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.
Hey I’d buy those. I bet they glitter great in a pond.
Those midnight blues are beautiful
It’s frustrating strain to try to set, but I’m working on it.
Stephan Klase says
do you still sell sailfin mollies ? your sites hard to navigate
Sorry you find it difficult to navigate. We have suspended shipping any livebearers as we recover from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. See my recent blog about this. We hope to resume this coming summer.
MELANIE BEARDEN says
Hello, I am currently looking for blue and green varieties of Sailfin mollies in both male and female for breeding purposes. Do you happen to still have any,
We are still in recovery from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. Our livebearers, especially mollies, were hit very hard. We’ll be processing our molly breeding colonies over the next couple of months and might have some available this summer.
Jen Pfeifer says
Im also breeding and working on blue mollies. I lost one i got from breeding that was blue with black tiger strips. Its fun too im also mixing guppies with mollies. Getting interesting results. You’re cool!
Thank you for your comments. We lost a lot of our molly lines as a result of Hurricane Harvey. I’ll be blogging about our molly losses and recovery soon.
Keep me posted on your blue molly and guppy/molly hybridization progress.
Thomas Edwards says
I’m interested in purchasing some of your Santa Fe Blue sailfin mollies ( 2 males and 6 female ). If none are available then whatever you have for sale to include any of the feral fish that may have a wild yet interesting look to them ( as long as they are sail fin ).
How much would that amount of fish cost me being shipped to the DFW? I all gos well I would be interested in purchasing Convicts and O.B. Peacocks in the near future as well. Thank y’all for taking the time to read and respond to these questions.
We are making another pass through on our mollies. The new is grim. We’ve had almost no reproduction in our mollies since Hurricane Harvey. Here’s link to a blog that presents my theory on why:
Teas, Fish, and Chickens
Since I wrote that blog, we’ve found molly losses were greater than feared. We lost the Santa Fe Blue Sailfin line. We are down to a handful of Midnight Blues, Blue Freckle, and Blue Sailfins. We’ll be processing those breeding colonies soon to see if there has been any reproduction. We’ve had some reproduction on our Giant Green Sailfins and Green Sailfins.
Shipping and packaging is flatrate $49.95.
Our cichlids, while having reduced reproduction, have fared better than our mollies and seem to be recovering.
Do you have any giant sailfin Molly’s for sale?? And can you ship to Hawaii I do have import permit
Charles Clapsaddle says
We will probably release them next spring. We’re still dealing with an infertility problem in most of our mollies as a result, I think, of debris blown into our systems by Hurricane Harvey. So far, at least one line of our Giants doesn’t seem impacted.
We have shipped to Hawaii in the past to permit holders.
victor butschek says
would like to get some green sailfin mollies…do you have any to sell now?
I am in Sugarland, Tx. Either ship or I could come and get them
Charles Clapsaddle says
Our sailfin mollies haven’t recovered from a problem that originated with Hurricane Harvey. Our Green Sailfins are doing better than other sailfins, but we won’t be releasing any until after Texas A&M helps diagnosing the problem. See this blog for more information:
Jim Kuhn says
Oh by the wat Marc sends his regards,
Charles Clapsaddle says
Tell Marc, “Hi back!” I replied to your earlier message via email, which is the best way to reach me.
MICHAEL MARTIN says
Im interested in creating giant platys and Mollies.
I have a platy colony now that is growing and I plan to select for size as it grows.
Im interested in expanding to Molly’s at some point and attempting to select them for size as well.
Do you have any advice or resources?
I was thinking of getting some Yucatan Mollies to start. But I have not found alot of practical sources on fish breeding online yet. Your a master. I love your video with aquarium co-op.
Charles Clapsaddle says
Michael, Crossing strains of the same species and hybridizing with related species increases variation and can combine genes that synergistically increase size. For example, sword/variatus hybrids are often large. And, Poecilia latipinna crossed with other mollies often yield larger than normal fish. Once you have larger fish, you can often further increase size by selection. With our Giant Mollies I maintain several lines that are inbred for greater size (yes, inbreeding is a great tool). When a line ceases to yield even larger sizes, I will outcross to another line and sometimes get an increase in size.
Ryan Strait says
Reading this in 2021… I’m just getting in to fish breeding and I’m focusing on mollies and platies at the moment. I’m really interested in the progress of the blue and giant strains of mollies you have going as this is one of my goals as well. If you have any updates to this project I’ll be very interested to read them. If you have a stable population once you’ve recovered from the awful winter storm Texas had I’d be interested in purchasing various mollies from both projects.
Best of luck with all your recovery efforts and thank you for all the time, dedication, and experiments you’ve put in to this hobby.
Charles Clapsaddle says
first, I’m sorry for the tardy reply. Due to some upgrade I didn’t see your message until now.
Our mollies took big hits from first Hurricane Harvey and then the 2021 Texas Winter Storm. We did save Giant Green Sailfin Mollies but lost some really good breeding stock. Our Blue Sailfins were hit even worse. After the Winter Storm we had only some juveniles that I’m now growing up to see if we can salvage them.
We should have some young Giant Greens available probably in August.