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Thread: The platy

  1. #1

    Default The platy

    0 Not allowed!
    The platy (Xiphophorus maculatus, X. variatus, Xiphophorus spp. hybrids) is one of the best options for beginner fishkeepers and a great stand-by for more advanced hobbyists. Their variety of colors is in the same realm as that of discus and cichlids of Lake Malawi. But they are hardy, small, and non-aggressive.

    They are native from Belize through Mexico. They are native to warm, but not tropical waters of 18-25C (64-77F) making them a great option for tanks without heaters. Their native waters are naturally hard and alkaline with a pH ranging from neutral up to about 8.0. They are hardy and can thrive in water with a pH outside this range as long as it is stable and water quality is high.

    Maximum size may be listed as less in some sources, but I have had them hit about 2.5. This was in a relatively short amount of time and if kept for many years they may even be able to exceed this.

    They will actively accept most foods. This can range from live, frozen, dried, flakes, and even small pellets. Mine are fed New Life Spectrum exclusively, as are all my fish.

    They are livebearers and require very little to breed. Ideal sex ratio is at least two females per male, but many more females than this can be successfully bred with a single male. Sexing is simple. Males have a gonopodium. This is what is used to deliver the sperm to the females. To differentiate simply look at the anal fin (last fin on the bottom of the fish before the tail). In females it will be fan-shaped, in males it will be rod-shaped. High water quality is important for proper sex ratios in the offspring. In lower water quality (higher nitrates) more males will be produced. This is a natural mechanism to slow down the rate of reproduction in the species when times are hard or the population is too dense. Sense it is ideal to have at least two females per male, most people do not want any additional males, so producing more is not a good idea. Males will be aggressive with each other and females if not enough females are present.

    Potential tank mates include many of the cool water species such as danios, but like danios since they are hardy enough to do well or even thrive in tropical temperature water, they can also do well with many community fish such as tetras and barbs. Platies can be a little nippy so slow moving species and long-finned varieties should be avoided. As with any fish, fish large enough to eat them should also be avoided.
    Aquarist since 1995
    Biologist and Published Author in Multiple Aquarium Magazines
    Owner: Aquarium Maintenance Company
    Advanced Aquarium Concepts: Articles about many aspects of aquarium care.

  2. #2

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    Another great article!

    Keep it up fishguy, they are all very informative!

  3. #3


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    Awesome info! Thanks for the write up!
    75G Planted Blue Themed Community Tank:
    Neon Tetras, Blue Platties, Blue Guppies, Blue Snails, & a pleco
    with 4 hang off breeder tanks for Blue/Red Platty Project

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Great write up.

    I'll second them hitting 2.5", some of ours got that big. Generally though it's only the females who get this big, the males are smaller.
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  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Yes, frequently (depending on the social aspect of the species) the females generally get larger. It takes more energy to produce eggs than sperm, so females tend to be bigger to be able to handle this better. When producing live offpsring it is an even bigger investment for the female.
    Aquarist since 1995
    Biologist and Published Author in Multiple Aquarium Magazines
    Owner: Aquarium Maintenance Company
    Advanced Aquarium Concepts: Articles about many aspects of aquarium care.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Fishguy! That was great .I never had much interest in them before but I alo had know idea they came in so many colors.
    Ray Your Freindly Neighborhood,Fully Mod-ified, Self-appointed Pic Hound!! Need pics!!!
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  7. Default

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    Platies are great! This is why they are going to be the first fish that I am going to try to breed!

  8. #8

    Default I love Platies

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    I started with Danios for their hardiness, but I have been absolutely amazed with Platies. I have been mostly sticking with red ones - regular red all over, red wags and mickey mouse. They are sturdy and beautiful. I still have two females - a red wag and a mickey mouse, and may get them a friend in the spring (I have a ten gallon tank, so I can only have so many at a time and the platies are so much bigger than danios).

    They are beautiful to behold.
    10 Gallon Tank - at home - 1 female Red Wag Platy, plus 25+ fry (still counting).
    4.6 US Gallon Mermaid Tank - 1 Betta (Prometheus)
    1/2 gallon quaranteen tank - empty.
    10 Gallon Tank - at work - 1 Zebra Danio and 1 female (silver and red) Dawn Platy.

    My Mickey Mouse Platy (male) passed away, but his tattoo lives on in his offspring.

  9. #9

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you for this info. This is my first time having Platys and I have been amazed at their drama. I thought they were very peace loving, but I have found, as you said, the males to be agressive with each other. Also my Platy have been occasionally agressive in other ways. For instance - feeding bloodworm to the tank, the corys want to just sit and chomp on them on the bottom for awhile. My Platy will rush down and pull it right out of their mouths.

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Great! Thank you for the informative article. I am thinking about purchasing a few Platies and this overview is much appreciated!

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