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Picture of Platy

Photos taken at Wharf Aquatics
© Sean Evans

Common name:Platy
Scientific name:Xiphophorus species (see Comments)
Synonyms:Platypoecilus (old genus name, where the common name originates from).
Size:Up to 4" (10cm), females slightly larger.
Origin:Central America
Tank setup:Community aquarium.
Compatibility:Peaceful, ideal community fish.
Temperature:20-26oC (68-79oF)
Water chemistry:Medium hard and slightly alkaline, pH 7.0-8.0
The addition of salt to the tank is not necessary.
Feeding:Omnivorous: will eat most aquarium foods, provide a balanced diet of flake, granular foods and frozen or live foods.
Sexing:Males are smaller and have a gonopodium (modified anal fin).
Breeding:Like most of the common livebearers, these fish breed very easily - keeping a male and female together is generally all that's required! Ideally they should be kept in a ratio of one male for every 2-3 (or more) females, to avoid harrassment of a single female by the male.

They can be bred in the community tank, but fry may be eaten depending on the other fish that share the tank, and the amount of cover. It would be preferable to remove the female to a separate tank to give birth. The young grow rapidly.

Although the fry are easy to raise, this should not lead to complacency in feeding a varied diet and maintaining good water quality, as this can lead to poor quality fish in the hobby.

Comments: Many colour forms and hybrids of this fish have been produced during captive breeding. As well as selective breeding for various colours and patterns, hybrids between different "Platy" species and also with Swordtail species have been produced.

This means that most fish encountered in the hobby are captive bred varieties that are not found in the wild, and do not necessarily correspond to specific species such as Xiphophorus maculatus (Southern Platy) or Xiphophorus variatus (Variable Platy).

Popular captive-bred varieties include Red, Sunset and Tuxedo platies. Livebearer enthusiasts may still wish to seek out the original wild-type species, but due to the huge range of colourful commercial varieties, these are often only stocked in specialist stores or maintained by breeders with an interest in these fish.




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