Genus name: Poecilia Latipinna
Distribution: Mexico, Texas, Florida, the Carolinas to Virginia
Length: male up to 4″ (10cm), female up to 4.7″ (12cm)
Minimum Tank Length: 24″ (60cm)
Water Temperature: 68-75F (20-24C)
Diet: Worms, insects, crustaceans, plant matter, dried food
Water: medium hard and slightly alkaline
The Sailfin Molly is an elongated, laterally compressed fish with a very large dorsal fin. The dark olive-green colouration is sometimes tinged with yellow, becoming slightly darker on the back and paler on the underparts. The scales on the back and flanks of the Sailfin Molly are pearly and iridescent, and each is marked with a dark spot.
The marks on the Sailfin Molly unite to form a number of longitudinal stripes. There are also six or seven dark, almost black transverse bars at the rear end of the body.
The male Sailfin Molly is distinguishable from the female, in that he is smaller, slimmer, and has a gonopodium (a slim, stick-like fin used for reproduction in livebearing fish). The male Sailfin Molly has the ‘sail-like’ dorsal fin, and the female does not. The male Sailfin Mollys large dorsal fin is not fully developed until the fish is two years old.
The Sailfin Molly requires a spacious aquarium without too much vegetation. It is advisable to only keep a pair of Sailfin Mollies, as males may fight each other, although more than one female is OK.
The female Sailfin Molly gives birth to 20 to 80 young after a gestation period of 8 to 10 weeks. It is then advisable to remove her from the aquarium as she will eat her young. The baby Sailfin Mollies are free swimming, and grow relatively quickly.
Sailfin Mollies are susceptible to disease, so do watch them carefully, and if they do get something, treat them as soon as possible.