches in length while the maximum of their size is about 3 inches or 7-9 centimeters.
Types Of Balloon Mollies:
As far as colors are concerned they are available in a combination of Black, white and yellow. These attention-grabbing color variations are so attractive that even a person can sit for hours next to the aquarium tank to see the peaceful and calming sailfin balloon molly fish movement.
If you visit your nearer fish shop and asked for molly fish. But you did not get molly fish of black white and yellow color. Then don’t panic. They are still other mollies. Yes there are different types of molly fish-like
- Dalmatian Balloon Molly Fish
- Lyretail Balloon Molly Fish
- Red Balloon Molly Fish
- And the list goes on.
Their primary difference is due to color variations and the other one is due to fins.
How to Care a Balloon Molly Fish:
Petting a sailfin balloon molly is a difficult task at all. You need to provide the proper tank setup & size which allows them to have proper space for swimming. If they have enough swimming space and proper oxygen level this will lead to a positive effect on the growth of these tiny creatures. For maintaining oxygen levels i would like to recommend you installing an air pump in your aquarium. I am using air bubbler for perfect oxygen bubbles.
Life Span: How long do balloon mollies live?
Balloon Mollies usually live for about 3 to 5 years while all the types of mollies have a different life span. Considering the life span of Balloon Mollies, they have a shorter life span than other kinds of mollies. If they are kept with proper care, they can live some more years. That’s the reason Balloon mollies require special care due to their shorter life span and slower activities than other mollies.
What and When to Feed your Fish:
Feeding mollies isn’t a hectic job at all, you can do it very easily, But for this, you must know what they eat. They are omnivorous which means they like to eat plants and meat as well. You cannot replicate what these cool buddies eat in the wild, but yes you can try to do so.
You can serve them natural or live feed like:
- Meaty foods
- Fresh spinach
- Boiled vegetables
If you love to give them treat then serve them Zucchini medallions and cucumber medallions along with shelled peas. They will definitely love it.
But if you feel they need something different then try adding frozen food in their diet. It will include brine shrimps, blood worms and daphnia. These foods contribute a lot to their growth and development.
As mollies are very active aquarium fishes, so they need a lot of food, you have to feed them approximately 2 to 3 times within a day.
Tank Setup: All the things you need to do
So, the fish tank size should be 30 gallons ideally. They can also live in a tank size of 10-20 gallons as well. But if you really love your balloon molly, give them a large tank so that they can swim freely anywhere. So the minimum tank size for balloon molly should be 20 gallons otherwise if you can afford 30 gallons, its perfect for them.
Water Temperature & Ph Levels:
Apart from tank size, they need some appropriate water temperature and pH level, as these are tropical fishes so they need properly maintained water temperature that is 65-82 ◦F and 7.0-7.8pH. so for this, you need to install an aquarium heater in your tank. Most aquarium heaters are automated they can do this job perfectly you only need to set the temperature from the heater probe. For Checking Ph levels, you should buy the PH test kit. I usually check my water Ph once a week.
Adding Salt & Aquarium Decorations:
One more thing, if you are using freshwater in your tank, try adding a teaspoon of table salt, this will give them the feel of actual aquatic habitat. These small and tiny creatures like tank decorations and are extremely very comfortable with that. It’s good to decorate your tank with live plants like Anubias, Saggitaria,& java fern, as these pot belly mollies like live densely populated plants. You can Go for Artificial plants if you can not afford live plants.
Best Tank Mates for Pot Belly Molly:
Talking about the balloon molly fish compatibility, these are the fish of peaceful temperament so they prefer living with fishes of the same nature. They can comfortably live with livebearer fishes.
Their best tank mates could be:
- Some close relative of platyfish like Swordtails
- Some other species of molly fish
- Snails and shrimps can also be great tank mate for molly fish.
Thanks to their small size which makes them compatible with other mollies. A question may have popped up in your mind that is, are these balloon molly fish aggressive in nature?
Well, the answer is No. female mollies usually have a cool temperament than males. Males sometimes become aggressive in the presence of other male mollies in the tank. That’s it.
Breeding: All you need to do for Successful
Balloon mollies are livebearer, which means they do not lay eggs. Female mollies after breeding give birth to over one hundred small mollies or babies or you can even call them to fry babies.
If you want to increase the population of balloon molly fish in your tank then get your mollies and tank ready for the breeding session.
First of all, separate male and female molly in another tank with at least 30 gallons of water in it. Maintain all the required water, temperature and pH condition. You can keep two females along with one male molly at a time. Mollies often use their extravagant colors or their fin to attract the other mate.
Once you keep them in your tank, they will start attracting each other and after a while, you will see male molly fish is chasing a female molly fish. That’s the right time. Their breeding is just a few minutes away. The male will use his gonopodium or the pointed fin to breed.
Signs of Pregnancy:
Now once this has been done, you are ready to start looking for pregnancy symptoms in pregnant molly. These symptoms will include lethargy, loss of appetite and of course a protruding belly.
In addition to this, female molly has a “Gravid Spot” which she uses a pregnancy signal. You can find this spot under her belly. Moreover, there will be a drastic change in the behavior of pregnant molly, like she will become an introvert fish.
After spending a gestational period of 6-8 weeks, mommy molly gives birth to some young fry, which is about half an inch long and is born alive. However, the process of breeding takes about 28 days in warmer temperatures while more time would be required if the temperature is cooler.
As discussed earlier mommy molly gives birth to about 100 fry babies but unfortunately, only a few of them reach their adulthood because the rest of them will become the food of other adult fish.
Pearl of Wisdom:
Once mommy molly gives birth to fry babies, immediately separate them in another small tank. Otherwise, adult mollies or adult fishes will eat them and you will nothing in hand.
How to know Gender?
Let me tell you the major difference between male and female balloon mollies. The male mollies have a pointed and larger dorsal fin and the female mollies are smaller in size and have a rounded dorsal fin which differentiates both from each other.
Word Of Caution: Don’t keep molly fish alone or in odd numbers. It is advisable to keep a pair of molly fish together because there will be increased chances of bullying or injuries if all mollies are either female or male. So try to keep them in pairs. In simple words, you have to maintain Sex or gender ratio within a tank
Sickness & Disease:
Like other pet fishes, these mollies also susceptible to certain diseases. The same goes with balloon molly fish. Some of the common diseases that they caught are:
- Fin Rot
- Skin Slime Disease
- Itch or white spot
It is recommended to have an eagle eye on molly fish behavior. Check out if they are behaving weird. For instance, if a balloon belly molly is rubbing itself against the rock, then the possible reason could be some fungal infection because of which it is rubbing herself. Similarly, if the balloon belly molly fish is swimming upside down, then you need to change the water immediately. Indeed, it’s because of poor water quality.
There are a lot of reasons associated with the behavior. But before giving any final conclusion you must consult your local aquarist.
I would recommend you to do proper care of these tiny creatures; they need lots of love and special attention. And as always prevention is far better than cure.
For this, you need to do special care, which includes:
- Regular Tank Maintenance & Monitoring
- Regular and Proper Temperature and pH level Maintenance
- Give them a properly Balanced Diet
- Do not Overcrowd Aquarium tank with too many fishes and Decorations.
Like a human, these small colorful mollies need your full attention and time. You will find lots of balloon molly fish for sale on the internet today. I will recommend you to buy only if you think you will remain dedicated to them. Though their care level is moderate a little negligence in their care can be harmful to them.
Happy fish keeping!