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 been a favourite livebearer that we recommend to beginners and veterans alike. You can learn more about their care needs, such as housing, tank mates and feeding, as well as breeding.
What are Platy Fishes?
Platies are a popular livebearer in the freshwater aquarium hobby that are native to Mexico and Central America. Xiphophorus variabilis (variable or variatus) are the most common species found in fish shops. Crossbreeding with other species and swordtail species can result 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 large are platys? Large platies can grow to 2-3 inches (5-7cm), but dwarf platies, which have been selectively bred to be shorter bodies, usually live around 1 in (2.5cm).
What is the lifespan of a platy fish? Healthy platies can live up to 3-4 years when kept in optimal environments with clean water, low stress, and good nutrition.
How much do platy fish cost? Platies are relatively inexpensive and can be found at fish stores for $2 to $4 each, depending on the type. You want to choose the best fish with bright eyes, active behavior, full bellies and healthy bones. If you notice other sick fish in the same tank, it may be safer to visit another store to get your platies.
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.
Are platys able to survive in a pond environment? We recommend that variatus platies be kept in an outdoor mini-pond in the summer. 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. As with most livebearers, the males constantly want to mate, so try to keep at least two females for every one male to give the girls a break.
Platies make it easy to have sex. The male (above), has a narrow, stick-like, anal fin called the gonopodium. The female (below), has a fan shaped anal fin.
Can platy fish live alone? Yes. Platies do enjoy being with their own species, but they aren’t likely to form a close group unless you feed 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 fish are not demanding and can eat nearly anything you put in their tank. Make sure to feed them a wide variety of foods – such as high-quality flakes, pellets, freeze-dried foods, and frozen foods – so that they get a complete diet with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients.
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 eat? For adults, one meal per day is enough. However, for growing juveniles, two to three small meals per day is better. You may be feeding your fish too much if you see long strings of poop hanging from your plates.
How long do platies survive without food? Fish in the wild don’t always get to eat every day. Your fish will be able to survive on their own if you’re only going away for a few days. You might consider purchasing an automatic fish food feeder, or hiring a pet sitter to care for your fish while you’re gone.
How Many Platy Fish Have Babies?
Platies can be described as livebearers. They give birth to living young. Compared to fish babies that hatch from eggs, livebearer fry are usually bigger, faster, and have a much higher survival rate. Under the right conditions, female platies may give birth to between 20 and 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. (In fact, one way to control their population is to allow the other adult fish to eat the fry so that only one or two from each batch will survive.) 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 to do with the platy fry? Keep the fish well-fed. The water will become more dirty faster. If you want to maintain a high quality water supply, you can either give your fish to friends or give them to a pet shop. If you’re interested in breeding fish for profit, consider selling the offspring to a local fish store. See our recommended vendors list for more information on how to purchase live fish online.