What Do Molly Fish Eat? (With Simple Instructions)

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Molly fish are among the most popular freshwater aquarium fish, and for good reasons – they are exceptionally friendly and easy to care for.

But what should you feed them? How do you choose the best food? And after you do, how often should they be fed?

In this article, I will dive into these questions, and help you choose and adjust the right diet for your mollies. Let’s get started.

What Do Molly Fish Eat?

When deciding what to feed your molly fish, there are several options to consider:

Food TypeAmountFrequency
Flake FoodEnough to consume in 2-3 minutesTwice daily
Pellet FoodA small pinch (2-3 minutes of consumption)Twice daily
Live FoodAs much as they can eat in 5 minutes1-2 times per week
Freeze-Dried FoodQuantity consumed in 2-3 minutes after rehydrating1-2 times per week
VegetablesSmall pieces (blanched)Once a week

1. Flakes

Molly fish, being omnivores, readily accept flake foods, which form a considerable part of their diet:

  • Commercially Available: Molly fish enjoy flake food, a product that’s widely accessible in most pet stores and online, designed specifically to meet their nutritional needs.
  • Varied Composition: The flake food is a blend of various ingredients like fish meal, brine shrimp, and vegetables, crafted to resemble the natural diverse diet these molly fish thrive on.
  • Easy Consumption: Given their small size and weight, flake foods are incredibly easy for molly fish to consume, making it a preferred choice among fish keepers.

Feeding Instructions

  • Appropriate Quantity: When it comes to feeding molly fish, the golden rule is to provide an amount of flake food that they can comfortably consume within 2-3 minutes.
  • Consistent Frequency: Keeping a consistent feeding schedule is key for molly fish. I personally feed them once in the evening and once in the morning.
  • Avoid Overfeeding: Molly fish are susceptible to overfeeding. If there are leftover flakes after feeding, it may be necessary to reduce the serving size to maintain a healthy molly fish.

My recommendation: TetraMin Tropical Flakes (link to Amazon)

2. Pellet Food

Pellet food is a prevalent diet option for molly fish, providing crucial nutrients. Typically, these pellets are slow-sinking, matching the molly fish’s feeding style:

  • Specialized Diet: Pellet food provides molly fish with a nutrient-dense diet, contributing to their overall health and vibrant colors.
  • Slow Sinking: These pellets slowly sink, making them suitable for mollies, who prefer to feed at all levels of the tank.
  • Long-Lasting: Pellets tend to last longer than other food types, making them an economical choice for molly fish owners.

Feeding Instructions

  • Measured Portions: A small pinch of pellets, which molly fish can finish in about 2-3 minutes, is usually sufficient.
  • Regular Schedule: Mollies benefit from two feedings per day, evenly spaced out.
  • Monitor Consumption: It’s crucial to monitor the molly fish while feeding and adjust quantities to prevent overfeeding.

My recommendation: Tetra Goldfish Variety Pellets (link to Amazon)

3. Live Food

Live food is a great source of protein for molly fish and enables them to practice their natural predatory behaviors:

  • Natural Diet: Live food like brine shrimp or daphnia mimics the molly fish’s natural diet, increasing their engagement during feeding time.
  • Protein-Rich: Live food is often rich in protein, which is excellent for the health and growth of mollies.
  • Stimulates Activity: This type of food encourages molly fish to chase their meals, promoting activity and natural behavior.

Feeding Instructions

  • Supplemental Diet: Live food should be a supplement to the primary diet, fed to molly fish 1-2 times a week.
  • Portion Control: Only provide as much live food as the molly fish can eat in about 5 minutes.
  • Storage: Store any unused live food in a refrigerator to maintain its freshness.

4. Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried food is an excellent alternative for molly fish when live feed isn’t readily available:

  • Nutrient Preservation: Freeze-dried foods like bloodworms or daphnia preserve nutrients well, providing a rich diet for molly fish.
  • Easy Storage: This type of food is easy to store and has a long shelf-life, making it convenient for molly fish owners.
  • Low Risk: Freeze-drying process kills parasites, reducing health risks to molly fish.

Feeding Instructions

  • In Moderation: Feed freeze-dried food as a supplement to the staple diet of molly fish, preferably once or twice a week.
  • Rehydrate Before Feeding: Soak freeze-dried food in tank water before feeding to make it easier for molly fish to eat.
  • Quantity Control: Provide only the amount that mollies can consume within 2-3 minutes.

My recommendation: Tetra Bloodworms (link to Amazon)

5. Vegetables

Molly fish also need vegetables in their diet as they have a natural tendency to graze on plants in the wild:

  • Natural Food Source: Molly fish are omnivores, and vegetables like peas or zucchini can be a part of their diet.
  • Rich in Vitamins: Vegetables are rich in vitamins and fibers, aiding digestion and overall health of mollies.
  • Variety: Offering a variety of vegetables keeps the molly fish’s diet interesting and balanced.

Feeding Instructions

  • Preparation: Always blanch vegetables before feeding to make them soft and easy for molly fish to nibble on.
  • Once a Week: Feed vegetables to your mollies once a week as a supplement to their regular diet.
  • Size Matters: Cut vegetables into small, manageable sizes to prevent choking and ensure easy consumption for molly fish.

Also Read: How To Feed Molly Fish

How Much Food Should You Give Molly Fish?

The portion size for feeding molly fish should be one they can finish within 2-3 minutes to prevent overfeeding. The specific quantity can differ based on the fish’s size and age.

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Meal Portion: As a guideline, molly fish should only be given an amount they can completely eat in 2-3 minutes.
  • Size Matters: Larger molly fish will necessitate more food than their smaller counterparts due to greater metabolic and energy demands.
  • Age Considerations: Juvenile molly fish might need to be fed more often, while adults typically have one or two feedings per day.
  • Diet Diversity: The quantity may change if your molly fish’s diet comprises a combination of flakes, pellets, live food, freeze-dried food, and vegetables.
  • Overfeeding Risks: It’s important to keep an eye on their eating patterns since overfeeding molly fish can result in health issues and tank pollution.

How Often Should You Feed Mollies?

Molly fish are typically fed once or twice daily, although this frequency may vary based on specific factors. Let’s delve into these:

  • Feeding Based on Age: Due to their rapid growth, young molly fish should be fed small amounts several times daily, while adults can be fed once or twice.
  • Health Factors: If a molly fish is unwell or under stress, their feeding schedule may need to be altered.
  • Activity Considerations: Molly fish with higher activity levels may require feedings more often than those less active.
  • Overfeeding Warnings: Regardless of how often you feed them, be careful not to overfeed molly fish to avoid health issues and tank pollution.
  • Diverse Diet: If you’re offering a varied diet to your molly fish, including flakes, pellets, live food, freeze-dried food, and vegetables, you may need to adjust the feeding frequency.

Also Read: How Often To Feed Molly Fish

What Do Molly Fish Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, molly fish have a diverse diet consisting mainly of plant material, small insects, and algae. The details are as follows:

  • Plant Material: Wild molly fish often feed on various plant materials, reflecting their natural preference towards a plant-based diet.
  • Algae Consumption: Molly fish commonly graze on algae, which forms a significant portion of their wild diet.
  • Small Insects: Small insects and their larvae form the protein component of a wild molly fish diet.
  • Detritus: Molly fish in the wild may also consume detritus, organic matter that settles on the bottom.
  • Diet Variation: Wild molly fish’s diet varies based on their habitat, available food sources, and season.

How Long Can Mollies Survive Without Food?

Molly fish can survive without food for about a week, but this is not ideal and can stress the fish. Here is what you should know:

  • Starvation Period: Although molly fish can go for up to a week without food, they will start to get stressed and weak after just a few days.
  • Health Impact: Extended periods without food can negatively impact molly fish’s health, slowing their growth and making them more susceptible to diseases.
  • Tank Environment: In a well-established tank with plenty of algae and plant matter, molly fish can find some natural food sources during brief periods without feeding.


For those of you who are in a rush, here is a quick overview of what I discussed above:

  • Molly fish, being omnivores, have various options for their diet.
  • Commercially prepared flake foods, pellet foods, live foods, freeze-dried foods, and vegetables are suitable choices.
  • Maintaining a clean tank environment and ensuring appropriate water temperatures are essential for the well-being of molly fish.
  • Establishing a feeding plan and understanding the nutritional needs of molly fish at different stages of growth are important for a balanced diet.
  • Both overfeeding and underfeeding can have consequences for the health and vitality of molly fish.