Platy Fish 101 & How To Care For Them

| Published On:
Fishingery.com is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
Complete Guide On Platy Fish Care

As a kid, I was fascinated by fish. One of our neighbors had a huge aquarium that had a lot of fish in it. I used to go to their house every day after school and play with their fish. I used to feed them and enjoyed watching them swim.

On my tenth birthday, I asked my parents if I could get a fish of my own. After a lot of discussions and convincing, they finally agreed and bought me my first pair of fish.

These were small, bright orange and yellowish-colored fish that I fell in love with from the day I got them. These were called “Platy fish.”

Since then, I have had many different species of fish as pets, but one specie that has always been a part of my aquarium is the platy fish.

After years of owning these fish, here I am today to share my knowledge of these beautiful creatures with you people. So stay with me till the very end to get to know these beauties a little better.


What Do Platy Fish Eat?


Unlike me, my pet fish aren’t very picky eaters. These platy fish will eat just about anything that you have to offer. These fish are omnivorous, meaning they can eat plants and other animals.

Although omnivorous, platies have a declination toward a more plant-based diet. If we talk about what to give your platies, then I would suggest going with commercially available food pallets.

You can also mix some algae and kelp into the diet for some variations and to give them a feel of their natural habitat.

image of platy fish eating fish flakes

For most days, I prefer sticking with the plant-based diet, but to ensure that my platies are getting enough proteins for proper growth, occasionally, I do go for brine shrimp or sometimes give them frozen bloodworms.

Adding protein-rich components to their diet ensures that they stay in peak shape and stay healthy. You may ask what else can be added to the diet of these tiny creatures.

Then I would suggest adding some spinach or maybe some boiled squash as well. Sometimes I also add cucumbers to their diet. These little guys will eat about anything and everything that you have to offer.

Related guides:


There Are Several Types Of Platy Fish


Platies are one of those fish that are known for cross-breading. This is the reason why there are many different types of these fish available.

Some of them are very rare, and you will have a hard time finding them at your local fish stores, whereas some are very common and can be found easily.

Today I will be talking about the 6 most commonly available types of platy fish that you can find easily and would love to have as your pet.

6 Most Commonly Available Types Of Platy fish

The first one is Mickey Mouse’s platy. As the name suggests, these fish have mickey mouse-shaped spots on their tails. These fish have a creamy and red color on the rest of their bodies.

Another commonly available type of platy is the Red Wag platy. These fish have a very vibrant red color except for their tail and fins. These are jet black in color and create an amazing contrast.

Much similar to Red Wag also exists Blue Wag platy. These fish are completely blue except for their tail and fins.

The Sunburst platy is another type of platy fish. These fish have a bright yellow front, which transitions into a bright red. The transitions give the effect of a sunset, thus giving them the name “Sunburst.”

The Green Lantern platy gets its name because of its color scheme. These have a greenish blue color, with black dots on their bodies.

The Dalmatian platy get their name due to their similarity to Dalmatian dogs. These fish have a white body that is covered with black dots.


Platy Fish: Appearance & Behavior


These fish have very bright and vibrant color combinations, which is very obvious after reading about the different types of platy fish. These fish add a wide range of colors to your aquarium.

Platy fish are small in size and are often found in groups. These fish have a very pointy, arrow-type nose and huge googly eyes. These features add to their beauty and make them look cute and friendly.

close up Image of platy fish

They are one of the calmest and most relaxed fish that you can have. They can easily stay in large groups. It is very rare that you see them fighting with each other.

These fish love to breed, and this is the only time that you will see these fish fighting. The fights usually occur between two males who are trying to mate with the same female.

The males will pick on each other in the hopes of getting their desired female. This problem can be easily eradicated by putting two or three females per one male in a smaller group. Other than this, these fish love living in social and harmonious settings and rarely show any aggression.


Platy Fish: Adults’ Size & Life Span


Platy fish are really very small in size. A fully grown, completely healthy platy fish can be anywhere between two and two and a half inches in length. It is a very rare scenario for these freshwater fish to reach a length of three inches.

Surprisingly, the male platy fish doesn’t even reach the average length. They measure around one and a half inches, or just a little more.

As to the life span of these fish, there is obviously no way one can predict how long a fish will live. These matters certainly require a lot of luck.

But on average, these fish can live up to three to five years. This average life span can be achieved if fish are kept in optimal living conditions, where the right food, temperature, and environment are provided.

One thing that can be done to ensure that these fish live a healthy and long life is to regularly clean their tanks and filters and change their water.

This ensures that there aren’t any harmful bacteria present in the water or tank, and it does not contain any contamination, which could result in these fish getting sick.


Platy Fish Care & Tank Requirements


Platy fish are one of the first fish that anyone gets for their aquarium. This is because these fish are very easy to take care of, and they can easily adapt to their surroundings.

Given the fact that these fish are very adaptable, there are still some conditions that match their natural habitat, and these are the conditions in which these fish personally prefer to live.

image of a lot of platies in tank

The ideal water temperature for your platy fish is somewhere around 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type and origin of the platy fish that you have.

Another important factor that you need to take into account is the pH level of the water. As I said earlier, these fish can survive and adapt to any conditions, but it is ideal if the water pH level is maintained between 6.8 and 8.0.

Apart from this, like any other fish, platy also needs water filters and regular water changes. This makes sure that the water they live in is free from any harmful bacteria or contamination. This way, these fish can live a healthy and long life and grow to their full potential.


How Do You Set Up A Platy Fish Tank?


Setting up your fish tank is one of the most important steps. I often see people putting no effort into their fish tank. Sometimes they cramp up the tank a little too much. Doing either is not good for the fish.

While setting up your tank, you need to make sure your setup is as close to the fish’s natural habitat as it can be. This is because each fish has environmental requirements that can only be fulfilled by living in their natural habitat or in conditions that are identical to those.

image of a green platy fish

Platy fish are tropical fish, and their tanks need to be set up accordingly. The first step is to add small gravel to the base of the tank. Try using darker color gravel as this is closest to the riverbeds of those places from where these platy fish come.

Make sure you add some tropical plants to the fish tank as well. These provide a hiding spot for these fish when they wish to get away from the chaos of the tank.

Platies like swimming around, so make sure you leave the center area of the tank empty so that these fish can swim around and get some exercise.


Platy Fish: Typical Tank Behavior


As I said earlier, platy fish are very friendly and peaceful fish. And due to their peace-loving nature, they prefer to be around other such fish, which also love to live in a harmonious and chaos-free community.

The best tank mates for platies would obviously be other platies, either of the same type or of some other type. But if you are looking to increase the diversity of your fish tank and decide to include other species of fish along with platies, there are certain things that you need to take into account.

image of an aquarium filled with red platies

Platies are very active fish, so make sure that you do not add any slow swimmers or long-finned fish. This is because continuous play and activity can exhaust some species and may cause issues with their health.

Another thing that you need to take into account is that the fish that you are adding along with platy is more or less the same size as that of platy.

And that these fish do not have any aggression in them, as this might scare the platies and disturb the peace of the tank and cause issues for platies.


How Often Do Platy Fish Make Babies?


As I mentioned earlier, platies are active breeders and will breed at any chance they get. It won’t be wrong to say that if male and female platies are kept together, baby platies are inevitable.

Female platy can give birth to around 80 fully developed fish fry within a time frame of around 25-30 days. Make sure you set up a separate breeding tank with conditions similar to the original tank. Also, add lots of plants so that fish fry can hide from their hungry parents.


How Many Platy Fish In A Gallon Tank?


Due to their very small size, platy does not require a lot of space. These fish can easily accommodate a smaller or a medium-sized group in a tank that is as small as 10 gallons.

Although I would suggest that you should not add too many of these fish together in a small tank as they like swimming around and a crowded tank hinders in that.


How Often Should You Feed Platy Fish?


Platies like to eat all types of food, so one might think that these fish eat a lot. But contrary to popular belief, this is not the case.

In fact, platy does not eat much. It is advised that you only feed your platy twice a day and only give them enough food that the entire group can consume within two minutes window. Anything above that is wasted.


How Many Platies Can I Put In A 10-gallon Tank?


One might think that since these fish are small, maybe I should add 15 or 20 of them to a single 10-gallon tank. Well, doing so would be very wrong, my friend.

As I have mentioned many times, these fish like to swim around and enjoy empty spaces. So ideally, you should only add 5 or 6 adults to a single 10-gallon tank.


Final Verdict:

In the end, I would like to conclude by saying that platy are very beautiful fish and one of the easiest fish to look after. These fish are super friendly and good-looking and can really beautify your surroundings.

If you are a fish lover, then these are one of the must-have fish. Just follow some of the basic and easiest guidelines for taking care of these beautiful creatures, and you will be good to go. I hope all the insight that I have to offer proves useful.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – What do platys like in their tank?

Platies like to have a water pH of around 6.8 to 8.0 in their tank and a temperature of around 65 to 80 Fahrenheit. These fish also like hard water, meaning water with a higher mineral content.

#2 – Do platies need a heater?

Platies are tropical fish which means they enjoy warmer water temperatures, ideally 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although platies are known to adjust to their surroundings, it is advised to add a heater to the tank to provide ideal conditions.

#3 – Can 2 male platys live together?

The answer to this question is yes. Two male platies can be kept together. These males will live in perfect harmony until it is time to breed, and there is a shortage of female Platies in the group.

#4 – How can you tell if a platy is male or female?

To determine the gender of your platy, you will need to have a look at their anal fin. This is known as a gonopodium. If the anal fin is shaped like a fan, then it is a female, and if its point is flat and long, then it is a male.

#5 – What plants do platys like?

Platies prefer plants that belong to their natural tropical habitats. Some examples of these plants can be java moss, duckweed, and hornwort. Adding a mix of these plants will make platies feel much closer to their natural habitat.

#6 – How many babies do platys have?

Platies are active breeders and can give birth to dozens of children at a single time. A female platy can give birth to around 80 fish fry in 24 to 30 days.

#7 – Should platys be kept in groups?

Platies are social fish. They like to stay in peaceful and harmonious communities. It is preferable that these fish are kept in groups.

These fish can get along very well with fish of the same species as well as other fish that like to stay in a peaceful environment.