How to Breed Platy Fish?
Chances are that if you have platies of both genders in the same aquarium, they have already reproduced at some point.
However, you may have not noticed any baby platies since they’re very small and adults will eat them if they’re kept together in the same aquarium.
If your aquarium is set up in a way that there’s enough foliage to hide baby platies from adults, you may be lucky and have the population in your aquarium increase with a few extra fish.
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If you’re looking to have your platies reproduce and you want to raise platy fry, this guide on how to breed platy fish I put together will walk you through everything you need to know about breeding these fish.
Platy Fish Tank
Unlike many other fish species, platy fish are easy to please when it comes to breeding conditions. That’s because they don’t require any special adjustments for breeding.
Their home aquarium, where optimal water conditions are provided for them, is enough for them to start breeding as soon as you put male and female platies together.
Optimal water parameters for platy fish are:
- Water temperature: 72-78 F
- Water pH: 7.0-8.3
- Water hardness: 4 – 12 dGH
- Ammonia and nitrites should be at 0 ppm, while nitrates should be at maximum 40 ppm.
Platy fish are tropical fish and they enjoy warmer water. Keeping them at room temperature is unlikely to meet their requirements, therefore, I strongly suggest investing in an aquarium heater.
You may have read that platies will do fine in small aquariums of 10 gallons or so, however, if you’re looking to breed or keep more platies, having a spacious 25-30-gallon aquarium is better.
Make sure you set up the aquarium with live plants, which not only help along the nitrogen cycle, but also help in keeping the water clean of toxins that will accumulate once you add fish to the aquarium.
Other than these benefits, live plants are also a great food source for platies that like to nibble on algae and a great place to hide for pregnant platy fish and platy babies.
While live plants may help to absorb some of the toxins created by fish, you should also get a filter for your aquarium as well as perform regular water changes.
Platies are sociable creatures, so don’t keep them by themselves, they prefer being kept in small groups of at least 3-5.
Platy Breeding Pair
Once your aquarium is cycled and set up with the necessary equipment, you can get started on the breeding process.
You’ll need two or three females and a single male platy. Adding more male platies is not a good idea as it can stress out female platies.
As is typical for male live-bearers, male platy fish will constantly chase female platies to reproduce, which can put a lot of stress on females. To avoid this, limit the number of females.
Choose platies that are active, colorful, healthy and don’t have any deformities. Don’t breed platies that are sick or with deformities as they can pass those traits to their offspring. Source your fish from reputable breeders or trusted pet stores.
Sexing Platy Fish
It’s easy to tell the difference between a male platy and a female platy, especially once they reach reproductive age.
Here are the differences you should look out for:
- Male platy fish are smaller than females and they’re slenderer compared to female platies that have a rounded abdomen;
- Male platy fish have a gonopodium, which is the sexual organ they use to fertilize females;
- Female platy fish feature wider anal fins.
Plus, if you keep them in the same aquarium, you’ll notice that male platies will chase female platies, which is another tell-tale sign of their gender.
You should make sure that you meet the dietary requirements of your fish by feeding them good quality flakes and frozen, freeze-dried or live brine shrimp or bloodworms.
How to Tell if Platy Fish is Pregnant?
The gestation period takes around 24 to 30 days. The reason you may want to know if your platy fish is pregnant is to estimate the time when she will be giving birth because you’ll need to take measures to save baby platies or else you risk them getting eaten by adults.
Some of the signs of platy fish pregnancy include an enlarged abdomen and dark spots on the belly. As she’s preparing to give birth, the belly of the female platy will have an angular shape and she will spend her time hiding a lot.
The female platy will usually spawn around 20 to 80 platy babies that will be ready to swim and feed.
It’s crucial that you separate them from the adults as soon as possible or else they’ll end up as a satisfying snack for the adults.
Saving Platy Fry
There are a few ways to go about preventing adult fish from eating the fry. Here are the best methods that you can apply:
1. Setting Up Breeding Box
There are various devices and breeding traps, but the one that makes the most sense is the one that will hold the adult fish in and let the fry swim around in the tank. This is useful is you only have the breeding pair in the aquarium.
In a community aquarium, where there are other fish too, you may want a breeding box that will hold the fry in and from which you need to remove the adults as soon as the female gives birth.
2. Setting Up a Separate Tank
In a separate aquarium, you can leave the fry in and remove the adults. Here too, you can use a breeding trap, or you may want to leave the adults enough space to swim around and remove them when baby platies are released by the female.
3. Live Plants
If you can’t afford a separate tank and you don’t have many fish in your aquarium, you may leave the fry in hoping they’ll take cover and elude the adults.
To pull this off successfully, you’ll need lots of plants that can hide the fry. Don’t expect all juveniles to survive with this method, but a few may be able to hide long enough to grow a bit bigger until adult fish are no longer a threat to them.
Caring for Platy Fry
Caring for platy fish is just as simple as breeding them. The only issue that you may encounter with them is making sure you’re feeding them food that will fit their mouths.
Unlike juveniles of egg-layer fish, platy juveniles can swim as soon as they’re born, and they’re ready to accept food too.
They can feed on infusoria and algae naturally available in the aquarium, but they can’t be expected to grow on these things alone.
So, here what you should feed your platy fry:
Baby platies will accept flakes that you feed the adults, just make sure your crush the flakes into a powder because otherwise, they won’t be able to eat it.
If you don’t want to crush flakes, you can pick up flakes for small fry that will certainly fit their mouths and you don’t need to worry if it’s ok for them or not.
Pick flakes that are high in protein but contain plant matter as well.
2. Live Foods
As far as nutrient-rich fish food is concerned, nothing beats live foods like baby brine shrimp, vinegar eels, microworms, and daphnia.
These are all small foods that are excellent for platy fry, especially if you want them to grow fast in the first couple of weeks.
The only problem with live foods is that they can carry diseases. So, you can either prepare your own cultures at home or source them from a reliable vendor.
Alternatively, you can seek out freeze-dried foods, which don’t pack the same protein punch as live foods do, but they’re still high in protein without the risk of any disease.
3. Homemade Foods
There are some homemade food options for your platies that can be highly nutritious for them. Hard-boiled egg yolk is one of these foods that you can prepare at home on a budget.
Simply crush the yolk of a hard-boiled egg into a paste and feed small amounts once a day to your baby platies.
Although it’s a protein-rich food, it can be dangerous if you add too much of it into the aquarium as it can easily cause ammonia spikes, so be careful with it.
Even though breeding platies is not difficult, inexperienced aquarists can still make mistakes that can prove fatal to baby platies.
The steps and methods described in this guide are easily applicable when breeding platy fish and you can test for yourself how easy it is to breed platies.
I hope this guide has provided you with useful information on how to select platy brood stock, how many platies to pick, and how to prevent adult platies from eating their own fry.