Platies

a close up of a yellow and black platy (Platies) swimming

Platies are a popular choice for family pets, especially for new aquarium owners. They are small, colorful fish that come in a variety of colors and patterns, making them an attractive addition to any tank. Platies are also relatively easy to care for, making them ideal for those who may not have much experience with aquariums.

Platies are a type of freshwater fish native to Central and South America. They can be found in a variety of habitats, from rivers and streams to lakes and ponds. They are one of the smaller types of fish, only growing to about 2 inches long. They are very colorful, and can have many different colors.

Platies are very hardy fish that can withstand a range of temperatures. Because of their temperature tolerance, they are perfect for beginners looking to start a tropical fish aquarium. They are also very easy to care for and will eat a wide range of foods.

Platies are very easy to care for, and require little maintenance. They are also relatively inexpensive, making them a great choice for first-time aquarists. They are also very friendly and sociable fish, and will adapt well in a community tank. 

Platies are social fish that prefer to be kept in groups of at least three or four individuals. They are peaceful fish that get along well with other community fish, such as tetras, barbs, and danios.

When it comes to tank size, Platies do best in a tank of at least 10 gallons. They are active swimmers and need plenty of room to swim around. A larger tank will also help keep the water quality stable, which is important for the health of your fish.

When it comes to tank decorations, Platies prefer plenty of hiding places and plants. They are shy fish and will appreciate having plenty of places to hide. Live plants are also beneficial as they provide oxygen to the water and help keep it clean.

They are also very pretty, and will look stunning in any aquarium. While it’s true that Platies aren’t the flashiest freshwater fish out there, they are, in our opinion, one of the best fish for your aquarium. Platies are relatively hardy, so they’re a good choice for beginners and they have a long lifespan.

If you wanted to get some Platies for your aquarium they’ll cost you about $2 per fish.

Overall, Platies make great family pets for new aquarium owners. They are colorful, hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and get along well with other community fish. With proper care and maintenance, Platies can live for up to five years in the home aquarium.

Platies Information

  • Average Length: 1.5 – 2.5 inches
  • Scale Colors: Orange, White, Red, Yellow and Blue
  • Attention Needs: Low
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
  • Good Pet: Yes!
  • Good with Other Platy: Yes
  • Good with Other fish species: Only with non-aggressive species
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Health Concerns: Intestinal nematodes and Mycobacteriosis
  • Average Life Span: 3 to 5 years

Physical Appearance of Platy Fish

a close up of a red platy swimming

Platy Fish have a long narrow body. Their body is thicker between their nose and dorsal fins and gets narrower towards their tail. The dorsal and pectoral fins are small and they have a fan-shaped tail. 

The females are always larger and can get up to 3 inches long. The males are smaller and get up to 2.5 inches long. Their length also tends to vary between different types of Platies.

There are 3 different types of Platy fish: Southern Platy, Variable Platy and Swordtail Platy. The Southern and Variable Platies have a smaller body while the Swordtail Platies have an extended, sword-shaped tail. The different types of Platies have been crossbred over the years to produce many different color and fin patterns. 

Popular color variations include orange, white, red, yellow and blue. There are a few different established patterns that are listed based on the color and patterns. Some of the different pattern types are listed below. 

They are:

Wagtail pattern:

are Platies that have black rays on their fins and tail.

Variegated pattern:

are Platies with dark blotches of different colors and shapes on their body.

Rainbow pattern:

a close up of a gold platy swimming

Platies with more than one color on their body.

The many different colors and patterns these fish have make them a great choice for families that want more variety for their aquarium.

Temperament of Platies

Platies are known to be peaceful and docile. They are not aggressive with other species which can make them an easy target for aggression from other fish.

They are active and good swimmers. They will spend most of their time swimming in the middle of the tank. Platies are also known to jump out of the water, and it’s important to keep their tank lid closed at all times.

Platies are schooling fish and should be kept in small groups of 5 or 6. Platies like to breed and the best ratio for a small group is to keep only one male in a group with four to five females. The ratio will ensure females are not hounded too much by the male fish.

Best Habitat for Platies

Platies originate from warmer waters of eastern Central America and southern Mexico and enjoy slow-moving water. Platies are tough little fish and mostly live in regions thick with dense plants. If your aquarium has some medium growth plants inside their tank, they can help create a natural tank that resembles their natural environment.

Tank size

The smallest size tank you can keep 5 Platies in is a 10 gallon tank. Given that Platies are active swimmers, having a larger tank will be better because it will give them a larger area to swim around. If you plan to have a community fish tank or add plants, then the tank size should be at least 20 gallons. 

The Wagtail-Platy scans the bottom hoping to see some food

Temperature

They prefer slightly warmer temperatures in the range of 65 to 77° F. 

Water Hardness and PH

The pH should be kept between 6.8 to 8 and the water hardness should be between 10-28 dGH.

Lighting

Platies have no specific lighting requirements. They will be fine with any light in the tank. If you do plan to keep them with other types of fish, they may need a normal day and night cycle. The day and night cycle can be set up using a timer that will turn the lights on and off.

Decorations

Platies love living plants, having them in your family’s aquarium does more than look nice, it helps your family’s aquarium feel like their natural habitat. Plants also create hiding places for them to hide from more aggressive fish. 

The best plants for them are ones that do not grow very large. Platies are active swimmers and prefer to live in open space. Large plants can clutter the tank and make it difficult for them to swim around. Smaller plants like Java Fern, Amazon Swordtail and Hornwort are best for Platies. 

If you have a community fish tank, more hiding places can be created by adding rocks and caves. Your fish will be less stressed if they have places to hide if threatened by other fish.

Avoid adding sharp rocks or other decorations to your tank. Platies have soft fins that can get damaged by sharp edges.

a close up of a red and golden color platy

Tank conditions

Platies do not have specific substrate needs. You’ll only need substrate if you are planning to add living plants to your tank.

A standard filtration system is needed for their tank. The filters will help keep the nitrites and ammonia levels under control. 

Tank Maintenance

Platies are tough little fish which makes them easy to care for. The only major stress they’re likely to have is if there are sudden changes in their water conditions. The easiest way to keep these changes from causing chaos in your tank is to measure water conditions every day. Things like temperature, pH, water hardness and level of toxic compounds are generally easy to control and keep constant. It’s far easier to control everything in a larger tank than a smaller one because it takes longer to get out of control.

Every other week a 25 percent water change should be done. If you have a smaller tank then the water should be changed every week. Smaller tanks tend to build up harmful chemicals like ammonia and nitrates faster.

Best Tank Mates for Platy Fish

Platies are peaceful and non-aggressive. They do best when housed with other peaceful fish that will not attack or eat them.

The Wagtail-Platies swimming near the bottom of their aquarium

Popular tank mates for Platies include:

Different types of Platies can also be housed together. 

Avoid keeping Platies with Cichlids, Tiger Barbs, Bettas and Vampire Tetras and other aggressive fish species that can harm your Platies.

Health Issues

Platies are resistant to many common infections and generally do not get diseases. Still, there are a few health issues that they are known to have. Some fish diseases can be difficult to spot but monitoring changes in their behavior or coloration can help identify diseases early on.

Common diseases include:

a fish covered in white spots because of ich disease

Ich Disease

Ich is one of the most common diseases found in Freshwater fish. The disease is caused by a parasite that affects the gills and fins of the body. Poor water conditions and stress are major reasons that can lead to the fish catching this disease. When a fish becomes infected with Ich, it tends to rub against hard objects such as decorations, rocks and the substrate.

A major concern is that this disease is highly contagious and can easily spread to other fish in your aquarium. If not treated early on, it can even cause respiratory issues.

Symptoms include white spots on the body, breathing difficulty and fish rubbing against hard surfaces. In comparison to other fish diseases, these symptoms make it easy to identify if your fish is infected.

Treatments include slightly increasing the water temperature, adding medication to the tank and performing a large water change. If you have a community fish tank then it is suggested to move the infected fish into a quarantine tank and then treat them.

Fin and Tail Rot

Fin and tail rot is a common freshwater disease that is named after what happens to the fish that have it. Fish infected with fin and tail rot will have fins or tails that appear frayed, or parts of them missing. The disease may also cause white milky areas on the body, especially on the tail or fins.

Symptoms of Fin and Tail Rot

  • Fins or tail appear to have frayed or abnormal edges
  • The fin or tail edges have turned white
  • A part of the fin or tail is missing

Like Ich disease, fin rot is also a result of poor water conditions and high stress levels. Fin and tail rot can be caused by fungi or bacterial infection. Identifying the cause of the disease, bacteria or fungi, is important to treat them because both are treated differently. Infected fish should be quarantined and treated in a separate tank. 

The easiest way to prevent your fish from catching this is to keep their water as clean and healthy as possible. After that the next biggest causes are stress, or attack from other fish. Try not to keep fish that can attack other fish, and give your smaller fish plenty of places to hide with plants or decorations.

Antibiotics will be needed to treat any fish that have this disease.

Velvet Disease

Velvet disease is also caused by a parasite. The parasite burrows itself into the body of the fish which results in gold-colored cysts. The cysts can turn into lesions and even cause bleeding. Sometimes the skin of the fish will also peel off. Velvet disease is highly contagious and immediate treatment is needed. Generally, copper medication and performing a water change of 70-90% can help treat the disease.

Feeding Platy Fish

a pile of colorful fish flakes

Platies are omnivore fish. In their natural environments, they like to eat algae, fish eggs, insects and other smaller fish or fries. In captivity, it’s easy to feed them because they don’t tend to be picky eaters and will eat just about anything that you give them.  

Commercial flakes, pellets, brine shrimp can be great sources of protein. Occasionally they can also be fed bloodworms or tubifex worms.

Platies should also be given plant food like algae wafers, flakes and spirulina. A varied diet will help them get all the nutrients that they need.

They should be fed 1 to 2 times a day. Platies can be greedy eaters so see how they behave when you feed them. If they act aggressively, you can increase the frequency of feeding or put the food in multiple places inside their tank. By feeding them in multiple places, it will ensure all the fish in your tank get the food they need and not just the Platies.

Related Questions:

How Can I Breed Platies?

Breeding Platy Fish is easy because they can be bred without a lot of attention from their owners. The males will always look for females to mate, and keeping 3 to 4 females with one male will help each female to get time to rest. 

Another good thing about Platies is that they give birth to fries (young fish), instead of laying eggs. Platies can give birth to as many as 80 fries at one time! Normal tank temperatures and water conditions are what the fries need to survive and thrive. 

One possible concern is that Platies are known to eat their fries. Moving the fries to a separate growth tank will prevent the fries from getting eaten.