Information, Freshwater fish, Live-bearers and killifish, Mollies, Species

Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna)

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by Jason Matthews



The Sailfin Molly is a popular species among fish enthusiasts and an excellent choice for new and experienced pet owners. This article will explore the fascinating world of the Sailfin Molly, exploring its distinct characteristics, behaviors, and needs for a healthy and happy life in captivity. You’ve come to the right place if you’re thinking about adding this species to your tank or want to learn more about it. So let’s get started!


Scientific Name: Poecilia latipinna
Common Names: Golden Sailfin Molly
Life Expectancy: 3-5 years
Adult Size: 6 inches


HabitatWarm, freshwater rivers and streams
OriginNorth America
Care LevelModerate
DietOmnivorous, will eat both plant and animal matter
Tank LevelMiddle
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons (76 liters) for a small school
Water pH7.0-8.0
Water Temperature20-25°C (68-77°F)
Water Hardness5-20 dGH
Tank MatesPeaceful, can be kept with other small, non-aggressive fish

Fun Fact Corner

Sailfin Mollies are known for their distinctive sail-like dorsal fin, which is a characteristic that sets them apart from other fish species. But did you know that the size of their dorsal fin can also indicate their mood and health?

A happy and healthy Sailfin Molly has a large, vibrant, upright dorsal fin, whereas a stressed or sick fish has a smaller and more diminished fin.


The Sailfin Molly is a species of fish native to North and Central America, ranging from southern Texas to northern Colombia. This species inhabits many freshwater habitats, including rivers, streams, and swamps. 

Appearance & Size

The Sailfin Molly is a visually striking species easily recognizable by its distinctive sail-like dorsal fin. This species is distinguished by its vibrant coloration, ranging from silver and grey to black, green, and even yellow. Like many other livebearer species, the Sailfin Molly has a laterally compressed body and a deeply forked tail.

The Sailfin Molly is a medium-sized species that can reach 6 inches long.


This species is sexually dimorphic, with males and females having distinct size and appearance differences. Males of this species are larger and more colorful than females, with longer dorsal fins and more pronounced coloration. 


The Sailfin Molly is a calm and active species that would do well in a community aquarium. This species is well-known for its graceful swimming style, which is enhanced by its distinct dorsal fin. The Sailfin Molly is a social species that thrive in groups and is generally tolerant of other non-aggressive species of comparable size. 


When it comes to choosing suitable tankmates for the Sailfin Molly, it is important to select species that are non-aggressive and of similar size.

Good tankmates for the Sailfin Molly include:

Tank conditions

This species is tolerant of a wide range of water conditions and can adapt to pH, hardness, and temperature changes. The pH range for the Sailfin Molly is 7.0-8.0, and the water hardness should be between 10-20 dKH. This species should be kept in an aquarium with at least 20 gallons of water and groups of six or more individuals. They require adequate filtration, lighting, and oxygenation. Furthermore, plenty of hiding places, visual barriers, and a suitable substrate for the growth of live plants can help create a natural and comfortable environment for this species


The Sailfin Molly is an omnivorous species that will feed on various foods in the aquarium. This species is not picky and readily consumes various foods, including flakes, pellets, frozen, and live foods. Providing a balanced diet that includes plant- and animal-based foods is important to ensure optimal health and well-being. 

Some good dietary options for the Sailfin Molly include:

  • High-quality flake food
  • Pellets
  • Frozen or live brine shrimp
  • Frozen or live bloodworms
  • Vegetable-based foods, such as blanched lettuce or spinach

Avoid overfeeding the Sailfin Molly, which can lead to poor water quality and health problems. Feeding 2-3 times a day in small amounts is recommended.


Breeding Sailfin Mollies is relatively simple for experienced fish keepers, but it does necessitate some planning and understanding of their behavior and needs.

They breed in slow-moving, heavily vegetated bodies of water in the wild, and the same conditions should be replicated in the aquarium. To provide refuge for the fry once they are born, a breeding tank should be set up with plenty of hiding places, such as live plants or breeding cones.

Male Sailfin Mollies will court female mollies and fertilize their eggs externally. Once the eggs have been fertilized, the female will release them into the water, where they will hatch in 1-2 days. Separating the fry from the adults is important, as they are likely to be eaten if left in the same tank. To ensure successful breeding, maintain good water quality and temperature, with a temperature range of 72-82°F.


Like all fish, Sailfin Mollies can be susceptible to various diseases if proper tank conditions are not maintained. Some common diseases include Ich, Fin Rot, and Velvet. 

  • Ich, also known as white spot disease, is a parasitic infection that causes white spots on the fish’s skin and fins. 
  • Fin Rot is a bacterial infection that causes the fins to fray and tatter, and it can spread quickly if left untreated. 
  • Velvet is a parasitic infection that causes the fish to appear velvety and other symptoms like lethargy and loss of appetite.

If you suspect that your Sailfin Mollies are ill, you must act quickly and seek the advice of a veterinarian or aquatic specialist. Most fish diseases can be treated and prevented with proper care and attention, and your Sailfin Mollies can live a healthy and happy life in their aquarium.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

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