Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus)
The Platy is a popular live-bearer that originates in Central America but is now commercially bred. Platies are easy to care for; they breed readily, and grow quickly. They come in many different colours. Females are a bit bigger than males, but that is their only noticeable difference. They don’t have a very long lifespan, but will live for up to three years if well cared for. As with guppies, if you keep a mixed tank, you will soon be overrun with babies, but as there are no marked differences between male and female as far as appearance goes, there is no real reason to do that, unless you are keen to breed them. If you do, then be sure to keep at least three females to each male, to prevent the females becoming overly pestered. A well planted tank will provide fry with hiding spaces, as, like other live-bearers, platies are not brilliant parents, in that they tend to see their offspring as lunch.
Platies will eat a range of foods including flakes, frozen, live and freeze dried foods. They’ll also appreciate the odd vegetable treat such as courgette, plus occasional daphnia or brine shrimp.
Size (fully grown): around 6cm (2.5″) for female; 4cm (1.5″) male.
Water temperature: 20 – 26C
Water pH: 7 – 8.5