Native to Central America the platy has become a very popular fish in the hobby.
With their peaceful disposition, wide variety of colors, and small size of only 2-3 inches, these fish can be a great addition to a community aquarium.
The only drawback to these fish is their shorter lifespan, as they often only live between 2-3 years, although if kept in optimal conditions, they have been known to live as long as 5 years.
Tank Set Up
The minimum tank size recommended for platies is 10 gallons. But always remember bigger is always better, because smaller tanks tend to require more frequent maintenance than larger tanks. Also, as these fish are live bearers, and often breed quite fast and easily, a larger tank can help to accommodate a growing population of fish.
Planted aquariums are always a great idea when it comes to platies, as it gives them a more naturalistic environment, and these fish will appreciate having plenty of hiding places. As a bonus, plants will also help to keep nitrate levels lower in your tank.
Platy fish can typically handle a wide temperature range of 70°-82°, so if your temperatures remain stable, you typically won’t need a heater. They also do best in a pH range of between 7-8 and prefer moderately hard water.
These fish also do best in low to medium flow filtration, with sponge filters often being favored amongst fish keepers.
When setting up your platies tank for the first time you will want to cycle the tank before adding your fish. Cycling the tank will allow good bacteria to flourish that will help aid in taking care of any toxins produced from fish waste.
For more information about cycling your tank and the nitrogen cycle, I will put links to my videos on this in the description box below.
Platies are considered a schooling fish, and they will do best if kept in schools of at least 5, and when it comes to tank mates, platies are quite peaceful, but always keep their small size in mind, because if it fits in a fish’s mouth, it’s food.
Some of the common tankmates for platies are mollies, swordtails, guppies, corydoras, neon tetras, and zebra danios.
Now when it comes to diet, platies are considered omnivores and are not at all picky eaters. Keep in mind while these fish will eat some algae, this is not their primary food source.
These fish will also need a varied diet of high-quality pellets or flakes, along with live or frozen bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and some blanched vegetables.
Male platies are usually smaller and thinner than females. Females have a more rounded belly than males. The anal fin is the biggest difference between males and females. The females have a short and rounded fin, while the male has a longer anal fin that comes to a point.
When it comes to breeding, platies are a great fish to start with. You will want to keep a ratio of 1 male for every 3 females, to keep the females from being harassed too often, and to prevent the males from becoming too aggressive.
These fish will often breed with little to no interference, but they are known to eat their young, so you may want to move any pregnant females to a separate tank or breeding box and then remove the female once she has given birth.
You can then feed the fry baby brine shrimp or a specific fry or newborn fish food until they are large enough to be given regular sized pellets or flakes.