Max Size: 7.5cm

Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus, Xiphophorus variatus)

Platies are very popular in aquarium hobbies because of their peaceful nature, hardiness, and the fact that they are straightforward to look after. These fish are suitable for the beginner aquarist. Their dynamic behaviour and bright colours make them mesmerizing to watch, and they make excellent additions to both species-only and community tanks.

Though platies are not technically schooling fish, they fair much better when kept in groups because this makes them feel more confident.

It is advised to maintain Platies as a species only or with other community peaceful species similar in size and temperament to a Platy. Larger or more aggressive fish, particularly cichlids, tend to harass platies and other livebearers, resulting in unnecessary stress and potentially death.

Platy fish are small, laterally flattened fish with small short fins and a tail shaped like a fan. Their heads narrow to a point while their midsections widen out, giving them a pseudo-diamond shape. There are two Platy species, the Southern Platyfish and the Variatus Platy; both types have been interbred so much they are challenging to distinguish. It is believed that most platies available in the aquarium trade are hybrids of both species.

Platies are drab in colouration in the wild, lacking the distinctive dark lateral line and are olive in colour with black spots or marbling on the caudal peduncle's sides. Larger males show blackish blotches on the dorsal fin.

Several different colour variations have been developed in the aquarium hobby, such as reds, oranges, yellows, rainbow, whites and blues.


Sunset Hi-fin Variatus Platy
Hi Fin Platy
Quick Facts
Scientific NameXiphophorus maculatus, Xiphophorus variatus
Other NamesBumblebee, Calico, Coral Red, Golden, Mickey Mouse Platy, Moon Fish, Red Tuxedo Platy, Red Wagtail Platy, Salt and Pepper Platy, Southern Platyfish, Sunset Platy, Variatus Platy
OriginsGuatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan2 - 3 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH10 - 25
65 - 77℉
18.3 - 25℃


In the home aquarium, the Platies will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It's somewhat tricky to differentiate male from female Platies until they reach sexual maturity at around four months old. At this point, they become more distinct.

Males are slightly smaller and very colourful but take longer to achieve their full colouration than females. They also have a modified anal fin called gonopodium. In comparison, female platies are bigger, duller, advance more quickly and have fan-shaped fins.

Other Livebearers of interest

Cardinal Brachyrhaphis(Brachyrhaphis roseni)
Dusky Millions Fish(Phalloceros caudimaculatus)
Humpbacked Limia(Limia nigrofasciata)
Merry Widow Livebearer(Phallichthys amates)
Mollies(Poecilia Sphenops)
Spotted Skiffia Multipunctata(Skiffia Multipunctata)
View all Livebearers
Date Added: 18/02/2021 - Updated: 19/01/2022 14:55:28