Platies are one of the team here at Pawfect Pawprints favour fish species to keep due to how cheap they are as well as how easy they generally are to care for.
Judging by the recent increases in the popularity of keeping platy fish within the fish keeping community, it would appear that a large number of people agree with us too.
With this increased demand for platies, many people who already have a platy tank are now looking to breed their platies and raise their platy fry to fill the demand.
We see so many mistakes being made when breeding platies that are often very easy to avoid so we have decided to publish this article with a goal of being able to help as many of our readers as possible raise their platy fry and at least double your platy survival rate.
If you just breed your platies in your community tank, you can commonly expect a survival rate of less than 10%.
Depending on how many of our tips and tricks you are able to implement from our article below, you should be able to increase this to around 20% if you have to keep your platies in a community tank but if you can switch to a breeding tank setup, you can expect a survival rate of over 80% for your platy fry!
Use A Breeding Tank If Possible!
If you have the option to use a breeding tank, this is far and away the best platy fry survival rate booster that you can do.
This is due to you removing all potential predators from the tank (this includes the parents as they will eat their own fry) to give your platy fry the best possible survival rate available.
Theres no need to use an expensive tank for your breeding tank either, a cheap 10 gallon tank will more than suffice for platy fry.
It offers you all the space platy fry will require while also having a low price tag as well as taking up a very small amount of space in your home.
An old aquarium tank that you no longer use for your platies is a great option too without you having to purchase a new aquarium.
In some situations, you may even be able to use random objects from around the house such as old buckets or large bowls but this is generally not recommended due to how cheap the 10 gallon breeding tanks are.
If You Can’t Use A Breeding Tank, Use A Breeding Box!
If you are unable to use a breeding tank for platy fry, the next best option is to use a decent breeding box.
A breeding box functions in a very similar manner to how a breeding trap works for other fish species such as guppies with the main difference being that it does not require you to have an air pump.
The breeding box allows your platy fry to dart in and out of the breeding box via the little holes in it as required when they see a predator coming.
There are some netted breeding boxes out there that simply act as a totally separate container for your platy fry that they stay in while still in the same water supply as your primary tank to.
Breeding boxes are around a third of the price of a separate breeding tank and most breeding boxes are only suitable until the fry are around six weeks old anyway.
This is why most people just opt to go with a separate breeding tank if possible in most cases.
Offer Plenty Of Places To Hide In A Community Tank!
If you platy fry have to be kept in the same community tank as their parents or other platies, providing plenty of places to hide away is a must. Your platies will quickly develop a strong relationship with their hiding spots and this will significantly lower the stress levels for your platy fry.
As platy fry are so small, anything that they can fit into and feel safe in will suffice as a platy fry hideaway while adult platies or other species of fish looking for an easy meal will often not be able to follow.
You platies should have one platy fry hiding spot for every two platies in your platy fry population to ensure that platy fry are never forced out into the open where they are an easy meal. Keep in mind that a single piece of cholla wood in your aquarium will usually offer twenty or more hiding places due to its texture.
Offer Your Platy Fry A Suitable Food Source!
One of the most critical platy fry care tips that you can follow is to offer your platy fry a suitable food source from the very beginning.
Many platy fry die due to malnutrition within their first few days and weeks of life as they are unable to find an adequate food source or simply do not have the strength to go on.
In our opinion, microworms or fish fry starter food are the better options for platy fry that are under one week old. So many people get suitable food sources for the older platy fry but forget that the tiny size of the fry often prevent them from being able to eat them until they are a few weeks old due to their small jaws.
This is where the microworms come in as they really are tiny and platy fry seem to love them. After the first few weeks, something like mysis shrimp either crushed or in their normal state can also be used as a great platy food. As the fry continue to grow you can then slowly work them onto the normal food you feed your adult platies.
Select Bright Male Platies And Fat Female Platies For Breeding!
We know that this is common advice for breeding most species of fish these days but it is so popular due to it working so well. Brighter male platies and fatter female plates tend to work well with each other due to both being natural signs to the other that they are ready to breed.
The brighter male platies often trigger varies hormones in the female platy to increase the egg yields within her. A female platy that is already fat often already has a decent reserve of eggs anyway making her prime for breeding and the male can pick up on this.
With the platies being liver bearers, they don’t actually release any eggs and will go through a pregnancy and then release live platy fry. Just keep in mind that some platies may look like they are full of eggs or pregnant but actually have dropsy or swim bladder disease but our article on working out if your platy is pregnant or has dropsy may be helpful.
Remove The Female Platies As Soon As They Have Spawned!
As platies are live bearers, the female platy will actually hold the fry within her until they are ready to be released into the world. This often takes anywhere from 28 – 32 days but can take longer or shorter depending on water conditions.
The problem with platies is that as soon as they have spawned their own fry, they can turn around and start eating them. It is surprising how many fry a female platy can eat within a couple of days even if they are her own fry.
This is why we recommend that you remove the female platy as soon as she has spawned to a platy fry if you are using a breeding tank setup, simple return her to your primary tank to let your platy fry grow in peace. Due to platies not laying eggs, there is rarely any reason to place the male platy in the breeding tank as the male and female can breed in your main tank and then the female be transferred to the breeding tank but both methods can work.
Feed Your Platy Fry Three To Five Times per Day!
Young platy fry are particularly hungry and will need to be fed between three and five times per day to encourage optimal growth in the fry. Microworms or vinegar eels as well as specialty fish fry starter food are all great options for this, especially during the first week or two.
As your platy fry get older, you can usually reduce the number of feeding that they require per day as they move over to the same food that you feed your adult platies. If you don’t feed your platiy fry enough throughout the day then their grow may be stunted and their colors not as bright when they reach adulthood.
You can use a automatic fish feeder with some food sources to automatically feed your platy fry throughout the day if you are going ot be out and about for work. This can be a great option to make sure that your platy fry are getting the food they need without you needing to be around.
Maintain Stable And Consistent Water Parameters For Your PlatyFry!
Platy fry are much more sensitive to water changes and poor water quality than their adult counterparts. This is why it is important that you maintain stable and consistent water parameters for your platy fry if you want them to thrive.
We recommend performing a 20% water change every week or 50% every two weeks for platy fry tanks. If you are using a platy fry breeding tank then you will need to perform water changes more often as the ammonia and nitrates can rise quickly in these smaller tanks, especially if they don’t have live plants in them.
A Water Test Kit should be used to check your platy fry tank’s water quality on a regular basis to ensure that the ammonia and nitrates are at safe levels for platy fry. If they start to rise then you will need to perform a water change as soon as possible.
Daily Water Changes Can Be Essential!
Depending on the size of your platy fry tank and the number of platy fry that you have in it, you may need to perform daily water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrates at safe levels. This is particularly true if you are not using a filter in your platy fry tank or if you don’t have live plants in there.
As most people use tap water for their water changes, you will also need a water conditioning product to make the tap water safe too. Chlorine from tap water can be harmful to platy fry and other aquarium fish so it is important that you remove this before adding the water to your platy fry tank.
Some people will use water from their main tank with the adult platies in for their water changes into their platy fry tank. This is controversial and often pointless as the toxins can build up in your main tank too. The thinking behind doing your water chances like this is that the water has already done some sort of cycling but it often defeats the purpose and we don’t recommend it as you may add bacteria, fungus, or parasites to your platy fry tank accidently too.
Keep Vibrations To A Minimum!
Platy fry are very sensitive to vibrations and noise and this can cause them stress which can be harmful to their health. This is why it is important that you keep vibrations to a minimum around your platy fry tank.
You should avoid placing your platy fry tank near noisy appliances such as washing machines, dryers, or dishwashers. You should also try to avoid putting your platy fry tank in a high traffic area of your home where there is a lot of foot traffic as this can also cause vibrations that can stress out platy fry.
Not All Of Your Platy Fry Are Going To Make It!
Unfortunately, not all of your platy fry are going to make it to adulthood no matter how hard you try. This is just the way that it is with platy fry and other aquarium fish fry. The good news is that platy fry are very easy to breed so you will always have more platy fry than you need.
Don’t Think You Can Sell Your Platy Fry For A Profit!
A lot of people think that they can sell their platy fry for a profit but this is not the case. In fact, most pet stores will not even buy platy fry from you as they can get them much cheaper from platy breeders.