22 Best Molly Tank Mates (w/ Pictures)

Mollies – and Dalmatian Mollies in particular – are one of my favorite types of fish.

They’re beautiful fish that come in a variety of colors and look amazing. But what else can you put in an aquarium with them?

Obviously, you want to avoid them eating or being bullied by their new tank mates. (So things like red cherry shrimp or aggressive fish like some cichlids won’t work.)

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish – also known as Otos – are a peaceful fish that go great in a tank with mollies. They’re also one of the varieties of fish that can eat algae, though they typically prefer brown algae (diatoms) and sometimes soft green algae.

Otocinclus Catfish Resting on Leaf | Souce: Deposit Photos

A lot of people – including myself – have had issues trying to get them to eat anything other than algae, however, and have had them starve after cleaning out an aquarium.

Luckily, they do eat a few things besides algae, so if your tank is relatively clean, you can also try to feed them blanched cucumbers or zuccini. (Other soft vegetables may also work.)

Oto Eating a Cucumber | Source: Deposit Photos

Regardless of what the guys at the local fish store say, I’ve never been able to get my otos to eat algae wafers or other commercial fish food.

Otos will spend most of their time perched on the side of your aquarium (or one of your decorations) and wiggling around to try to get to the next patch of algae to eat. When they’re not doing that, they’ll zoom around your tank chasing each other and looking for a new spot to settle down.

Otocinclus in planted aquarium | Source: Deposit Photos

You’ll also find them occasionally perched on a leaf, tube, or top of a decoration, grabbing onto it with nothing but their fins. It’s adorable, and something to look out for.


Corydoras are another great choice for a peaceful community tank with mollies.

School of Bronze corydoras swimming in aquarium tank,Corydoras aeneus | Source: Deposit Photos

Cories come in a lot of different colors (some with different care requirements), so you’re likely to find something that fits your needs. Pygmy cories are pretty small, however, and may be best not to add with mollies. I’d stick with full size corydoras.

One of the nice things about them is that they have tons of personality, so they’re fun to watch.

Two small spotted Cory catfish side by side | Source: Deposit Photos

Cories will typically spend their day sifting through your substrate looking for something to eat and chasing each other around the bottom of the aquarium.


Guppies are the first really flashy fish on our list of tank mates. They’re small, but they pack a colorful punch.

Male Guppies | Source: Deposit Photos

There are so many varieties of guppy that if you can think of it, you can probably find it.

The down side is that there is potential for guppies and mollies to cross breed, so if you care about that sort of thing, it’s something to consider.

Swimming blue guppy | Source: Deposit Photos

If you get guppies, keep in mind that – like other livebearers – they can breed quite quickly. Especially combined with the breeding rate of the mollies you already have, you may find yourself with a full aquarium quite quickly.


Swordtails feeding on bottom of aquarium | Source: Deposit Photos

Although the name suggests otherwise, this fish species is not known to cause many problems and will live peacefully in a community aquarium with other peaceful species like Molly fish. Fifteen gallons of water are required in the tank where it resides, and the water temperature needs to be kept at 70 to 82 degrees F. The pH needs to be between 7 and 8 for it to thrive. Their lifespan is very similar to Mollies as they can live for 3 to 5 years. 


Wagtail Platy | Source: Deposit Photos

This fish species is a great tank mate for Molly fish as it is just as peaceful as they are. It requires 5+ gallons of water and needs the water temperature to be maintained at 72 to 78 degrees F. The pH needed is between 7 and 8.3. They can live for up to 3 years and are-hassle free, making them easy for beginners to take care of. 

Dwarf Gouramis

A closeup of a blue and pink Dwarf Gourami swimming in an aquarium | Source: Deposit Photos

Gouramis are very peaceful fish as they hardly ever show any aggression. Although they require a bit more care, they are still moderately easy to take care of for beginners. The dwarf species requires 10+ gallons of water and a water temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F. The pH balance required for them to thrive is 6.8 to 7.8, which is similar to the Molly fish. Although their lifespan is not as long as Molly fish is, it is very close at four years.

Denison Barbs

Denison’s Barb (Puntius Denisonii)

These are some of the most beautiful freshwater fish. They acclimate fast, and because they have a quiet temper, they get along with almost any fish species making them fantastic tank mates. They are a little more on the bigger side at 6 inches when fully grown and can live up to 5 years when kept in favorable conditions. Because they are active swimmers, they need space, meaning that a large tank of 55 gallons is recommended. They are tropical fish that should be kept in waters with a temperature of 60 to 77 degrees F and a pH of 6.6 to 7.8. They are also omnivores and therefore easy to feed and care for due to the wide variety of foods that they can consume.

Bleeding Heart Tetra

Bleeding Heart Tetra | Photo 45931717 © Mirkorosenau | Dreamstime.com

These are great community fish that are easy to care for because they won’t give other fish species a hard time. They can endure a fairly wide range of water parameters, making them a great addition to anybody’s tank. However, it is ideal to keep the bleeding heart tetras within the following ranges of the different water parameters: temperature between 72 and 82 degrees F, pH anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5. Feeding these fish is super easy because nothing special needs to be prepared. It can be standard flake food, blood worms, etc. They are best kept in at least a 20-gallon tank. When fully grown, they are 2.5 to 3 inches tops and have an average lifespan of 3 to 5 years, making them perfect for long-term tank mates for Molly fish. 

Cardinal Tetra

Cardinal Tetra | Source: Deposit Photos

These are hardy, small, peaceful fish ranging from 3 quarters to an inch and a half. They are not tough fish to maintain, but there are some water conditions that you need to keep in mind, like the fact that they need a 15-gallon tank. They prefer slightly warmer water, so you’re looking at temperatures that range from 75 to 82 degrees F. They tolerate a pH range of 5 to 7.5 but are happier when it is 6 to 6.5 as that is the optimal environment for them. Cardinal tetras can live for five years, making them great tank mates for Mollies as they have a similar lifespan. 

Penguin Tetra

Penguin Tetra | Photo 219856639 © Joan Carles Juarez | Dreamstime.com

Although this fish species is known to nip fins, they are very peaceful and great community members, especially when in a school of 6 or more. As they are small in size, being 1.2 inches, the recommended tank size would be 20 gallons. The best water conditions are important because although they are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, they are still sensitive to the water quality provided. Therefore, the water temperature is better at 72 to 82 degrees F, and the pH should be between 6 to 8. Because they are omnivores, they can eat both plants and microorganisms such as flakes and brine shrimp.

Black Skirt Tetra

Black Skirt Tetra | Source: Deposit Photos

These can make a great addition to a community tank due to their peaceful nature. They are small fish that can reach 2 inches when fully grown. They are hardy fish with a lifespan of 3 to 5 years when they are properly cared for. As they are active fish that prefer being in groups, a 20-gallon tank is recommended. The preferred water temperature ranges from 72 to 79 degrees F, and the pH can be anywhere between 6.5 to 7.5. They are technically omnivores as they prefer meatier foods, but they also consume algae and plant matter. 


Endler’s Livebearer Male | Source: Deposit Photos

Endlers are very peaceful fish as they are hardly ever aggressive. They require 5+ gallons of water to live comfortably. They are very hardy fish, and you typically don’t even have to have a heater if you have a reasonable temperature in your home, making them the easiest livebearers for beginners. They will also live in almost any pH and are incredibly easy to feed as you can use flake food, pellets, etc., just about any fish food. 

Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio | Source: Deposit Photos

This fish species generally have a peaceful temperament, although they have been known to occasionally nip fins of other fish. Danios require 5+ gallons of water for each of them and are usually best kept in groups of up to 6. The water temperature that suits them best is 70 to 75 degrees F. The pH needed is 7.0 to 7.8, and they usually live around 2 to 3 years, making them excellent tank mates for Mollies. 

Harlequin Rasbora

School of Harlequin Rasbora | Source: Deposit Photos

Harlequin Rasbora are very hardy. They are excellent in adapting to almost any freshwater tank. This, paired with their superb talent to get along with other fish species, means that they make excellent tank mates for Molly fish. They appreciate water that is more on the soft acidic side, so a pH from 5.5 to 7.0. They thrive well in water temperatures of 70 to 82 degrees F. They only get to 1.5 or 2 inches when fully grown, and therefore, need a 10 gallon or more size tank. They are true omnivores that feed on small insects, but they love pretty much anything you throw at them.

Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese algae eater in planted aquarium | Source: Deposit Photos

These fish are easy to care for as they are omnivorous, meaning that they will eat just about anything, from flakes to live food. They hang together, are fast and active, grow to 6 inches, and need a 20+ gallon tank. They are a playful bunch and don’t hassle other fish, making them great tank mates. Their ideal temperature range is 74 to 78 degrees F, and the best pH level is 6.5 to 8. 

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

White Cloud Mountain Minnow | Source: Deposit Photos

Not only do these fish look good, but they are also one of the most iconic fish that has ever been around. They can live at almost any temperature as long as the water parameters are not too horrible. The preferred temperature is 65 to 78 degrees F, which means that you don’t need a heater. The pH needs to be somewhere between 6.6 and 8. They are great tank mates because they are not super aggressive and can live with just about any similarly tempered fish species. They are easy to take care of as their diet consists of the usual fish food of pellets, flakes, etc.

Shrimp (Caridea)

Caridea is a peaceful fish species that is easy for beginners to take care of. As they are 1.5 inches, they are similar in size to Molly fish, making them great tank mates. The minimum tank size should be 5 gallons of water, and the temperature needs to be between 65 and 80 degrees F. The pH range that they need is 6 to 7.6. They are omnivores and have a lifespan of 1 to 2 years.

Cherry Barbs

Cherry Barb | Source: Deposit Photos

They are small peaceful fish with an average lifespan of around 4 to 5 years. They are very hardy fish and are relatively small at 1.5 to 2 inches. Because they are active fish, and do well in groups, a tank of 20 gallons is recommended. There is a wide temperature that they can thrive in, between 73 and 81 degrees F. The pH should be between 6 and 8 because they prefer moderately soft to hard water. This fish species tend to be more on the shy side that keeps to themselves and make great community members because they are compatible with many different species of similar size like Mollies. They are also not known to be picky eaters and do well on a diet consisting of flakes, live food, etc.

Rosy Barbs

Rosy Barb | Source: Deposit Photos

This is a robust, great fish. They can live in unheated aquariums and thrive more in unheated environments where the temperature is between 64 to 72 degrees F, with a pH of 6 to 8. They usually only grow to be 3.5 inches and eat almost anything, making them easy fish to care for. They are a little more on the boisterous side but are a peaceful bunch.

Yo-yo Loaches

YoYo Loach (Yo-Yo Loach) | Photo 172609464 © Darko Cvetanoski | Dreamstime.com

This species is always an interesting addition to an aquarium. They are lively and playful fish. The ideal tank set up for them would be a tank that is at least 40 gallons in size as they are a highly active bunch. They are hardy fish and prefer a temperature of 75 to 86 degrees F and a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Getting them to eat isn’t an issue as they actively forage for food. They accept almost anything that sinks to the bottom of the tank. They are inquisitive and curious and have a genuinely peaceful disposition making them great tank mates.

Zebra Loaches

Zebra Loach | Source: Deposit Photos

This is a lively, peaceful fish that has a non-destructive nature. They need well-oxygenated water. They are also not fussy and will eat pretty much anything you give them, such as bloodworms, granules, etc. They only get to about 4 inches and prefer to be kept in groups as they are social fish. They tolerate a wide range of temperatures, like 73 degrees F to the lower eighties.   

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco AKA Bushynose Pleco | Photo 223316097 © Valeronio | Dreamstime.com

These fish are not too difficult to keep, although they can be quite picky eaters. They generally like sinking granules and algae wafers as well as having bogwood. They will grow to be 3 to 4 inches in size. They are peaceful but territorial fish and prefer soft water at a temperature between 78 to 82 degrees F and a pH of 6 to 7.5. The recommended size tank is 20 gallons for one Pleco. They go great with heaps of community fish that are peaceful.