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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > The Livebearers > Platy
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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the

South America

Xiphophorus Maculatus


    Another old time favorite, the Platys good nature and bright colors keeps it a constant top pick for a community set up.

Quick stats:
    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 2" (5cm) females larger
    Tank: 20 inches
    Strata: Middle
    PH: 7.0 to 8.3
    Hardness: Medium to hard. dH range: 10-28
    Temperature: 68-79°F (20-26°C)
    Order: Atheriniformes.
    Suborder: Cyprinodontoide.
    Family: Poecilidae.
    Genera: Xiphophorus.


Pink wagtail platy

Common name.

    Platy , Topsail or Rainbow platy

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Wide spread throughout Central America from Mexico to Guatemala

General body form.

    Some specimens are elongated with both Dorsal and Ventral profiles slightly curved out or convex, but mostly they are thick-bodied with a high back. The Dorsal fin has nine or ten fin rays, except for the high-fin varieties. They resemble the less seen X. variatus. The females are larger reaching a length of two and one half inches and the males top out at one and one half inches.


    The original wild form was a plain grayish brown to olive color, showing a slight sparkle. There were also salt and pepper markings scattered over the body. The many wild varieties have been crossbred and combined so often, the range of colors and fin shapes is almost unlimited with variations showing up almost on a monthly basis.

    Varieties that have remained popular in the hobby include the Red-Wag-tail Platy, Tuxedo Platy and many variations on the high fin theme.


    An easily cared for fish that does well in all types of community aquaria. Give them a fairly large tank with live plants and open swimming areas, avoid too much driftwood as a rule the livebearers do not like acidic water. Although not a schooling fish they benefit by being kept with a large number of their own kind. Temperature range from sixty-eight to seventy-seven degrees


    As the male matures the Anal fin develops into a structure for reproduction called the Gonopodium. The Gonopodium can be moved in almost any direction and stores the sperm in packs called spermatophores. Once the sperm is inserted into the female it fertilizers her eggs and the rest is stored in the Oviduct walls for later use. The eggs are very rich in yolk and the young develop by consuming their yolk stores. In light colored females pregnancy can be recognized by the growing dark body marking in front of the Anal fin.

    Young Live-bearers are fairly large at birth and their development is very advanced. They can swim right away, which is needed to avoid their enemies including their parents who give no natal care whatsoever. The fry grow very rapidly and will eagerly accept fine flake food.


Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Rob
Platies are really friendly and will eat off your hand. While people recommend 3 female to 1 male ratio, I'd say it depends on the fish. I had a female platy which was rather aggressive to the lone male platy, so I had to get one more male platy. Right now, both the males swim peacefully together most of the time whereas the female prefer to swim alone. Platies can be very curious about new stocks and nip at them initially. So take time to introduce new stocks to a platy, overtime, they'll be fine together.
From: Megan
We love our Platys! We've had them for years now. They do breed all..the..time.. So be careful. Most of the time when we noticed one of our females was pregnant, one day we would wake up and she wasn't anymore. We never saw any babies because they eat them which is sad. But in the last few months we have had so many batches of babies that we now have 30+ running around in our tank. They're very cute and playful with each other.
From: Matt
I think the platy is great fish. I am a breeder. I do very well with them. Each has their own unique markings that help you to tell which is which. So I know how and which one to treat differently. Some are shy and some are playful. All mixed together they look great. Playing and hiding and doing all kinds of fun things. They always do something different.
From: Raven
I just bought myself a Platy. Come to find out, it is pregnant! Her tummy is full and she should give birth anytime now. Platies do good with almost any fish. My Platy shares a tank with a Betta. The Betta, named Ditto, has already established a pecking order and makes sure that my Platy, Scyler, doesn't disobey his rules. If you have a pregnant fish of nearly any species, you should be sure there are plenty of hiding spots. Artificial or fake plants and stones will do. Hopefully my Platy babies escape in my tank stones and plants. I would be crushed if none survived. I'm hoping the baby bunch will be born sometime during the day when I can check on Scyler to see if she has given birth. I have a better chance of finding the babies before it's too late. Anyways, Platies make for good beginner fish and are quite easy to take care of. :)
From: Soon
Very nice fish. The males tend to harass the females if there aren't enough, though. Also, if you want to breed them, get two females for every male. Other that that, they're easy to care for. If you have more than one male, they will quarrel quite a bit, but not to the point where someone gets injured. Nice fish to keep as beginner.
From: Joe Goldfine
The platy is a docile creature. I've recently placed a trio of the Mickey mouse platies in a 10 gal. they are very enthusiastic about being fed. they come in many colors and are great starters for your inexperienced aquarists. Easy to breed

From: Emily
Platies are excellent fish for beginner's. When I first started keeping tropical fish a few years ago I began with tetras, which are supposed to be easy to keep, but it is hard in a smaller tank. But I went with platies in a desperate sort of way, and now they are a favorite. As long as you have two females to every male, you won't have any problems. They are very hardy, and not as susceptible to disease as most fish. They can tolerate many mistakes of beginners, as I know from first hand experience. Platies come in so many colors and varieties that its nearly impossible to find one you won't like :)
From: Bunny
This is the "Everything" fish...just about everything you could want in a fish is here: lots of variety, bright, drastic color combinations, slightly different body shapes, peaceful temperaments, great personalities, these healthy & hearty stay small, produce little ammonia, they're inexpensive, reproduce easily (and without the mess of egglayers) and not only will they eat just about anything, they're part-time scavengers so they help keep your gravel free of fallen excess food! I love my platies and because of their different varieties (a Comet Gold platy, a Blue Coral platy and a Green/Blue Spotted platy) my tank looks more colorful than a basketful of Easter eggs!
From: Martin
Platies are often accused of being dull and slow. This is not the nature of the species. A platy is an active fish, always on the go as long as the circumstances are optimal. If the water is clean and they are healthy and NOT overfed they should be very active and nice to watch. It is true that in some tanks they will sit in one spot but that would be in conditions where other species will have already died.

From: Natalie
Platies were my first fish and I still have two (after almost two years!) who survived all my beginner errors, uncycled tank, overstocking, the works. I now have four in a 10 gal planted tank with coreis and otos. They seem to have different personalities, some are very active, some less so, but they all agree on one thing--food! And they all come up to the front of the tank when someone approaches them because, hey, what if that person were to throw some food in? I did have some experience with one male chasing another, but I added another female to the tank and the problem stopped. A very hardy, attractive and peaceful fish.

From: Jenney
I have a pair of platys in my community tank and find them very interesting. They always travel as a pair and although they do spend some time hovering in among the plants, when I approach the tank they are the first ones front and center at the water surface looking for food!







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