- Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus
- Other Names:Golden Moon Platy, Moonfish, Common Platy
- Family: Poeciliidae
- Origin: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
- Adult Size: 1 – 2 inches (3.5 – 5 cm)
- Social: Peaceful, suitable for community tank
- Tank Level: Mid dweller
- Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallon
- Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
- Breeding: Livebearer
- Care: Easy
- pH: 7.0 – 8.2
- Hardness: 10-25 dGH
- Temperature: 64-77 F (18-25 C)
The fish itself may be pale yellow to gold, red to orange, or even bluish in color. The fins may range from pale yellow to red or black tinged. Despite the color variations, all are the same species of fish.
Like all live bearing fish, males and females exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females have externally visible physical differences. Females are generally larger, and sometimes are less vibrantly colored than the male. Males are easily recognized by the presence of the gonopodium.
Like other platys the Mickey Mouse Platy tolerate a wide range of conditions, and are suitable for even small aquariums. They will graze on vegetation, so keep that in mind if you have live plants. The ideal substrate is small to medium sized and darker in color, which also servers as a good contrast to show off the pretty colors of this fish
Water conditions are not critical. Alkaline water of moderate hardness is ideal, which is very similar to most city tap water. The temperate of a typical community tank, 76-78 degrees F, will do quite nicely for the Mickey Mouse Platy.
Virtually any food will be accepted by the Mickey Mouse Platy, including the standard flake foods. A varied diet including plenty of vegetable matter, will insure good health. Fresh produce such as lettuce, spinach, cooked peas or zucchini, will be readily accepted. In lieu of fresh veggies, try spirulina.Live foods, such as brine shrimp, glassworms and bloodworms, are a good supplement. Frozen or freeze dried varieties of the same foods are a good alternative.
The Mickey Mouse Platy is sexually mature as early as four months of age, which means young fish should be sexed and separated when they are very young. Female platys who mate will retain sperm packets and can continue to give birth without mating again for a number of monthsOnce mating has occured, and the eggs are fertilized, it takes about 30 days for the fry to emerge. The temperature can slow down or speed up the process (warmer water shortens the gestation period). Typical broods are 40-60 fry, which are born live.
As the fry develop, the belly of the female will become larger. Eventually the eyes of the fry can be seen through the stretched belly of the mother. As birthing time draws near, you should be prepared to shelter and protect the fry. Otherwise the parents, and any other fish in the tank, will eat most, if not all of them.One option is to place female in a breeding trap just before birth. The trap is designed so the fry fall through slits that are too small for the mother to follow. The negatives of this is that the small trap is stressful for the mother, and must be done before she begins giving birth.Another method is to have a separate birthing/nursery tank that is heavily planted with fine leafed vegetation. As the fry are born, they hide in the plants. Once the mother had given birth to all her fry, she is removed, thus protecting the fry.The fry are fully formed very tiny fish. Initially they need very fine foods to feed upon. Freshly hatched brine shrimp are ideal, but liquid or powdered fry food will do fine. Feedings are required several times per day, which means debris will build up more quickly in the tank, thus requiring daily water changes.