Platy fish is available in every local fish store across the globe, they are popular for there colors and active nature

Why need a beginner’s guide for platy fish? Platy fish is the second most popular fish in the fish keeping hobby and one of the most preferred planted tank fish and it is important to educate the new hobbyist who would want to keep these beauties in their aquarium. This precise beginner’s guide would be handy for every new hobbyist.

Platy Fish – Overview

Common NamePlaty
Scientific Name3 species of platy is available.
Southern Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus)
Variable Platy (Xiphophorus variatus)
Swordtail Platy (Xiphophorus xiphidium)
Habitat or OriginThey are natives of Southern Platy Species that are native to North and Central America. Variable Platy Species are native to North-Eastern Mexico. Swordtail or Platy species are native to Mexico and Northern Central America.
Average SizeThey are relatively small fishes. Southern Platy fish grows up to 6 cm or 2.4 inches, Variable platy grows up to 7 cm or 2.8 inches and Swordtails or platties grows up to  3.5 – 16 cm or 1.4 – 6.3 inches
ColorationThey are yellow, orange, blue, white and red in color
Life SpanThey live for 3 years. If given good care they live even for 5 years
DietThey are Omnivores. In wild, they feed on algae, plant matters, insects, larvae, fish eggs, and fry. In Captivity they feed on flakes, micro pellets, frozen foods as well as live foods like daphnia
Gender IdentificationMales are slightly smaller than females. Females are large and have a plain body. Males have rod-shaped anal fins
BehaviorThey are active fishes. They play around the tank. They go well with their own kind. They love plants. 
CompatibilityPlaty fish are compatible with small tetras and rasboras, cory catfish, snails, bristlenose plecos, and rainbowfish. Avoid mixing platies with guppies. Avoid aggressive fishes like Pushy, nippy fish like barbs and cichlids
Ideal Tank ConditionsOur Recommendation is 20 – 30 gallons. They enjoy hard water. A Group of 3 to 6 platies is good for a 30-gallon fish tank.
Water ParametersThe ideal pH to hold Platy fish is 6.8 to 8.5 and water hardness of 10-28 dGH. Water temperature should be between 70 – 80 Degree Fahrenheit (23 to 28 Degree Centigrade)
BreedingIt is very easy to breed platy fish. Male platy fish more often go after female platy trying to mate with them. Keep 2 or 3 females for one male platy. Having more females ensures that they don’t get stressed out due to male platies. Female patties give birth to 20 -50 babies per month at the right setup
Common DiseasesSince they are hardy fishes, Generally they are not affected by any diseases. Maintaining good water quality and a healthy diet prevents diseases
Approximate CostThey are inexpensive and would around $2 – $4 USD. In Asia, it is available at 1/2 the price of the USA
What to look when buyingLook for Active fishes with bright eyes and big bellies
Species in the MarketCommonly available species are southern and variable platies. The most popular varieties available in the market are Mickey Mouse, sunburst, red wag, blue, bumblebee, and green lantern platies.

Different types of Platy fish


  1. “Platy, Platies – Xiphophorus maculatus”
  2. “Platies – Moonfish, Variegated Platy, Variatus Platy”Animal-World.
  3. Lawrence M.; Burr, Brooks M. (1991). A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes. New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-91091-9.