How To Breed Platy Fish | Platy Fish Life Cycle [Step By Step Guide]

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Platy fish are the groups of fish that consist of different variants of fish form the genus Xiphophorus. Platy fish are great tropical fish for your aquariums, which adds color to your tank and adds movement in your aquarium tank throughout the water column. They include a wide variety of fish having different colors and body shapes too. It is chiefly divided into:

  • Xiphophorus maculates: which is commonly known as the southern Platy fish.
  • Xiphophorus variatus: or also known as the variable Platy fish.
  • Xiphophorus xiphidium: or widely known as the swordtail Platy fish.

Many breeders and fish hobbyists interbreed and cross breed these fish to produce fish with different colors and desired body shapes resulting in tens and hundreds of varieties of different breeds of Platy fish.

Sexual Difference Between Male Platy Fish and Female Platy Fish

Differentiating the male Platy fish from the female Platy fish is very easy. There are a few many tale-tell signs to identify a female Platy fish or a male Platy fish. In general, male Platy fish are brighter and more colorful; however, this is not the assumption you should that you should follow to sexually differentiate Platy fish. The sure-fire way to sex them is to check their anal fin. Male Platy fish has a long slender anal fin, which functions as the secondary sexual organ.

Female platyfish has a triangular-shaped anal fin. You also can differentiate them by their body shapes. Male Platy fish tends to have a slender body while the female counterparts have a rounder body. And almost all the time, the male Platy fish are smaller than the female Platy fish. However, swordtail Platy fish are easily differentiated. The males have a longer sword-shaped tail, and the female swordtails don’t.

If you are more interested in the sex determination of Platy Fish, you can find about it in great detail on this research paper.

Breeding Platy Fish – Process

Platy fish are very easy to breed. You can easily breed a colony of Platy fish just by adding a male and female Platy fish in a tank with some hiding spaces for the fry. There are no specific requirements for Platy fish to breed. You do not need any special types of equipment; neither have to perform any specific procedures to breed Platy fish. Almost 99% of Platy fish are fertile, meaning that the Platy fish can give birth to a new fish fry. Platy fish will breed anywhere and everywhere regardless of the type of the tank setup.

However, you should maintain your aquarium with a lot of live or fake plants, artificial caves, driftwoods, and other aquarium decorations to add spaces for the fish fry to hide. This will make your tank look more attractive, And it will also help you to increase the rate of survival of the plants.

You can always put in some more effort in breeding Platy fish. These extra efforts will increase the number of fries in your tank. The survival rate of the fish fry will also skyrocket. If you want to breed Platy fish more efficiently, you should keep these things in mind.

Reproductive Period

The life span of Platy fish is around 3 to 4 years, so to sustain themselves in their natural habitat, they reach their sexual maturity pretty quickly in comparison to other fish. They start breeding from 6-8 weeks from birth, and this reproductive period lasts up to death. At once, they can give birth to 20-40 fry at a time, depending on their size and age.

Mating Process

The mating process is quite simple and doesn’t last long; the male Platy fish court the female fish and chase after the fish and fertilization of the eggs occur inside the body of the female Platy fish. The mating process takes place within 5-7 minutes. Once fertilization takes place, the development of eggs takes place.

The interesting fact about Platy fish and other livebearers are that they can constantly give birth to fry for one to two years, even if they’re not allowed to mate for this period. So once fertilization takes place, they can produce fry up to 2 years without having a male Platy fish in the tank.

Platy fish are polygamous, which means that one Platy fish can have multiple sexual partners to breed in a time. The female Platy fish tend to breed with the most dominant male Platy.

Gestation Period

The gestation period of Platy fish is around 20-25 days. Various factors decide the period of the gestation period. Primarily the age of fish decides the duration of the gestation period. However, the temperature, pH, and GH of the water in the tank also contribute to the period of gestation. The short period of gestation allows the Platy fish to breed rapidly, and thus, every 30-35 days, Platy fish gives birth to a new batch of fish fry.

How to Spot a Pregnant Platy

Spotting pregnant Platy is a quite easy job; pregnant Platy is slightly stressed at times and does not move or swim as much as other fish in the tank. As they get closer to their parturitions period, it tends to get more stressed. These are some subtle signs of a pregnant Platy fish.

You can also tell if a Platy fish is pregnant by inspecting their stomach. Their stomach becomes rounder and larger. The shape of the stomach of pregnant Platy fish changes from a round shape to a rather boxy shaped. The gravid spot becomes more prominent and darker. With the days passing, you can also see small dark black dots appearing in the gravid spot, which is a developing eye of the developing fry inside the fish.

If you spot any of these symptoms, there are high chances of your Platy fish being pregnant.

Parturition Process

The process of giving birth is known as the parturition process. This process can be pretty stressful for the fish; however, you can do various things to reduce the stress for the pregnant fish. Adding a lot of hiding spaces, dense, bushy plants, and removing other fish allow the pregnant Platy fish to give birth to fish fry without much stress. This also increases the rate of survival rate of Platy fish fry drastically as the fish fry can hide it under the leaves and plants to protect it from the parents. It usually lasts for a few hours.

Caring of the Fry

The fish fry is born with a yolk sac and is almost free swimmers. The fry spends the first couple of hours of its life by consuming the yolk sac, and after it completely consumes the yolk sac, they start exploring the tank in search of foods. Platy fish are known to eat their fry, so it is better for you to feed the parent fish with plenty of food to prevent them from munching on the newborn fries. If you want a higher rate of survival of fry, you’ll be better off removing the parent Platy fish after they give birth to the fry.

You also can raise the fry in a separate enclosure or tank to ensure their safety or let them live by the rules of nature in the same tank with their parents. There are many options in the market like the breeding cage and isolation cage to separate the fish fry from their parents but still keeping it in the same tank.

How Often Do Platy Fish Breed

Platy fish are some of the easiest fish to breed. It is not only because they breed on their own. It is also because they produce a large brood at once and also tend to breed frequently. The gestation period of the Platy fish lasts for 25 days, and after they give birth to the fry. The female Platy fish is again impregnated within a week. This rapid breeding time makes it a suitable fish for most of the fish keepers and fish breeders. In its lifetime, a single Platy fish produces about 800-1000 fries.


Crossbreeding is a process of breeding two different fish to get a new specimen of fish. People do this to get new varieties of fish. Crossbred fish are also known as hybrid fish. Some of the more common crossbred fish are Flowerhorns, Super red texas, Parrot cichlids, Hybrid tiger shovelnose. We fishkeepers have a mixed feeling about crossbreeding fish.

I would not try crossbreeding. I’m against crossbreeding. Crossbreeding different fish will cause different complications in the fish. Some of the more common complications are decreased lifespan, poor gastrointestinal function, and most of the crossbred fish are infertile as well.

Why do People Crossbreed?

People have been trying to crossbreed Platy fish with Molly fish for a long time. And it has been a never-ending debate if they crossbreed of not. Various forums say that it is impossible, but there are some groups of people who said that they were successfully able to crossbreed Platy fish with Molly fish. The chances of successfully breeding these fish are very thin. And even if you’re able to successfully breed the two fish, the chances of the offspring (f1) being fertile is meager. And with the upcoming generation, fertility will be lost entirely.

I would suggest you not try to crossbreed Platy fish with any other fish. If you are into breeding fish, I would suggest you line breed for better coloration of the Platy fish or better body shape and stronger fins.


Platy fish are some of the best-looking fish for its size. They breed as easily as guppies and increase their population quite a bit in no time. You can find almost any color of Platy fish if your search for it. These fish are quite fun to keep as they are beautiful, and watching them grow from just born fish to an adult fish is pretty awesome.

If you’re into breeding fish, I’d suggest you keep and breed any variety of Platy fish. You can also line breed the fish to make your stain and name it. I’m pretty sure that there is one for you out there.

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