Platies are an omnivorous species that’s easy to please when it comes to food. They have a good appetite and will accept all types of fish food.
As you may know by now, diet has a very important role in maintaining a healthy immune system in your fish and aiding their proper development.
Whether you’re a first-time aquarist or you’re interested in this article because you haven’t kept platies before, in this guide, I will introduce you to the feeding requirements of platy fish including the best food for platy fish.
How to Feed Your Platy Fish?
Platy fish are easy to feed. What’s more difficult is resisting the urge of feeding them more than the recommended amount of food they need.
You should feed your platies no more than once or twice a day with an amount they can finish in a couple of minutes.
Overfeeding can be an issue with platies, especially because they have such a good appetite and they always seem willing to get just one more bite of food.
You should be careful, however, because overfeeding can not only disrupt the delicate water chemistry in the aquarium, but it can also lead to digestive issues in your fish.
If you notice any leftover food in the aquarium, make sure you scoop it out to prevent it from decaying and releasing ammonia into the water.
Other than aspects related to the amount of food and frequency of feeding, the quality of the food is also important.
Pick good quality commercial foods and do your best to ensure a varied diet to your fish that in turn will help them develop a strong immune system that can kick diseases to the curb.
As I mentioned, you can offer both commercial foods and homemade foods to your platies. In what follows, I’ll discuss the best food options for your platies.
Best Food for Platies
Here’s the thing about looking for absolutes when it comes to platy fish: There isn’t a single option that I would say it’s best for platies.
The best thing you can do for them is setting up a feeding regimen that includes all the food groups recommended for platy fish.
Here are some foods to include in your platies’ diet:
Commercial Food for Platy Fish
Commercial food options for platies are as varied as they come. You can find a lot of high-quality flakes, veggie pellets, freeze-dried and frozen foods.
Flakes a convenient food options for most fish. It contains the necessary combination of minerals, vitamins, vegetable matter and proteins for you fish. Plus, dosing flakes it very easy.
Feed your platies a high-quality flake food that’s made with natural ingredients.
2. Veggie Pellets
Platy fish require vegetable in their diet. This is why it’s great to have plants in your aquarium, so your fish can graze on the algae that naturally grows on these plants.
However, the algae in your aquarium may not be enough to meet their requirements for vegetable matter and you must supplement their diet with vegetable tablets and pellets that contain spirulina, algae, and plankton.
Veggie pellets are great for helping your fish develop their colors and ward off infections that may attack the fins, tail and skin of your fish.
3. Freeze-Dried Foods
Freeze-dried foods are a great source of protein and an excellent alternative to live foods, when these aren’t available, or their source isn’t trustworthy.
The problem with live foods is that they can carry diseases, which is excluded with freeze-dried foods as the drying process kills of parasites and bacteria.
Freeze-dried brine shrimp, tubifex, and blood worms are all good options to include in the diet of your platy fish.
4. Frozen Foods
Frozen foods are also a good option when live foods aren’t available. They don’t pack the same protein punch as live foods do, but they can still meet the requirements of your platy fish.
Besides, commercial food options, there are certain homemade or cultured food alternatives you can also try to integrate into the diet of your platies.
Homemade Food for Platy Fish
If you have the time, you can create food for your platies at home. Some options that are available for you include:
Vegetable matter is important for platy fish and you should strive to add it to their diet regularly. You can boil vegetables, blend them together and offer them frozen veggies. You can even prepare flake foods at home by drying out veggie paste in the oven.
Squash, lettuce, zucchini, cucumber are all good options for your platy fish. Whenever fresh veggies aren’t available you can supplement their diet with the vegetable pellets I mentioned above.
2. Cultured Foods
Compared to vegetable meals, cultured foods are a bit more difficult to prepare at home, but if you have the time and you’re interested in feeding your fish freshly hatched live foods, cultured foods are your best option.
Daphnia, brine shrimp, vinegar eels, and micro worms can all be harvested at home. Freshly hatched cultured foods are the staple food for platy fry, which need a protein and nutrient boost to kick-start their healthy development.
3. Egg Yolk
Hard-boiled egg yolk paste is another protein-rich food source for platy fish and fry. It’s extremely easy to make, not to mention affordable.
Simply take out the yolk of a hard-boiled egg and crush it into a paste, feeding small portions of it to your fish.
Since egg can easily foul the water, make sure you feed only a small amount once in a while. It’s also too fatty for adults, so maybe stick with feeding it to fry instead.
Best Food for Platy Fry
Since they’re small and still have a lot of growing to do, there are two things to focus on when feeding platy fry — offering them nutrient-rich foods like live cultured foods and finding size-appropriate food options.
Platy fry will eat anything that adults do if you get it into the right size for them. For example, you can crush regular adult flakes into a powder or make sure that you offer them freshly hatched live foods.
Baby brine shrimp is the staple food for platy fry, but the other live food options I mentioned are also excellent for platies that still have a lot of growing to do.
If you’re looking for the best food for platy fry, live cultured foods are it. They pack essential nutrients required in the early stages of their development.
If live foods aren’t available, freeze-dried and frozen alternatives are acceptable. The recommendation to add variety to the diet of adult platies stands for platy fry too, therefore, make sure to mix it up a little and introduce flakes, veggies, and other platy foods into their diet.
How Long Can Platies Go Without Food?
I’m not assuming you’re going to starve your platies, however, you may have situations when you must take an unplanned trip somewhere and there isn’t anyone that can take care of your fish.
What should you do? Will your platies survive a few days without food?
The longest time platies can go without food is up to 2 weeks if they’re otherwise healthy and well-fed.
This doesn’t mean that you should leave them for two weeks without any preparation. First, you must do a significant water change the day before you leave (think 50-70%), clean the tank of any decaying substances, remove any sick fish, clean the filter, and set lights on timer.
Auto-feeders can be a good option for these situations, but if you’re gone for two weeks and you fish continue to eat and produce waste, the water quality in the aquarium will suffer, so it might be a bad idea to set up an auto-feeder.
The situation is different with platy fry, which won’t survive longer than 3 days without food. Therefore, they can benefit from a auto-feeder that will dispense a small amount of food each day.
If you have an aged aquarium, your platy fry may survive a bit longer than 3 days if they have algae and infusoria to feed on, but it’s best to take precautionary measures if you’re away longer than 3 days.
While taking care of pet fish while you’re travelling is always a challenge, there are ways to manage the situation, and make sure your platies are well.
The key to creating a balanced and healthy feeding regimen for your platies is rotating the different food options I discussed in this article.
Bear in mind that while platy fry will eat all adult foods, their food must be offered in small sizes to fit their mouths.
Crush flake foods into a powder, make a paste out of vegetables, and feed them freshly hatched live foods like baby brine shrimp, vinegar eels, daphnia, or micro worms.
Remember that there isn’t a single food group that will work best for platy fish and that variety is the key to ensuring the best results in meeting their nutritional requirements.