freshwater fish

Platy Fish Care Guide – Feeding, Breeding, and Tank Mates

Platy Fish

The best source of information on platy fish care

Platy fish are also known as Xiphophorus maculatus. They belong to the Poecílidae family. They can be found in a fresh, brackish water biotope generally found in parts of Central America.


Scientific nameXiphophorus maculatus
SynonymsPlatypoecilus maculatus , Platypoecilus nigra ,  Platypoecilus Pulchra ,  Platypoecilus rubra ,  Poecilia maculata
Common namesGolden Moon Platy, Mickey Mouse Platy, Moonfish
OriginGuatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Adult size1–2 inches (3 1 / 2–5 cm)
SocialPeaceful, suitable for a community tank.
Life expectancy5 years
Tank levelHalf inhabitant
Minimum tank size10 gallons
DietOmnivore, eats most foods.
Watch outEasy
Hardness10–25 dGH
Temperature64–77 F (18–25 C)

Main characteristics of the platy fish

There are several variations, but the original has a light colouration with small fins. It is from this species that experiments could be carried out in laboratories that resulted in beautiful colourations. In this process, it was also achieved that the male was smaller than the female.

The average dimensions of a platy fish are  4 cm for males and 6 cm for females. Despite being moderately large, their sociability with other fish is not very good, that is why they like to live most of their life in the upper parts of the fish tank.

The life expectancy of platy fish is 2 to 5 years, but in general, it can be less time if enough attention is not paid to the aquarium, its elements, PH and temperature. Their diet also plays an important role so that they can grow healthily and reproduce successfully.

Differentiation and tips

They can be easily identified; the first point to notice is that the male has a copulatory organ that is visible. On the contrary, the female has an anal fin that will always have the same posture.

There are several tips to keep platy fish healthy, and the first is not to have too many since these are usually very fruitful and the population could increase dramatically. The second thing is to read everything concerning your species since ignorance of how to maintain them could cause errors in their incorporation into a new aquarium.

Another point to take care of is knowing the amount of fish of another species that will be with them. In general, they are shy, so there will be no problems in terms of attacks, but they do increase their violence during mating season, especially males.

Another tip to remember is that after buying one or more, these should be taken home in a bag that should be immersed in the aquarium and not opened until about 20 minutes later, in this way the platy will get used to the temperature so progressive.

Platy fish types

The types of platy fish vary from their originating species, in general, they are detached from two branches: Xiphophorus variatus and Xiphophorus maculatus. Among them are variations ranging from colours and changes in their morphology.

Types of variation of the platy fish

Each type of platy fish has a relatively elongated body and a convex elongated belly that reaches to the back. Some types can even be evidenced by their fins. The best-known variations are:

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Tuxedo: this can be any colour but is easily identified because it has a black colour on the sides in the form of a deformed stripe.

Wag-tail: the colour can be any, but its characteristic is its black fins.

Spotted: also known as ‘salt and pepper’, its colour can vary, but its body is covered by several small black dots.

Calico: they can be identified since it has two different colours that cover its entire body, the first tone is located in the front and the other in the back. If they have the colour red and yellow, they are known as ‘sunset’.

Mickey Mouse: This type of fish is very charming and is known that way because on its rear fin it has a black Mickey Mause-shaped spot.

Comet: it can have any colour, but it is identified by some lines in black that cross its entire body, even in the caudal fin it is visualized.

Moon: its colour can vary between pinkish or reddish-orange, its main characteristic is the rounded spot that is located on its pendulum, in addition to that on the back it has the Mickey Mouse drawing but without the spot on its rear fin.

Berlin: also known as Hamburg or Wiesbaden, these are black and have yellow colourations on their fins. It has scales that turn blue in the breeding season.

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Caring for each fish according to its type

The platy fish variation does not change regarding their care since genetically; they are similar in the matter of survival and mating. It is worth mentioning that the great variety of platy is due to experiments in laboratories that later became a population.

Aquariums for platy fish

The platy fish is not so demanding regarding its habitat. However, certain measures must be taken so that its stay is pleasant, and its reproduction can take place without any problem. Discover below the main details regarding the aquarium where they can live.

Fish tanks for platy fish

The first point to highlight is that the aquarium where they are to be integrated must be very similar to their natural habitat. This type of fish like to swim in the upper parts, preferably from the middle up. Taking this point into account, it is recommended that you have an aquarium with a wide surface and not one so deep.

The capacity that must be had is 60 litres, although it is worth mentioning that the larger they are, the better it will be, the more space their development will be higher. Platy prefer dirty waters, so avoid generating too many waves from the filter. In the aquarium, you can add 1 gram of salt for every litre of water that is going to be used. With these tips, your adaptability should not be difficult.

The temperature inside the tank must be constant without alterations, in winter is where this point must be controlled. For this type of fish, it is recommended to keep the water between 18 and 28 ° C. The PH inside the aquarium also counts so that its stay is not corrosive; it can be left slightly basic. Specifically, the platy lives comfortably in moderately hard water.

Items to include

In addition to the fish tank with the aforementioned characteristics, other elements should be included that will help them develop a pleasant stay. The first element is the lighting; this must be good so that the colours of the body of the platy can be highlighted perfectly.

The vegetation must be abundant, that yes, avoiding that it occupies the upper part, do not forget this since it is here where they will spend the rest of their lives, they are shy, so this point should be key.

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The background can be lined with dark colours since they feel more comfortable in this way, this point is related to their behaviour since they are usually very shy and it has been proven that on dark backgrounds their activity improves greatly.

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Platy fish hatchlings

The reproduction of the platy fish is one of the most prolific in relation to other types of genera. But at best, overcrowding is a constant danger. This species has a small problem, and that is that sometimes the parents can eat the young.

How the platy fish reproduces

The reproduction process can be noticed because in general, the female is larger than the male, it can be easily noticed since she is more round. The male has a fin in the position of the gonopod, and this detail makes them have constant fertility, and therefore the fertilization is multiple. This part when it is in full reproduction stage changes colour and can even be perceived.

It has the characteristic of entering puberty from 4 months of age. From this point, they begin to develop their sexual characteristics. There are exceptions since platy fish have the characteristic of being precocious so that at six months, most of the males can already begin the mating process.

Surprisingly, there are others that can even start after one year of life. During mating days, males can become violent with other fish. When this stage has passed, and if it has been given successfully, the female can give between 10 and 80 offspring, we refer to these when we comment that they are prolific.

Tips for your breeding

Party fish are ovoviviparous. Starting from this context, it can be understood that in his courtship, the male exhibits his fins, and therefore, other fish feel intimate and even react aggressively. To avoid confrontations, it is recommended to separate them, if you have a separate fish tank it will be a good option.

The small platy is known as fingerlings; these are born 28 or 30 days after the sexual act; the amount also depends on the size of the female. Try to keep the water temperature stable since it plays a fundamental role; do not forget that the gestation time can be reduced when there is a higher temperature. 15 ° C will be enough for the platyfish to reproduce normally.

Feeding the platy fish

The platy fish is a species that can eat almost everything, but it is not a point in favour since when ingesting what it finds in its way it can get sick more often if the proper precautions are not taken. What does platy fish eat?

It is important to emphasize that the omnivorous platy fish, so its appetite is voracious, the large number of foods ranging from vegetables to meat can be applied to its diet. In general, it is recommended that crustaceans, worms, vegetables, insects, dried food, flakes, among others, be included.

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How to feed the platy fish

It is advisable when feeding the platy fish that it is done in an alternate way between types of food, especially between those that are vegetables and meats. Another point that is worth emphasizing is that they love to consume live prey, although it has been shown that they do not waste dried products.

If you are going to give live food, it is recommended that they be in an aquarium with few fish of other species. This recommendation becomes more important when there are other omnivorous fish in the middle; we must not forget that this fish is passive and generally will not fight for live prey.

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When you are given larvae, mosquitoes or brine shrimp, you must know where these foods come from since despite having bacteria, sometimes you brush against other types of contamination, and various viruses can adhere to them.

During pregnancy, the female usually increases her diet, so the larvae are food that can strengthen their process. The male in mating time decreases his diet, so it should not be worrying that he is not seen eating as often.

It is recommended to give vegetable flakes on regular occasions; the suschi seaweed also helps to improve its activity. It is worth mentioning that green algae from the same plants or even those known as crystals can be incorporated into them. In both cases, they do good when the owner goes on a trip since they can feed themselves.

Platy fish care

The platy fish belongs to the Poeciliidae family; this means that their care is based on taking care of the habitat where they are raised and their way of living with other fish. But there are more details that must be taken into account when acquiring this type of species.

Basic care

This is one of the fish that does not require as much attention as others of similar genres, in fact in Caribbean seas its multiplication is abundant. The first recommendation to care for a platy fish is knowing how to decide how many fish you want to have without having too many in the tank.

One of the basic principles for your health to remain stable is to learn everything about them before buying them. Learn about what they eat, how to feed them, how to decorate their fish tank, well basically everything.

How to care for platy fish

Aquarium: This is an important point since if you have a tank, you should clean it well before entering them. What is needed is not demanding; you can live healthily in a fish tank that has a filter, some stones and the heater.

Quantity of fish: it is important to be clear about how many fish you want to keep in a single tank. In this case, a tank must contain a gallon of water that would be equivalent to two inches of its length.

Learn about their cycling processes: in this case, a fish-free cycle must be carried out. In other words, the filter in the tank must be turned on at least 24 hours before the fish enter.

Adequate company: if you already know how many fish you can have in a tank, now comes the part of knowing what type of fish can accompany the platy. Avoid aggressive species as platy generally avoids confrontations.

There are several more recommendations for your care that might help. One of them is, for example, when buying, you should buy the largest ones that have a vibrant colour. Generally, these are the ones that can be best cared for. Its reproduction depends largely on its state of mind and this, in turn, on how it has adapted to its new home.

Types of Platy fish

The Platy is one of the most colorful freshwater fish, with base colors ranging from pale yellow to deep black and many shades in between. As with many species of fish, there are also albino variants. Within each of the color groups, there are many shades, along with a number of names used to describe them. It is common for platinum to display multiple colors, as well as a variety of hues, all in the same fish. Colors seen on platys include:

  • Platy Black
  • Platy Blue
  • Platy brown
  • Platy Gold / Yellow: referred to as gold, gold, marigold, sunbeam, sunset
  • Platy Green
  • Platy Red: referred to as blood red, brick red, coral red, velvet red


They live very well with fish with which they share size, temperament and require similar aquarium conditions. For example, they will be perfect with Mollys, Swordtail Fish or Guppys.

As it is a fish that swims on the surface, you can look for others that use the rest of the aquarium, such as the corydoras that occupy the lower part.

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