Many fish keepers are worried about raising platies because of what they hear about their aggressive behavior, but—are platy fish aggressive?
Typically, platies aren’t aggressive. They aren’t territorial or bullies by nature. However, they may get aggressive under certain circumstances in their tanks.
Read on for more about platies’ aggressive behavior, its causes, and remedies.
Platies aren’t considered aggressive fish. In addition, no naturally aggressive species of platies has ever been reported.
Yet, we still commonly hear about platies’ aggression toward their tank mates. That’s mainly due to external factors that drive the fish to act that way, such as:
The tank size plays a pivotal role in the behavior of platies. Although this fish isn’t necessarily territorial, it prefers to have enough space in the aquarium.
For instance, a ten-gallon tank isn’t suitable for more than four or five platies. More than two would cause at least one of the fish to get aggressive toward others.
Even if you put your platies in a large tank, we still recommend that you watch their numbers. Don’t put many platies in the same tank.
An overcrowded aquarium may lead some of your platies to feel stressed. That can lead to aggression in the form of chasing, fin-nipping, or even fighting.
Sometimes, platy fish get aggressive due to the scarcity of resources. For instance, if your fish can’t get enough food, they may get territorial to dominate space and resources.
Therefore, you should always ensure that your platies have their basic requirements. That way, you prevent their aggression against each other.
Like many fish species, male platies get competitive with each other over the tank females. Every male wants to be the alpha male in the tank since that attracts females more.
When you put too many males in the same tank, they compete for reproductive urges. That’s why, you should pay attention to the number of males in the tank. Try to balance the ratio of males to females to avoid aggression.
Fin nipping is an example of platies’ aggressive behavior. Under certain circumstances, platies can chase and nip the fins of their tank mates.
Any stressful disturbance in the tank environment may cause fin-nipping and other aggressive behavior between platies.
Male platies don’t fight in regular circumstances. They show the same aggressive patterns of behavior as females with the addition of reproductive aggression.
In other words, males may get more aggressive than females, and even fight one another to win the female population of the tank.
Pay particular attention to these fights. They can get very serious, causing the injury or death of your fish.
Although platy males have a reputation for being more aggressive than females, females can also get aggressive under certain circumstances.
For instance, you may see the female platies in your tank chasing or nipping the fins of other fish. That can be due to the lack of space or scarcity of resources.
In addition, pregnant platy fish can, sometimes, show signs of aggression due to the additional stress of pregnancy and hormonal changes.
So, what should you do to stop an aggressive platy?
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this problem. Here are five measures to take to relieve the aggression of your platies.
Make sure that your tank has about three females for each male platy. That way, you can reduce the aggression of male platies competing over females.
In addition, that ratio helps maintain the health of your female fish. In other words, with more females in the tank, they won’t be approached too much by multiple males.
With a spacious tank, you may resolve two main problems. First, it’ll be large enough to allow the fish to swim freely.
Second, it’ll allow you to have a larger number of platies without getting overcrowded. We recommend at least a 20-gallon tank for your platies.
Believe it or not, you can reduce the aggression of platies by a simple play on decoration. For instance, if you add large decorations in your tank, you may break the platy’s line of sight, making it harder to see other fish in the tank.
In addition, if you redecorate the tank by moving items around, you change the familiar settings for the fish. That way, you reduce the territorial tension that may be the cause of the fish’s aggressive behavior.
Platies are voracious eaters, and they tend to get aggressive when there’s a lack of food. Therefore, adding live plants to your tank adds an extra food source to resolve this problem.
On top of that, live plants decrease the toxins and increase oxygen in water, which relieves stress. That, in turn, helps reduce aggressive behavior in platies.
If your platies’ aggression persists despite all your tries, it’s time for relocation. Remove the aggressive fish from this tank. A long period of aggression may cause stress to the bullied fish, making it more prone to disease.
Simply, move your bullies to a different aquarium. The further you get them from the older tank, the better it is for them to get over their aggressive behavior.
So, are platy fish aggressive?
Naturally, platy fish aren’t aggressive. However, from time to time, you might get a bully in your tank. That can be a result of several factors, including the tank’s size and population.
Interestingly, both males and females may show signs of aggression. However, males tend to get more aggressive in a crowded tank, especially with a small number of females around.
To avoid platies’ aggression, redecorate your tank, insert live plants, don’t overcrowd your tank, and put three females to every male.
Don’t worry about your platies, for no matter how aggressive they may get, there’s always a way to tame them.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.