Origin: Yucatan, Mexico in slowly flowing and standing water. The fish does not occur in brackish or salt water!
Synonyms: Molliniesia velifera
First European import: Germany, 1913 by J. Kropac.
Description: see pictures. For some breeding form pictures click here
Care: Higher temperatures and hard(25 dGH) well filtered water. Adding some salt to the water will benefit the animals, although the plants in the tank may perish. A large tank is required, offering a lot of free swimming space, and possibly partly in the sun to generate the algae which the fish need. It's hard to find true Poecilia velifera in shops, since most of the breeding forms are crossings(P. velifera* P.latipinna). Crossings on the other hand are a lot less extreme in their requirements, and are more suitable for the community tank.
Feeding:All food is taken, the fish should frequently be fed salad, algae, vegetables and spirulina.
Size: 10-15 cm, usually smaller.
Breeding:Up to 150 fry from a single female are possible, fry are relatively large, and grow fast. The large dorsal fin will start to grow somewhere in the second(!) year, and only if enough free swimming space is available. Crossings usually have smaller fins,this is especially true for the offspring of crossings which sometimes never develop a sailfin.
Sexual dimorphism:Besides the gonopodium in male animals remain the females smaller.
Prices:Netherlands: 3-4€, true sailfins are really hard to get and the prices can be exorbitant.
Additional: A melanistic variety exists, and although often named black molly, it should be named black sailfin.Black mollies are really a collection of all types of livebearers nowadays. It's hardly possible to find completely black fish.
Picture references:Pictures: E. Naus
References: Hoedeman, Baensch and Riehl.
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