We are working with this fish to produce a blue molly

The popular "classic" Black Molly, a selectively bred Short-finned Molly, appeared in 1909 in Europe. It was first developed in the United States in the 1930s. Its back was usually olive brown and the sides could be silvery with a green or blue luster marked with a series of brown or orange dots. Though it was first a small-finned Molly, it was later crossbred to produce a large-finned Molly in about 1976. The popular Lyretail Molly varieties also belong to this species. These selectively-bred fish are not as hardy as the original fish, being more susceptible to disease and needing warmer water.

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In 1998, I crossed a male gold sailfin molly and a wild molly, Poecilia latipinna, from Texas’ San Antonio River. Some descendants of that mating showed turquoise on the body and after a few generations I had a strain I named Santa Fe Turquoise. At the time our hatchery was in Santa Fe, New Mexico), hence the name. Then, after we moved to Texas, in 2003 Hurricane Claudette struck wiped that strain. Attempting to recreate them, I tried the same cross. I’m still working with some fish from that latter cross. I euphemistically call them Santa Fe Blue Sailfin Mollies. Note the washed out turquoise color to see why I say, “euphemistically.”

Molly fish are some of the coolest aquarium fish on the planet

You don't need a huge aquarium to keep Mollies either A few other species may also played somerôle in the development of the aquarium molly strains, mostnotably , a species known as the libertymolly in the United States thanks to its brilliant red, white, and bluecolouration. Although not commonly traded, this beautiful fish doesturn up periodically, as does the brackish water shortfin molly and the remarkable swordtail sailfin molly.

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So, we get to the real reason for this blog: Giant Mollies. Look at the photo of one of the males (the other is the same size). That is an inch grid behind him. Parallax slightly exaggerates his size, but not much since the camera was a couple of feet away and he was very close to the grid. He is large, about five inches. He also has a very impressive caudal (tail). He is a very bad Santa Fe Blue Molly, but a decent Giant Molly. Three of our other Giant Molly strains I’m working with have somewhat larger males, but each of these strains is highly inbred, and I’m not getting much increase per generations in size anymore. They seem to have hit the size potential inherent in their genes. I plan on setting up crosses among the strains, including the new one, to see if the recombination of growth genes generates even larger fish. I’ll keep you posted.

The distinctive red, white and blue of the Liberty Molly.


The pictured male has lots of genes from Ellermann’s fish. Note the blue in the body. We are working with this fish to produce a blue molly. Also, note the orange stripe on the distal edge of the dorsal. We have crossed fish like him into our Black Sailfin line to improve their orange stripe.