The platy is a very popular tropical fish for a community setup. This beautiful mid dweller is an constricted looking colourful fish with a standard looking mouth and smallish head. Males and females are generally a similar size, but females have a plumper appearance.

Platies are available in a range of colours – orange, yellow, blue, green, white and black I have seen. Common breeds include sunset, mickey mouse, high fin and green.

Common Name(s) : Platy

Family : Poeciliidae

Genus: Xiphophorus

Species : Xiphophorus maculatus

Origin : East coast of Central America and southern Mexico

PH : 6.8 – 7.5

Hardness : Moderate to Hard

Maximum Size : Males – 6cm / 2.3″ Females – 7cm / 2.9″

Temperature : 24 – 28°C / 75–82°F

Lifespan : 3-4 years

Aggression Level : Low (1/10)

Recommended Tank Size : 30 Litres +

Strata : Middle


A planted tank suits the Platy requirements. Bunch plants like Wisteria, Blue Stricta, Green Pennywort, Purple Temple will create lots of hiding places for Platy fry.

To go one step further with with the breeding needs of fry, you could consider adding some Java Moss – a fast growing very bushy plant that is extremely dense and the perfect hiding place for the young baby fish. Anchor down the clump of Java Moss with a rock or driftwood.


  • Tropical Fish
  • Dwarf Cichlids


Omnivores, in the aquarium they will take a wide range of foods including flake, pellets, vegetables, bloodworm or brine shrimp.


Male and female Platies are easy to distinguish. Males have a modified anal fin, this is called the gonopodium. This is the male sexual organ. Males can grow up to 6cm while females can get to 6-7cm.

Platies are livebearers and are extremely easy to breed. The females are almost always pregnant and will give birth to live fish every 4 to 6 weeks. Often the mother will have between 20-70 fry.

Because these fish are avid breeders, it is recommended that at least 2-3 females should be kept to each male, so the females aren’t continually harassed. Also for the same reason, a tank housing both male and female platies would ideally contain plants so the females can hide from keen males.

If you wish to breed the Platy it is recommended that a separate breeding tank be set up to separate the mother from the community tank, taking at least half of the existing community tank water. If the mother is not separated and is allowed to give birth in the community tank, more than likely the fry will not survive as the other fish (even including the mother) will eat them.

Often birthing can be induced by raising the water temperature to 28C. After the birthing has finished, usually after 1 to 3 hours, the mother should be removed and returned to the community tank.

Raising the fry is reasonable simple. They should be feed on liquid fry food for the first three days. They can then be moved onto baby brine shrimp or fine crushed flake food. Water changes are needed regularly, even daily as the fragile fry are very susceptible to water pollution.