Dalmatian Molly (Poecilia Sphenops)
The Dalmatian Molly is a striking variant of the Common Molly, known for its distinctive spotted pattern. This pattern, reminiscent of a Dalmatian dog's coat, features black or dark spots scattered across a white or silver body, although the exact pattern can vary from fish to fish. Like other Mollies, the Dalmation Molly is a hardy and adaptable species, making it a popular choice for beginner and experienced aquarists alike. They typically reach a size of about 5 inches when fully grown.
In terms of personality, mollies are peaceful and sociable. They 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, 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 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 diet, these mollies are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet. They can be fed high-quality flake, floating pellets, and small servings of live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, plankton, or bloodworms. They also need a balanced diet of vegetable matter, such as algae or spirulina pellets, and blanched vegetables on occasion.
Creating an ideal habitat for Mollies involves mimicking their natural environment. They prefer a substrate of fine sand or small, smooth gravel. Live plants, such as Java Fern, Anacharis, or Anubias, can provide cover and contribute to the tank's overall health. Other décor, like driftwood or rocks, can add visual interest and additional hiding spots. Lighting should be moderate to highlight their vibrant colors. Floating plants can be added to help subdue lighting.
As for water parameters, 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 70-82°F (21-28°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.