Hot Water Fish

Platy Fish

  • Scientific name: Xiphophorus maculatus
  • Common Name: Platy Fish
  • Aquarium size: 80 liters
  • Temperament: Calm
  • Temperature:  Between 20º and 26ºC
  • pH: Between 7 and 8.2
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Length: 6 cms


Platy fish, Xiphophorus maculatus, is very popular among fans at the aquatics like other fish of the family poeciliids , also very easy to care for , as the guppies or mollies .

As a result of natural or breeder hybridization,
the variety of Platy fish on the market is enormous . I think there is a Platy fish for each of the colors of the rainbow: scarlet red Platys, blue Platys, even black Platys.

Some of the names are really original and suggestive:
Platy Rainbow, Platy Panda, Platy Gold, Platy Mickey Mouse …in most cases, the names refer to the morphological qualities of the fish.


In the wild, the Platy fish is usually olive in color, however the colors available for sale, as I have said, are enormous.
They tend to measure between five and six centimeters, with the male (3.5 cm) being somewhat smaller than the female (6 cm), which is usually larger and rounded.

It is possible to distinguish Platy females from males, because the latter possess a reproductive organ, called the gonopodium, a modification of their tube-shaped anal fin.

They have an elongated shape, in which the belly is more convex than the back of the fish. The fish’s mouth is oriented upwards, typical of fish used to eating from the surface.

Two types of Platy fish are distinguished, those with a veil fin, which is nothing more than a more developed dorsal fin, and those with a needle tail, very similar to that of swordtail fish.

Distribution and habitat

The Platy’s natural habitat is in the calm waters of streams and rivers, of the coastal regions of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize.

Aquarium conditions

Platy fish need an aquarium of about 80 liters , well planted and with a temperature between 20ºC and 26ºC. The pH of the water should be kept between 7 and 8.2.

They occupy the upper space of the aquarium, they
are surface swimmers, which is where they usually find their food.

The abundance of vegetation, among which surface plants must be included, is because they need some privacy, they are naturally somewhat shy fish.


The Xiphophorus maculatus is an omnivorous fish, it will accept any type of specific dry food, although its diet must include live or frozen insects, crustaceans and vegetables.

If the aquarium is shared with other species, we will be careful that they eat enough, since they are quite passive and will not fight for food.


It is a very peaceful species, they are not aggressive with any other species. We can see them moving throughout the day, almost non-stop.

They are a gregarious species, we
need to introduce a small group in the aquarium, so that the health conditions are optimal.

In this sense, at least three females should be introduced for each male, so that we will reduce the risk of rivalry between the males, which are usually faced by females during mating season.

Platy Compatible Fish

They live very well with fish with which they share size, temperament and require similar aquarium conditions. For example, they will be perfect with Mollys, Swordtail Fish or Guppys.

As it is a fish that swims on the surface,
you can look for others that use the rest of the aquarium, such as the corydoras that occupy the lower part.


The Xiphophorus maculatus reproduces easily, even in a community aquarium where it shares space with other fish.

For a higher success rate and although their young are not usually eaten, if we want to breed Platy fish we should separate the pairs at the time of spawning, and once it has occurred, remove the adult fish.

Another reason to maintain a breeding tank is that
in the previous days, the male is usually somewhat aggressive and can disturb other fish with his courtship.

The pregnant Platy will have a gestation period of between 4 and 6 weeks, to produce up to 80 fry in each laying.


It is rare that we find wild Platy fish for sale, the normal thing is that they are bred in captivity, within the different existing varieties, the most popular are:
Coral. Platy fish of red or orange color.
Sunset. Platy bicolor fish.
Wag-tail. Platy fish with one or two colors, except for the fins which are black.
Blue. Platy fish of bluish color, with some reflections in golden color.
Mickey. Platy fish with a tail fin in which we can find three black spots, slightly reminiscent of Mickey Mouse.
Tuxedo. Platy fish of different colors, but with a characteristic black stripe.
Kite.Platy fish with a tail fin clearly marked by two black stripes on the edges.
Spotted. Platy fish, which is also popularly called salt and pepper. Its body is covered with small black dots.
Moon. Platy fish that ranges from pink or orange to red. It has a round stain on its pendulum, in addition to bearing the Platy Mickey Mouse drawing, although without the stain on its rear fin.
Calico. Platy bicolor fish. One of the shades covers the front of the fish, and the other covers the back. The red and yellow Platy Calico are called sunset.
Pineapple. Platy fish yellow in its entirety, except for the brown head.

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