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Platy Fish Care 101 (Beginner’s Guide)

Platy Fish Care 101 (Beginner’s Guide)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Platies are one of the easiest fish to care for. They’re hardy and come in different colors.

These fish are ideal for beginners because they don’t need a lot of water maintenance. You can set their aquarium up for cheap as well!

To help you get started, we compiled this quick platyfish care guide.

Our guide discusses everything you should do to keep your pets healthy and happy. We’ll cover tank layout, feeding, breeding, and diseases you need to look out for.

Don’t worry if you have no experience. Just follow these platies fish care procedures, and you’ll get rewarded with a beautiful tank!

Platyfish Info

Platy fish are tropical freshwater fish that grow up to two inches long. They have a calm temperament, which makes them compatible with other species.

There are a variety of platyfish patterns. The most popular are the red wag platyfish and the green lantern platyfish.

No matter which variety you get, with the right tank conditions, platyfish can live for up to four years!

Platyfish Supplies: What You Need

These are the platyfish care products you should invest in.

Platyfish Tank Setup

Here are the ideal tank conditions for platyfish.

1 – Population

Platyfish are social animals that do well in groups of six or more. It’s best if there are many females and only one male to avoid fighting.

You can tell the difference between males and females by observing the anal fins. This is the fin below the belly.

Male platyfish have pointy anal fins, while female platyfish have fan-shaped anal fins. Moreover, males are smaller than females.

2 – Tank Size

When it comes to tank size, the larger it is, the better for your fish. The minimum aquarium size for a group of six platies is 10 gallons.

If you plan on breeding these fish, you should get a 30-gallon tank. A tank this size gives the fry adequate space to hide.

For those who don’t have much space for a large aquarium, you may house two female platyfish in a five-gallon tank.

3 – Lighting

Some studies show that exposure to white light helps platyfish grow heavier. Note that excessive light may still harm them.

Our tip is to go for an adjustable full-spectrum LED light. It’ll allow you to see if any of your fish have health issues.

Not only that, but it also brightens up your tank and lets your aquatic plants thrive.

4 – Substrate

Why should you have gravel in your aquarium? For one, it’s a natural filter!

Beneficial bacteria live in the gravel and reduce the ammonia in the water. The gravel is also where your aquatic plants take root.

You may want to go for black gravel for better contrast against the colors of platyfish.

5 – Plants and Decor

Aquatic plants or even plastic decorations provide safe spaces for female platyfish to hide from the male. Baby platyfish may also use the vegetation as a cover from the adults.

Moss, floating plants, and fine-leafed plants are all ideal for platyfish.

However, you should ensure that the surface doesn’t have too many obstructions. Platies love to swim around the top part of the aquarium!

Water Parameters

Water quality has a direct impact on your platyfish’s well-being. You should take care to watch the water parameters to ensure that conditions are optimal.

It’s vital to replace 10 to 25% of the water within your tank every two to four weeks.

Yet, there are other parameters to track as well.

1 – Salinity

Salt in the water sometimes has a positive effect on platyfish. Studies show that it can relieve stress in adult platies.

Additionally, aquarium salt is a tool many people use to treat diseases and address parasites in platyfish. You may use rock salt as long as it doesn’t have iodine.

A good ratio is one teaspoon of salt per five gallons of water. Platyfish can stay in this salt water for up to three weeks at a time!

Beware that salt content is harmful to juvenile platyfish. It’s best to only use it on adults!

2 – pH

The ideal pH for platies is between pH 7 to pH 8. Tap water doesn’t have a constant pH, which is why you should invest in pH test kits.

When replacing the water or transferring platyfish from one tank to another, you should always check the pH. This is because sudden changes could be fatal for these fish!

It’s ideal to test your water every two weeks. You may test pH every time there’s a sick or dead fish as well.

3 – Optimal Temperature

Platies are tropical fish that thrive in water with a temperature of 65°F to 77°F all year round.

Fluctuations in temperature happen if your tank is near a window or fireplace. Sudden changes can harm your fish!

You should be careful when replacing their water. Fresh water must be at the same temperature as the tank water.

Moreover, if you live in a cold area, you most likely need a heater in your tank.

4 – Oxygen Level

The natural oxygen in water isn’t enough to sustain your platyfish. The warm water in the aquarium holds less air than cold water does.

Moreover, algae, overcrowding, and dirty water all decrease dissolved oxygen. You should know the signs indicating that your fish aren’t getting enough air.

If you notice them trying to breathe on the surface, it’s a clear signal you should install an air pump and air stone in your tank.

Having aquatic plants may also help increase the oxygen levels in the water.

5 – Filtration

Having a filter is one of the best ways to keep your tank spotless.

It’s necessary to check and clean the filtration system daily. Moreover, you should replace the filter media once a month.

Doing this will cut the risk of disease spreading in the aquarium.

6 – Water Hardness

Hardness or dH is the measure of calcium and magnesium in water.

The ideal dH for platyfish is between 9 and 19. This means that the water is in the softer range.

Unfortunately, the water hardness in the United States is different depending on location. It’s best to test your water with a kit.

Platyfish Food and Feeding Times

You should feed your platyfish one to three times daily. Don’t let their food sit in the water for more than two minutes, or they might overeat!

If your fish make long strips of feces, it means you’re giving too much food. You may want to reduce the number of times you’re feeding them in a day.

Don’t worry, your fish won’t die of starvation. Platyfish are resilient and can survive without food for up to a week!

What to Feed Your Platies

The ideal meal for platyfish is fish flakes, pellets, insects, worms, and brine shrimp. It doesn’t matter if your fish food is floating or sinking.

You may give them veggies and hard-boiled eggs as a treat.

Platyfish also graze on algae growing in the tank. This is why they’re great animals for keeping aquariums clean!

Platyfish Breeding and Birth

Platyfish are live-bearing fish that can multiply rapidly if kept unchecked. They can start giving birth at four months old.

Females can have 10 to 40 fry every month. You can tell that a platyfish is about to give birth by the size of its belly.

If you want to give the platy fry a high chance of survival, you may transfer pregnant fish into a separate tank. That’s because adult platyfish hunt and eat baby platies!

Another way to save the young platyfish is by putting them into a breeding box. You may also have plenty of plants that serve as hiding places.

Baby Platyfish Care

You can feed your baby platyfish some finely ground fish flakes a few days after their birth. You may do this two to three times a day.

Buy gentle sponge filters designed for young fish to prevent them from getting sucked in. Changing your water daily is possible as well.

Never release excess baby platyfish into waterways!

They’re a resilient species with the potential to negatively impact local wildlife. Platyfish can turn into pests that are difficult to eradicate.

Platyfish Diseases and Treatment

Being in a tank means that diseases could spread within the community. Because of this, you should be aware of the different types of illnesses your fish could get.

1 – Fin Rot

If there are black spots and frayed portions on your platies’ fins, it could be a sign of fin rot. It happens if your fish are fighting and there are harmful bacteria in the water.

To address the issue, quickly quarantine the sick fish. You should also check your water parameters and replace dirty water.

2 – Infection and Open Sores

Cloudy eyes, redness, and open sores are signs of infection in fish!

To treat this, you may prepare a salt bath by mixing one teaspoon of salt in five gallons of water. Let infected platyfish stay in this water for up to three weeks.

You can also use medicated water instead of salt.

3 – Parasites

Parasites cause weight loss and loss of appetite in platyfish. It could lead to death if left untreated.

Your fish could get parasites from crowded conditions, or if they get stressed in a dirty aquarium.

If your platy has pale white feces and it isn’t eating, it could be a sign that it has parasites. You may treat it with an antiparasitic drug or a salt bath.

4 – Cottonmouth

Cottonmouth happens when a white cottony substance grows on your platy’s body and gills. This fish disease is caused by bacteria in the water.

Treatment involves exposing the fish to a temperature colder than usual. A temp of 72°F should prevent the bacteria from growing.

Quarantining the sick fish, cleaning the tank, and medication may also help.

Platyfish Ideal Tank Mates

Platies do well in aquariums with other types of fish. Here are some of the best tank mates for platyfish.

  • Guppies
  • Swordtails
  • Tetras
  • Mollies
  • Rainbowfish

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Platyfish Need a Heater?

Yes! Because platyfish are tropical, they need warmer water than other species. As we mentioned before, the optimal temperature for them is 65°F to 77°F.

Platyfish are sensitive to drastic changes in temperature. Having a heater will prevent fluctuations that could harm the fish.

Do Platyfish Need a Filter?

Yes, platyfish need to have a filter in their aquarium.

Ammonia and nitrites come from fish waste and leftover food. It could turn the tank toxic if left uncleaned.

Filters remove dangerous chemicals and waste particles from the environment. Some filters are also home to beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia from the water.

Can Platyfish Survive In a Pond?

Yes! Platies are great fish for controlling mosquitoes in artificial ponds.

You can transfer your platyfish to your outdoor pond in the summer. However, you need to bring the fish indoors during the cold months.

Never put platyfish into natural ponds, as they can disrupt the native species!

Final Thoughts

Platies are fish that you can grow without much trouble. All you have to do is watch your water parameters and buy them the appropriate tank.

Knowing the common diseases and the feeding methods helps keep your fish healthy.

If you follow the right platies fish care procedures, you can surely enjoy a happy community tank!

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