Do Angelfish And Mollies Get Along?

Mollies and angelfish are among the most prevalent fish raised by fish keepers. However, when introducing one of those species to your tank, you may wonder whether or not angelfish and mollies get along. Well, there is no better way to know rather than observing what happened to others.

Mollies do get along with angelfish since they are relatively calm and peaceful fish. They also thrive in the same water conditions as angelfish and may stand against them when the angelfish present aggressive behavior. In case the mollies show aggression themselves, try adding a few females to the tank. 

Raising mollies, along with angelfish, shouldn’t be a difficult task. Nevertheless, on some occasions, the two might show aggressive behavior towards each other. Sometimes they’ll even act so towards their own kind. Later on, I’ll show you what you should do in such scenarios.

Will Angelfish And Mollies Get Along?

Mollies get along with almost everyone. People have compared them to chameleons because they can adapt to so many varying tank conditions. For this reason, you shouldn’t have a problem keeping mollies and angelfish in the same tank. Mollies can also survive in the same circumstances that allow angelfish to thrive.

They come in so many colors and patterns, which explains why they are some of the most common fish kept by fish owners. As far as their ability to live harmoniously with angelfish is concerned, you should know that mollies are quite calm. 

This is why you find them in tanks that also feature so many different species. Mollies can live on friendly terms with most captive species. They thrive in environments with equally peaceful fish. For the most part, they have no interest in courting conflict.

But if that were all they brought to the table, mollies would be terrible companions for angels. That is because angelfish have an aggressive streak. And if you pair them with shy and timid fish, the angelfish will bully and antagonize them endlessly. And if they are significantly smaller, the angels will simply eat them.

People don’t realize that stress can kill fish. Certain species will develop diseases simply because of the pressure they suffer as a result of the hostility they elicit from their tankmates. This is why shy and timid fish can’t be paired with their aggressive counterparts.

Most fish experts you encounter are quite particular about the words they use to describe mollies. No one has ever described these creatures as timid or shy. Instead, they have a mild-mannered temperament.

In other words, they are more than happy to fight if they face aggression in the tank. This is what makes them suitable tankmates for angelfish. They are capable of holding their own against enemies if push comes to shove. 

This is what angelfish require. You can pair them successfully with fish of the same size if the species in question is peaceful. But their aggressive streak isn’t always a reaction to the hostility shown by other fish.

Angelfish attack peaceful fish all the time and for various reasons. So it helps your situation if the tankmates in question are ready and willing to retaliate, which is the case for Molly fish. They are counted among the angelfish’s most suitable tankmates because they are not as susceptible to bullying.

That being said, like angelfish, mollies are not all the same. They are individuals with distinct personalities. So you have no way of determining how each molly fish you acquire will relate to your angels. 

In case you are about to introduce angelfish to your community tank, you may also find these articles I’ve written useful –

Mollies’ Characteristics And Attitude Towards Angelfish

If you are struggling to decide whether or not you should add molly fish to your angelfish tank, this is what you need to know about mollies:

Water Conditions

As was mentioned above, mollies are hardy creatures that can survive in a variety of water conditions.[1]Opens in a new tab. That includes brackish water. So you shouldn’t have a problem creating conditions in the tank that suit both the mollies and the angelfish. Beginners like mollies because they are easy to care for. 

Therefore, it is better to adjust the water for your angelfish and let the mollies get used to it. Keep the water temperature between 75 and 84 degrees F and ensure the pH is around 6-8.

Appearance

Mollies have flat bodies with narrow mouths. You can find them in gorgeous colors on the market. Their fins are beautiful. This is why you should keep them away from fish that like to nip fins. But this isn’t a cause for concern with angelfish. You rarely hear about cases of angels nipping at the fins of mollies. 

However, bigger fish such as Oscars may be an issue. Try to keep the rest of the fish at the same size as the angelfish or less. Also, avoid introducing other species such as lobsters to the aquarium. From my experience, they will attack your mollies and probably rip off their fins.

Mollies’ Temperament

Mollies are peaceful creatures.[2]Opens in a new tab. This isn’t surprising because they are social animals that enjoy the company of other fish. In fact, isolation is bad for the health of molly fish. Hence, if your molly fish and angelfish are fighting, you shouldn’t move the molly to a separate tank to live on its own.

If you are worried about potential aggression, you can keep your molly fish with other mollies. This will allow a modicum of peace to prevail. But again, mollies are docile creatures that get along with their tank mates. 

Typical Aggression

While angelfish can act aggressively for no discernible reason, the sources of aggressive behavior in mollies are more natural to identify and understand. Molly fish establish the hierarchical order in their tank through aggression.

If you put multiple male mollies together in a tank, they won’t hesitate to jostle for power. This behavior has a breeding aspect associated with it. If you try to resolve such hierarchical struggles by introducing female mollies to your angelfish tank, you will only make a bad situation worse. 

This is because male molly fish are enthusiastic breeders that are always harassing the female mollies in their tank. Experts always encourage beginners to have more females than males. 

To create a peaceful balance, you should have at least two or three female mollies for each male. A smaller number of female mollies in a tank will encourage the male mollies to fight one another for dominance.

On the one hand, it is easy to see why you would dismiss this issue. After all, it doesn’t affect your angels. On the other hand, you should realize that this behavior stems from the hierarchical nature of mollies.

The males with the most prominent fins and boldest colors are always jostling for control in the tank. If your angels are astronomical and they have vibrant colors, they could attract the ire of the dominant male mollies in the tank. They don’t appreciate the competition. 

If your angelfish tank only has male mollies and aggression has started to manifest between the mollies and the angelfish, introduce female mollies in significant numbers. This will draw the attention of the male mollies, ultimately extinguishing their aggression and preventing further violence between the mollies and the angels.

Mollies are unlikely to bully angelfish. But if you have a small angelfish whose fins keep getting nipped by aggressive mollies, some people have suggested giving the angelfish a companion. This won’t necessarily resolve the aggression, but it will spread it out, giving your angelfish some breathing room.

Possible Tank Mates

It should be reiterated that, for the most part, mollies are peaceful. So they can get along with species that share their mild-mannered temperament such as dwarf gouramis, danios, zebra loaches, platies, and tetras, to mention but a few.[3]Opens in a new tab.

They are unlikely to get along with aggressive species like Oscar fish and convict cichlids. Some people prefer to add angelfish to that list. But you will find experts that include mollies in their lists of potential tank mates for angelfish.

Breeding Attributes

Breeding is complicated for mollies. First of all, they are heavy breeders. They can give birth to as many as 100 fry or even more. Controlling their breeding is difficult. As was mentioned above, they are always harassing the females for mating purposes. 

As was also mentioned above, mollies will develop aggressive tendencies if they are forced to inhabit crowded tanks. Angelfish are no better. They don’t react well to overcrowding. But that what tends to happen when mollies are allowed to breed freely.

It won’t take long for their fry to overwhelm your tank. If the idea of more mollies appeals to you, it will probably irritate you to learn that your angels will consume most, if not all, the fry that mollies produce.

Molly fish are livebearers. They don’t lay eggs. Instead, they give birth to live offspring. And molly fry are entirely vulnerable to attack from angelfish. If you want to keep them alive, you must provide protection of some kind.

Molly fry can hide in the substrate. They can also make effective use of foliage and decorations in the tank. Now, you would presume that the tendency angelfish have to eat molly fry would become a point of contention.

But mollies have a reputation for eating their fry as well. So it isn’t just the angelfish that present a danger to your young mollies. If your wish is to rear the molly fry to maturity, you have to keep them out of reach. Move the angelfish and their own parents away. Perhaps even keep them in a separate tank.

If you think that you can solve the breeding problem by only keeping female mollies in your tank, you are partially wrong. If your female mollies came from a tank that was populated by their male counterparts, you should know that they have the ability to store sperm.[4]Opens in a new tab.

In other words, even in the absence of male mollies, female mollies can give birth to live offspring months down the line, completely catching you off-guard.

If you don’t want more mollies, the idea of keeping mollies and angelfish together will appeal to you because you can trust the angelfish to eat the molly offspring. Some people will go so far as to remove the plants and substrate to ensure that molly fry have nowhere to hide. 

Overall, mollies are peaceful creatures. They are more likely to fight among themselves for breeding and dominance purposes than they are to attack other species. They have an average size of 3-5 inches, and they live roughly five years. In an ideal situation, your mollies and angelfish will get along splendidly.

The exploration of their aggressive tendencies above makes them sound like challenging fish. But conflicts over dominance don’t happen every day. And if you have enough females in the tank, your males will maintain the mild-mannered persona for which they are known. 

But even if your angels start acting aggressively, the mollies can hold their own. So you have nothing to worry about. That being said, there are times where the aggression between mollies and angelfish grows to unacceptable levels. When that happens, separate them. 

Conclusions

Having multiple fish types in the same tank is what adds beauty and mystery to your aquarium. Nevertheless, by doing so, we get around the fish’s natural habitat. Sometimes mixing two different kinds may end up with aggression.

However, this is usually not the case with mollies. They typically get along with other freshwater fish and considered peaceful kind. Nonetheless, angelfish are a bit different. They tend to be aggressive.

Luckily, mollies are also known to stand on their own and adjust to a hostile environment. That also stands on their favor in terms of coexistence with angelfish, which belong to the cichlids family. They, in turn, are known for their temperament.

  1. https://www.theaquariumguide.com/articles/mollies-care-guide
  2. https://fisharoma.com/molly-fish/
  3. https://www.molly-fish.com/
  4. https://www.bettacarefishguide.com/can-bettas-and-mollies-live-together/
  5. Featured Image: Flickr

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