Wild Molly – Poecilia gilli

Common Name: Wild Molly
Latin Name: Poecilia gilli
Origin: Central America
Temperature: 72-80º F
Ease Of Keeping: Easy
Aggressivness: Not Aggressive
Lighting: Any
Adult Size: Females get to about 1.75″, males to about 1.5″
Minimum Tank Size: 10 Gallon
Feeding: Gladly eats commercial foods. Some live food is appreciated.
Spawning Method: A hearty livebearer, easy to breed. They aren’t particularly interested in their own fry, though they will eat them a few at a time.

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© Neil Hinckley Poecilia gilli are a kind of molly that is native to Central America. They are somewhat plain, with silver sides, a slight blue/green or purple sheen, a yellow anal fin, and small yellow or orange spots that run along their sides in row. They also have a dark spot at the base of their tale, and can have slight vertical striping on their sides. When they are young they also have a bit of black right at the base of their dorsal fins. This can cause the fry to be confused with other fish, such as Xenophallus umbratilis. This happened at least once to me, but once the young Gilli get their vertical stripes it is easy to tell them apart. Like the rest of the mollies, gilli don’t have a transparent body, and so don’t have the tell tale gravid spot.

Gilli females get to about 1.75″ in length, with the males getting to almost 1.5″. They seem to be quite hearty, as I have yet to have one die on me. Their fry are also quite easy to raise, doing really well off of a bit of baby brine shrimp and crushed flake. I have had good luck with separating a pair of Gilli into a breeding tank and just letting them have babies. They don’t seem to be particularly interested in the babies, though they obviously will eat a couple since I have yet to find any babies in more populated tanks. I think the best option is to isolate the female though, as a pair can be a bit too heavy of a load in a small tank.

Gilli are not aggressive fish and usually end up being picked on by other fish, such as Brachyrhaphis holdridgei. In fact, the only time that I really had any health issues with them was when there were a couple that ended up in the holdridgei tank by accident. They were constantly picked on, and quickly ended up with shredded fins. Luckily they are tough fish and recovered quickly. They would make great tank mates for other small, gentle, or delicate fish though. They are actually a quite friendly fish, and love to come to the front of the tank to be fed.

They are very easy to breed, and the females usually seem to have somewhere around twenty young once they get to about 1.5″.