Do Molly Fish Need Live Plants? Learn About It!!

Molly fish can be a great addition to any home tank. Mollies are famous for their sparkling colors, and many breeders breed them into many different variations that all come in stunning color patterns, shapes, and sizes. But setting a tank for this fish isn’t as easy as it seems. For example, do you know Molly fish need live plants?

Molly fish need live plants because they provide oxygen through the water column and create a natural habitat for Molly fish. In addition, these fish feel secure in the presence of the plants. Besides this, live plants also help to provide shade and hide Molly fish from predators.

You might have many questions about Molly’s preference for live plants. So, this post aims to answer those questions by giving you some insight into the life of Molly fish.

What Are Live Plants?

Live plants are any plants that can survive in a tank without gravel or other substrates. You can either root or uproot these plants. 

They will produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Thus, aquarists often use these plants in the aquarium to replace gas exchange for filters. Live plants also help maintain water quality by providing natural filtration through their leaves.

Moreover, live plants can also provide a sense of security to the fish in your tank because they act as visual barriers that keep predators away (as long as these predators don’t have access to water). Some live plants even release chemical repellant into their surroundings which helps protect themselves from predators.

Finally, you can use live plants to feed your fish with their natural habitat. Contrary to popular belief, not all plants are poisonous to fish. You don’t plant anything toxic into the substrate, or it will kill any other living organisms in your tank (including the good bacteria).

Do Molly Fish Need Live Plants?

Molly fish are social fish that usually live in an aquarium with many plants for the fish to hide. They enjoy living among other Molly fish and often prefer to spend their time near them rather than their own. Honestly, you can find these social molly fish happily living with guppies. So, it’s not surprising to see them enjoying live plants as molly fish tank mates.

Thus, Molly fish do need live plants in their habitat. Live plants are a massive part of the aquarium as they provide oxygen for Molly fish to breathe, food, and shelter from predators. An aquarium may not be healthy enough to support life without live plants.

The more live plants in an aquarium, the healthier and better they will be for Molly fish. Live plants often provide cover for Molly fish and food sources like algae which can help with a lack of appetite if there is not enough plant life.

Furthermore, the live plants also add up to the beauty of the tank providing a natural habitat for Molly fish to live. So, they are vital for Molly fish to have.

Do Molly Fish Need Live Plants?

What Are The Importance Of Live Plants For Molly Fish?

Molly fish are on those friendly fish and enjoy company to be happy with live plants in the aquarium.

However, some of the importance of live plants for Molly fish are:

Provides Oxygen

Live plants are high in oxygen, so they are great for an aquarium because Molly fish and other aquatic animals need oxygen. These plants will provide oxygen to the Molly fish and help them breathe.


Live plants can be decorative. They have different colors, sizes, and shapes that many people consider attractive in aquariums. Live plants can also help create the perfect mood for your aquarium and be aesthetically pleasing by helping you get that natural feel.

Filter Function

Live plants also help with water filtering by taking up nitrates released when the live plant is growing. In addition, the live plants can help filter out some toxins from the water by using specific bacteria living on their roots or leaves -called Biofiltration.

Increased Growth Rate And Mobility

When they get more food than usual, the growth rate of live plants increases; it helps remove nitrates and supply a lot more natural foods for your Molly fish to eat, such as algae and tiny microorganisms all around the tank that come up from to time.

Molly fish are very active creatures, and they will be more agile when there are many plants because their live plant roots can provide them with lots of places to explore.

Gives It A More Natural Feel

Plants have become such an essential part of nature, so having some in your tank will give it a much more natural feeling and provide oxygen, which isn’t something you want to run out of since it’s what we breathe.

Decreases Stress Levels of Molly Fish

Last but not least, it is important to mention the importance of live plants for Molly fish because it will decrease their stress level. In addition, it’s a good idea to get some stems or leaves floating on top so you can see them more easily from the surface rather than looking down into your tank at all times- this may make keeping an eye on your tank easier.

Things To Consider While You Keep Live Plant In Molly Fish Tank

If you are going to place live plants in the aquarium, there are a few factors that you must consider first.

  • Molly fish can outgrow their tank size quickly. But unfortunately, it may lead to the stunted growth of plant life. The ideal ratio for an adult molly is about one inch of fish per gallon (or two small plants). So make sure to choose an ideal tank size for your molly fish.
  • Live plants will need light, so it might not be wise to put them too deep into the water where they won’t get enough sun exposure. If you have a lot of sunlight coming through your windows or from other sources like fluorescent lights, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if not, you should research how far away live plants should be from these light sources.
  • Some live plants need constant wetting, while others will do fine with occasional water droplets on their leaves.
  • If you are going for the aesthetic look of a planted tank, then using replicas is not a good idea. They don’t survive well in the aquarium and can pose dangers like sharp edges or toxic substances that may affect Molly fish health if ingested.

What Are The Best Live Plants For Molly Fish Tank?

Live plants play significant roles in the aquarium ecosystem. They provide a natural habitat for fish and help filter your water by absorbing nitrates and phosphates, which would otherwise contribute to algae growth. So, the common live plants that contribute to the health of Molly fish are:

  • Java Moss
  • Anacharis Plant (aka Egeria densa)
  • Ludwigia alternifolia
  • Hornwort
  • Water Lettuce Plant or Typha
  • Amazon Sword Plants
  • Cryptocorynes spp. (mainly for fry)

You can use all these plants in Molly fish tanks, but it’s up to you which one will be the best live plant for your tank.

Do Molly Fish Eat The Live Plants?

Molly fish are omnivorous, which means they will eat live plants. Of course, these fish would not be eating a lot of vegetation in the wild, but in captivity, their diet should have some plant material to offer the essential nutrients and fiber that may be missing from an all-meat diet.

They can also help with algae control by scraping it off rocks and tank walls during feeding time. Just make sure you don’t overfeed your Molly, so any algae problems get worse rather than better.

In addition, some fish may prey upon or dig up planted roots that make an ideal habitat for small invertebrates that feed other inhabitants, such as shrimp.

This can cause unintended consequences such as overfeeding due to excess nutrients available from uprooted plants. Therefore, it is best to avoid planting anything in the tank unless it is a hardy aquatic plant species that most freshwater fish find difficult to eat, like java moss.

Can Molly Fish Live Without Life Plants?

The answer is yes and no.

  • Yes: You will need live plants for aesthetic purposes or because certain species of mollies like living among them (for example, black neons)
  • No: If you want an open environment with just rocks and gravel or sand, that’s fine. The only thing not needed would be light.

Molly fish can live without plants, but they will need these to survive and thrive. They need some plants to hide behind, but they will grow if you provide them with live or plastic plants. Moreover, Molly fish living with live plants tend to be more colorful and look healthier. These fish also lives a lot longer with plants in their environment.

What To Look For While Selecting Plant For Aquarium?

Live plants can be expensive, and many types are available. One good option is to select low-light hardy live plants that you find at a local aquarium store. They will not require as much maintenance as other live plants might need, and they may help keep your tank clean.

It would help if you always looked for the following when selecting live plant:

Low Light

If your Molly fish come from an area with dimmer lighting, such as mountain streams, then it’s best also to have some lower light options there, so don’t rule out any plant because of this factor alone. In this way, you should cover all the areas of their habitat for happier Molly fish with a longer lifespan.


There is nothing worse than putting a new plant in the tank only to have it die after a few days. After that, the hardy plants can take on whatever life throws their way without much fuss.

Live And Good For Freshwater Aquariums

Your Molly fish need live plants that are good for freshwater aquariums. If you’re looking at any water gardening system with your lack of knowledge, don’t do it because you will likely kill all your fish and anything else inside. Instead, keep things safe by sticking with what’s known to work best: low-light aquatic plants found at pet shops or nearby local stores!

Some FAQs

Can I Keep Live Plants And Molly Fish In Same Tank?

You can do this. It’s not difficult to set up the tank correctly and choose low-light plants, hardy fish safe, and suitable for a freshwater aquarium.

How Much Will Live Plants Cost?

Live plants can be expensive, and there are many types available. A good option is to select hardy, low-light plants that you find at a local aquarium store or pet shop. They will not require as much maintenance as other live plants might need. And they may even help keep your tank clean.

Can Live Plant Be Dangerous For Molly Fish?

Live plants can be dangerous for Molly fish, but they are not always. It all depends on the type of plant and you set up your aquarium.

Are There Plants That Need Sunlight To Grow And Thrive?

Just because Mollies prefer low-light does not mean the plants in their aquarium won’t grow with sunlight. However, these plants require more attention since they live and grow inside an apartment with you. 

If you have an aquarium already, you might know how hard it can be to keep everything alive when the days are short (or that’s what it feels like anyway).

How To Clean A Tank With Live Plants In It Without Killing Them All?

If you find out that adding live plants to your aquarium isn’t working, don’t worry about them because they clean themselves. Yep, no matter what type of plant you choose, as long as it’s a live plant, it will clean the tank for you, so don’t worry about adding any extra chemicals to your fish’s habitat because they won’t need them.


Generally, live plants are unnecessary for Molly fish and other beginner fish. However, live plants can provide a more natural habitat with lots of benefits, and the primary use is aesthetics. When you come home from work or school, you want something to look at. So, you don’t have to waste your time sitting in front of a screen all day long. Plus, if you have kids, they’ll be able to enjoy watching their pets swim around too. It is better than just staring into an empty bowl full of dirty water every night before bedtime.

We hope this article has been helpful and informative. If so, please share with friends who might have an interest in Molly fish. Also, I just wanted to let people know what they’ll need if they wish to a Molly one-day fish.

Happy Fishkeeping!!