Mollies are well known for their ability to multiply within a few days, even without male mollies. Because of this reason, many hobbyists like these fish, although some don’t. But, do they lay eggs or give birth? What do molly fish eggs look like?
In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about molly fish eggs to identify the best way to deal with them efficiently.
Do molly fish lay eggs or give birth?
- 1 Do molly fish lay eggs or give birth?
- 2 Why do molly fish lay eggs?
- 3 What do molly fish eggs look like?
- 4 How to identify molly fish eggs?
- 5 Do molly fish eggs hatch?
- 6 Reasons for mollies to lay eggs instead of fish fry
- 7 How many babies do mollies have?
- 8 How long are molly fish pregnant?
- 9 How often do mollies get pregnant?
- 10 How to identify a pregnant molly fish?
- 11 How to breed mollies?
- 12 How to take care of baby mollies?
- 13 Do molly fish eat their babies?
- 14 Conclusion
Mollies are live bearer fish that give birth to live babies, not eggs.
Although these fish comes from eggs, they are produced, fertilized, and hatched inside the female fish’s body. So, technically molly fish become pregnant with fertilized eggs and give birth to free-swimming babies.
However, in rare circumstances, these fish lay eggs. While this is not usual, it can happen that the female molly fish will lay eggs without being bred first.
If your female molly has laid eggs instead of fish babies, it indicates a problem.
Why do molly fish lay eggs?
If your molly fish has laid eggs, it is because the eggs are underdeveloped or unhealthy.
Molly fish lay eggs usually because of malnutrition or stress, but it can also be due to poorly maintained water. The eggs will never hatch if the female molly isn’t appropriately fed or placed in a healthy environment.
What do molly fish eggs look like?
Molly fish eggs are translucent yellow and appear like tiny egg yolks.
These eggs are often not fertilized or unhealthy. So, they do not develop into fish or hatch into live babies.
How to identify molly fish eggs?
Molly fish eggs may look like roe if you aren’t familiar with them yet.
However, molly fish eggs are in liquid form and often transparent. In contrast, roe eggs are formed into jelly structures.
Do molly fish eggs hatch?
Unfortunately, molly fish eggs do not hatch as you expect.
Healthy eggs never go out of the female fish’s belly and develop inside until they hatch. Once the eggs are hatched, the fish fry comes out of the abdomen through the same opening the mother fish uses to give birth.
If your female molly isn’t giving birth but instead is laying eggs, it means that the eggs are miscarried or aborted. So, they do not hatch and turn into fish babies.
Reasons for mollies to lay eggs instead of fish fry
There are several reasons for mollies to lay eggs instead of fish fry.
- Unfertilized eggs – During the fertilization process, some eggs may not fertilize, but when the fish is ready to release the fish fry, the unfertilized eggs will also come out the same way.
- Infections – Molly fish eggs are prone to infections, usually from the bacteria that cause fungal disease. These infections may also cause death, making fertilized eggs to be miscarried.
- Malnutrition – Another reason for mollies to lay eggs instead of fish fry is that the female fish cannot produce enough nutrients for both itself and her unborn fry. So, the female molly will be forced to lay eggs instead of fish fry to survive.
- Stress – Stress is another cause for your molly fish to lay eggs instead of giving birth. The female fish is experiencing stress because of its environment or other circumstances that threaten her. Several things can cause stress, such as:
- The fish tank is not big enough to sustain the number of molly fish in it.
- Unfriendly fish are living in the same tank as the pregnant molly.
- The right water conditions are not available for pregnant mollies.
You can prevent most of these causes by providing a healthy environment and feeding a healthy diet.
Mollies prefer temperate water conditions in a densely planted and well-oxygenated tank. If you provide these conditions in their tank, you may not have to worry about your molly fish laying eggs instead of giving birth.
However, because these are live animals, it is always better to keep a backup plan if these conditions are not met.
How many babies do mollies have?
When mollies have a healthy pregnancy and give birth to babies, a female molly can give birth to up to 100 fish fry at a time.
Younger fish tend to give birth to fewer fish fry while more old, mature females give birth to a larger number of fry.
How long are molly fish pregnant?
The gestation period of molly fish is usually around six to eight weeks. This means that the average female molly can give birth six times each year if factors of their environment are perfect.
So, the total number of molly fish babies born during one year can be as much as 600 to 800 baby fish if they give birth for a whole year.
How often do mollies get pregnant?
Molly fish usually get pregnant when an available male mate with them. But, these fish can store sperms for up to six months, meaning that they can get pregnant even if there is no available male molly fish during the time.
So, even without a male fish, mollies can get pregnant every 30 days.
How to identify a pregnant molly fish?
The most significant sign that your molly is pregnant is her belly.
When she is pregnant with fertilized eggs, her stomach will start to swell. It should resemble a coconut when it’s about to burst.
When a female molly is close to giving birth, her eyes will also start to swell. Additionally, she will eat more than usual to provide nutrition to her babies.
Further, you will notice that your fish is spending more time near the heating system or temperature stabilizer.
Behaviour-wise, pregnant mollies are more aggressive than other fish and try to avoid other fish. You will often see them hiding in a corner or under a plant.
Some female fish will also try to escape from their fish tank as soon as they feel threatened. This is because they are aware that the tank doesn’t provide much safety for them during this time.
If you notice any of these signs in your molly fish, then you should start preparing your tank to welcome some baby mollies.
How to breed mollies?
Mollies can be very prolific and produce a lot of babies. If you successfully breed molly fish, you will find that raising these fish babies to adulthood can be very rewarding.
However, if you raise baby mollies, you should keep them in separate fish tanks. While mollies are very friendly fish, keeping fish fry with adults is not safe for the fry.
There’s nothing much you should do to breed your mollies other than keep good water conditions in their tank. Mollies will readily breed in any tank if you provide the correct temperature, pH level, and water hardness.
However, if you want to get them to breed in your tank, then keep some large and dense plants in their tank.
These will provide sufficient cover for the mollies, meaning that your female molly won’t be as stressed as before.
If your mollies show signs of giving birth, you should let them do so in their tank and don’t take the babies out. The babies can survive on their own the moment they hatch from their eggs.
However, if you want to save them from adults, you will have to take them to a separate container. Keep fries in the container until they are big enough to be released back into their tank.
How to take care of baby mollies?
If you intend on releasing your molly fish babies back into their tank after taking them to a separate container, make sure that they get bigger and stronger first.
You can do this by feeding them with brine shrimp or daphnia. You can also feed them with other fish food to support their growth and development.
Additionally, you must keep good water conditions and check the pH level and temperature to ensure that they are ideal for your molly fish babies.
Do molly fish eat their babies?
Yes. Like most other livebearer fish, mollies also practice cannabilism. So, it is natural that the adults may prey on their babies when they are in a tank together.
However, you can reduce this risk by providing your molly fish with many hiding spots.
You should also let the mollies breed in a separate tank and only release the babies into their main tank when they are big enough to fend for themselves.
Molly fish eggs are translucent yellow and appear like tiny egg yolks.
But, if your molly is laying eggs instead of giving birth to fish fry, it means your fish is miscarried or aborted. This happens mostly when your fish is stressed.
Therefore, if you notice that your molly fish is laying eggs, check out for any signs of distress in its behavior. If they are signs, you should work on reducing stress levels in your fish tank as soon as possible.
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