What Are The Different Types Of Molly Fish Species?

If you are someone new aquarist to follow Mollies, observing several of them might have perplexed you. I assume their varieties and shades have confused you a lot. But don’t worry! A specific Molly species is not so complex to identify. To help you understand them better, I have come up with this article explaining about; what are the different types of Molly fish species?

Three primary types of Molly fish species classification fit to endure in an aquarium are Short-fin Mollies, Sailfin Mollies, and Lyretail Mollies. Under these three categories, there are other 15 different types of widespread Mollies listed that vary in size and appearance. These different types of Molly fish species are distinct and elegant from one another.

Now, this will lead you nowhere in the world of molly fish as the sub-division part of these types is what makes molly fish classification interesting. Hence, to learn about the 15 different types of Molly fish, stick to the end of this article.

Molly Fish Classification: How Many Types Of Molly Fish Are There?

There are various Molly species of different shapes, sizes, and appearances that you can find if you sit and learn about them. However, you can get a clear picture once you determine their classification basis.

There are various groups of Molly fish in general. But since we will be looking for Mollies for enduring in the aquarium, there are only three of them. They are:

Shortfin Mollies

Shortfin Mollies have a flattened body, but their chest and abdomen parts are a bit deeper. In addition, they have short and small tails and fins typically. Due to this, they have got their categorization being shortfin Mollies.

These fish are small-sized that usually grow up to 4 inches maximum on average. Also, their short fins and tails are not as flashy as other Molly species are. But they are elegant and distinct that making the aquarium shine.

Sometimes, you may get confuse shortfin Mollies with a Platy fish. But these two species are wholly different despite looking somewhat alike.

Sailfin Mollies

Sailfin Mollies are the other popular Molly fish categorization suitable for keeping in the aquarium. These fish are more extensive than a general short-fin Molly.

Under this type of Mollies, fish usually have sail-like longer dorsal fins. You can see their head flattened and mouth extended a bit. If you one, there are various breeds of Sailfin Mollies available in several colors and patterns.

An interesting fact about Sailfin mollies is that they are pretty hardy and endure in moderate saltwater. Meaning; they are likely to survive in salinity water.

Regarding diet, Sailfin Mollies are omnivores like any other Molly type. They consume regular fish food along with some algae and insect larvae.

Lyretail Mollies

Like Sailfin Mollies, Lyretail Mollies are different than other Mollies due to their fins. But this time, it is caudal fins or tails.

Lyretail Mollies have distinct long tails that make them stand out in the aquarium. Due to their lyretail, they seem to be much larger than most Molly fish species.

However, not all Lyretail or caudal fins of the Mollies develop finely. It is possible only if provided them accurate water degree, proper diet, and adequate tank space. Any negligence in their aquarium can make the fish nervous and uneasy. Such situations hamper their health, resulting in poor growth of their caudal fins.

Like Sailfin Mollies, Lyretail Mollies are also hardy and endure in saltwater. Of course, some aquarium salt in their tank water supplements their pleasant health.

You will love Lyretail Mollies’ different breeds as their appearance are distinct and striking from one another. Nevertheless, a proper tank environment with every necessity is crucial to help these Mollies thrive and endure.

What Are The Different Types Of Molly Fish Species?

Under the three Molly fish classifications listed above, there are several types of Mollies variants of it.

Thus, some of the different and widespread types of Molly fish are:

Shortfin Molly Types

Now, let’s go to the sub-classification of shortfin molly fish. There are five types of molly fish that fall under shortfin.

Common Molly

  • Size: Around 3 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Common Molly fish are the basis for many hybrids of Mollies that you will see further in this article. So, how can I begin without mentioning this fish while starting to describe its many types?

Common Mollies have a silver-shaded appearance with the white bottom down. Their color and appearance might seem dull in front of their other variants, but they are best in their distinct form.

Also, the usual but bright orange trailing edges of this fish’s dorsal and caudal fins make them look elegant in the aquarium.

Besides, they are small-sized fish, but their behaviors stand out the most in aquarists. You can see them getting along with other fish species with similar traits to them.

In an aquarium, some live plants and adequate tank space would add more comfort. Plus, water degrees and water quality are crucial factors to maintain for them.

Regarding diet, they are omnivorous. Hence, Common Mollies accept brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, algae-based wafers, etc.

Black Molly

  • Size: Around 3 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Once you understand the Common Molly fish, you won’t find trouble in acquiring about Black Mollies.

Black Molly fish are similar to the common Mollies but with black scaled all over their body. In addition, these Black Mollies have increased dark pigmentation, resulting in a blackish appearance.

Other than this, Black Mollies share the same traits and body frame just like Common Mollies do. They are also peaceful fish that can be great for a community tank.

Also, an adequate tank space with friendly tank mates can help them survive and thrive peacefully in the aquarium. Besides, they require a planted aquarium to munch the plants and algae often as they are omnivores.

Dalmatian Molly

  • Size: Around 4 to 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Dalmatian Mollies are another popular variant of the Molly species. These popular fish have the color blend of a Dalmatian dog, i.e., black and white. Also, some splendid scales patterns are noticeable in their body.

Like other Molly fish types, these fish are also peaceful and active in the aquarium unless irritated and threatened. Due to their typical good performance in the tank, some beginner aquarists prefer them the most.

Dalmatian Molly surprisingly grows more extensive than a Common Molly, i.e., around 4inches but less than five. However, they do well if kept in a 30-gallons tank minimum when kept in a small group.

But the more the tank space, the more activeness and comfort they receive. It will provide adequate swim space for Dalmatian Mollies.

To make them more comfortable, add sufficient live plants and maintain well-oxygenated water with the help of an air pump in their tank.

Gold Dust Molly

  • Size: 2 to 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Gold Dust Molly is an excellent aquarium fish for those who love Black Molly but searching for some colorful fish type.

It is a short finning fish that has an unusual but attractive appearance. They have engaging half black and half dusty golden body shades.

Generally, the male Gold Dust Mollies are thinner than females. On the other hand, females are larger and develop pregnancy spots in their shades.

To make them comfortable in the aquarium, maintain water quality and correct water temperatures. It can be great if you go for a planted aquarium for them.

Gold Doubloon Molly

  • Size: Around 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Gold Doubloon Molly can be the best alternative if you want Harlequin Sailfin Molly without a long dorsal flair.

It is a stunning fish that has a black and golden color design. This body shade of the fish creates an attractive contrast that makes the aquarium look stunning.

Gold Doubloon Mollies are also peaceful, social, and playful like other Molly fish species. You can certainly keep this fish in a community tank with calm and friendly tank mates.

Besides, adequate tank space, a proper diet with the vegetable element, live plants, and ideal water parameters are crucial to maintaining their endurance.

Sailfin Molly Types

Black Sailfin Molly

  • Size: 4 to 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Black Sailfin Molly is one of the widespread Sail-fin Molly Group. But don’t confuse them with Black Common Molly since these fish look similar.

Black Sailfin is somewhat larger than Black Molly since they have long-flowing fins. In addition, this Black Sailfin has a long and beautiful dorsal fin, making them easy to identify. However, they are at risk if kept with fin nippers in the tank. Thus, choose tank mates for them carefully so that the fish doesn’t get harmed.

Black Sailfin Mollies are a pretty peaceful and hardy breed of Molly. That’s why even beginner aquarists can easily care for and maintain them.

This fish is somewhat longer than a short-fin Mollies, yet they can fit in a minimum of a 30-gallon tank certainly.

White/Silver Sailfin Molly

  • Size: Up to 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

White or Silver Sailfin Molly is one of the hybrids Molly species.

This fish gets its name from the white-silvery scales on its body. Plus, the long and beautiful fins of the fish make it look elegant in the aquarium.

This Molly fish breed grows amazingly up to 5 inches long that can do well even in a 30-gallon tank at a minimum.

These Molly-type fish are peaceful and active in the aquarium, which requires less maintenance and care. Thus, I would recommend this fish to beginner aquarists as well.

Female White/Silver Sailfin Mollies grow somewhat longer and heavier than males. Due to this, they are more noticeable in the tank than males.

On the other hand, Male White/Silver Sailfin Mollies are more striking and colorful. They present attractive orange markings on their dorsal fins and their bodies. Also, some turquoise or greenish-blue markings on their caudal fins are precisely noticeable.

Golden Sailfin Molly

  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

As its name suggests, Golden Sailfin Mollies are bright orange-gold coloration. They are the other best community aquarium fish that you can choose for adding more colors to the tank.

They grow interestingly 6 inches long, making them one of the largest Molly species. A minimum room of a 30-gallon tank with a good plantation is significant for their healthy survival. The tank set-up for 20-gallons is similar to the tank set-up for 30-gallons.

Golden Sailfin Mollies are widespread not only due to their appearance but also due to their breeding or mating behavior.

They often mate, which increases the chance of having more babies in the tank even in a short period. To avoid this, keep only males or females in the aquarium.

If you want to keep females, make sure the number of male Golden Sailfin Mollies is fewer. Also, you need to remember that this fish species usually prefer munching some soft algae and their other omnivore diets.

Harlequin Sailfin Molly

  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Harlequin Sailfin Mollies are extremely attractive Molly fish species. Their body has many white, black, and gold spots or patches.

Moreover, their charming colors add grace to their appearance that pull your attention toward them. Plus, their calm temperament makes them fit for community aquarium housing.

This 6 inches long fish is a bit larger than the average length of Molly fish. So, Harlequin Sailfin Molly requires more diet and consumes various fish food than them.

Here, if you lack to feed them adequately, they will start eating the live plants in the aquarium. Thus, correctly feeding them is a significant and vital thing to note.

Lyretail Molly Types

Balloon Molly

  • Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

It is one of the cross-bred results of Sailfin Mollies.

Balloon Molly is one of the unique Molly fish types due to its arched back and rounded abdomen. As a result, their belly appears like a balloon, making them look overweight.

They have lyre-shaped caudal fins, whereas the males also include striking dorsal fins. Also, male Balloon Molly fish are comparatively larger than females.

You can mark Balloon Molly in various shades like silver-white, yellow, black, and a mix of all.

You can also keep Balloon Mollies in a community tank. However, ensure their tank mates are similar to their size with a peaceful temperament.

Why Is Balloon Molly Different Than Other Molly Species?

I agree you may find this fish’s appearance cute and lovely too. Yet, some may feel a bit different due to your balloon belly.

You may wonder if the swollen alike belly of this fish might hurt them? I cannot assure if such swollen abdomen of the fish hurts them or not. But many aquarists have reported that they are unlikely to survive as long as other Molly fish species do.

Balloon Mollies are not natural but hybrid fish. So, perhaps due to cross-bred complications, their spines got curved, which pushed their abdomen out. Thus, it ended up making them appear different than other Molly species.

Black Lyretail Molly

  • Size: 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Here you might get puzzled between Black Lyretail Molly and Black Sailfin Molly. But not to worry, there is some distinction among them.

Black Lyretail Mollies are the hybrid mutation of the Lyretail Molly group. They have black scales where you can spot some white highlights on their lyre-shaped fins. This appearance of the fish distinguishes them from Black Sailfin.

Black Lyretail is one of the huger Molly fish types available as it grows 5 inches long. However, you can keep them in the 30-gallons tank at a minimum for a start.

Don’t worry about their temperament, as they make good community fish despite being longer in size.

But make sure the tank mates of this fish should neither be the aggressive nor giant size. Choosing calm fish with relatable water requisites is best for Black Lyretail Mollies.

Also, you must be careful about feeding your aquarium fish as they have higher appetites. However, providing them with some healthy fish food can keep balance in the diet of Black Lyretail Mollies. Molly fish are well-known to eat algae present in the tank.

As they eat a lot, they excrete more in the tank too. So, it is best to install an aquarium filter in their tank to reduce the waste created by the fish.

Creamsicle Lyretail Molly

  • Size: Around 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Creamsicle Lyretail Mollies are my other favorite Molly types since they have such a vibrant appearance.

This Molly species has a light orange-goldish shade on its body and somewhat white appearing at the bottom.

You can see orange speckles on their lyre-like tails and fins and the silver row of speckles on their body.

Like other Mollies, they are fit fish to keep in a community tank due to their peaceful, calm, and social temperament.

But remember, as they are long-fining fish, fin nipping tank mates are not suitable for their healthy endurance in the tank.

Also, Creamsicle Lyretail Mollies can make great fish for beginner aquarists too. They are not very demanding and create fewer issues in the tank if provided a suitable tank habitat.

Dalmatian Lyretail Molly

  • Size: Up to 3 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Like the Dalmatian Molly type, this fish also resembles a Dalmatian dog. This fish might confuse you with a regular Dalmatian Molly species.

But there is a slight difference that can help you distinguish Dalmatian Lyretail Molly from a common Dalmatian Molly fish.

Firstly, Dalmatian Lyretail Molly belongs to the group of Lyretail Molly. That means the fish has larger caudal fins or tails. Also, they grow up to 3 inches only, which makes them smaller than the other Dalmatian Molly.

Talking about the shades, Dalmatian Lyretail has a higher white pattern with small black spots on its body when compared with the other Dalmatian Molly. This fish gives you a rich marbled effect as well.

Dalmatian Lyretail Mollies require a live planted tank with satisfying water parameters for their endurance.

To maintain more harmony among their species, make sure you prefer fewer male fish with more females.

Thus, Dalmatian Lyretail Mollies are great fish for beginner aquarists. They are very peaceful and get along with most other calm fish species.

Marble Lyretail Molly

  • Size: 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Marble Lyretail Molly is another variation of Lyretail Mollies. It can be identifiable by its striking black and white spotting body shade.

Generally, this fish is usually mistaken for Dalmatian Mollies as their body shades look similar. Yet, there is something that can clear the dilemma.

Marble Lyretail Mollies are Lyretail, i.e., they have a long and tall dorsal fin. On the other hand, Dalmatian Mollies are short-finning fish.

Besides, you can see this fish’s tall and long dorsal fins, but it requires adequate tank space and correct water degree to develop. Thus, a 30-gallon tank minimum will be suitable for them to thrive in the aquarium.

Moreover, Marble Lyretail Mollies require some amount of salt in the water to maintain their optimum health. You can add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon to the water.

Since this fish requires some saltiness in the water, choose such tank mates for them who can endure in saltwater.

Platinum Lyretail Molly

  • Size: 3 to 5 inches
  • Tank Requirement: 30 gallons minimum

Also known as Mexican Lyretail Molly, the Platinum Lyretail Molly is another variety of Lyretail Mollies.

Platinum Lyretail Molly highlights a platinum or gold color body and its tall caudal fins.

However, these fins develop tall only if you provide adequate tank space, live plants, and correct water quality.

An irregular water degree and inadequate tank space may lack this feature of the fish to highlight.

Thus, house them in a 30-gallon tank, if possible a bigger one, to create enough tank space for them.

Platinum Lyretail Mollies are hardy fish that can do well in saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

If you keep them in a freshwater aquarium, I suggest adding one teaspoon of aquarium salt that accelerates their health.

Besides, if you intend to keep them in a community tank, choose their tank mates wisely because not every fish species can tolerate saltwater. Plus, as their caudal fins are long, they might get nipped by some fin nippers.

Will Different Mollies Live Together?

Here, you learned about different types of Molly fish that are distinct from one another on a size and appearance basis.

But not to forget, they all belong to the same fish species sharing similar traits and behaviors. So, different Mollies will certainly live together without intentionally harming each other.

Nevertheless, you have to keep patience until the selected Molly breed of your choice settles well in the shared aquarium. It is because you cannot add them together suddenly.

Even though their primary species are the same, sudden appearance can make them awkward and nervous. It might take a couple of days for you to assemble the Mollies in a tank.

Once they get comfortable with each others’ presence, they will get along and swim together. And, make sure you don’t overcrowd the tank while keeping different Mollies breeds together.

Can Different Types Of Molly Fish Mate?

Yes, different types of Molly fish can mate and produce many baby Mollies.

In general, Molly fish are easy to breed fish. Here, the only role you will have is to balance the number of male and female Molly fish in the tank. After that, you can go for any of your favorite Mollies species to mate with one another.

I suggest you keep fewer male and more female Mollies of any type in the tank. Usually, male Molly fish will bring aggression among them due to a lack of mating induced if females are fewer.

Thus, to prevent such issues in the tank, avoid increasing the male ratio to females in the aquarium.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the answers to some of the FAQs people often stumble related to molly fish.

How Long Does It Take Mollies To Grow?

With proper water conditions, diet, and tank environment, it will take no longer than four months for Mollies to grow. They are likely to increase fully by three to four months on average.

Do You Need To Keep Molly Fish In A Group?

Molly fish are shoaling fish; hence, keeping them in a small group of 4-5 fish is significant. They stay calm and comfortable when you keep them together with their kind.

Your molly cannot live alone in the tank with all their social skills and extrovert nature. These fish will even befriend other fish present in the tank. So, keeping them without their group seems cruel, don’t you think?

How Fast Do Black Mollies Grow?

Black Mollies grow somewhat slower than other Mollies. They take almost 9 to 10 months to mature fully. Males grow around 3 inches long, whereas females increase larger than males, i.e., 5 inches.

How Long Do Mollies Live?

Mollies generally live for five long years. Precisely, they live around 3 to 5 years longer on average. But again, the lifespan of your molly fish depends on how well you take care of them in the aquarium.

Do not c


Getting to know about different types of Molly fish is not easy but not very challenging. The main distinctions happen due to the several shades, sizes, and structures of the fish.

Hence, if you understood and liked specific Molly fish types from the above listed, you can get one for your aquarium with certainty. They are calm, hardy, and peaceful fish that will not disappoint you!

However, to see your Mollies thrive and survive for a long, a few of your efforts are essential to fulfill their tank requirements. And I don’t think you would mind investing some time and energy to save your Mollies!

Keep your Molly fish happy and healthy!

Good Luck!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!!