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Mexican Sailfin Molly
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
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Poecilia velifera

Mexican Sailfin Molly

Quick Stats:   Mexican Sailfin Molly

Family: Poeciliidae
Range: Yucatan, Mexico
Size: Up to 5 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Algae, hard water
Tank Conditions: 75-82°F; pH 7.5-8.5; dH 10-25
Minimum Tank Capacity: 40 gallons
Light: Medium
Temperament: Peaceful
Swimming Level: Top to middle
Care Level: Difficult
Reproduction: Livebearer

The Mexican Sailfin Molly is also known as the Giant Sailfin or Yucatan Molly. There are several color variations including black and platinum. The Mexican Sailfin, P. velifera, can be distinguished from the Sailfin Molly, P. latipinna by the number of dorsal rays. The Mexican Salfin has 18-19, and the Sailfin Molly has 14.

The Mexican Sailfin Molly is a peaceful fish and prefers hard water. Mollies have the ability to adapt to a variety of salt levels in the aquarium. With a gradual acclimation, this fish may be maintained in either a freshwater or saltwater aquarium. In the freshwater aquarium, a minimum of a teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon is recommended for optimum health. The Mexican Sailfin Molly requires a tank of at least 40 gallons with algae and plenty of room to swim. The tall dorsal fin of the male will not develop if adequate room for him to swim is not provided. This species should only share a tank with other peaceful fish that prefer hard water with elevated salt levels.

The pointed anal fin and much larger dorsal fin on the male, and the rounded anal fin and pregnancy spot on the female differentiate the two. The Mexican Sailfin Molly is a livebearer that requires a spawning box in a 25 gallon, or larger, breeding tank. It should be planted as densely as possible or have a thick algae mat. Having a group of floating plants in the corner of the aquarium will promote rearing outside of the breeding tank. Every 60-70 days the female will give birth to 10-60 young that are approximately one-half inch long.

The Mexican Sailfin Molly is omnivorous and requires both meaty foods as well as algae. Provide this fish with an algae-based flake food, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp.

Ideal tank mates include:

Photo courtesy of T.F.H. Publications, publishers of the Burgess Atlas.

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