As a fish well suited for aquarists of all skill levels, platies are loved by freshwater fish-keepers. They’re available in many varieties and colors, making a great addition to a community aquarium, where they get along great with other peaceful and even-tempered fish.
Platies are easy to care for, they breed quickly, and their keeping and feeding regimens can be easily met even by a beginner aquarist.
To get you to know platies a little better, I compiled a list of the most interesting facts about platy fish:
1. They Display a Lot of Color Variety
As a result of selective breeding, platy fish are available in many variations – Salt and Pepper, Coral Red, Red Tuxedo, Black, Blue, Red Wagtail, Mickey Mouse, etc.
Therefore, you can pick from dozens of platy types from simple-looking ones to more interesting varieties.
2. They’re Peaceful
Platy fish are peaceful, well-tempered fish that enjoy the company of others with a similar temperament.
The only time you may notice something different about their behavior is when males are chasing females to reproduce.
This happens quite often, especially when both male and female platies are kept in the same aquarium.
3. They’re Not Picky About Food
As an omnivorous fish species, the platy should be fed a variety of foods, although they’ll accept all types of commercial and home-made fish foods.
If you want your fish to thrive, make sure they also get enough plant matter in their diet, not only protein-rich meaty foods.
With a healthy and balanced feeding regimen, you can enjoy the company of your platy fish much longer.
4. Females are Larger Than Males
Platy fish average at around 2 inches in size. Male platies are smaller, while females grow larger and plumper around the abdomen.
This difference in size, plus the reproductive organ of the male makes it easier to tell the difference between a male and female platy fish.
5. They’re Live-bearing Fish
Some fish lay eggs and fertilize the eggs after they have been released by the females. Other fish hold onto the eggs, fertilizing them inside the body of the female fish, and release the eggs only after hatching. These fish are called live-bearing fish, which platy fish also are.
6. They Breed a LOT
Since platy fish breed easily, they also breed often, producing anywhere between 20 to 80 fry each time. Therefore, it isn’t difficult to breed them at all. Simply place both male and female platies in the aquarium, and soon enough you’ll have fry too.
7. Male to Female Ratio is Important
Male platies are constantly chasing females to reproduce. This leads to a lot of pregnancies and a lot of fry. You can have platies producing fry every month.
The problem with this is that females can become stressed if males are constantly chasing them, plus reproducing very often leads to a shorter lifespan.
It’s enough to keep a single male with two or three female platies. This will reduce the number of times females reproduce, plus it doesn’t put females under so much stress.
8. They Eat Their Babies
Unfortunately, platies lack any parental instincts and don’t care for their babies. What’s more, they’ll mistake their babies for food and will eat them.
Don’t panic if you see platies eating their own babies, it’s simply something they have no control over. Instead, you should take measures to prevent them from eating their juveniles if you want to raise them to adulthood.
9. Fry Should Be Kept Separately from Adults
To prevent juveniles from being eaten by adult fish, they should be kept separate. For this, you’ll need to set up a separate breeding tank, where the female can give birth, and then remove her from the aquarium as soon as she’s released the fish.
If you don’t want to set up a separate tank, you can put a breeding box into the aquarium that will hold in the juveniles and protect them from being eaten.
Alternatively, you may want to secure lots of hiding spaces for fry including thick plants that can serve as cover for them.
Either way, avoid housing fry and adults together if you want to save them from being eaten.
10. They Don’t Live That Long
Compared to other freshwater fish species, platies have a much shorter lifespan. They only live for 2-3 years. Offering them optimal tank and water conditions along with a healthy diet will go a long way in extending their life expectancy.
11. They Graze on Algae
Platy fish enjoy a planted aquarium because they can graze on algae that naturally grows on these plants. Although not the best algae eaters in the freshwater fish community, their part in keeping algae growth under check is not negligible.
12. They Enjoy a Planted Aquarium
Adding live plants to your platy aquarium will make them feel more comfortable, will provide females a good hiding place, plus might offer newborn platies just enough cover to not fall prey to adult fish.
13. They’re Compatible with Many Fish
Platies are an excellent addition to a community aquarium. They’re compatible with many fish including mollies, swordtails, tetras, guppies, endlers and many more.
14. Fry are Easy to Raise
Once you’ve managed to separate baby platies from the adults, you’re in charge of making sure they grow into healthy adults. Feed them crushed flakes, baby brine shrimp, daphnia, and other size-appropriate foods.
15. They’re Active Fish
Platy fish should not be kept in aquariums smaller than 10 gallons. In fact, I encourage you to find a spacious aquarium for them and offer them enough swimming space. If kept well and in healthy conditions, platies are very active.
Platy fish are docile and beautiful fish that make a wonderful addition to a peace-loving community aquarium.
Be careful with how many males and females you’re keeping in the same aquarium to avoid overbreeding. Feed them quality flakes and make sure they also get enough vegetable matter in their diet.
I hope these fun facts about platy fish have encouraged you to buy your own platies and experience all these interesting things about them yourself.