Care Guide for Platy Fish – Feeding, Breeding, and Tank Mates
Looking for a colorful, hardy fish that’s easy to breed and looks great with live plants? 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 are Platy Fish?
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 are the various platy fish types? Many new colors and patterns are being created all the time, but some of the most loved varieties are Mickey Mouse, red wag, yellow, 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 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.
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. You want to choose the best fish with bright eyes, active behavior, full bellies and healthy bones. It may be safer to take your fish to another store if you see other sick fish in the tank.
There are many platies in every color of 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 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 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. 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. 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 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. Platies do enjoy being with their own species, but they aren’t likely to form a close group unless you feed them.
Can platies live with livebearers? They can be kept with other similar-sized 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. 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 Do Platy Fish Eat?
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 eat? For adults, one meal per day is enough. However, for growing juveniles, two to three small meals per day is better. 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 many days can a platy go without food? Food is scarce in the wild so fish don’t get to eat everyday. Your fish will be able to survive on their own if you’re only going away for a few days. If you are going to be gone for more than a week, however, it is worth looking into a fish feeder or a pet sitter who can take care of your fish.
How Many Platy Fish Have Babies?
Platies are livebearers, which means that they give birth to live young. Livebearer eggs are more durable than fish babies, which hatch from eggs. They also have a higher survival rate. In the right conditions, female platies can give birth to 20 to 50 babies per 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.) If you wish to increase their survival rate in a community tank, provide lots of decorations, rocks, wood, or live plants as cover for the 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.
A lot of enjoyment that comes from successfully breeding fish and watching their babies grow up.
What should I do about platy fries? If the fish are not fed well, there will be more fry, which will cause the water to get more dirty. 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. You can also sell the offspring to local fish shops if you are interested in breeding fish. For more information on where to buy live fish online, see our list of recommended vendors: