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How Often To Feed Molly Fish: A Few Simple Tricks

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Growing molly fish can be pretty straightforward, as they are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of scenarios.

However, the feeding frequency is important. When I just started with this hobby, I had no idea how often to feed my molly fish, and what would happen if they are fed too frequently.

In this article, I will walk you through the entire feeding process, and share some nice tricks to prevent overfeeding.

Let’s get started.

How Often Should I Feed My Molly Fish?

Generally, it is recommended to provide adult molly fish with meals 1-2 times daily, while younger mollies should be fed 3-4 times throughout the day.

Here’s a further explanation on the matter:

  • Adult Molly Fish: Adult molly fish have slower metabolic rates, so feeding 1-2 times a day with small portions is ideal for them.
  • Juvenile Molly Fish: Younger mollies have faster metabolic rates and need more energy for growth. Hence, they should be fed 3-4 times a day.
  • Overfeeding Risks: Overfeeding molly fish can lead to obesity and other health issues, so always feed in controlled amounts.
  • Starvation Risks: Conversely, underfeeding molly fish can cause them to become weak and more susceptible to disease.
  • Observation is Key: Monitor your molly fish during feeding; they should eat all the food in 2-5 minutes. Any leftover food may indicate overfeeding.

However, the feeding frequency of molly fish isn’t set in stone. Here is what you should know:

1. Impact Of Molly Fish Size On Feeding Frequency

The size of the molly fish directly impacts the feeding frequency; larger mollies require more food, while smaller ones require less. Here’s why:

  • Larger Molly Fish: Larger molly fish have larger stomachs and higher energy needs, requiring feeding 2-3 times per day.
  • Smaller Molly Fish: Smaller mollies, due to their smaller stomachs, should be fed in small portions but more frequently, about 3-4 times per day.
  • Gradual Adjustments: As molly fish grow, their feeding frequency should be adjusted gradually from the juvenile schedule to the adult schedule.

2. Feeding Frequency By Age In Molly Fish

The feeding frequency of molly fish changes as they age, with younger fish requiring more frequent feedings than older fish. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Juvenile Stage: Young mollies require more frequent feedings, around 3-4 times daily, to support their rapid growth.
  • Adult Stage: As they mature, mollies’ growth slows, and their feeding frequency can be reduced to 1-2 times per day.
  • Old Age: Older molly fish may eat less and thus may require slightly less frequent feedings, closer to twice a day.

3. The Effect Of Water Temperature On Molly Fish Feeding Frequency

The frequency at which molly fish need to be fed can be affected by the temperature of the water, since their metabolic rates increase with warmer temperatures. Key aspects include:

  • Warmer Temperatures: In higher temperature settings (78-82°F), molly fish experience accelerated metabolism, which may require increased feeding frequency.
  • Cooler Temperatures: Conversely, in cooler conditions, mollies’ metabolism decreases, reducing their food needs, and as a result, feedings can be less frequent.
  • Consistent Temperature: Maintaining consistent temperature in the aquarium helps in establishing a regular feeding schedule for molly fish.

4. How Water Quality Shapes Feeding Frequency For Molly Fish

The way your molly fish eat can be affected by the state of the water in their tank – poor water quality might make them less hungry. Here’s what you should know:

  • Clean Tanks Rule: Keeping a tank clean and well-looked-after helps molly fish stick to their regular feeding routine – and it’s good for their health too.
  • The Downside of Dirty Water: If the water’s not up to scratch, it might throw off the molly fish’s appetite, messing with their usual feeding habits.
  • Check on it Regularly: Making a habit of checking the water quality and sorting out any issues can help keep your molly fish on a steady feeding schedule.

5. The Impact Of Feeding Schedules On Molly Fish

Having a consistent feeding schedule can do wonders for molly fish. It not only helps them know when to expect food but also keeps them in top form. Here’s the rundown:

  • Regular Meals: A stable feeding routine gives molly fish a heads up on when it’s chow time – this can help them relax and encourages them to eat well.
  • Change with Time: As your molly fish grow, you’ll need to tweak their feeding schedule to cater to their changing size and metabolic rates.
  • Watch Their Habits: Keep an eye on how your molly fish eat. Doing so can help you fine-tune their feeding schedule to suit their individual needs.

Also Read: How To Feed Molly Fish

How Much to Feed Molly Fish

Generally, molly fish should only be given the amount of food they can eat within 2-5 minutes. Here are some important aspects to consider:

  • Fish Size: Larger molly fish need more food than smaller ones, but all food should be eaten within the 2-5 minute window.
  • Food Type: Various types of food contain different nutritional values. It’s advised to provide mollies with high-quality pellet or flake food.
  • Feeding Frequency: Offering molly fish multiple small meals per day is preferable to one large meal, as it mirrors their natural grazing habits more closely.
  • Risks of Overfeeding: Overfeeding can lead to obesity, deteriorating water quality, and a higher risk of disease among molly fish.
  • Risks of Underfeeding: Insufficient feeding can cause malnutrition and a weakened immune system in molly fish, increasing their susceptibility to disease.

Also Read: How Much To Feed Your Molly Fish

What Happens When You Feed Molly Fish Too Frequently

Feeding mollies too frequently may have a negative effect on the fish’s health and its environment. Consider the following:

1. Elevated Ammonia Levels

Feeding molly fish too frequently can lead to elevated ammonia levels in the water. Here’s how it works:

  • Uneaten Food: Excess food that mollies don’t eat breaks down in the water, releasing ammonia, a harmful compound.
  • Harmful To Molly Fish: High ammonia levels are toxic to molly fish, leading to discomfort, sickness, or even death.
  • Testing Needed: Regular testing of the water for ammonia levels is crucial when you notice leftover food in the tank. For that purpose, I personally use the API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST (link to Amazon).

2. Reduced Oxygen Levels

Overfeeding can also result in reduced oxygen levels in the aquarium, affecting molly fish’s health. Let’s explore:

  • Decomposing Food: Decomposing food consumes oxygen, leaving less available for the molly fish.
  • Oxygen Deprivation: Oxygen deprivation can cause stress, disease, or even death among molly fish.
  • Aeration Required: Increased aeration might be required in tanks where mollies are overfed to ensure sufficient oxygen levels. My recommendation: Hygger Aquarium Air Stone (link to Amazon).

3. pH Imbalance

Feeding molly fish too often can lead to a pH imbalance in the aquarium water. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Decomposing Food Impact: Decomposing food can alter the water’s pH, making it more acidic which is harmful to molly fish.
  • Molly Fish Stress: Changes in pH can cause stress in molly fish, leading to disease and potential mortality.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regular monitoring and adjustment of the water’s pH are essential when overfeeding occurs.

4. Digestive Complications

Overfeeding can cause digestive problems in molly fish, adversely affecting their health. Here are the specifics:

  • Excessive Consumption: Overindulgence can result in bloating and constipation for molly fish.
  • Effect on Health: Such digestive complications can induce stress and debilitate the mollies, increasing their susceptibility to illness.
  • Regulation of Feeding: It’s crucial to manage the quantity of feed to prevent digestive issues in molly fish.

5. Cloudy Water

Feeding your molly fish excessively may lead to water cloudiness in the aquarium. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Surplus Nutrients: Overfeeding introduces an abundance of nutrients into the water, causing algae blooms that murky the water.
  • Impaired Visibility: This could reduce visibility and make the habitat less inviting for the molly fish.
  • Water Replacement: Regular water changes might be needed to counteract the water cloudiness caused by overfeeding.

6. Inadequate Filtration

Overfeeding molly fish can cause issues with aquarium filtration. Here’s how:

  • Increased Waste: More food means more waste, which can overload the aquarium’s filtration system.
  • System Failure: Inadequate filtration can lead to poor water quality, affecting the health of molly fish.
  • Filtration Upgrades: An upgrade or more frequent maintenance of the filtration system might be necessary when overfeeding occurs. My recommendation: Fluval C4 Power Filter (link to Amazon).

Also Read: What Do Molly Fish Eat?


Adult mollies should be fed once to twice a day, typically in the morning and evening. As a rule of thumb, I suggest feeding them what they can consume in about two minutes.

Bear in mind that the feeding frequency isn’t set in stone, as there are scenarios in which your mollies will need to eat more often. For example, when the temperatures are high.

Either way, it is always better to underfeed than overfeed. Mollies will rarely suffer from any problems if you skip a meal, but they will experience severe complications when overfed.