Photo: A male Giant Sailfin Molly showing his size against a one-inch grid.
About four years ago, I wrote an article about my efforts to produce a blue molly. A molly blue enough for my tastes doesn’t exist. This blog will provide an update. First, I’ll summarize the article.
In 1998, I crossed a male gold sailfin molly and a wild molly, Poecilia latipinna, from Texas’ San Antonio River. Some descendants of that mating showed turquoise on the body and after a few generations I had a strain I named Santa Fe Turquoise. At the time our hatchery was in Santa Fe, New Mexico), hence the name. Then, after we moved to Texas, in 2003 Hurricane Claudette struck wiped that strain. Attempting to recreate them, I tried the same cross. I’m still working with some fish from that latter cross. I euphemistically call them Santa Fe Blue Sailfin Mollies. Note the washed out turquoise color to see why I say, “euphemistically.”
Subsequently, in another attempt at a blue molly, I took some of our Marble Sailfin Mollies with blue flanks and selected for more blue color. After a few generations, the resulting strain was given the catchy name of Blue Marble Sailfin. I continue to work with this strain, although I’m disappointed with the results. Too much black, too little blue.
In yet another effort at a blue molly, I mated P. mexicana, Campeche, Mexico with Blue Marble Mollies. Some of the resulting offspring showed promise and I continue working with them. But, again, I’m not happy with the results.
In another breeding program, unrelated to the plan to develop a blue molly, I crossed P. petenensis with our our Gold Wag Lyretail Sailfin Mollies. I was hoping to improve their lyretails. That improvement didn’t happen, but after a few generations I ended up with two strains I dubbed Blue Freckle Sailfin and Midnight Blue Sailfin. These strains are still going. But, they aren’t as blue as I would like.
This brings us up to four years ago. Where am I in the process of creating a blue molly? Have I had any success? The process is stalled and no real progress is being made. But, as often happens even when a breeding program doesn’t yield your goals, something unexpected happens.
We just processed these “blue” strains and picked the best as breeders once again. I was surprised as we culled the Santa Fe Blue Mollies to find some very large males. They weren’t blue, but they were big. As it happens, I’ve also been working on four strains of mollies with the term “Giant” in their names. I’m making some slow progress on this front. We now have five stains since I took two of the Santa Fe Blue males and set up another giant molly line. Usually Susie (wife and business manager) takes a dim view of my “experimental” lines such as these, but even Susie sees the potential of this fish. In my case, the potential is a nice big fish; in her view it is a profitable strain of fish.
So, we get to the real reason for this blog: Giant Mollies. Look at the photo of one of the males (the other is the same size). That is an inch grid behind him. Parallax slightly exaggerates his size, but not much since the camera was a couple of feet away and he was very close to the grid. He is large, about five inches. He also has a very impressive caudal (tail). He is a very bad Santa Fe Blue Molly, but a decent Giant Molly. Three of our other Giant Molly strains I’m working with have somewhat larger males, but each of these strains is highly inbred, and I’m not getting much increase per generations in size anymore. They seem to have hit the size potential inherent in their genes. I plan on setting up crosses among the strains, including the new one, to see if the recombination of growth genes generates even larger fish. I’ll keep you posted.