(Xiphophorus Maculatus)
Alternate Names:
Also alternatively named by color variation


(Xiphophorus Maculatus)

Size: 2.5 inches

Temp Range: 72°F to 80°F

pH Level: 7.0 to 8.3

Lifespan: 3 to 5 years

Tank Size: 10 gallons

Diet: Pellet, Flake, Frozen

Difficulty: Easy

Geographic History

These little breeders come from the east coast of Central America and Southern Mexico.


It is important to note that Platys are very sensitive to ammonia and should only be added to an established aquarium. These are not good candidates for cycling your tank.

They love open water swimming so keep plenty of space in the middle of your fish tank. Provide tall plants along the sides and rear of your aquarium for cover.


These little guys will form a "pecking order" and the lead male will chase other males as well as females. The males may show aggression to other male Platys and fish of the same size when there are to few females in the aquarium. Keeping three to four females for each male reduces the chance of aggression.

These little guys get along great with other species of Livebearers. Large Cichlids should not be kept with them though. They make a great meal for fish like Jack Dempsey and Oscar.


Females are generally larger than the males. They have fatter bellies with a dark gravid spot. The females also have a fan shaped anal fin. The anal fin on males is very narrow and rod like. It is used during spawning to impregnate the females.


These active little fish spend a good amount of time grazing on algae and nibbling plants. They don't shoal, but they are less aggressive and happier in large numbers of their own kind. These are active little swimmers and they are constantly on the go.

Be sure that you have several females for each male. After the males establish an order of dominance, the lead male will chase the females relentlessly. Without many females to spread this behavior around, all your females will be stressed to death with constant spawning behavior.


Platys will breed in a community aquarium if there are plenty of tall plants for cover. The females carry the eggs inside their bodies and give birth to live, swimming fry. You will be able to see a dark gravid spot inside the belly of the female when she is pregnant. They will also spawn with Swordtails and create hybrid fish.

If your aquarium has many fine leafed plants, the fry will hide among them and many will survive. The parents and other fish will eat the fry, but you may need the crowd control. The females give birth to hundreds of fry at a time and can continue to do so every few days after one spawning. The females will store sperm after a single spawning to fertilize eggs for many weeks.

If you have a dedicated breeding tank, you should remove the male after spawning occurs. Use a small tank divider to keep the female away from the fry and she will have another batch in a few days. It may be hard to isolate her again, so remove the female after the second set of fry are born.

Fry are born free swimming and will feed on crushed flake and baby brine shrimp. Keep excellent water quality by doing 10% daily water changes, being careful not to suck the fry out with the old water. Be prepared for hundreds of juvenile Platys if you breed these fish outside of a community tank.

For more information, go to Wikipedia's Platy page.

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