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Livebearers / Poeciliidae / Sailfin Molly

Mexican Sailfin Molly, Yucatan Sailfin Molly, Green Molly, Sailfin Molly
Poecilia velifera

Synonyms: Mollienisia velifera
Physical description: The Mexican Sailfin Molly is an elongated, laterally compressed fin with a large, elaborate dorsal fin. The snout and mouth are turned upwards toward the water surface. The male has a large dorsal fin or sailfin which is orange to blue with iridescent spots. The sides of the male are bluish green to orange and covered with small shimmering scales that are multi-colored. The coloring is highly variable.
Size/Length: Males to 6" (15 cm), Females to 6.5" (17 cm)
Similar species: Pacific Mexican Molly ( P. butleri); Sailfin Molly ( P. latipinna); Mexican Molly ( P. mexicana ); Black Molly, Sphenop Molly, Molly ( P. sphenops)
Habitat: In fresh and brackish water in river estuaries and coastal areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
S: middle, top
Aquarium: A tank measuring 36" (90 cm) with a volume of 35 to 45 gallons (132-170 L) is adequate for adults, although larger tanks are preferred. Young can be kept in smaller tanks. The tank should be well-planted and have lots of open swimming area so that the sailfin of the male can develop. The tank should have strong lighting and the growth of algae should be encouraged. A cover of floating plants is suggested to serve as refuge for the fry.
Water chemistry: pH 7.0-8.5 (7.8), 12-38 dH (30), 72-82°F (22-28°C). A 0.5-3% addition of salt is suggested, although unnecessary after a period of acclimation. Mix 4-23 TSP. of salt for every 10 gallons (5-30 g/10 L).
Social behavior: A peaceful, community fish. Keep one male with several females. This fish should be combined with fish that can also tolerate hard, neutral to alkaline water. After acclimation, fish may be kept in a marine tank.
Suggested companions: Gouramis, other livebearers, peaceful cichlids, Corydoras, Orange Chromide
FOOD: Algae; live; worms, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae; plant matter; vegetable matter; flakes; pellets
SEX: The male is more colorful with a tall sail-like dorsal fin. Males also possess a gonopodium.
Breeding techniques: The gestation period of the female is four to eight weeks. Usually the number of young range from 25-60, although large females can produce as many as 200 at one time. Protect the fry fry the parents.
Breeding potential: 5. Breeding is moderately difficult for a livebearer.
Remarks: An overcrowded tank will lead to stunted growth and the male may not develop their beautiful sailfin. There are several color variations including the Albino, Black, Red, and Green hybrids. Often P. velifera and P. latipinna crosses are sold. The only way to distinguish P. velifera from P. latipinna is that P. velifera has 18-19 rays on its dorsal fin, while P. latipinna only has 14.
Difficulty of care: 6. This species is more sensitive than other Mollies, and regular water changes are essential for maintaining healthy fish. Favorable conditions are necessary for the development of the stunning sailfin of male fish.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com