For platyfish, you do not need any special arrangements for them to mate.  They are livebearer fish but breed through spawning and they breed quickly.  

Both genders will have to be kept together with normal tank conditions.  If you do not want them to breed you will need to keep them in separate aquariums.

How to Tell Male vs. Female

Male

  • They are smaller in size
  • The fin shape is pointed
  • They are energetic and often found teasing the female

Female

  • Larger in size
  • Rounder abdomen
  • Duller color
  • The anal fin is wider and fan-shaped

Platy Fish Mating

To get the platy fish to mate, all you need to do is put them in the same aquarium.  They will promptly breed if they feel their tank is safe and they have enough cover.  When they are four months old, they are mature enough to reproduce. 

The water in the tank should be 64 degrees Fahrenheit and then re-warmed slowly to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  This will recreate the natural breeding season they are used to.  It makes them aware of the wind and so they will instantly get ready to mate.

couple gold platy fish

Although they are livebearers, they also use spawning.  The male releases the sperm into the water close to the female.  The sperm (gametes) are directed towards the female’s fins which are pointed to toward the anal fine of males. 

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The male’s narrow fin will enforce the sperm to flow toward the inside of the female’s fins.  The female will then store the sperm within her body to continue the breeding process.  Once she has conceives the female platy can give birth to 20-40 fry at a time.  

Shortly after they spawn, the abdomen of the fish will increase in size.  It will also get an angular shape.  The gravid spot starts to develop in the center and will get larger as the offspring increases in size.  It will take about 28 days to give birth.

The Behavior of Mating Platy Fish

The males are usually aggressive with their sexual desire while the female stays calm.  It is suggested that you keep more female fish in the aquarium than males.  It will keep the pressure off the female fish as sometimes they can become the victim of the sexual aggression of the male.  You should try to keep the ratio of male to female to 1:3.

After they have mated you should move the male to another aquarium because they have a very powerful reproductive drive that could make them get aggressive towards the female even if they have just spawned.  Do not move the females to another aquarium because it will cause them stress. 

It could lead them to spontaneously abort.  The pregnant fish also requires a very clean tank in order to feel fresh.  The usual behavior of the platyfish does not change during their pregnancy.

platy plenty fish

Tank Conditions Conducive to Mating 

They will mate under normal tank conditions but if you want to give your platy a good life, make sure that the tank is big.  They cannot live inside a small tank happily.  Their lifespan will decrease and breeding will be affected if they have poor tank conditions. 

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For a single pair of platyfish, a five-gallon tank is okay but if you want to have three to four you will need to have at least a 10-gallon tank.  When you get ready to breed them, you should have a smaller aquarium for the male after they have bred.  

Keep the water between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 7.0-8.3.  You can install a filter in the tank for regular tank cleaning.  Make sure that you cover the fan with sponges so the fry does not get stuck inside of the fan.

Delivering Their Fry

After 28 days when they are ready to give birth, the fish will swim to a quiet clean part of the aquarium to give birth alone.  Once they are born they can eat and swim on their own.  At this time they should be moved to another aquarium before the adults eat them.  

Taking Care of the Fry

  • Safety:  A platy, both male and female, have no maternal instincts so they can eat their own babies.  If you want to keep the fry safe and survive, you need to separate them from the adults.  Put the little ones into their own aquarium until they are big enough to survive on their own.  They will grow quickly and in just one to two weeks, the body will enlarge and at this time they will be able to survive with adult platy fish.  They are still endangered of being eaten by the adult fish so you might consider waiting a little longer before putting them in with the adult.
  • Food:  The baby platy can be fed the same diet as the adults but you can keep some special care for the babies.  From the pet store, you can get some liquid fry food that will dissolve in the water.  You can also grind some normal fish food or egg yolk into powder form to feed to them.
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If you want to keep them in the same aquarium, you should buy a breeding trap or box and install it in the aquarium.  You would keep the adults in there and the little fry would be able to move in and out of the small holes to roam freely while the adults have to stay in the breeder trap.

Conclusion

  • Breeding is easy with platy as all you have to do is put a male and female together and they will usually breed.
  • The platyfish as easy to care for and low-maintenance making then easy to raise for inexperienced fish keepers.
  • They are generally no larger than two inches and the fries will be about one-fourth inch or less.   You may need to use a magnifying glass to see them so you can remove them.  Make sure that you look under rocks for them. Use a net to gently remove them from one tank to the other.
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