Lyretail Molly: Species Profile, Care Guide & Pictures

Lyretail Molly species profile

The Lyretail Molly is a stunning freshwater fish sought after for their beautiful fins and tails. These features easily captivate aquarium enthusiasts and hobbyists alike. 

For a vibrant and engaging aquatic display, consider adding Lyretail Mollies to your aquarium. Learn more about their care, size, lifespan, tank mates, and other fascinating aspects in this article.

Lyretail Molly Species Overview

Scientific Name:Poecilia sphenop
Common Names:Lyretail Molly,
Emerald Green Cory,
Iridescent Plated Catfish,
Emerald Brochis,
Blue Catfish,
Green Catfish,
Common Brochis,
Shortbody Catfish,
Armored Catfish
Origin:Central America
Lifespan:3–5 years
Maximum Length:4–5 inches
Type:Freshwater and Saltwater

What Is a Lyretail Molly?

Balloon Lyretail Molly

A Lyretail Molly is a freshwater fish that belongs to the Poeciliidae family which has over 200 species.

It is native to Central America and is commonly found in the rivers and streams of Panama and Costa Rica. This fish is known for its beautiful lyre-shaped caudal fin.

Lyretail Molly Origin and Distribution

The Lyretail Molly is endemic to the Gulf Coast region of North America, including the coastal areas from North Carolina to Texas and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. 

These fish inhabit calm coastal waters with abundant vegetation, such as rivers, estuaries, and ponds. They are known to thrive in groups, often forming schools of larger numbers.

Meanwhile, if shooling fish like common mollies and Lyretail Mollies are your kind of pets, we have expertly put together an article on the best schooling fish for your aquarium that will aid you in coming up with a decision on your next fish to add.

Moving on, in their natural habitat, Lyretail Mollies prefer warm water with temperatures ranging from 72 to 82°F and a pH level between 7.5 to 8.5.

While Lyretail Mollies are native to the Gulf Coast region, they have also been bred in captivity by hobbyists worldwide and can be found in aquariums around the world. 

It’s important to note that there are other hybrid varieties and color morphs of Lyretail Mollies available in the aquarium trade, including the Dalmatian Lyretail Molly.

Lyretail Molly Appearance

Lyretail Molly appearance

The Lyretail Molly is a visually striking freshwater fish known for its beautiful and distinctive features. These fish have a slender, torpedo-shaped body, which is typically silver in color with a slight greenish tint. 

Along the body, there are prominent black lines that start at the gill plate and extend towards the base of the tail, adding to their overall appeal.

You can also find white and gold, dalmatian, marble, platinum, and black Lyretail Mollies. 

What truly sets the Lyretail Molly apart is its long, flowing fins, which give it its name. The caudal fin, or tail fin, is particularly remarkable, as it is forked and extends well beyond the other fins on the fish. 

The dorsal fin, located on the back, is also elongated and has an elegant flowing shape. While the anal fin is slightly shorter, it still extends back on the fish, showcasing its beauty.

In addition to their unique fin structure, Lyretail Mollies exhibit intricate detail and vibrant colors on their fins. Males tend to be more brightly colored than females, adding an extra touch of vibrancy to their appearance. 

The filigree-like patterns on their fins contribute to their overall visual appeal, making them a captivating centerpiece in any aquarium.

How Big Do Lyretail Mollies Get?

Full-grown Lyretail Mollies can grow to be around 4 to 5 inches in length. They have a slender, torpedo-shaped body that contributes to their overall size. 

Female Lyretail Mollies tend to be larger than males, reaching up to five inches, while males usually grow up to three inches.

When born, the fry of Lyretail Mollies is quite small, measuring around half an inch in length. However, with proper care and feeding, they can reach a body size of up to 6 inches.

It’s important to provide adequate tank space for Lyretail Mollies to accommodate their growth. 

A recommended tank size for a single Lyretail Molly is 20 gallons, and an additional 5 to 10 gallons should be added for each additional fish. 

They are relatively active fish and do best in tanks that provide ample swimming space and hiding places.

Tankmates for Lyretail Mollies

Three Lyretail Mollies swimming in a tank

When considering tankmates for your Lyretail Mollies, it’s important to choose species that are compatible in terms of water parameters, temperament, and size. 

Here are some suitable tankmates for Lyretail Mollies:

  • Guppies: Guppies make great companions for Lyretail Mollies. They are livebearers like Mollies, have similar water parameter preferences, and are peaceful in nature.
  • Platy Fish: Platies are another live-bearing fish that are easy to care for and can coexist peacefully with Lyretail Mollies. They prefer being kept in groups and are social in nature.
  • Endlers: Endlers, closely related to guppies, are also compatible with Lyretail Mollies. They are small, colorful, and active fish that explore the entire tank.
  • Swordtails: Swordtails can be suitable tankmates for Lyretail Mollies. They have interesting body shapes and come in various colors. It’s important to provide enough space as they grow larger than Mollies.
  • Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras catfish are bottom-dwelling fish that can coexist peacefully with Lyretail Mollies. They help keep the tank clean by eating leftover food and debris.
  • Tetras: Some tetra species, such as Neon Tetras or Ember Tetras, can be compatible with Lyretail Mollies. They add vibrant colors to the aquarium and are generally peaceful.
  • Danios: Zebra Danios or Leopard Danios are active and hardy fish that can make good tankmates for Lyretail Mollies. They prefer similar water conditions and have a peaceful temperament.
  • Mollies of the Same Species: Keeping Lyretail Mollies together in a group can be a good option as they are social fish. However, it’s important to provide enough space to accommodate their activity.

Remember to observe the compatibility of any potential tankmate species in terms of size, temperament, and water requirements. 

Introduce new fish gradually and monitor their interactions to ensure a harmonious community tank.

Lyretail Molly Temperament and Behavior

Lyretail Mollies are known for their peaceful temperament, making them great additions to community aquariums. They are sociable fish that thrive in groups and enjoy the company of their own kind. 

These charming fish display lively behavior, actively darting around the tank and delighting observers.

When I added Lyretail Mollies to my aquarium, I noticed that they love spots with plenty of hiding places, such as dense plants and rocks. These hiding spots provide them with a sense of security and mimic their natural environment.

Also, I found them easy to take care of since they are non-aggressive and get along well with my other community fish. However, it is always advisable to choose tankmates with similar temperament and size to ensure compatibility.

Keep in mind that individual fish may exhibit slight variations in behavior, but overall, they are known for their peaceful nature and captivating presence in the aquarium.

How to Take Care of Your Lyretail Molly

Lyretail Molly in an aquarium

If you’re an aspiring owner of a Lyretail Molly, it’s imperative to learn the specifics on how to take care of them properly. Before adding one to your aquarium, make sure to follow their specific requirements.

Lifespan and Common Diseases

Lyretail Mollies typically have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, but with proper care, they can live up to 8 years. With this, it’s important to be aware of common diseases that can affect Lyretail Mollies. 

Some common illnesses that a Lyretail Molly can have include the following:

  • Ich (White Spot Disease): This is a parasitic infection characterized by the presence of white spots on Lyretail Molly’s body and fins. A Lyretail Molly affected by Ich can be observed trying to scratch off the spots, and it may also lose its appetite.
  • Fin Rot: This is a bacterial infection that causes the deterioration of the fish’s fins, leading to frayed or disintegrating fin edges. Fin rot can be caused by poor tank conditions and high levels of ammonia.
  • Velvet Disease: This is another parasitic infection that appears as a golden or rust-colored film on the Lyretail Molly’s skin, accompanied by lethargy and loss of appetite. Velvet disease is caused by a parasite called Oodinium, which burrows into the fish’s skin.
  • Swim Bladder Disorder: This is a condition that affects the Lyretail Molly’s ability to control its buoyancy, causing it to swim erratically or have difficulty staying upright. High stress and poor tank conditions may cause swim bladder disorder in Lyretail Mollies.

By being aware of these diseases, you can seek out measures to ensure that your aquatic friend lives a long and healthy life.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Lyretail Mollies are native to freshwater environments, particularly coastal regions with slow-moving water and abundant vegetation.

To create a suitable habitat for your Lyretail Mollies, provide a tank with a minimum size of 20 gallons. This allows ample swimming space and accommodation for multiple fish.

Maintain stable water conditions by monitoring temperature, pH levels, water hardness, and alkalinity. The ideal water temperature is 72 to 82°F, while pH levels should be maintained at 7.5 to 8.5.

You should also keep water hardness between 10 and 30 dGH and alkalinity levels at 4 to 12 dKH.

Additionally, you should provide hiding places and ample vegetation, such as live plants, to mimic their natural habitat. However, be cautious with soft-leaved plants as Lyretail Mollies may nibble on them.

Diet and Feeding

Lyretail Mollies are omnivores and have a varied diet. In the wild, they primarily feed on algae but also consume small invertebrates.

In my home aquarium, I feed them a balanced diet of high-quality flakes or pellets specifically formulated for tropical fish. I also supplement their diet with occasional live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or daphnia, which they love.

It is advisable to feed them small portions multiple times a day, as overfeeding can lead to health issues and poor water quality. Monitor their feeding habits and adjust the amount accordingly to avoid wastage and maintain their health.

Breeding Lyretail Mollies

Aside from owning Lyretail Mollies, breeding them is an equally fascinating endeavor. Like with other fish, there are some important steps to consider in the process.

Lyretail Mollies are hierarchical fish, with one dominant male leading the way for mating. It is recommended to have one male for multiple females to create an ideal breeding environment. The typical ratio is 1:3.

Successful mating can be observed when the male swims under the female fish. As the female carries the fertilized eggs, she will eventually have a noticeably bulkier abdomen.

Before birthing begins, it is advisable to remove the pregnant female from the main aquarium to minimize stress and potential cannibalism of the fry.

Placing the female in a separate “nurser” tank or an aquarium net breeder can provide a safe space for the birthing process.

After the female has given birth, she can be reintroduced to the main aquarium with the other fish. However, careful observation is necessary to ensure the safety of the fry, as the female may eat her own young.

Proper nutrition is crucial for the growth of the fry. Feed them ground fish food, such as high-quality flake food, supplemented with a variety of denser meals like worms and brine shrimp.

Provide an appropriate environment for the fry, including hiding spots and plants for their growth and safety.

By following these steps, you can increase the chances of successful breeding and enjoy the rewarding experience of witnessing the growth and development of Lyretail Molly fry.

Male vs. Female Lyretail Mollies

Lyretail Molly up close

Male and female Lyretail Mollies can be distinguished by various physical characteristics. These differences help aquarium enthusiasts identify and appreciate these vibrant fish. 

In terms of size and shape, male Lyretail Mollies are typically smaller and more slender compared to females. Females have a rounder belly and a wider body shape, which is better suited for carrying and caring for their young.

On the other hand, when it comes to color, male Lyretail Mollies usually display more vivid and intense colors than females.

Males often have more prominent fins and a bolder color pattern, which helps attract female mollies for mating.

Moreover, the anal fin of male Lyretail Mollies is longer and more pointed, often resembling a tube-like structure called a gonopodium. Female Lyretail Mollies have a shorter and more rounded anal fin.

When it comes to behavior, male Lyretail Mollies exhibit more active and attention-seeking behavior, often swimming around the tank to display their vibrant colors and attract females. Females are generally more passive and mate only when they are ready.

It’s important to maintain the appropriate male-to-female ratio and observe their behaviors and compatibility in a community aquarium. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Lyretail Molly isolated in an aquarium

How Many Lyretail Mollies Should Be In a Tank Together?

It is recommended to have at least five Lyretail Mollies in a tank to provide a suitable social environment for them. However, the exact number of fish that can be kept together depends on the tank’s size and filtration capacity.

For an average medium-sized aquarium, which is around 25 to 40 gallons, you can enjoy at least four Lyretail Mollies. It’s crucial to provide ample space for each fish to swim and establish their territories. 

If you plan to keep more than four mollies, it’s advisable to add an additional 5 to 10 gallons of tank capacity for each additional fish.

Are Lyretail Mollies Aggressive?

Lyretail Mollies are generally peaceful and not aggressive towards other fish in the tank. They are known to be community fish that can live harmoniously with various species. 

However, it’s important to note that individual fish may exhibit different temperaments, and some mollies can be territorial or display occasional aggression.

In general, male Lyretail Mollies may exhibit more aggressive behavior, particularly during mating or when establishing dominance. They may chase and nip at other males or harass females.

Do Lyretail Mollies Eat Algae?

Lyretail Mollies are omnivorous fish that have a diverse diet. While they primarily feed on small invertebrates and insect larvae in the wild, they do consume algae as part of their natural diet.

In an aquarium setting, Lyretail Mollies can help control some types of algae, particularly soft or hair algae. 

While they are not a complete algae solution, they can contribute to the overall cleanliness of the tank by grazing on algae growth.

It’s important to note that the ability of Lyretail Mollies to consume algae may vary among individuals. Some mollies may show more interest in algae, while others may prefer other types of food.

If you have any further questions or want to share your own experiences with Lyretail Mollies, please feel free to engage in the comment section below.

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