How Long Do Molly Fish Live (& How To Increase Their Lifespan)

The Molly fish is commonly considered to be one of the most popular and desirable species of freshwater fish to acquire. Even if you are just getting started with the hobby of fish keeping, it is likely that you are familiar with this species in some way, shape, or form. This article will discuss the foundations of this species and provide an answer to the question “How long do they actually live?” that is asked rather frequently. What all of this boils down to is the fact that the average lifespan of a molly is somewhere around five years.

On the other hand, the duration of their life is dependent upon a number of factors that are beyond their control. These factors include their diet, the conditions of their tank, their genetics, and a great many others. Here, we’ll discuss these matters in detail. Learn everything you can about the stunning Molly fish!

What Are Mollies?

A member of the family Poeciliidae, the molly fish is found in freshwater environments. Black molly fish, sailfin molly fish, Dalmatian molly fish, balloon molly fish, and lyretail molly fish are just a few of the many varieties of molly fish. They can be found in many different tones, including black, white, silver, red, and orange.

Due to their resilience, mollies have gained widespread popularity. Since they require so little maintenance, they are ideal for first-time aquarium keepers. As a result of their widespread appeal, these fish may be purchased at a low cost from any pet shop. Although they prefer freshwater, their versatility has led to their occasional appearance in saltwater.

How Long Do Molly Fish Live?

Mollies have a typical lifespan of between 2 and 5 years when kept in captivity, which is common for livebearers. If you give your fish the appropriate diet and care, it has the potential to survive for up to five years. The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of mollies do not live to see their fourth year of life owing to a combination of circumstances, including extensive transportation, inbreeding, and poor genetics.

The best illustration of this phenomenon is provided by balloon mollies. The problem of poor health is one that arises naturally as a result of artificial breeding.

In light of this, despite the fact that mollies do not take home the prize for being the freshwater species that live the longest, there is some wiggle room in the matter depending on the variety of mollies that you have.

What Affects Your Mollies Lifespan

There will always be a negative counterpart to any desirable situation. The same holds true for the Molly fish; if certain conditions contribute to their unusually lengthy life span, then other variables might also contribute to their premature death.

As such, the following are a few factors that can affect the length of time you have your Molly fish:

Illnesses That Affect Molly Fish

The disease of the fish is one of the primary factors that may prevent the Mollies from surviving. If you observe your fish’s condition deteriorating to the point when it is about to pass away, medication might not be enough to save it. In addition, there is a chance that your Mollies’ lifespan will be shortened as a result of the fish’s illness.

Poor Eating Habits

If you feed your Molly fish a food that isn’t healthy, it will endure physical discomfort. As a result of lacking the energy and strength that come with eating a well-balanced diet, they will always feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Mollies will inevitably become ill, which significantly lowers their chances of surviving. Therefore, you need to know and make sure what kind of food you should provide your molly fish in order to properly care for it.

Inconsistent Water Conditions

Fish will become stressed, anxious, and uncomfortable if the aquarium’s water conditions are not stable. Frequently check the salinity of the water; mollies may tolerate some saltwater, but not too much. These fish are extremely sensitive to changes in their water conditions, and even a small shift can send them into a manic state. Keep an eye on the tank’s oxygen levels as well.

Mismatched Number of Male and Female Molly Fish

Given the frequency with which they reproduce, it can be highly stressful for a population of Molly fish to have a high ratio of males to females in their numbers. The fish are kept in unsuitable conditions, which lowers their quality of life and increases their susceptibility to disease. There should be at least six female molly fish present in an aquarium if two male molly fish are to be housed there.

Stress Caused by Aggressive Tank Mates

It’s important to keep in mind that the stress levels of Molly fish might quickly rise if you don’t choose peaceful fish species for their aquarium. Your Mollies’ survival anxiety may increase if other fish in the aquarium are predatory and chase and attack them. So, if you want to have molly fish for a long time, you need to learn about and keep only the best tank mates with them.

Some potential tank mates for molly fish are as follows:

  1. Guppies – Add some vibrancy to your molly tank with these tiny tropical fish. Your mollies will have plenty of space to swim freely because the guppies will spend most of their time in the upper half of the water column.
  1. Swordtails – Like the platy or Molly, swordtail fish have long, sweeping tails, but the tails of swordfish are even longer than those of most other freshwater fish. That allows them to quickly traverse the water column’s bright midsection, freeing up the darkness for Mollies to use.
  1. Platies – Because platyies and mollies share similar ecological preferences and colors, they are a natural pair. Platys, like Guppies, like the quieter upper parts of aquarium tanks.
  1. Neon Tetra – These tiny fish, sometimes known as neons, are great tank mates for mollies because of their social nature. Due of their vivid hues, they can avoid colliding with one another.

This is why it’s important to keep in mind the variables that have an impact on the mollies’ lifespan. Then you can continue to take pleasure in your mollies for an extended period of time. With this, your mollies will live long and happy lives.

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How To Increase Your Mollies Lifespan

Everyone, of course, hopes that their fish will have as long and trouble-free a life as possible. The problem is that doing so requires us to fulfill specific duties. If you want your mollies to live as long as possible, you need to know how to provide them the best possible care.

In this regard, the following things will be crucial:

Good Genes

The genetic makeup of your mollies will reveal a great deal about their susceptibility to disease, character, size, and behavior, as well as their potential longevity. It is for this reason that you should use extreme caution when selecting a supplier for your mollies. Whenever feasible, it’s best to acquire mollies from reputable breeders. This reduces the possibility of acquiring fish with undesirable traits manifesting themselves later in life due to faulty genetics.

Provide Healthy and Delicious Food

If you want your molly to have a long and happy life, you need to feed it a variety of foods. Since they are omnivores, they require a wide range of plant- and animal-based nutrition. They need a varied but well-rounded diet, primarily consisting of fruits and vegetables with the addition of protein during snack time.

Ideal Water Conditions

Although mollies are known for their resilience and adaptability, it’s important not to underestimate them. Mollies thrive in environments that are consistent and where their living conditions are not stressed. Though they appear tough, mollies can be easily stressed by filthy water and severe changes in other environmental factors.

Lessen the Stress

Overcrowding aquariums or community tanks housing various fish species can lead to stressful conditions that kill fish. Although mollies are often docile and unflappable, it doesn’t imply they’re safe from danger. Overcrowding, inadequate tank mates, overstocking males, and poor tank conditions are all potential sources of stress for mollies.

Preventing and Treating Diseases

You can’t guarantee that your mollies won’t ever get sick, but you can take every precaution to lessen their risks. Some diseases can be avoided if you know what to do. For example, parasites are always a foreign addition to any population, whether through tainted food or molly fish you intend to introduce

Getting A Big Tank

A large aquarium is required for mollies. These shoaling fish, often known as mollies, are energetic swimmers who thrive in large groups. In addition, they daily generate a fair amount of bioload, and small tanks are far more vulnerable to pollution and toxicity than large ones.

Getting The Right Equipment

There must be adequate filtration, warmth, and current for the fish to thrive. You simply cannot get by without them. A molly fish’s lifespan is increased if it is able to breathe freely and enjoy its environment.

Putting in Real Plants

Mollies only inhabit heavily vegetated places and consume only plant matter in the wild. Therefore, they would much value having some vegetation in their aquarium. In addition to giving your tank a more natural appearance, these plants are useful since they may be used as nutrients and because they release oxygen into the water.

There is no secret formula or quick fix that can lengthen the life of a molly fish. It all comes down to the level of care that is given and the food that is provided in the end. Even if you take all of the necessary precautions, the fish may still meet an untimely end due to a genetic defect in some cases. 

Therefore, you should always make sure that the fish comes from a reliable seller and that you give it with a clean environment that is devoid of stress. This will assist in ensuring that the fish lives for as long as it possibly can.


Are Molly Fish Easy To Keep Alive?

Mollies require very little in the way of attention and care. It is not difficult to keep them with other fish, and their personalities, which are known to be quite colorful, make them quite entertaining to see. Given this, if you like having a varied aquarium with occasional bursts of color, there is no reason not to get mollies.

How Long Can A Molly Fish Stay Out Of Water?

Molly fish use the dissolved oxygen in the water that they live in to breathe, and they do this through their gills. Molly fish are able to live without water for relatively brief periods of time. The length of time that these fish are able to survive without oxygen is dependent on the speed at which their metabolism works, as well as their size and the environment in which they dwell.

Do Mollies Live Longer With A Filter?

There is no doubt that a dependable filtration system will help your mollies have longer and better lives. It is vital to use the filter in order to keep the water cleaner for a longer period of time, which will minimize the need for too frequent water changes and tank maintenance. Mollies can only live for about three days in contaminated water before they die.

How Long Do Dalmatian Mollies Live?

The lifespan of a dalmatian molly can range anywhere from three to five years on average. Nevertheless, there have been a few instances in which it has been reported that they have survived beyond their sixth birthday. Therefore, if you provide adequate care for your Molly and are blessed with a little bit of good fortune, it is entirely possible for it to live for as long as five years.

How Long Do Black Mollies Live?

The lifespan of black mollies is significantly shorter compared to that of their dalmatian counterparts. In captivity, a black molly can live for approximately three years provided it is given a suitable environment, receives adequate nutrition, and is cared for appropriately. It is essential to keep in mind that it is dependent on a variety of factors, including overall circumstances, heredity, food, and so on.

How Long Do Orange Mollies Live?

On average, the lifespan of an orange balloon molly is between two and three years. This explanation chimes in perfectly with the experiences that hobbyists have discussed on a variety of online forums. These fish are a product of years of breeding within their own species. As a direct consequence of this, their health is in precarious condition. They are susceptible to a number of different health issues.

How Long Do Sailfin Mollies Live?

The natural lifespan of sailfin mollies is short, similar to that of other small poeciliids. This is especially true for the males, who may live for one year or less after reaching sexual maturity. It may take sailfin mollies less than a year to become sexually mature, depending on the conditions of their natural environment. The average lifespan of a male is only around a year, although they can sometimes live much shorter lives when kept in captivity. In some cases, females have a three-year lifespan advantage.

How Long Do Lyretail Mollies Live?

The lifespan of a lyretail molly can range anywhere from two to five years on average. These fish don’t bother anyone and do well in waters that are high in alkalinity. It is possible that their lifespan will be shortened as a result of the water being acidic or too soft.

How Long Do Balloon Belly Mollies Live?

The life expectancy of the balloon molly fish is between three and five years, which is comparable to the life expectancy of other varieties of mollies that are kept in captivity. This life expectancy is dependent on optimal settings, such as brackish or saltwater rather than freshwater, which can make a balloon molly fish susceptible to disease and illness.

How Big Does A Molly Fish Get?

A fully developed molly typically measures between four and four and a half inches in length. This is the normal size range for this species. They can be kept in aquariums of a reasonable size because their length is controllable, and they are only around this long. Sailfin variations can get even bigger. They will typically grow to a length of approximately five or six inches most of the time.


The average lifespan of a molly is much less than that of several other species. Their lifespan is highly variable, ranging from two to five years. It’s quite unlikely they’ll make it through age 5, but with proper care, it isn’t impossible. Some varieties, like balloon belly mollies, have a genetic makeup that makes them more predisposed to sickness than others. Therefore, their lives are frequently cut short.

While there is no surefire technique to increase a fish’s longevity, doing what you can to recreate its natural habitat, providing a healthy diet, and ensuring that the fish are comfortable and secure all go a long way.