- Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus and X. variatus
- Family: Cyprinodontidae
- Size: Female to 2 inches, males to 1½
- Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
- Alkalinity: around neutral pH, and moderate hardness
- pH: 6.6 to 7.2
- Origin: Mexico
The platy probably comes in more sizes, colors and finnage types than any fish available to hobbyists today. The fish farmers in Florida and the Far East (primarily Singapore and Hong Kong) are constantly coming up with different platy varieties. This is because the platy is a very easy fish to keep, is a good community tank inhabitant and breeds prolifically.
To give you an idea of the different types of platys available, they come in many shades of black, blue, red, orange and yellow. The platy can have a wagtail pattern (black on the tail), tuxedo (spots on the chest), and even something called the Mickey Mouse platy, with two dots at the base of the tail fin that look like someone decided to make the tail of the fish appear like the famous rodent. The finnages available include longfinned, swordtail, pintail and featherfin, to name a few.
All platies are commercially raised and are very different from the wild form of the fish. It is an excellent fish for a community tank and tolerant of most water conditions around neutral pH and moderate hardness. It usually does not bother other fish (except for being tempted to go after long trailing fins), is very hardy and will almost invariably produce babies. It eats any standard aquarium fare, but should have a high degree of vegetable matter in its diet. Put in some floating plants such as hornwort or water sprite, and one day you will most probably find baby platies hiding amongst the plants.