How to Care for Dalmatian Mollies

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The dalmatian molly is a color variation of Poecilia latipinna, better known as the sailfin molly. It gets its name from its pale silvery color and dense dark spots, much like those on a Dalmatian. It is a small oceanic fish found wild in the Gulf of Mexico from Mexico to North Carolina. The dalmatian molly, like all sailfins, is adaptable with respect to water conditions and can live in both fresh and saltwater aquariums, if given a chance to gradually acclimatize to the water's pH.

Things You'll Need

  • Water pH testing kit
  • Aquarium
  • Water filter
  • Live aquarium plants
  • Aquarium salt
  • Water heater

Lay a layer of aquarium rocks 1 to 2 inches thick on the floor of a 30-gallon aquarium and thickly plant with aquatic aquarium plants. Add decorations to personal taste such as fake caves, castles, driftwood and large rocks. These will offer ample hiding places for the dalmatian mollies.

Fit the aquarium with an aquarium filter suitable for the tank's size. Larger tanks need more powerful filters to keep the water conditions favorable. The filter will oxygenate the tank's water and help remove solid waste such as the fish's waste and uneaten food.

Attach an aquarium water heater to the tank and set it for about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is right in the middle of the dalmatian molly's tolerance range which is 64 to 86 degrees; a midrange temperature is ideal.

Ask the seller of the fish the pH level the mollies were kept at before you take them home. Test the pH of your tap water with the pH testing kit and adjust it with aquarium salt as required. Try to get as close as you can to the pH level in which the fish have been living. Dalmatian mollies generally do best at a pH of between 6 and 9.

Test the aquarium water pH at least once a week and replace some of the tank's water with fresh water to help maintain a level pH.

Feed the fish twice a day with an algae-based dry flake food and occasional frozen chopped-up bloodworms, tubifex and brine shrimp. Do not feed more than the fish can eat within one minute as this may lead to excess uneaten food, which can foul the water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ideal aquarium plants include Java fern and Anubias.

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