If you’re looking for a super fun, colorful, interesting fish species, the Platy is your ticket to happiness. These hardy, peaceful little fish are ideal for beginners, intermediate fish keepers, and old-timers in the hobby. They are live-bearing species and come in every color with variable sizes.
Once you’ve decided to buy a Platy, it’s essential to determine how many you can stock in a tank.
Platies are very small, but they are an extremely active fish species. They aren’t schooling fish, but they love being in groups. Consider a ratio of one platy per 3-4 liters of water for maintaining a healthy habitat. A ten-gallon aquarium is enough to hold a group of five adult platies. Any tank below a 10-gallon holding capacity isn’t suitable for platies. Your fish will appreciate a tank with live plants and algae.
In this guide, we will reveal the complete care guide and ideal tank sizes for platies. Let’s get started!
What are Platy Fish?
Platy (xiphophorus) is a popular tropical freshwater fish species held by aquarium hobbyists around the world. They are beautiful, small fish and come in every color imaginable. Part of their popularity is because of the low experience required to keep them. Males grow up to 1.5 inches, and females grow up to 2.5 inches. Platies are native to both Central and North America. There are numerous types of platies, but all are hybrids of the Southern platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) and Variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus).
Platy fish types
Some of the most popular fish varieties include sunburst, mickey mouse, red wag, blue, bumblebee, and green lantern platies.
Platy fish love breeding and being active in a small group. These little fish spend most of their time swimming in the middle of the aquarium and hiding between the floating leaves. They are not aggressive, but the males can overwhelm the females if you don’t maintain the right ratios. You can teach them tricks and train them to jump! Remember always to keep the tank covered as they can jump out of the tank.
Aquarium Size for Platies
Platies reach full- maturity at six months of age. These fish have short but fuller bodies with wide tail fins. You can stock them together with other fish because of their peaceful and non-aggressive nature. They won’t create trouble in the aquarium and make excellent tank mates to freshwater fish with the same peaceful temperament.
They can live up to five years in captivity, which isn’t very long compared to other fish species. You should strive to provide the best aquarium conditions for their health and well-being.
Medium-sized aquariums are perfect for platies unless you stock them in large numbers. Experts recommend a minimum size of 15-20 gallons. If you have ample space and resources, get a bigger aquarium. It will give your platies plenty of swimming space and make it easier to have stable water parameters. You should always stock platies in a small group of five.
Find out more about how many fish you can stock in different tank sizes below:
Up to 10 Gallons
Professionals recommend 10-gallon tanks as the minimum tank size for a stock of fish. Tanks less than 5 gallons (like fishbowls) are susceptible to fluctuations in pH and buildups of waste materials and harmful chemicals. You can stock up to five fish in a 10-gallon tank. If you keep male and female platies together, they will breed to give birth to more fish. This vicious breeding cycle will make the 10-gallon tank too small, and you will need to upgrade the tank size.
The lack of surface area in small tanks for healthy gas exchange can stress even one lone fish. Fish need enough room to swim and be free. Distressed fish are more vulnerable to disease and may die quickly. However, small fish tanks aren’t completely useless. They can be vibrant homes for aquatic plant life and algae, including gorgeous marimo moss balls (fluffy balls of vivid algae that can live for decades).
Tanks that hold between ten and twenty gallons are affordable and adequate for up to eight platies. They are manageable fish tanks and won’t take up too much space. Fish tanks at the lower end of this range are great decorative accessories to your home décor. Some experts consider 20-gallon tanks only comfortable for a handful of smaller fish. These tanks also require vigilant maintenance to ensure good filtration and chemical balance. If you’re a beginner looking for tank sizes to hold approximately a half dozen platies under 3-inches length, a tank that holds 11–20 gallons is ideal.
Aquariums with holding capacities between 21 and 40 gallons are perfect for keeping up to a dozen small fish happy and healthy. This volume ensures that the water quality isn’t temperamental, and thus they are more forgiving to less vigilant maintenance. You may need to pay more for larger, heavier tanks, but their size is ultimately rewarding. Once you have your fish tank set up, your aquatic world and its inhabitants will rejoice.
Over 40 Gallons
Tanks that hold 40 gallons or more (some aquariums hold over 350 gallons!) are ideal for displaying a diverse range of fish. Big fish tanks have great appeal and make perfect homes for all kinds of fish. However, they come with some challenges. Large fish tanks are extremely heavy and can be harder to maintain and clean. Their weight may require you to purchase a special aquarium cabinet or install structural reinforcements on your floors to prevent damage. Many large fish tanks have built-in stands, so you can easily install them.
Platy fish are tropical fish from the rivers of Central America. Here are the three main varieties of platies:
- Southern Platy inhabits the freshwaters of Guatemala, Mexico, and northern Honduras
- Variable Platy is native to the southern waters of Mexico, from Rio Cazones to Rio Panuco.
- Swordtail Platy inhabits the river system in Rio Soto La Marina in Mexico.
Tank Setup and Maintenance
Platies are hardy fish and can tolerate a range of water conditions. However, swordtails may be sensitive to bad environments. You should try changing up to 25% of the water in your aquarium once a month. This will help keep your fish tank’s water clean and nitrate concentrations at a safe level.
Your Platy fish will be comfortable in a tank that mimics their natural habitats. Rinse décor items and gravel substrate that you will plant into the aquarium. You can arrange plants depending on the fish species you stock. The Southern species favors a loosely arranged aquarium; the Variable prefers a densely planted tank with ample open space for swimming.
Hornwort, Java Moss, and duckweed are all amazing plants that you can use.
Water temperature depends on the variety that you have. The Swordtail and Common prefer 70-70°F, and Variable prefers 72-75°F. Their colors will show better if you maintain a cooler water temperature. Most fish prefer weak currents with a water pH of 6.7-8 and a water hardness of 9-28 dGH.
Platy fish make the best tank mates because of their calm temperament. But they can be very active. Platy fish enjoy swimming together and the males occasionally fighting with each other.
They get along with other similar size and temperament fish such as Tetras, Corydoras, Characins, Gouramis, and small peaceful barbs. You can also keep them with snails or shrimps if you want non-fish companions. Platies may struggle with aggressive fish such as Arowanas and Cichlids. Avoid choosing Tiger barbs, Bettas Vampire Tetra, and Wolf Fish as tank companions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What fish species can live with platys?
Small peaceful fish are the ideal tank companions. Pair your platies with their relatives, such as Mollies, Guppies, or Swordtails. Other tank mates for platies include Blue rams, Betta, Neon tetra, and Dwarf Otocinclus.
How did my platy fish die?
Your fish will suffer if toxin levels accumulate and oxygen levels drop in the aquarium. You should perform regular water changes and use filtered water to avoid these consequences. Toxin levels can also spike because of dead fish, decaying plants, and uneaten food left in the aquarium.
What fish lives the longest?
If you are looking for a pet fish that lives up to 10 years, think about angelfish, neon tetras, Oscars, and plecostomus. The longest-lived of all the popular pet fish is the goldfish. If given proper feeding and a healthy environment, this fish can live up to 15 years.
Why is my Platy losing color?
The most common reason for platy losing color is poor water conditions. If you add your fish to an unfiltered and unicycle tank, it will become stressed and lose color. Testing the water for ammonia levels and regularly changing water can improve fish’s health.