Selecting fish for your community tank can be a daunting task.
You shouldn’t choose fish and other aquatic animals depending on how they will look with one another. But you should focus on what each species will add to the tank and how it can live harmoniously with the others.
This is why you might be wondering about choosing between platies and guppies. What is the difference between them?
Can the two species live together? Will platies and guppies fight in the same tank?
We’ll answer every question you have regarding platies and guppies in this article. So, keep reading to learn more about this topic.
Platies and guppies are two popular breeds among aquarists who want to add new individuals to their community tanks.
Both fish are hardy, active, and fun to watch. As a matter of fact, they share several similarities, like water requirements and dieting needs.
But several differences set the two species apart.
Some less experienced aquarists might think that some types of guppies look similar to platies.
But this is because guppies are selectively bred to promote specific colors and tail shapes.
Generally, guppies can be 2.5 inches long, and the males are usually smaller than the females. They typically have brighter colors and more patterns on their bodies and fins to attract the females.
Guppies are livebearers and can produce fry every month. So, if you have guppies in your tank, you can expect to have a lot more within a year unless other fish or aquatic animals attack them.
Aquarists divide guppies into categories based on body color, pattern, tail shape, and tail pattern.
Platies look similar to some guppies, but they’re larger, reaching a length of 3 inches. Their bodies are more compact, and their fins are smaller.
And just like guppies, the males tend to be a little smaller than the females.
Unlike guppies, platies can display various color varieties, but their fin size and shape stay the same. Some platies come in solid colors, while others have interesting patterns.
Guppies should be part of a group and thrive when the water temperature is around 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is ideal for most tropical fish.
You can keep up to 10 fish in a 20-gallon tank unless you have very active guppies.
They don’t need a lot of swimming space, but you should consider the requirements of other fish if you’re adding them to a community tank.
Guppies might be attacked in an overcrowded tank. In this case, they will hide and might become sick because of stress.
Platies are social fish like guppies, so they should be kept in groups.
They prefer the temperature to be slightly colder, so the ideal water temperature should be between 64 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re keeping both types together, you should find a sweet spot that suits both breeds.
But they need more space, so you can keep between five and six fish in a 20-gallon tank. They become pretty aggressive when they don’t have enough space.
Guppies are omnivorous and can feed on different plant and animal matter types. You should provide them with high-quality pellets, flakes, frozen meals, and veggies to keep them healthy.
It’s essential to provide your guppies with food twice daily and not overfeed them because they tend to overeat.
They’re full if you see them spitting some of the food.
Platies also tend to overeat, so avoid overfeeding them, as it can make them sick. Moreover, it can increase the ammonia levels in your tank and harm other creatures.
These fish are algae eaters, so they will help keep the tank clean. You can add some spirulina to their diet if there aren’t enough algae.
They also enjoy feeding on bloodworms and brine shrimp. They might attack cherry shrimp if you keep them in the tank.
Guppies are among the most prolific community tank fish. The female produces fry monthly, getting more efficient as it ages.
This means that the number of guppies in your tank will multiply fast and can get out of control.
Female guppies can keep the male sperm in their bodies for up to 12 months. So, if you see your female fish producing fry without getting in contact with any male, don’t be surprised.
Guppies are livebearers, so they keep the eggs inside their bodies. When their bellies get swollen, it’s time to release the fry.
If you want to keep the baby guppies, keep the mother in a nursing tank, and remove it once it releases fry.
The freshly born fry have no chance of survival in the main community tank, as the larger fish, including guppies, will feed on them. The mother guppy will eat the baby fish as soon as they’re born unless kept away.
In this case, only very few guppies will be able to survive.
Platies are also prolific breeders, yet not as impressive as guppies.
Female fish can store male sperm for up to six months and are livebearers.
Adult platies will feed on the young fry upon spawning, so keep the mother in a nursing tank and remove it after birth.
It’s hard to tell the difference between guppy and platy fry upon spawning. But within one month, you might be able to do so.
Guppy fry tends to be duller and smaller. Most of the fry is gray, and the fish will change color as they mature.
Platy fry tends to be orange or blue. It’s also bigger and fuller.
Guppies and platies are social and docile if you keep them in an appropriate tank.
They like living in groups and will tolerate various tankmates.
Guppies tend to be more timid and tolerate being in a smaller space than platies.
Platies, on the other hand, need more space. They can get overly aggressive and bite other platies or any other fish when they’re stressed in a crowded or small tank.
You can follow a few tips to keep your guppies and platies docile and friendly.
- You don’t need more than one or two males in your tank, as they can mate with various females. Males tend to be more aggressive and will fight over everything.
- It’s best to maintain a ratio of 1:3 of male to female fish in your tank to reduce aggression.
- Provide plenty of hiding spots by adding plants, driftwood, caves, rocks, and tubes so fish can hide in case of aggression.
Guppies can live between two and three years, but most fish will only live for two years.
Platies can live a little longer, reaching the age of four, only if you provide good care.
You can do several things to extend the fish’s life and keep them healthy.
- Provide fish with diverse, high-quality food.
- Don’t over or underfeed your fish.
- Keep the tank clean and maintain healthy water parameters.
- Have a reliable filtration system.
- Provide plenty of hiding places by growing plants and adding caves and tubes. This will mimic the fish’s natural habitat and keep them happy.
- Avoid adding aggressive, territorial, or large tankmates that can stress or attack your fish.
- Pay attention to any sign of illness and treat or remove the sick fish before the infection spreads in your tank.
Guppies and platies can live together in harmony.
They’re good tankmates and will also get along with other species in a community tank, including swordtails, mollies, cory catfish, and zebra danio fish.
Other species, like neon tetras, can also live with these peaceful fish as long as you have enough space for everyone. Plenty of hiding spots will guarantee that your guppies and platies can live peacefully.
Guppies and platies might look similar, but they don’t belong to the same breed. They belong to the same Poeciliidae family, but both species can’t mate.
Guppies and platies can be excellent tankmates in the right conditions.
Both breeds are friendly and docile when kept in a large tank providing enough swimming space for every fish.
They get along together because they share some feeding and water requirements. They’re also both livebearers.
Yet, it’s easy to tell the two species apart because platies are bigger. They also have a distinctive shape, whereas guppies have more shapes and variations.
Platies need more space than guppies and will attack one another and other fish in the tank if it’s too crowded.
Guppies produce more fry, even without the presence of males. They should be provided with enough hiding places, or they will be too stressed in a busy tank.
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.