The brightly colored Platy fish are very popular because they have everything going for them!

Start with all the colors of the rainbow, add great durability and a touch of personality, and you have a fish that can’t be beat. These are great community fish and such easy breeders that it’s hard, if not impossible, for them not to have babies. These easy keepers are fun fish for beginners, and can be enjoyed by all aquarists.

Two types of Platies were common in the hobby early on. These are the Southern Platy Xiphophorus maculatus, also known as Common Platy or Moonfish, and the Variable Platyfish Xiphophorus variatus. Over the years, these fish have been intensely hybridized with each other as well as the Swordtail, so that getting a true bred fish today is rare.

Interbreeding has produced a plethora of beautiful variations, giving the aquarist a wide selection to choose from. With the exceptions of purple, Platies today come in just about all colors and mixtures of colors.

southern platyfish
Image Credit: mutsu7211, Shutterstock

Color and fin shapes vary wildly and it is hard to distinguish separate species. But in general, if the male has a sword-shaped tail they are called swordtails, otherwise they are called a platy.

Platies are some of the most peaceful fish available and make excellent companions in a community aquarium. They don’t look for trouble with other tankmates and enjoy swimming in loosely grouped schools. They are active, very hardy, and will breed readily. Because they stay small, males especially, they are suitable for even small aquariums. Ten gallons will work fine for a small group, but keep in mind that they are very prolific and can quickly overpopulate an aquarium. A larger tank may soon be needed!

Learn more about these incredible livebearer fish. See pictures and information for the Southern Platyfish Xiphophorous maculatus, Moonfish, Variatus Platy, along with their habitat and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Featured Image Credit: Andrej Jakubik, Shutterstock