How to Care for Pot Belly Mollies

A well-kept aquarium is an important part of caring for pot belly mollies.
A well-kept aquarium is an important part of caring for pot belly mollies. (Image: Aquarium image by crossgolfing from

Pot belly mollies, also known as balloon mollies, are a sub-species of the molly fish. Molly fish are live-bearers, which means that a female molly hatches her eggs internally and actually releases live young. Pot belly mollies are shorter and have a rounder body than most other molly fish, hence the name. Pot belly mollies can live in either freshwater or saltwater tanks, but do best in a slightly salty aquarium. Pot belly mollies like to live with other fish and can be kept with other community fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Aquarium, 15-gallon capacity or larger
  • Bio-wheel filter
  • Aquarium heater
  • Water conditioner
  • Thermometer
  • Aquarium gravel
  • Aquarium salt
  • Floating flake food
  • Freeze-dried blood worms
  • Algae scraper
  • Bucket

Select an appropriate aquarium. Pot belly mollies should be kept in a tank of at least 15 gallons, and the aquarium should have a lid or hood.

Set up your aquarium correctly to house your mollies. Place 1/4 inch of gravel on the bottom of the tank. Fit a bio-wheel filter and aquarium heater according to the manufacturer's instructions and fill with water. Add water conditioner to de-chlorinate the water before filling your tank. Heat the water to between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit with the aquarium heater, which you can check with a thermometer. Add 1 tbsp. of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water in your tank.

Feed your pot belly mollies twice a day. The amount of food will depend on how many fish you have and their appetite. Feed floating flake food in small pinches until they start to leave the food uneaten, which signals that they have had enough. Sprinkle a few freeze-dried blood worms into the tank for each fish.

Clean your aquarium once a week. Remove around 20 percent of the tank's water using a bucket, and be sure not to scoop up any of your fish. Clean algae from the sides of the aquarium using an algae scraper. Replace the water you have removed with water you have added salt to and treated with a water conditioner.

Tips & Warnings

  • When replacing water into your aquarium, try to heat it to a similar temperature to the rest of your tank, as a drastic change in temperature could harm or distress your mollies.
  • Unplug the filter and heater before cleaning your tank, to avoid risk of electrocution.
  • Mix the aquarium salt into your water a day before you are going to use it, either when first setting up your tank or when replacing water during cleaning, because freshly mixed salt water can harm your fish.

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