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. You can learn more about their care needs, such as housing, tank mates and feeding, as well as breeding.
What are Platy Fish?
Platies are a popular livebearer in the freshwater aquarium hobby that are native to Mexico and Central America. The two species most commonly available in fish stores are Xiphophorus maculatus (southern platyfish) and Xiphophorus variatus (variable or variatus platy). You can crossbreed them with swordtail species which results in many color variations.
What types of platy fish are there? There are many colors and patterns that are available, but the most well-known are sunburst and red wag and blue.
How big are platys? Most platies grow to about 2-3 inches (5-7cm) in height, while dwarf platies (which were selectively bred for a shorter body length) typically stay at around 1 inch (2.5cm).
What’s the average lifespan for a platyfish? Platies can live upto 3-4 years if they are raised in healthy environments that provide clean water, good nutrition, and low stress.
What is the cost of platy fish? They are very affordable and can be purchased at fish shops for between $2 and $4 depending on their type. Try to get the healthiest fish that have bright eyes, full bellies, and active behavior. It may be safer to take your fish to another store if you see other sick fish in the tank.
There are countless varieties of platies that come in almost every color in the rainbow.
How Do You Set up a Platy Fish 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 range of pH levels from 6.8 to 8.5. They also like harder water. Seachem Equilibrium, Wonder Shell, and other minerals can be added to tap water. 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 extra heating.
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. This article will help you decide which filter is right.
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. For more information on setting up a mini pond, please refer to our tutorial.
How many platies are best kept together? Three to six platies would be a good start. Livebearers are known for their desire to mate. To give the girls some space, keep at least two females per male.
Platies are very easy to sex because the male (above) has a skinny, stick-like anal fin called a gonopodium, whereas the female (below) has a fan-shaped anal fin.
Can platy fish live alone? Yes. Although platies seem to love their companionship, they won’t school in close quarters unless they feel you’re about feeding them.
What fish can live with platies? These friendly livebearers can be kept with any similar-sized community fish. Some peaceful tank mates to consider include small tetras and rasboras, cory catfish, snails, bristlenose plecos, and rainbowfish.
Can platies live with betta fish? Most likely. According to our experience, betta fish are able to live peacefully in a tank with other platies. 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 do Platy Fish Eat
These undemanding fish are omnivores and will eat virtually anything you put in the tank. They should be fed a wide range of foods such as pellets, high-quality flakes and freeze-dried food.
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 frequently should platys be fed? One meal per day for adults is sufficient, while small meals every other day are better for young fish. If your fish are constantly dropping poop from their plates, it is possible that they are being overfed.
How long can platies go without food? In the wild, food is not always available, so fish do not necessarily get to eat every day. If you are going on vacation for a week or less, your fish can easily survive without any food. However, if you will be away for two or more weeks, consider getting an automatic fish food feeder or finding a pet sitter to take care of your fish.
How Many Platy Fish Have Babies?
Platies are livebearers, which means that they give birth to live young. Livebearer babies are typically larger than fish babies that hatch from eggs and they have a much higher survival ratio. If the conditions are right, female platies can give rise to 20-50 babies each month.
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. For a better survival rate, you can provide a lot of decorations, wood, and live plants for your fry 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.
Successfully breeding fish and watching their children grow up is an enjoyable experience.
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’re interested in breeding fish for profit, consider selling the offspring to a local fish store. Our list of recommended vendors has more information about where you can buy live fish online.