Skip to Content

Do Mollies Like Current In Their Aquariums?

Mollies are one of the top ten most commonly kept fish within the fish-keeping hobby and their popularity often results in a wide range of questions being asked from the community each month.

Although a less commonly asked question yet one that is often debated online is if mollies like current in their aquarium or not so we wanted to release our own article on the topic.

Mollies usually prefer minimal water flow in their aquarium as it replicates the natural conditions that wild mollies would live in.

Ideally, a fish tank containing mollies will have no or low water flow but in rare situations, they can be kept in a tank with moderate water flow but this is generally not recommended, especially for a beginner.

One thing that we commonly see with people new to keeping fish is that they will overthink so many aspects of the fish keeping hobby when for the most part, there really is no need.

Mollies are a great species for beginners and they will do very well in the majority of beginner fish tanks with no water flow at all so try not to overthink it as there are far more important things to focus on.

What Kind Of Current Do Wild Mollies Live In?

Wild mollies will usually live in water with low to no water flow at all so they have evolved to be better suited to these water flow and current conditions.

Most mollies can live in water with moderate currents and water flow with minimal issues for a short period of time but it really is not recommended for the species.

More experienced fish keepers have some great aquarium setups where areas of their larger tanks have a high water flow while others have a low water flow due to using rocks and other decorations as a partition.

This can be a great way to keep mollies with other species that prefer moderate or high water flow levels in their tank but it is really not a beginner friendly tank setup and we would usually discourage it to our readers.

The majority of our readers do tend to be brand new to the fish keeping hobby so we usually just recommend that you do your best to get a cheap, entry-level aquarium and focus on maintaining steady water parameters and lighting conditions to build up your initial skillset.

Once you have these base skills locked in, you can start to experiment with other things in your setup if you wish.

Do Mollies Like Current In Their Aquariums?

Mollies tend to not like current in their aquariums and most fish tank setups that have mollies in them will usually have no or low current.

Most people will opt to have no water flow in a molly tank as it removes the expense of having to get the water pump helping to keep costs down and in most tank setups, your mollies will be better for it anyway.

This tends to be perfect for most people as you can get an entry-level, set and forget tank, add water to it, and pretty much be good to go with your mollies.

This is why so many people recommend mollies or other livebearers to people new to the hobby as mollies are a hardy fish species that are particularly forgiving for the common mistakes that beginners make with their tanks.

Still, one thing that you do have to be sure to keep within expected levels for mollies is their water current levels.

High current will not work well with mollies and moderate water flow is usually a bad idea in the vast majority of tank setups too so we just recommend that you avoid it altogether if possible.

Can Mollies Live In Higher Water Flow Aquariums?

It is not recommended that you add mollies to a high water flow aquarium as mollies usually don’t do well in anything above low water flow.

Still, there are some tank setups out there that can make it work for a mollie in a moderate water flow tank but this is often more time and effort than it is realistically worth for the majority of people.

Your mollies will have to have plenty of cover in the tank too where they are able to seek refuge from the higher water flow areas when needed so this quickly pumps your costs up.

If you do have a smaller aquarium tank then you usually can’t keep many current breaks in the tank either causing additional potential problems too.

This is why the majority of people who do keep mollies in higher water flow aquariums are usually more experienced fishkeepers with larger budgets who have plenty of experience behind them that they can use to make the tank work.

Even then though, small mistakes in the setup can cause your mollies to be stressed out and very anxious so it can usually be much better to just keep your mollies in a normal, no current tank.

Do Molly Fish Like Wave Makers?

Depending on the settings of your wave maker, they can be a blessing or a curse in an aquarium tank with mollies.

On lower settings, mollies seem to really enjoy wave makers but even on moderate settings a wavemaker can stress your mollies out, especially if the wavemaker is set to cause waves for an extended period of time too.

There tends to be so many variables on a modern wave maker that is it difficult to give a definitive answer for tanks with mollies in them though.

In general, you can try a wave maker on a low pressure setting ran at a low frequency for wave generation though and we would guess most mollies will be fine in these conditions.

We have seen some videos on social media of mollies actually playing around in the wake of the waves in their tank created by wave makers so it really is all in the settings of the machine.

If you notice the signs of stress of anxiety in your mollies then consider lowering the pressure of the wave as well as the frequency of the waves that it generates too.

How Do You Tell If Current Is Too Strong For Mollies?

If the current in your tank is too strong for your mollies then they will usually make it obvious by either hiding from the current as best they can or showing the obvious signs of stress if there are no hiding spots.

If your mollies are swimming in strange patterns, swimming frantically without actually going anywhere, or crashing into the substrate of the tank then the current is too high and needs to be reduced.

It is more common for mollies to try and hide from the higher water flow though so if you do have any decorations, plants or rocks in your aquarium that offer them protection then it is usually far more likely that your mollies will be hiding.

If there is no cover available in a tank with too high of a water flow level for the mollies in the tank then in some situations, they will hide on the opposite side of the aquarium or directly below the pump as they are usually the lowest water flow levels of a tank depending on the exact setup.


That brings our article going over if mollies like current or not to an end. For the most part, the majority of our readers really shouldn’t be having problems with this as there are far more people who don’t have active water flow in their tank making their aquarium setup ideal for most mollies anyway. If you do have a water pump or wave machine in your tank then we hope that this article has been able to help you though!