Care Guide for Platy Fish – Feeding, Breeding, and Tank Mates
Are you looking for a fish that is hardy, colorful and easy to breed? Platies have always been one of our favorite livebearers to recommend to both beginners and veterans. Learn more about their care requirements when it comes to housing, tank mates, feeding, and of course breeding.
What is a Platy Fish, and how do they work?
Platies are a popular livebearer in the freshwater aquarium hobby that are native to Mexico and Central America. Xiphophorus Maculatus (southern Platyfish) is the most popular species in fish stores. Xiphophorus variatus, or variable platyfish, is also available. They can crossbreed with swordtails species, which can lead to many color variations.
What are the different platy fish types? New colors and patterns are constantly being produced, but some of the most popular varieties include Mickey Mouse, sunburst, red wag, blue, bumblebee, and green lantern platies.
How big do platys get? Platies grow to around 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) in size, but dwarf platies (which have been selectively bred for their shorter body length) usually stay around 1 inch (2.5 cm).
What’s the average lifespan for a platyfish? Platies can live for 3-4 years if they are raised in healthy environments that provide clean water, good nutrition, and low stress.
How expensive are platyfish? Platies can be purchased in fish shops for as low as $2 to $4 per fish, depending on the species. Bright eyes, bright bellies, and active behavior are the best indicators of a healthy fish. If there are any other sick fish found in the same tank as yours, you may need to go to another shop to pick them up.
There are many platies in every color of the rainbow.
How do you put together a Platyfish Tank?
Platies can live in a 10- to 20-gallon aquarium or larger. Platies can live in aquariums that are 10 to 20 gallons or larger. However, most livebearers prefer a higher pH. We have found that platies can tolerate an extremely wide pH range of 6.8 to 8.5. They also enjoy harder water, so if your tap water is especially soft, consider adding more minerals using Seachem Equilibrium or Wonder Shell. We also like to keep our platies with live aquarium plants to help consume some of the organic waste produced by the fish.
Do platy fish need a heater? Most platies do well with temperatures from 70-82degF, but if your air conditioning is set on full blast, you may want to consider getting an aquarium heater. Variant platies, however, are used to living in cooler temperatures and do not need additional heating when kept at room temp.
Do platies need an air pump? You can use almost any type of aquarium filter with your platies, including those that run on an air pump. Aquarium filters help keep the water clean of floating particles, process nitrogen waste in the water, and ensure your fish get enough oxygen. Read this article for more information on which filter is right for you
Will platys live in a small pond? Absolutely! Variantus platies is an excellent fish that you can keep in an outside mini pond during the warm summer months. You can read our mini-pond tutorial to learn how to make one.
How many platies are best kept together? Three to six platies would be a good start. You should keep at most two females for each male, as they are prone to mating.
Platies can be very easy to sex because the male (above has a thin, stick-like anal Fin called a Gonopodium), while the female (below has a fan-shaped Anal Fin.
Can platy fish live alone? Yes. While platies do seem to enjoy the company of their own kind, they don’t tend to school together in a tight group unless they think you’re about to feed them.
What kind of fish can live in a tank with platies? These friendly, livebearers are compatible with all other community-sized fish. You might also consider small tetras and cory catfish, bristlenose plecos and rainbowfish as peaceful tank mates.
Do betta fish and platies co-exist? Yes. We have found that betta fish will usually co-exist with platies in peaceful tanks. Just make sure they are housed in a large enough aquarium with lots of plants or decorations so that the betta has enough territory to call his own.
What Are Platyfish Eaten?
These fish are easy-going and omnivores. They will eat almost anything you give them. You should feed them a variety of food, including high-quality flakes, pellets and freeze-dried foods. This will ensure that they are getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need.
Platies are not picky eaters, but they will live a longer and healthier life when given a diverse mix of proteins, vegetables, algae, vitamins, and minerals.
How often should platys be fed? Once a day is fine for adults, whereas two to three small meals a day is preferred for growing juveniles. If you notice long strings of poop constantly dangling from your platies, you may be overfeeding your fish so consider decreasing their portion size.
How long do platies survive without food? Fish in the wild don’t always get to eat every day. Your fish can live without food for as long as you are away on vacation. You might consider purchasing an automatic fish feeder or hiring a pet sitter to care for your fish while you’re gone.
How Many Platy Fish Have Babies?
Platies are livebearers, which means that they give birth to live young. Compared to fish babies that hatch from eggs, livebearer fry are usually bigger, faster, and have a much higher survival rate. Female platies can have 20 to 50 babies every month if they are given the right conditions.
Will platy fries survive in a community aquarium? Adults don’t show any parental care for their children and will happily eat them, if given the opportunity. You can control their population by allowing the adult fish to eat the fry, so only one or two of each batch will be left. You can increase the survival rate of your community tank fish by providing lots of decorations, wood, and live plants for them to hide behind. If you are using a canister or hang-on filter, cover the intake tube with a pre-filter sponge to prevent them from accidentally getting sucked up.
It’s a great experience to successfully breed fish and watch their babies grow up.
What do I do with platy fry? If you keep the fish well-fed, more and more fry will appear, which means the water will get dirty at a faster rate. To keep the water quality high, you can give the excess fish to your friends or donate them to a pet store. If you are interested breeding fish for profit, you might consider selling your offspring to a local fish market. Our list of recommended vendors has more information about where you can buy live fish online.