Platy fish are a peaceful species that is often chosen by beginner aquarists for their hardy nature and easy compatibility with lots of other peace-loving freshwater fish.
Beyond being good-natured and easy to care for fish, platies also showcase a lot of variety in terms of colors, patterns, and tail shapes, which can all determine how a certain platy will be named.
Selective breeding has created some very interesting combinations, some of which I will mention in this article.
Platy Fish Patterns
As I mentioned, there are many patterns that lend platies their names. Sometimes, there isn’t a clear distinction between the different platy types because base colors, tail variations, and patterns can all be combined differently.
Here are some of the most popular patterns out there:
- Wagtail pattern (black tail and fins);
- Variegated pattern (dark blotches of various size throughout the body);
- Tuxedo pattern (black posterior portion with different colored anterior portion);
- Salt-and-pepper pattern (a toned-down version of the variegated pattern with fewer dark or lighter spots sprinkled throughout the body);
- Twin bar pattern (tail edged on margins with black);
- Rainbow pattern (black tail, body featuring multiple colors; iridescent variety is called neon).
All these patterns can be combined with different base colors and tail or dorsal fin shapes, resulting in a great variety of platy fish.
Therefore, if you want your aquarium looking a bit more interesting, there are different types of platy fish you can choose from — some more common, some a bit more exotic-looking.
Platy Fish Varieties
Here are a few of the most common platy fish types and some of the more special platy fish varieties:
1. Gold Red Platy Fish
This platy fish variety has beautiful gold red scales and a more rounded belly. Some varieties will have an almost translucent tail and fins, other varieties have black fins and tail.
In terms of platy fish colors, red, brick red, velvet red, blood red, yellow, gold, sunset, marigold, sunburst and their in-between shades are the most common platy fish color variations.
Selective breeding has facilitated the emergence of other color variations as well including blue, green, brown and even black.
2. Neon Blue Wagtail Platy Fish
Beyond colors, you’ve seen how patterns are also a trait by which you can categorize platies. Platies with black caudal and dorsal fins are said to be of the wagtail pattern.
Wagtail platy fish also come in a lot of color variations from the common gold and red shades to blue or green.
The Platy Neon Blue Wagtail is an extremely eye-catching color scheme — neon blue and rosy gray scales combined with black dorsal fins and tail.
You’ll also find wagtail varieties combined with other varieties on this list like the Platy Pintail Panda Wagtail.
3. Mickey Mouse Platy Fish
The Mickey Mouse Platy Fish is available in red and even blue colors and got its name because of the black pattern at the base of its tail, which features a larger black dot with two smaller dots that are the spitting image of the beloved Disney character Mickey Mouse.
This playful-looking fish loves company, it’s easy to breed and enjoys grazing on vegetation. It’s tolerant of a range of water parameters and isn’t fussy about food and upkeep in general.
My favorite in this category is the Platy Tricolor Mickey Mouse, which features the signature mark at the base of its tail along with two other dominant colors and a few other color shades.
4. Parrot Platy Fish
Parrot Platy Fish are an interesting-looking hybrid fish that is instantly recognizable because of the V-shaped pattern on their tail, with two black stripes edging the margins the tail.
They’re available in gold, yellow, red and other color varieties. They’re highly popular in the aquarium trade, especially in North America.
They can tolerate a wider range of water temperatures and they feed on plants, crustaceans, worms, and insects. They’re also very easy to breed.
5. Hifin Tuxedo Yellow Platy Fish
Hifin platy fish have an elongated dorsal fin that makes them stand out from the rest of the platy varieties. In terms of colors, hifin platies display great variety and different patterns.
Because of the long fins, placing Hifin Platy Fish in the same aquarium with fin-nippers is out of the question.
This type of platy fish is also more prone to diseases that attack the fins; therefore, aquarist should make sure that platies of this variety are kept in a stress-free environment and good water conditions.
Of all the hifin platies, the Hifin Tuxedo Yellow Platy is my absolute favorite. The blackness of its tail fades into a splash of yellow and neon blue colors close to the head of the fish, creating a beautiful contrast that’s hard to miss.
6. Pintail Rainbow Platy Fish
This type of platy fish is much rarer than the hifin platy, but it’s easy to recognize because of its interesting looking tail. The middle part of the tail is elongated. This platy type can sometime be mistaken for a swordtail.
The Rainbow Pintail Platy has a beautiful color scheme that includes black, green, blue and gold colors with gold-black dorsal and caudal fins.
This platy variety is omnivorous, enjoys the company of peaceful fish that aren’t fin nippers. Be careful when choosing tank mates for pintail platies and make sure you keep water conditions at optimal levels as they’re more prone to diseases than other platy varieties.
7. Tuxedo Platy Fish
Sporting an attractive combination of colors with the posterior portion of the fish being black and the anterior portion a different color (much like the color scheme of a tuxedo), the Tuxedo platy is another type of platy fish that you’ll encounter in the aquarium trade.
Depending on its colors, you’ll see them sold under various names such as the Platy Tuxedo Red, Platy Tuxedo Copper Green, Platy Hifin Tuxedo Yellow, etc.
They’re an extremely peaceful and undemanding fish that will thrive in a planted aquarium. Because it’s an omnivore it will potentially prey on dwarf shrimp, but larger peaceful invertebrates can be a good tank mate for them.
Because they prefer the mid and upper parts of the water column, they do have the ability to jump out of the aquarium, therefore, make sure to secure the aquarium in the early stages of acclimation.
8. Panda Platy Fish
The Panda Platy is closely related to the green swordtail, and it can even interbreed with it. It got its name because of its color pattern that features a black tail contrasted with a brighter colored body.
Because of its black tail, it’s a wagtail variety, however, pintail varieties are also available like the Platy Pintail Panda Wagtail variety.
As a peaceful livebearer, the Panda Platy is an active and undemanding fish that can be kept with others of its kind or with other freshwater fish that are suitable for community aquariums.
9. Black Hamburg Platy Fish
Similar to the tuxedo platy varieties, the Platy Black Hamburg lacks the black tail and dorsal fins of the tuxedo platy and instead has an intense black coloring starting from the base of its tail up to its head.
Its fins and head are red or gold colored. The Black Hamberg is easy to breed, it’s suitable for a community aquarium, and it’s closely related to the green swordtail.
10. Gold Twinbar Platy
Comet or Twinbar Platy varieties are a color variation that stands out because of its black mid-section on its sides and caudal fins edged in black.
The black color is contrasted with bright yellow or other common platy color schemes on the head, dorsal part and belly.
They’re a great match for other peaceful community fish and they enjoy a moderately planted aquarium and should be kept in a school.
They’re curious and active fish, reach a maximum size of 3 inches, and do best in a spacious aquarium with room for swimming.
11. Rainbow Platy Fish
Their bright coloration, small size (2 inches) and ease of care make this type of platy a common sight in home aquaria.
Females or the species are larger, while males can attain more beautiful colors that include yellow, orange, red and iridescent colors at different degrees of intensity.
They have modest aquarium requirements, but they do prefer a planted tank with hardy plants such as Anubias, java ferns or java moss, because they will graze on more delicate plant species.
They’ll also graze on algae and require vegetable matter in their diet along with other food varieties like flake, frozen, or freeze-dried foods.
12. Red Gold Wagtail Platy Fish
13. Pintail Red Wagtail Platy Fish
14. Red Hifin Balloon Platy Fish
15. Sunset Platy Fish
16. Blue Hifin Mickey Mouse Platy Fish
If you want to keep platies or you’re looking to add platy fish to your already existing community aquarium, there are a few options you can consider.
Bear in mind that those types of platy fish that have elongated dorsal fins or elongated tails lend themselves to fin-nipping and should never be kept with fin-nippers.
Platy fish are beginner-friendly and community-friendly fish that you can house with a variety of peaceful freshwater fish.
I hope some of the platy varieties I presented in this article have caught your attention and you’re ready to add a few specimens to your aquarium.
Featured Image: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platy_(Fisch)