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Velifera Fish Guide: Detailed Information

The Velifera fish is a brackish water fish from the Poecilia family. In this article, we will provide information about Velifera, which is often kept with molly fish.

The Velifera fish lives at points where freshwater and brackish water sources merge, and it’s a very characteristic and enjoyable live-bearing aquarium fish.

Velifera Fish Species Summary

Scientific Name: Poecilia velifera, Mollienesia velifera
Origin:Central America – Mexico and Colombia
Behavior Towards Its Own Species:Moderately aggressive (when there’s more than one male)
Swimming Area:Middle, surface
Water Temperature: 22°C – 30 °C
Water Hardness:8 – 25 dGH
pH Level:7.5 – 8.5
Salinity Ratio:1.000 – 1.020
Minimum Aquarium Volume:100 Liters
Adult Size:15 cm (maximum 20 cm)
Lifespan:5 years


They were first discovered in the Yucatan, Mexico, in the early 1900s. Velifera fish is a brackish water fish from the Poeciliidae family, but it can also live in freshwater.

It’s easy to care for and readily available in our country. It’s also suitable for beginners. You can take care of it without any problems as long as you provide the right conditions.

Appearance and Behavior

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The Velifera fish are unique and have bodies of varying colors and many different patterns. The most commonly seen colors are shades of brown, orange, and black.

In an aquarium environment, their adult size can reach up to 15 cm. While females can grow up to 20 cm in natural habitats, they still grow up to 20 cm when kept in large-volume aquariums.

Although they are generally peaceful, they can become aggressive in aquariums with limited swimming space when more than one male fish is present. Otherwise, they have a peaceful temperament.

They are suitable for mixed aquariums, but the other fish you keep with them should also be able to tolerate hard waters like the Velifera. They are often kept with molly fish, especially the black molly.

Natural Habitat

Initially native to the Yucatan Peninsula, the Velifera fish has spread to many areas of Mexico and Colombia over time. Veliferas can live in both fresh and brackish water. Their natural habitats are estuaries and freshwater rivers that flow into the Caribbean Sea.

In their habitats, there are strong currents, plenty of rocks (hiding areas), and plants. If you want to set up a molly Velifera aquarium, although it’s not mandatory, plants are essential for happy fish.

You can watch Velifera fish captured in their natural habitats in the video below.

YouTube video

Sexual Dimorphism

Differentiating between male and female Velifera fish is fairly straightforward, based on a few characteristics:

  • Males have brighter and more vibrant colors than females.
  • Males possess a gonopod, which is absent in females.
  • Females have a bulkier and broader body compared to males.
  • The dorsal fins of males are more developed than those of females.

Compatibility with Other Fish

Velifera fish should be kept in small groups. Ensuring the number of males is less than the number of females will prevent aggression within the aquarium. As with many livebearers, an appropriate ratio is 1 male to 3 females.

When choosing which fish to house with Veliferas, it’s essential to select those of a similar size. This is key to maintaining harmony in the aquarium. The best choice would be to create a mixed aquarium predominantly of livebearers.

Velifera fish are compatible with the following fish: molly, balloon molly, guppy, endler, platy, swordtail, neon tetra, ember tetra, cardinal tetra, rasbora, zebra danio, panda corydoras, dwarf catfish, otocinclus, and various barb species. If they are to be kept with smaller fish, make sure there is ample swimming space and hiding spots in the aquarium.


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The ease of caring for the Velifera fish makes it a suitable species for beginners. They have care needs similar to other livebearers.

Velifera Aquarium

Like most livebearers, these fish prefer to be in schools and should ideally be kept in groups of at least five. A minimum aquarium size of 100 liters is recommended for 5-6 Veliferas. However, in such a tank size, the fish may not reach their full size.

If you have the capacity, a 200-liter or larger tank housing around 12 individuals would allow them to grow to their adult size. Furthermore, it’s seldom observed that offspring born and raised in smaller aquariums exceed average sizes.

Velifera fish are quite active swimmers, so it’s essential to provide ample swimming space in the aquarium. Additionally, setting up a planted aquarium will help them lead a healthier and more peaceful life.

Water Parameters

Acceptable water parameters for Velifera fish are: pH between 7.5 and 8.5, hardness between 8 and 25 dGH, and a temperature range of 22°C to 30°C. Maintaining a stable temperature is crucial for aquarium fish, so it’s advisable to keep it around average values. At higher temperatures, the fish’s color may fade, and their lifespan can decrease.

Velifera fish are brackish water fish and prefer salty waters but can also thrive in freshwater. While many keep them in regular freshwater, others increase the salinity to mimic a brackish environment. If you keep the water hardness at the upper limits of the acceptable range, you can care for them without the need to add salt, like many hobbyists.

Feeding and Diet

A diverse diet suitable for livebearers will suffice. Quality commercial food with both protein and vegetable content, occasionally supplemented with boiled spinach, cucumber, and lettuce leaves, will be sufficient. Occasionally offering live foods like bloodworms and worms will also contribute to their health.

For feeding the fry, you can use artemia and crushed commercial foods. Starting them on small live foods once they are a month old will encourage rapid growth.


The Velifera fish is one of the species of fish that reproduce by live-bearing. Just like other live-bearing fish, they do not stick to one mate. When their mating season comes, they court the fish in their group.

The gestation period is between 40-50 days, and as a result, they can give birth to between 10 and 150 fry. The fertility varies depending on the age of the fish, how many times it has given birth, its diet, and the environment in which it lives.

Once the female reproduces, the fry immediately start to swim freely and look for a place to hide. It’s recommended to keep the fry in a separate aquarium to prevent them from being eaten by adults. Extra care should be taken to keep the fry tank clean and to maintain stable water parameters.


The diseases Velifera mollies are most sensitive to are parasitic diseases. They are generally as resilient as mollies. Especially when buying any fish species from a store, make sure they are not sick. A single fish can cause other fish to become ill or die.

We mentioned that the Velifera fish is a brackish water fish. One of the crucial points in preventing diseases is to add salt to the aquarium water at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 50 liters.


How Long Does a Velifera Fish Live?

Velifera fish kept under appropriate aquarium conditions live up to 5 years. In their natural habitats, this duration tends to be slightly longer.

Are Velifera and Mollies the Same Fish?

Velifera and Mollies are two different species that come from the same superior family. They are very similar species except for a few differences that distinguish them from each other.

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