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The velifera: the king of mollies

Scientific name: Poecilia velifera (Regan, 1914)
Common name: molly, mollienisia, velifera molly, Yucatan molly

Velifera male


They have a thin and elongated body. The mouth is oriented upwards like all of its kind. It has a highly developed dorsal fin, and can have up to 19 rays. Its tail can be normal, veiled (rounded) or lyre (longer at the ends).


Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Poeciliids (Poeciliidae)
Gender: poetry
Species: P. Velifera


They live mainly in rivers, lagoons and mainly cenotes throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. They were introduced to Europe around 1913 by Josef Kropac, Hamburg. It is a group that can spontaneously mutate their genes, giving rise to individuals of many shapes and colors.

Male in mexican cenote of similar molly… Sailfin Molly


In reality, there is only the wild variety, which is a grey/greenish color with different shades depending on the area in which it lives. The varieties that we find in stores are the result of hybridizations by breeders from all over the world and their spontaneous genetic mutations.
Varieties are marketed in shades of bluish green, albino, gold, albino-gold, leopard, black, white, marbled or sunset (gold, orange tail)


They can reach 5.90 in males and 7.10 in females.

Sexual dimorphism

They are very easy to differentiate, since the males have a gonopodium (reproductive organ) instead of a pelvic fin; their dorsal fin is more developed, they have a more intense coloration and they are smaller than females.

Life expectancy

From 2 to 3 years.

Water parameters

PH: 7.0-8.0
GH: 10-20
Temperature: 78.8-82.4ºF (slightly warmer than other mollies)

They are fish of hard and alkaline waters being able to adapt -in nature they do- to brackish waters, always gradually. It is advisable to add some salt to maintain that salinity. One tablespoon per 100 liters of water. Water parameters vary somewhat depending on the species.


Aquariums at least 31 gal. They are not very demanding with the decoration but they will appreciate a lot of vegetation, especially the fry.Suitable for community aquarium.


Omnivore.They will accept all types of commercial food (flakes, granules, background tablets, frozen food, live food…) and their diet must be rich in vegetable food. They are good consumers of algae, although not as good as others (loricariids, for example).


They are peaceful but active fish, they will swim in the upper and middle part of the aquarium respecting the fish of different species. With those of the same species, care should be taken to maintain the ratio of one male for every two or three females to avoid fights between them, and above all to prevent them from continually harassing the female and stressing her out, since the male will constantly try to copulate. Among them, they establish a much more marked hierarchy than that of the other mollies, with the Alpha being the one that will have the most vivid colors, and it may even be advisable to keep a single male, except in very large aquariums with a lot of vegetation.

Velifera -male and female-


Ovoviviparous, they are very prolific like all those that reproduce in this way. The male fertilizes the female with her reproductive organ (gonopodium) and the female can store the male’s sperm to produce several births, but if a male is available she will always prefer “fresh” sperm. The eggs are fertilized and hatch inside the mother who “bears” self-sufficient fry capable of swimming. The female will be located in the lower area of the aquarium so that the fry at birth swim quickly towards the vegetation to hide from predators, including her own mother and especially the males who are avid predators of these fry. If a farrowing cage is used, it must be of a good size, since the female can hit the walls due to stress, even dying.

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