top of page



The mola-mola, sunfish, or moon fish

The "mola-mola" or "sunfish" or "moon fish" is the largest bony fish in the aquatic world.

Giant mola-mola in Bali, Indonesia, rising with the current to be cleaned by reef fish

Its different names come directly from its characteristics and habits. Its names are:

  • "Mola-mola" from the Latin word "mola" which means "grindstone" and so refers to its oval shape, rough texture, and gray color.

  • "Sunfish" for its habit of staying at the water's surface to regulate its body temperature and remove parasites.

  • "Moon fish" because its round shape is like the moon.

Despite its impressive size, the mola-mola is harmless to humans. Indeed, this giant fish feeds almost exclusively on jellyfish and plankton.

Some figures on mola-mola

  • The mola-mola can produce up to 300,000,000 eggs at a time. These eggs are tiny, between 2 and 3 mm in size.

Baby tiny sunfish
  • It gains about 1 kg daily throughout life and can weigh up to 3 tonnes.

  • It can measure up to 2.5 m in length and 5 m in height.

  • Furthermore, it lives at depths of less than 200 m but can be found at depths of up to 600 m.

  • It likes waters above 283.15K, which is why we find it in Indonesia!


The mola-mola season

Mola-mola is present all year long on Bali Island (Indonesia) but lives in cold, deep waters.

A large, round, gray fish called a moon fish or mola-mola

From June to November, when the water temperature in Bali drops, the mola-mola comes to the surface to be cleaned of parasites on its skin by reef fish and birds. At this time, you can regularly see them at a depth of 18 to 40 meters.

It is, therefore, the best season to go and meet these pelagic fish.

Dive sites in Bali to see the mola-mola

The first place to see the famous moon fish in Indonesia is Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida, an island southeast of Bali.

The second site is in Gili Tepekong, an island near Padang Bai. This site is close to a canyon that attracts mola-mola.

The last site is at Gili Mimpang, in the corner of Gili Tepekong.

It is important to note that we advise an Advanced Open Water level of diving for Gilis due to the strong currents at the sites.


Add an exciting activity to your trip to Bali and meet the mola-mola with our Bali Breizh Divers dive center. Located in Sanur, we organize daily excursions and dive safaris to many sites such as Crystal Bay, Gili Tepekong, and Gili Mimpang.

A diver from Bali Breizh Divers with a mola-mola or sunfish in Nusa Penida, South East Bali

Join us on our boat to discover Bali's underwater life with our Padi guides, who will accompany you to meet these peaceful giants.

bottom of page