Platy care sheet

Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) 


Platys are peaceful, hardy, active and very colourful. In numbers they can effectively brighten up a dull, drab tank. They have a very inquisitive personality, and will explore all levels of the tank. They are also suited to Nano Tanks. 

Maximum Size:

Commonly around 4 – 6 cm in length, with females occasionally growing a little larger, up to a maximum of 8cm. 

Water Quality:

Temperature: 24°C – 28°C. · pH: 7.0—8.0 · General Hardness: 200—300 ppm. They prefer slightly alkaline water, but are generally able to tolerate a wide range of water qualities and quite hardy. 


The species has many colour varieties – red, black, blue, yellow, wagtail, tuxedo, neon, mickey-mouse and many more. 

Tank Set-Up:

An easily cared for fish that does well in all types of community aquaria. Give them a fairly large tank with live plants and open swimming areas. Avoid too much driftwood, because as a rule livebearers do not like acidic water. Although not a schooling fish they benefit by being kept with a large number of their own kind. 


Platys will eat most aquarium fish food and also graze on any algae growing within the aquarium. They will benefit from a varied diet, and we recommend the addition of Aquarium Industries Frozen Tropical Mix to add much needed variety and nutrients. They can also be kept in ponds outdoors (in warmer climates, northern states only) to control mosquito levels and algae levels. 


Platys are livebearers, meaning the female gives birth to fully formed, free swimming baby fish, about 30 days after fertilisation. Sexes can easily be distinguished; the anal fin of the male is modified to form the Gonopodium (the male sex organ). 


Platys are one of the best community tank species and will mix well with other community species.  

The Five Animal Welfare Needs

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 means all pet owners have a legal duty of care to their pets. Anyone who is cruel to an animal or is found not to be providing the five animal welfare needs, as listed below, can be fined and sent to prison.

Environment: Pets should be given the correct housing according to its size, this includes shelter, space to exercise. 

Diet: Pets should be offered the correct type and volume of food to cover all their nutritional needs alongside access to clean, fresh water and a secure, comfortable place to rest.

Behaviour: All pets should be allowed to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and should be provided with the facilities to do so.

Health: All animals should be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and given veterinary treatment if they become sick or injured.

Company: Some animals require the company of their own kind, whilst others should be kept on their own.