Short-finned Molly | Poecilia sphenops
Livebearers / Poeciliidae / Short-finned Molly
Profile: Short-finned Molly, Pointed-mouth Molly
Poecilia sphenops Synonyms: Mollienisia sphenops is the most common among more than 40 synonyms known.
Physical description: An elongated, laterally compressed fish with a pointed snout. The caudal fin is fan-shaped. The color is highly variable ranging from the black molly to orange and blue forms. The feral form has an olive-green back and bluish flanks. The flanks are spotted with orange spots, and the belly region is orange. The iris of the eye is blue. The fins are brownish.
Size/Length: Females to 4.7" (12 cm), males to 3.2" (8 cm)
Similar species: Mexican Molly (P. mexicana)
Habitat: In fresh and brackish water in coastal areas from Mexico to Columbia.
S: middle, top
Aquarium: A 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L) is suitable for adults. Young can be kept in smaller tanks. The tank should be well-planted with plants and add floating plants to serve as a retreat for young. Use wood and rocks for hiding places and use a bright light to increase algae growth.
Water chemistry: pH 7.0-8.5 (7.6), 12-30 dH (20), 70-82°F (21-28°C). A 0.5-1.5% addition of salt can be used, although this is not required. This can be accomplished by adding 4-11 TSP. of salt to every 10 gallons (5-15 g/10 L).
Social behavior: This peaceful species can be combined in a community tank with other species that can tolerate hard, neutral to alkaline water. Best to keep one male to several females.
Suggested companions: Xiphophorus, Poecilia, Corydoras, Gouramis, Loricarids, tetras tolerant of hard, alkaline water.
FOOD: Algae; live; worms, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae; plant matter; vegetable matter; flakes; pellets
SEX: The male is slightly smaller, more colorful, and has a pointed anal fin (gonopodium).
Breeding techniques: As for other livebearers. As many as 120 young are born after a gestation period of eight weeks. Protect the young from the parents for they will be consumed.
Breeding potential: 4. An easily bred species.
Remarks: This species was originally crossed with P. latipinna to produce a more disease-resistant black molly. Several different color morphs are available.
Difficulty of care: 2. A robust species recommended for beginner's community tanks. 4. The Black Molly is less hardy, and requires warmer water temperatures from 77-84°F (25-29°C). The Black Molly requires well maintained water and rarely lives longer than three years in captivity. Frequent partial water changes are essential for the health of all morphs.