Sunset Platy – Breeding Pair
Sunset Platy Fish
Platy fish belong to Xiphophorus genus and along with Mollies, Guppies and Swordfish are a member of the Poeciliidae family. Xiphophorus come from the Greek work ‘xiphos’ meaning sword and ‘pherein’ meaning carry.
Platy fish is a common name that refers to three species:
- the Southern Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus)
- the Variable Platy (Xiphophorus variatus)
- the Swordtail Platy (Xiphophorus xiphidium)
Nowadays, these fish are very common in the aquarium hobby and have been interbred to mix colors and fins shape. The Southern Platy and the Variable Platy are the most common species and have been interbred so much that now it’s difficult to distinguish between the different species.
The Southern Platy, also known as the Common Platy, was introduced to the aquarium hobby in 1907, while the Variable Platy was introduced later in 1932. The Variable Platy, as the name suggests, was named after its great color diversity.
The Swordtail Platy still remains a rare specimen. This fish is also called the Spike Tail Platy, due to the shape of its fins.
All Platies are hardy fish but have a relatively short life span. They live about three years; possibly five years if really well cared for.
You will easily find the Southern and Variable Platy for sale. The Swordtail however, is very difficult to come by.
Platy fish are small peaceful fish. Even though they are not considered shoaling or schooling fish, they are much happier when kept in a small group.
They are very active and love breeding.
Platies spend most of their time swimming in small groups in the middle of the water column, among the plants and hiding between the floating leaves.
They are not usually aggressive, but you might find that the males overwhelm the females if you don’t keep the right ratios (more on this later). Platy fish can jump! Remember to always keep the tank covered as they can jump out the tank.
Platy Fish Types
Platy fish are small, laterally flattened fish, with small short fins and a tail shaped like a fan.
There have been many hybrids and variations cross-bred from the Southern and Variable Platy. Occasionally, the rarer Swordtail Platy has also been interbred to create more variations in colors and fin shapes.
The Southern and Variable Platy are both quite short and sturdy, lacking the extended “sword” typical of the Swordtail Platy.
Platies colors vary a lot. A few popular colors are red, yellow, white, blue and green. Often, the different colorations were due to their natural habitat.
There are small size differences between the different species. Female Southern Platy fish reach up to 2.5 inches while the Variable Platy reaches 3 inches. Males are always slightly smaller than the females.
Popular breeds from the original strains of the Southern Platy are the Half-Moon, the Coral, the Comet, the Salt and Pepper, the Moon, the Blue Mirror and the Bleeding-Heart Platy.
Popular varieties from the Variable Platy are Redtail, Yellowtail, Sunset, Rainbow, Hawaii and the Marigold Platy.
The names speak for themselves and reflect the color/appearance of that particular fish.
What To Feed Them
Platy fish are not fussy eaters as long as you provide them with a diet which is high in vegetables.
In their natural habitat, they eat small crustaceans, worms, insects and plants. They are considered omnivorous fish, but prefer a herbivorous diet.
They will eat most food, live, commercially prepared and vegetable food. Choose a good quality flake food to form the core of their diet.
You can treat them once or twice a week by feeding them brine shrimp, tubifex and bloodworms. Proteins are good as long as there are always plenty of veggies. Boiled vegetables such as squash, spinach, cucumber and vegetable supplements such as spirulina are a good starting point.
Keep in mind that a diet which is rich in vitamins will produce the best coloration.
Try to feed your Platy small amounts of food several times per day.
Golden rule: try to feed them an amount that they can finish within 3 minutes.
How To Breed Platy Fish
Platy fish are also known as livebearing fish. These fish are known to keep the eggs inside their bodies until they’re ready to give birth to free swimming fry.
These fish are prolific breeders. You will not have to do much (just keep two fish of opposite sex in the same tank) in order for them to breed.
It’s quite difficult to determine opposite sexes until they reach maturity at about 4 months. At this point sexual dimorphism is quite obvious. Sexual dimorphism is the difference in size and appearance between the sexes of the same species.
Females are generally larger and plainer when they’re fully grown. Male Platies take a while to achieve their full coloration, and as they grow the anal fins take on a rod shape, which is known as their gonopodium (reproductive organ.)
Platy fish are likely to eat their fry, therefore, we suggest using a breeding tank of about 10-20 gallons with filtration.
If you’re set on breeding in the community aquarium, make sure you provide enough hiding spaces with dense plants so that the fish can find shelter.
Generally, females can have up to 80 fry. They are usually pregnant for around 24-30 days before giving birth to live young. They are born ready to swim and you can feed them egg yolk, dry food and specific food for fry.