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Livebearers / Poeciliidae / Platy

Platy, Moonfish
Xiphophorus maculatus

Synonyms: Platypoecilus maculatus, P. nigra, P. pruba, P. pulchra
Physical description: A laterally compressed fish with and upturned mouth. The body may be elongated and the caudal fin in generally fan-shaped. The original form had a dark brown-olive back with bluish flanks. The flanks are often marked with two to five transverse stripes. The belly is whitish. Most Platies now available are selectively produced.
Size/Length: Males to 1.5" (4 cm), females to 2.3" (6 cm)
Similar species: Other Xiphophorus species
Habitat: Inhabits rivers on the Atlantic slope of Central America; Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras
S: middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 20" (51 cm) with a capacity of 10 gallons (38 L) is suggested. Use well-planted areas and maybe a cover of floating plants to serve as refuge for fry.
Water chemistry: pH 7-8.3 (7.4), 10-28 dH (18); 68-79°F (20-26°C)
Social behavior: A peaceful community fish. Adults may consume fry, although not as often as other Xiphophorus species.
Suggested companions: Poecilia , Colisa , Corydoras , tetras which can tolerate harder, more alkaline water, Loricarids.
FOOD: Flakes; small pellets; occasionally algae; live; insects, insect larvae, worms, brine shrimp
SEX: Males are smaller with a gonopodium.
Breeding techniques: This species is sexually mature at four months. As many as 80 fry are born after a gestation period of four to six weeks. The fry should be protected from the adults.
Breeding potential: 2. An easily bred species.
Remarks: There are numerous cultivated varieties available: Wag tail, red, Moon, blue, Coral, gold, Tuxedo, Mirror, Mickey Mouse, Comet, and black. X. maculatus had been crossed with X. helleri.
Difficulty of care: 2. A hardy fish suitable for a beginner. If this fish dies, first test the pH to be sure that it is not below 7.0.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com