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August Featured Fish: Platies

Platy fish


We’ve talked about a lot of beginner fish for tropical fish tanks, and platies (pronounced with a short “a”) are one that doesn’t get mentioned as much as others, but they are hardy live bearers that are quite easy to care for. The platy is similar to mollies and guppies.

Read on to find out why platies are a good choice for the tropical aquarium…

Tolerate a range of conditions

Platies can tolerate a pH range between 6.8 and 8.5. That means you don’t have to be too particular about their water. They also prefer slightly hard water, though they’re not overly picky about water hardness if the water is on the softer side.

Will eat almost anything

Platies are omnivores, and they are not picky about what they eat. One of the things this species is known for, in fact, is eating nearly anything you put in the tank. They do best on a diet that includes a variety of foods.

Platy fish

Bob Jenkins

Here are a few suggestions for platy diets:

In addition to not being picky eaters, platies tend to have a good appetite and will eat any time you offer food to them. This can lead to the fish overeating, though, so it’s best to feed them once or twice a day and only in amounts they can finish in about two minutes.

A planted aquarium is a great idea for platy fish because they enjoy grazing on algae that grows on the plants.

Have a variety of colors

Platy fish are relatively small, getting to about 3 to 4.5 inches long. They come in many different colors, including orange, blue, black, silver, pink, and white. Typically the fish are some combination of these colors rather than all one color.

Wendi Strang-Frost

Their size and color options make them great for community tanks. They’re also fairly peaceful and won’t bother other fish species. They do well in tanks with similar fish, like mollies, guppies, and tetras.

They will keep the tank populated

Platy fish breed...a lot. And they produce about 20 to 80 fry per birth.

It should be noted, however, that left to their own devices, platies will eat their own fry, so if you want to keep the young fish, they’ll need to be separated from the adults shortly after birth. The best way to do this is to set up a tank where the pregnant female can give birth, and then just remove her afterward, leaving the juveniles in their own tank.

Platies have a lifespan of about 2 to 3 years, which is not very long compared to other freshwater fish. If you plan to keep them long term, allowing the fry to survive will keep your platy population going.

You can check out the platy fish in our freshwater aquariums at The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights.