7 Facts About The Popular Livebearer Platy Fish

This native Central American species is found in fresh, shallow bodies of water with low flow and lots of plants. They have become a very popular freshwater aquarium fish over the years due to their generally docile nature, “friendly behavior” and they come in a variety of colors. In this blog post you will learn 7 facts about this popular aquarium species.

1. Is the Platy Fish Aggressive?

In general this is not known to be an aggressive species, however, having the appropriate male to female ratio is important in order to tampten down aggressive behavior from spawning – which occurs frequently with this species – more on this later.

As a general rule of thumb, unless you are breeding this species, one male per aquarium will limit aggressive behavior. More than one male can stress out the females as they tend to chase the females during spawning time. So if you are not breeding this species, you can have 1 male to a group of females. If you are planning on breeding this species, you will want to have 1 male to every 2 to 3 females.

Certain variations of this species are known to be more aggressive than others. These are mainly the hybrid variations, or the platy fish that are bred with swordtail fish. Examples of hybrid platy/swordtail species are:

  • Indian Platy
  • Parrot Platy
  • Sunset Platy
  • Tooth Carp
  • Tuxedo Platy
  • Variegated Platy

Here are 3 examples:

Hybrid Platy Fish – Image Source: ResearchGate

2. How Many Platy Fish Should Live Together in an Aquarium?

Following the general rule of stocking aquariums, you should have 1 gallon per 1 inch of fish – minus displacement of substrate and decorations – in an aquarium. So for example, if you have a 100 gallon aquarium with 20 gallons of displacement due to substrate and decorations, then you can have 80 – 1 inch fish or 40 – 2 inch fish, etc. – you get the idea.

Planning on which species you will keep and how many of each should be determined based on their maximum size. So the size of your aquarium, and the total number of inches in fish – based on their maximum length – will help you to determine how many you can actually keep. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to understock my tanks in order to avoid overcrowding and overloading the bio load of the aquarium’s biological filtration system.

In addition to the Platy fish, other suitable tankmates are mollies, guppies and swordtail fish.

Premium Rare Tri-Colored Platy – Image Source: Dr. Tom Bailey

3. What Do Platy Fish Eat?

The platy fish is an omnivore which means that it eats a variety of vegetables and meat. In order to ensure that they get a well-balanced diet, you can feed your platies a combination of high quality fish flakes that contain lots of vegetables, sinking pellet foods that contain a high amount of protein and freeze dried and frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms. Even live brine shrimp and live bloodworms can be offered to your platy fish if you have access to them.

4. Are Platy Fish Livebearers?

Yes, platy fish are livebearers. Platy fish utilize internal fertilization. This means that the eggs are fertilized and hatch while inside of the mother. Once the eggs hatch, the baby fish or fry will swim out of the mother and will begin to forage for food. The time period from fertilization to birth is an average of 24 to 30 days.

5. How Long Do Platy Fish Live For?

The average lifespan for the platy fish in captivity is between 3 to 4 years. To ensure that your platies live a long, healthy life, be sure to keep your aquarium’s water in good condition, reduce any stress and provide a high quality, balanced diet.

Premium Blue Spotted Platy Fish – Image Source: Dr. Tom Bailey

6. Do Platy Fish Like Light?

While they are not considered to be a light sensitive species. This means that they are good with either a natural light source or an aquarium light. However, they do like planted aquariums and if you are going to be keeping them in an planted aquarium, then the plants will have specific lighting requirements.

7. What Different Color Variations Are Available for the Platy Fish?

There are a number of different types of platy fish varieties available in the aquarium trade today. Here is a chart of 25 available variations:

Variations of Platy Fish – Image Source: ModestFish

They range from a solid orange color to the orange and black colored variation like this Calico Platy:

Calico Platy Fish – Image Source: Liveaquaria

To the Blue Mickey Mouse Platy:

Blue Mickey Mouse Platy Fish – Image Source: Liveaquaria

To the Rainbow Platy:

Rainbow Platy – Image Source: Liveaquaria

With so many varieties to choose from, which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments section below.

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