Do Molly Fish Like A Densely Planted Tank?

Molly fish are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish. Molly fish originated from South America in the 1820s, but people have been breeding them for sale since the 1899s. Today, there are different varieties available depending on what coloration you prefer. If you ask pet stores about Molly Fish’s needs, some will tell you that these little guys don’t need live plants because they survive happily. But do Molly fish prefer a densely planted tank?

Yes and No. Yes, in the sense that your molly fish loves having live plants in the tank as long as it doesn’t take up all the space. And no, in the sense that they won’t prefer a crowded tank with very less space to hang out in.

But that doesn’t mean you need to have a very sparsely planted tank for your mollies. Instead, having a densely planted tank is better to create more oxygen and provide more hiding places.

Molly fish cannot voice its preference, so the question itself is difficult to answer. But still, I will try to explain whether densely planted tanks are a good idea or not in this post. Hopefully, it will help you decide what is best for your Molly Fish.

Can Molly Fish  Live In A Densely Planted Tank?

Yes and No. There is a silver lining to this dark cloud. The thing is, molly Fish will do well in a densely planted tank. But only if the temperature is between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, they also need space for swimming and exploring and have plenty of hiding places (plants) to hide from predators while eating their prey.

But if Molly fish are the only fish in the tank, they will find difficulty staying around. So make sure you have the right tank set up and that there’s plenty of room for them to swim before using plants as decoration.

Molly Fish also enjoy burrowing under sand or gravel, and certain types may prefer darker spots where roots hang over the water surface.

Their needs are different from other inhabitant species, such as goldfish, which like bright environments with lots of plants growth. Make sure you’re familiar with how much space they require and what type of tank they need.

Do Molly Fish Like a Densely Planted Tank?

Densely planted tanks typically contain many plants, rocks, or pieces of driftwood that provide hiding places for Molly Fish.

Plants offer plenty of places for molly fish to hide from predators. Molly fish, like most fish, are sensitive to light, and these plants can help them feel more comfortable in a tank. 

These fish does not require any special care or type of food that is different from other types of fish. However, Molly Fish also eat live plants once in a while.

Similarly, densely planted tanks will provide a variety of habitats for Molly Fish which they will enjoy exploring with you.

Remember that your molly fish needs live plants to feel at home even when inside a glasshouse full of water.

What Are The Plants You Can Keep In The Tank Of Molly Fish?

Molly fish are small and peaceful species of fish that live in freshwater. They are schooling fish, so it is better not to keep them with other Molly fishes for their well-being.

Molly fish like water that is shallow and warm and usually spends time underwater near plants or rocks where there are food sources available. There are lots of different types of plants for the tank of Molly Fish. Such as:

Red Ludwigia

Red Ludwigia is a popular plant among aquarium hobbyists because it has vibrant colors and grows faster than any other type of water plant out there (except for moss). It creates a bright contrast of color in Molly’s tank with its red leaves and green stems.

Pogostemon Erectus

Pogostemon Erectus is a plant that creates an environment for Molly fish looking like an underwater jungle with lots of life-like plants, roots, rocks, and other objects on the bottom. They also have bright colors, which Molly Fish will love.

Java Moss

These are plants that Molly fish like to hide behind and eat food from the leaves. These don’t need much light, so they work in any tank type or setup, including tanks with little room for other plants. They can also grow up high if there is something nearby. Molly fishes use as a climbing area.

Sword Plants

Molly fish usually swim through this plant’s open spaces because it has lots of nutrients available. In addition, the sword plant needs a lot of light but doesn’t require very much water change between periods without one, thus making them easy to maintain even for beginners.

Indian Ferns

These plants do well in tanks with low oxygen levels due to their ability to grow on the water’s surface and provide Molly fishes with food. However, Molly fish like to hide in these plants if they feel insecure.

What Are The Plants To Avoid In The Tank Of Molly Fish?

Molly fish loves to be around plants and decorative rocks. But some plants might be harmful to their health. So, it is best to avoid such plants from the tank.

Usually, the plants dangerous for Molly fish are:

  • Java ferns: Molly fish loves java ferns, and they are easy to grow. But the leaves of this plant can cause stomach problems and induce stress, irritation, or depression.
  • Arrowhead plants: They have sharp edges that might hurt Molly Fish if you get too close to them, so it is best not to put them in your tank.
  • Pothos plant: Molly fish may eat the plant and suffer from constipation.
  • Peace Lily: Molly fish might eat it, or they can die from contact with fertilizer residue in water droplets on leaves.

So, before planting any plants in Molly’s fish tank. Make sure that those plants are not harming their health.

Benefits Of Densely Planted Tank In Molly Fish

Molly fish are a form of freshwater fish popular in the aquarium industry. They survive in conditions that other species cannot, making them an excellent choice for beginners or those with limited space.

However, some of the benefits of aquarium plants and having a densely planted tank for molly fish are:

  • Molly fish are a schooling species that need to be in the presence of other Mollies. Densely planted tanks provide more places for them to swim and find company.
  • Molly fish are a primarily nocturnal species, so you may not see them during the day. However, densely planted tanks provide cover from predators and hiding spots for Molly to sleep in safety.
  • Overall densely populated tanks can reduce stress on Molly Fish due to lack of territorial conflicts and increase opportunities for socialization between Molly Fish that live together.
  • The planted tank provides natural shading from direct sunlight, reducing algae growth and Molly Fish’s sensitivity to light.
  • Planting tanks also increase the oxygen Molly Fish can access and benefits Molly Fishes struggling with poor water conditions.

Drawbacks Of Densely Planted Tank In Molly Fish

Densely planted tanks are not the best for Molly Fish. Molly fish often originate from slow-flowing rivers and prefer to swim in an open water area with plenty of space that plants will cover.

A densely planted tank would be detrimental to their health as they have difficulty maneuvering.

In addition, dense plants cover most of the floor, leading them to bump into things so frequently (such as decorations) that they can cause injury or death over time. Also, it is cischallenging to keep the tank clean and any fish inside alive.

The plants in this aquarium will quickly overgrow, blocking light from reaching the bottom where all of your substrates are present.

This type of setup also requires more maintenance than a regular tank because you need to cut down dead plant life daily or risk suffocating your Molly.

What Type Of Tank Is Perfect For Molly Fish?

Molly Fish prefers to hide, so it loves tanks with many hiding places. Molly’s fry will require even more coverage, so you’ll want to have lots of plants to provide the needed shade for them to grow in. Typically, the requirements of the tank to make are perfect for Molly fish are:

Tank Size

Molly fish need a lot of space and prefer tanks with at least 30 gallons or more. But they will do okay in smaller areas as long as there is plenty of cover and other hiding places to hide out when they feel threatened.

Water Parameters

Molly fish are not the hardiest of fishes. Molly prefers a temperature between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. They will do okay in warmer temperatures, but Molly likes the lower range of that temperature spectrum. They are not very strong swimmers, and Molly is sensitive to currents, so it needs a tank with still water like an aquarium or pond.

Molly will do okay in more alkaline water, but Molly’s preferred range is between pH levels of about seven and eight.

Lighting Requirements

Molly likes a moderate amount of light. This fish prefers subdued lighting where the water shades. Molly will do okay with fluorescent bulbs or any other form of aquarium lights. But Molly does not like direct sunlight as it feels too much heat from those bright rays, and Molly’s fry might burn instantly.

Hiding Places

Molly fish need hiding places and will do okay without any additional cover. But Molly’s fry needs some hiding place to help them feel safe and secure in their environment. So they also prefer tanks with plenty of plants or rocks to hide when Molly feels threatened.


Molly fish will need a filter that provides low to medium water flow. Also, these Molly fish like slower-moving currents, and their fry prefers these because they like the feeling of protection from more intense current flows. So, you must use an air pump, airstone, and proper filtration system to circulate fresh water in the tank regularly.

Water Changes

These fish prefer a tank with at least 50% water change every week. If you keep Mollies with other fish, they will require more frequent water changes in the tank.

Tank Decorations

Mollies like plants (especially floating ones) and thus prefer densely planted tanks. So they won’t see the tank bottom while resting at the surface or swimming around.

Also, they like plants that have brightly colored flowers. Molly fish will also do well in a tank with rocks, caves, and large pieces of driftwood to provide cover for Molly when Molly is feeling threatened or needs some time alone.

Some great plants are Java Ferns, Anubias Nana Plants, Amazon Sword Plants, Cryptocoryne, Java Moss.


In conclusion, these Molly fish like a densely planted tank and appreciate having a few around to play with. But it is best to research these fish needs before deciding on one. Molly Fish is undoubtedly one of God’s most fabulous creations that can change colors by flipping their mood or preference switch. So, make sure to treat them like one.

And think cautiously about Molly Fish before deciding on the tank type and its necessities. I hope this article helped you out. If you want to know more about Molly Fish, you can contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions.

Good Luck!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!!