Rainbow Platy

Rainbow Platy

General Information
Scientific Name Xiphophorus maculatus
Minimum Water Size 10+ gallons (37.85+ liters)
Ease Of Care Easy
Average Lifespan 4 years
Temperament Peaceful
Approximate Adult Size 3 inches (7.62 centimeters)
Water Parameters 64-77 degrees Fahrenheit (17.77-25 degrees Celsius), 10-25 KH, 7.0-8.2 pH
Diet Omnivore
Native Region Central America to Mexico


Originating from Central America and the southern ends of Mexico, the platy is a fish that is slightly smaller than a molly but larger than a guppy. Platies are one of the many fish that are extremely ease to look after as they require no special care what so ever. Due to their size, many prefer platies over other livebears since they are towards the middle of their adult size ratio when compared to others. Due to their popularity, there are several different colorations and patterns that platies have been bred and sold under. Such colorations and patterns include but are not limited the mickey mouse tail (which has a literally mickey mouse head and ears near the tail but on the body), others that have an almost metallic appear from viewed at different angles, and even some that have been crossbred with their close family member the swordtail. Many common platies that are sold around the world have been at one point in time bred with a swordtail (either accidentally or on purpose) in order to increase the platy's size and/or to change the finage that they have.

Although platies in general are not classified to be schooling or shoaling fish, they do take great kindness towards other platies if they are present in the same water. Male platies however will require a minimum of at least 3 female platies in order to be happy, otherwise he will start to bully and try to mate with any other fish that is of moderate size. Getting multiple males will only create a more stressful situation for all of the fish, as they will constantly be trying to mate with each other and establish a strict hierarchy throughout their lifetime.


All platies are classified as being livebearers, which means that they give birth to living fry compared to others which will release eggs into the water column. In order to tell genders, we can look at the anal fin of this fish. All males will have a tube like fin (called a gonopodium), where as the female will have a more round fin along with a pregnancy spot near this fin. It is to be noted however, that it can be almost impossible to tell the gender if the fish has not reached full maturity yet since these various signs will not be fully present or easy to tell apart. Due to their various colorations and finages, it might be very hard to tell if the anal fin is actually just a fin or a gonopodium. Thus, in order to be fully sure one can place the fish with our platies and note their behaviour and interactions with the others. If they are following and trying to mate with the other platies, one can fully conclude that the given fish is a male and not a female.

The male platy will mate with any given female platy or swordtail within the same water, pregnant or not, and will release a type of sperm into the female. Shockingly, the female can hold a male's sperm for multiple months and is known to get pregnant, and release fry for up to 6 months without the help or addition of any males in the same water. The average gestation period for a female platy is anywhere between 28-34 days which is mostly dependent on the diet provided to the mother during the pregnancy. Once the fry have been released by the mother, there will be no parental care provided from either the father or mother. In most cases, the mother will eat the fry right after they have been born or shortly after.


In order to see the best coloration of any platy, it is suggest that you give them a varied diet which is mostly based upon algae, then a plant based food (mostly what flakes are made of), and then slightly a meaty food such as pellets or live foods. During a female's pregnancy, algae will help with increasing numbers of fry being produced along with a more stable health throughout their first few months.