Platy fish, also known as Moon fish, Platy Sunset, are a beautiful tropical fish which are colorful and easy-to-keep for beginners. Platies are very easy to care for but also very peaceful in community tanks and because of these qualities the Platy is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. They can live well in small tanks with no problem and are well-known as one of the best fish for a 10 gallon aquarium tank (38 liters). Besides, Platies are also an algae eating fish which help to keep your aquarium clean effectively.

About Platy fish

Wagtail Platy. Source:

The scientific name of Platy is Xiphophorus Maculatus. Their natural biotope is located in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Platyfish is a part of the Poeciliidae family, same family with Guppies or Mollies, all of them are very popular aquarium fish species, especially among beginners in this hobby.

There are lots of colors variations of platy fish like: platy gold, red, red body wagtail (black find and tail, scales tuxedo (black glossy scales on red or green background). In their basic form, the neck and back are dark olive, have blue on the flanks with dark horizontal stripes, white bellies and colorless fins. On the root of the tail black spots can appear with different models, brown, red and blue.

There are some rare Platy types such as Honey Bee Platy with a half black and a half yellow colors similar to a bee, Half Black Platy with a half black and a half white being very beautiful and expensive. Besides, there are also Platies with the long fins on their back, they are called as Hifin Platies.


They have a relative elongated body but also somewhat more “stocky” individuals may occur. The dorsal fin is relatively small but there are some strains with a more prolonged “veil” like dorsal fin. They can reach up to 4 cm for mature males and 6 cm for mature females. Even in nature they occur in many colors and forms and as for aquariums they exist in even more variations.

Their lifespan is 3 years which is shorter than other fish. Because of their short lifespan, the fish grow up and reproduce very quickly. Only after 4 months from the previous birth, the female are ready to reproduce. And also because of this fact, their population increases very quickly that makes them listed in the invasive species in the wild like to their cousins (guppies, mollies and swordtails.)

Platy fish keeping and breeding

Aquarium conditions

  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Optimal pH: 7-8.5 (from neutral to slightly alkaline)
  • Water hardness (dH): 15-30
  • Optimal temperature: 68-79 ° F (20-26 ° C)
  • Lighting: medium
  • Filtration: average
  • Aeration: average. In a large tank with many plants and without any air pump, the fish can live healthily.

Platies are hardy and easy to keep, however, they prefer harder and neutral to slightly alkaline water (pH 7-8.5) to live healthily. They are also appear beautiful coloration at the lower temperatures than other species in Poeciliidae family. Here are some parameters that you need to notice when keeping platy fish.

Tank mates

In planted tanks, Platies are active at all water levels, they are very peaceful fish and ideal for community tanks with other livebearers such as Guppies, Mollies, Swordtails… The fish will live healthily in aquariums with densely aquatic plants, however, they need some space to swim and play.

Fish foods and feeding

They will eat most fish foods available; however, tropical flakes or pellets are the main remedy for the fish. Sometimes, you should feed them with freeze dried foods such as blood worm, black worm… They also use algae in the aquarium as a source of vegetable foods.

TetraMin Tropical FlakesTetraMin Tropical Flakes

TetraColor Tropical GranulesTetraColor Tropical Granules

Tetra blood worms freeze dried treatTetra blood worms freeze dried treat

Breeding Platies

Male and female Platies are very similar, however, you can easily distinguish between them because the male are usually smaller and thinner than the female of the same age. The most special feature to distinguish between the male and female is that the male own a gonopodium.


Male Platy with a gonopodium

They give birth to live fry, up to 100 pieces, depending on the female’s size. They are easy to interbreed between different colors to make new color offspring. Because the fry fish are very small and slow, they are very easy to be eaten by other fish in your aquarium. So, if you want to keep the fry, a breeding box or tank should be prepared for the pregnant platy giving birth.

Marina Hang-On Breeding BoxMarina Hang-On Breeding Box

Be careful to choose a proper aquarium filter for the fry tank unless your baby Platies will be stirred into the filter and die.

You may like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. My female platy just died. Now my male is acting very strange. Do these fish die from loneliness? He is barely swimming and barely eating and he is stay hidden a lot of the time. And when he does swim it doesn’t seem like he’s using his tail. Is he dying?

    • Hi Teri! Based on what you described about the way your male Platy swims, I think he got sick. It is better to keep at least three Platies (one male and two females) together in a tank; however, these fish will not die just because of loneliness. The problem is in your tank, ensure that the water is OK. Check the nitrite concentration of your tank and ensure it is zero. Or else, some information about diseases on Platies may help. The symptoms of your fish are very similar to that of fin rot disease. Here is a helpful source that can help you: