Black Sailfin Molly (Poecilia Latipinna)
The Black Sailfin Molly, a variant of Poecilia Latipinna, is a popular choice among aquarists due to its striking black coloration and the impressive dorsal fin that gives it its name. This species is known for its peaceful demeanor and active swimming habits, making it a delightful addition to community tanks. Black Sailfin Mollies are characterized by their elongated bodies, large dorsal fins, and vibrant black color. These fins are particularly large in males and are often displayed during courtship rituals. Adult Black Sailfin Mollies typically reach a size of about 4-5 inches.
In terms of personality, Sailfin Mollies are peaceful and sociable. These fish are active swimmers and enjoy exploring their surroundings. They are also known for their hardiness and adaptability, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists. However, they do require specific water conditions to thrive, including moderately hard water and a basic pH.*
When it comes to compatibility, Sailfin Mollies are generally peaceful and can coexist with a variety of other fish that can tolerate similar water conditions. Ideal tank mates include Platies, Swordtails, and certain types of Guppies. However, it's best to avoid housing them with known fin-nippers or aggressive species like Cichlids and larger Barbs, as these could stress or harm the Sailfin Mollies. They are not schooling fish, but they do enjoy the company of their own kind. A group of at least 5 is recommended for a harmonious tank.
As for their diet, this molly belongs to the Poecilia Latipinna family, which are primarily herbivorous and enjoy a diet rich in plant matter. They can be fed high-quality flakes and micro-pellets, especially those formulated with spirulina or other vegetable content. Additionally, occasional servings of blanched vegetables such as spinach, peas, or zucchini are a great addition to supplement their diet. While they will also accept live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms, it's important to ensure that a significant portion of their diet is plant-based. Insufficient greenstuff in their diet may impair the development of male dorsal fins. As always, a varied diet will help ensure that your Mollies receive a range of nutrients and stay healthy and vibrant.
Creating an ideal habitat for Mollies involves mimicking their natural environment. They prefer a substrate of fine sand or small, smooth gravel. Live plants provide cover and contribute to the tank's overall health. Sailfin Mollies also appreciate open spaces for swimming and exploring, along with plenty of hiding spots among plants, driftwood, or rocks. Lighting should be moderate to highlight their vibrant colors. Floating plants can be added to help subdue lighting.
Note: Sailfin Mollies have a tendency to nibble on plants. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for hardy plants that can withstand their browsing behavior. Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) and Anubias (Anubias spp.) are two hardy aquatic plants known for their resilience. Both have tough leaves that can withstand a certain degree of nibbling from Mollies. However, no plant is completely Molly-proof, and these fish may still cause damage over time. These plants also provide the added benefit of being low-maintenance and able to thrive in a range of water conditions.
As for water parameters, Sailfin Mollies require a minimum aquarium size of 20 gallons. For a community setup, a 30-gallon tank or larger is recommended. They thrive in water with a pH range of 7.5 to 8.5 and a hardness of 10-25 dGH. The ideal water temperature for Mollies is between 75-82°F (24-28°C).
*Molly’s do best in moderately hard or harder water with a basic pH. If kept in soft or acidic water, these fish may show discomfort, such as shimmying, fungus, or clamped fins, indicating they're not feeling their best. While adding salt isn't necessary, the "hard" minerals like calcium and magnesium are key to keeping this species healthy over the long term. Routinely test your aquarium water's pH and dGH level to ensure it is within the recommended range. Additionally, use a liquid water hardener or aquarium salt to the new water to ensure it is within the recommended guideline before adding it to the aquarium.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.