How do you take care of a platy fish?

Platy fishes are popular aquarium fish. They are therefore not too demanding, as long as they can be together with a few. They come in countless color variations and are happily swimming around aquarium inhabitants.

Why are platies so popular?

Platy fishes are colorful, peaceful and strong, making them ideal for living room aquariums. It doesn’t have to be a big aquarium either, platies are usually small fish that don’t grow larger than 7 cm. In addition, these viviparous fish are also easy to breed and do not really require any special care, as long as your aquarium hygiene meets the basic requirements. They like to live in a fully equipped and overgrown tank. Even as a novice aquarium hobbyist you can enjoy these fish easily and successfully. In a living room aquarium under good conditions they will last up to about 3.5 years.

What kind of aquarium should I provide?

  • A slightly high or low PH is fine (6.8 – 8.0), as long as the water values ​​are not too extreme.
  • Provide medium soft water (10 – 14 dGH). Too soft water? Then add some minerals.
  • Provide sufficient swimming space (at least 1 liter of water per 1 cm of adult fish).
  • Only plates? Keep the temperature around 25 degrees.
  • Co-residents with a different preference? Platies also do well at lower temperatures.
  • Use sand or pebbles as a substrate.
  • Put enough water plants where they can hide and graze.
  • Choose plants such as Water Fork, Hornwort and Java Moss.
  • Fill in with pieces of driftwood and Mopani wood to form small cavities.
  • Provide good lighting (1 Watt per liter of water) for healthy plant growth.
  • Provide flow; they like that a lot. Quite soft current, for the plants.
  • If necessary, add an effervescent stone that bubbles gently.

Can I put multiple platies together?

Platy fishes are social fish and like to live in groups. It is important to ensure that this group consists of considerably more women than men (3 to 5 women per male). Otherwise, the females will get stressed from the constant chases. Therefore, provide enough plants and cavities so that they can hide from the intrusive males that want to mate.

You can easily distinguish the sexes: male platies are smaller and less clumsy (read slimmer) and their reproductive organ (a fused fin) is more pointed than the females. By keeping several plates with different colors together, you can get surprising color patterns.

Can they also live with other species?

They also behave fairly peacefully towards most other fish. So you can certainly place them together with small species such as Neon tetras, Corydoras and Loricariidae. Since platies mainly swim in the upper part of the water column, you can ideally combine them with species that like to stay closer to the bottom. Use common sense and do not place them with predatory fish such as Cichlids (unless you want to use your platies as live food).

What is the best feed for them?

Platies naturally eat a lot of algae and you will notice that in an aquarium. Even black filamentous algae, which hardly any fish reach, are on their menu. It is important to provide a varied diet with a high spirulina content: green food (for example microplankton) or a tablet for bottom fish can be alternated with fresh vegetables such as spinach, blanched lettuce leaves, wild rocket lettuce or arugula.

If you would like to spoil them with a little something extra, you can give them some frozen food every week: tubifex, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp or scallops. Pay attention! Because the mouth of platies faces upwards, you may be tempted to feed them only floating food or flakes. However, they are equally capable of extracting food from the middle or lower water layer.

Can I grow with my platies?

Yes, in living room aquariums platies breed and cross easily without you having to do more than putting males and females together. Make sure that you do not end up with an overpopulation in no time. To do birth control, you can choose to separate the males and females with periods. Please note: female platies can store the encapsulated sperm complexes for a longer period of time. Because they can later use it to fertilize their eggs, they can have up to six litters long after mating. If you do not want a growing population, choose only females or only males. Keep in mind that it is possible that when you buy your fish she is already pregnant and you will not have a few babies until later at home.

I think my platy fish is pregnant, now what?

Pregnant females can easily be recognized by the expanding middle of their body, just like in humans they have a round belly. Because the skin is stretched at that place, they get a lighter color there, especially just before they give birth. Some hobbyists prefer to separate their pregnant platies so that they are not harassed by the males and the young can be collected in complete safety. If you choose this option, make sure that the separate container is large enough, otherwise you will only cause them more stress during an already vulnerable period.
You can also choose to leave the female platy fish where it is used to. The aquarium must be sufficiently equipped with plants and places where they can hide. Usually, if possible, they will give birth to their young among the leaves of the Hornwort. When they experience stress or the conditions are not optimal, it can happen that the females abort their young. As soon as you notice a pregnancy, you can also give the female some extra frozen food so that she is at full strength, otherwise she could die after birth.

How do I take care of the fry?

Provide the fry with fine dust food and artemia cysts; if the food is too big they will not eat. Even rubbing ordinary food can sometimes be too coarse. A clean environment, with plenty of plants, is essential for raising platies. At the beginning of their lives, platies are much weaker than, for example, baby guppies. It is normal that they sink a little more to the bottom and eat much more slowly.

Pay attention! Platy babies are tiny, really tiny, and accidents happen quickly. It wouldn’t be the first time it was accidentally spilled during a water change. It is best not to change more often than necessary and if you do, provide extra “security”. For example, always cover the suction pipes with a material fine enough that they cannot slip through. It is also best to collect the water in a bucket before you effectively pour it away so that you can check that you have not accidentally scooped one up.

Platies grow relatively quickly; after 4 weeks you will see them clearly visible swimming in the tank and after 2 months they will be about two centimeters in size. After 6 to 7 months they are sexually mature. If the available space becomes overcrowded, you must thin out your colony. You can rehome young platy fish when they are about 2 to 3 months old.

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