The platy is a very popular tropical freshwater aquarium fish which is also known as the southern platyfish, common platy or moonfish. It is native to North and Central America from Ciudad Veracruz, Mexico to northern Belize in Central America. It occurs in slow-moving waters of canals, ditches and warm springs with silt bottoms and weedy banks. It also inhabits creeks and swamps. It prefers water chemistry with pH of 7.0-8.0, a hardness of 10° to 25° dGH and temperature of 65°F – 78°F.
The southern platy is very popular freshwater tropical fish amongst the aquarium enthusiasts. It (Xiphophorus maculatus) was described by Günther in 1866. It belongs to the family Poeciliidae under order Cyprinodontiformes of class Actinopterygii. It is often called Moonfish because of a crescent shaped dark spot at the base of the caudal fin especially on the yellow colored ones. It is not listed in IUCN Red Data List as threatened species.
It is omnivorous and in wild its diet consists of plants and small crustaceans, insects and annelid worms. In captive condition it accepts commercially prepared flaked foods and algae, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, Tubifex and brine shrimp. It also likes to eat some vegetables like courgette, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, cooked peas or zucchini. Feed should be offered 2-3 times a day.
It is a very popular tropical fish for both the beginner and experienced fish keepers. They are active livebearers that do well in an active peaceful community tank. It is easy to care for and well suited for the freshwater fish beginner. It requires at least 10 gallons tank with live plants and open swimming areas. The tank should have good water chemistry with pH of 7.0-8.0, a hardness of 10° to 25° dGH and temperature that should be ranged from 65°F – 78°F. 25-50% water changes should be done every 2 -4 weeks. It needs more or less depending how many fish there are and the condition of the water. They are very peaceful fish and live peacefully with a wide variety of other fish. It can be housed with fish of similar temperament and size that have the same water chemistry requirements. Suitable tank mates include Guppies, Mollies and Swordtails, Angels, Catfish, Danios, Gouramis, Barbs, Betta, Chinese Algae Eater, Clown Loach, Corydoras Catfish, GloFish, Large Tetras, Mollies, Plecostomus, one Red Tailed Shark, Silver Hatchet, Swordtails, White Clouds etc.
Platy is livebearer and easily breeds in community tank. The breeding tank should be 10 to 20 gallons in size with gentle filtration and dense vegetation. More than one female should be kept with each male to reduce the stress on females from harassment by the male in aquarium. The young platy reaches sexual maturity at four months of age and they can quickly overpopulate an aquarium. Female becomes pregnant when she develops a gravid spot on her abdomen. The gestation period is about 24 to 30 days. Mature female platys give birth once every 4-6 weeks and each brood contains up to 80 fry. The fry accept brine shrimp nauplii or powdered flake and grow very quickly if it is fed 2-3 times a day.
It is easy to make difference between the male and female. The female is generally larger with less vibrantly colored than the male. Females have a fan-shaped anal fin, wide bellies with a dark gravid spot while males have a rod-like structure in anal fin which is known as gonopodium. Males also have a more pointed caudal fin.
The platy is one of the most popular aquarium fish among the aquarium enthusiasts. It is active, very hardy and breeds readily in the home aquarium. This fish is available in online pet shops just about everywhere with very reasonable price. If you buy your fish online from home look below online vendor and ask them details about fish that I would recommend from.
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