Platys ( Xiphophorus maculatus ) originate from the swampy and weakly flowing waters of Central America. They belong to the family of the viviparous tooth carps and Poeciliidae. Swordfish and guppies also belong to this family. There are numerous breeding successes with many attractive shapes and colours. They are the ideal fish for beginners.

What distinguishes the Platys?

Platys are robust and undemanding schooling fish, suitable for newcomers to the aquarium business. They are considered to be extremely sociable and lively and are easy to reproduce. Their colourful outfit decorates the aquarium particularly beautifully.

The appearance of the Platys

© Mirko Rosenau

Typical distinguishing features are the stocky and laterally flattened body with the high back. The body of older females becomes increasingly high backed. The scales shimmer beautifully in the light.

Depending on the species the fish are differently coloured. There are numerous coloured and even black forms. Especially widespread are the colour strokes yellow, orange and red. In the specimen “Needle” the body is monochromatic light tinted, and the dorsal and caudal fins show a striking black edge. One of the first breeding successes is the Wagtail- Platy. It has a yellow to dark red body colouring and black fins.

Depending on the breeding form Platys reach a body size of 4 and 6 cm. The dorsal fin is strongly pronounced and shows 9 to 10 rays.

Sex differences

The different sexes can be distinguished in size and colour intensity. While the males can reach a total length of 2 to 4 cm, the females grow 3 to 5 cm. The colouring of the males is more intense than in the females.

Water values for Platys

Platys feel comfortable in alkaline but not too warm water.

Temperature: 18 to 26 ° CpH value
: 7.0 to 8.0Total hardness
: 10 to 25° dGH

Another criterion for the well-being of the water inhabitants is hygiene. It is advisable to change water or partial water regularly, approximately every 14 days. For non-toxic cleaning, hot water, vinegar and a good final rinse with clear water are sufficient.

Food and nutrition for Platys

Platies areomnivores. They need a varied meaty diet with an emphasis on plant foods.

  • small live food or frozen food such as insects, shrimps, water fleas, Artemia and Cyclops
  • Small dry food
  • fresh plant parts, lettuce strips and autumn leaves,
  • Algae that thrive on stones and roots or spirulina algae powder

It is best to feed the fish 2 to 3 times a day with small portions. If they eat the food within a few minutes, there is no contamination of the water by rotting food residues.

The ideal aquarium for Platys

Aquarium mit Platys
© Nico Ließke / Aquarium with Platys

Platys are peaceful, agile and sociable schooling fish. They must never be kept alone and require a group of at least 5 animals. Recent findings advise keeping them in a ratio of 3 males to 2 females.

A species-appropriate aquarium offers the swimming-joyful animals sufficient space. The minimum length is 80 cm. The tank must be densely planted at the edges and in the background so that the fish have enough space to swim in the middle. Roots and caves serve as retreat places. The ground consists of fine gravel or sand.

Platys are adaptable and get along well with other peaceful fish. They do not form hunting grounds. The socialization works with Corydoras catfish, zebrafish and shrimps. Also suitable are dwarf cichlid species such as Apistogramma, Pelvicachromis pulcher and Laectara curviceps / dorsigera.

Platys can live for about 3 years if kept in a species-appropriate way.

Special feature of Platys

The male Platy has a gonopodium. This is a transformed limb. It is used for mating.

Platys are easy to keep and the ideal fish for beginners in aquaristics:

  • large plant-rich pool with plenty of swimming space and hiding places
  • Group housing of 6 to 8 conspecifics
  • Acoustic and not too warm water
  • Hygiene
  • Omnivores

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