Although the use of feeder guppies has been standard within the turtle keeping community for many years when it comes the livebearer fish, there have been a number of people switching over to using feeder platies recently.
This has cause a number of other people who keep pet turtles to reach out and ask various questions about using feeder platies for their own pet turtles.
Over the last couple of months, the number of people reaching out with various questions has been steadily increasing to a level where we see multiple questions per week.
Due to this, we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the topic of using feeder platies to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Before we go any further though, we just want to quickly says that the actual difference between using feeder platies and feeder guppies will usually be minimal for most species of turtles.
Due to this, you can usually use them interchangeably with each other without your turtle even knowing.
What Are Feeder Platies?
Feeder platies are simply a specific type of fish (platies in this case) that are used to feed other pet animals, with the most common use being as food for pet turtles.
Platies are from the same family as guppies and can look similar but platies are usually larger when fully grown making them a better feeder fish for larger turtles.
Feeder platies usually come from commercial breeders but more and more people who keep turtles as pets are starting to keep their own guppy or platy tanks.
Due to being live bearers, platies can breed very quickly and provide you with a consistent, cheap supply of food for your pet turtle.
Is Using Feeder Platies Cruel?
A lot of people ask us whether using feeder platies is cruel as they are being kept as nothing more than turtle food.
The short answer to this question is no, it is not cruel to use feeder platies as long as they are being properly cared for.
This means that you will need to provide them with the correct size tank, the correct water conditions and you will need to feed them a good quality diet.
Providing all of these things will ensure that your platies stay healthy and happy until they are eventually eaten by your turtle.
When you do use the feeder platies for your turtle, the vast majority of turtles will eat a platy fish in one strike so the fish is not stressed or scared and will not feel pain.
Are Platys A Good Feeder Fish?
Platies can actually be one of the best options for a feeder fish for medium sized turtles.
This is because platies are a little larger than guppies which means that they can provide your turtle with more food in one meal.
They are also very hardy fish which means that they can thrive in a beginners tank if you do want to set up your own platy breeding tank without having to put much effort into maintaining the tank.
The only downside to using platies as a feeder fish is that they can be a little more expensive than guppies if you purchase them from a local fish store.
This is usually not an issue though as there are various ways that you are able to get platies for cheap or even free to use as feeder platies.
Are Feeder Platies Cheap?
Store bought platies can end up being expensive in many cases but if you source your platies from a local breeder, they tend to workout much cheaper.
Many local fish breeders will be trying to breed bright colored platies that have set patterns and fin or tail shapes due to these platies fetching a higher price tag when selling them to fish keepers.
These are not the platies that you want to use as feeder platies for your pet turtle due to their high price tags.
Go For Mutt Platies
What you want are “mutt platies”.
Mutt platies are usually much cheaper than line platies due to mutt platies not having the desired colors, patterns, tails, or fin shapes that the breeder is trying to develop.
Many local breeders of fish will give their mutt platies away for free as they take up tank space that can be used for line platies so they usually want rid of them as fast as possible.
If you are able to find a local fish keeper in your area then this can easily be one of the cheapest ways to get a constant supply of feeder fish for your pet turtle.
The best part is, most local fish breeders will breed guppies, platies, and mollies so you can often get the mutt offspring for all three species to use as feeder fish for your turtle or other pet.
Breed Your Own Platies
Although the initial costs of setting up your own platy breeding operation will be much higher than the other options, over the long term, it can work out to be much cheaper.
The issue with trying to breed your own platies is that the parents will eat their own babies drastically reducing the yields of your platy fry.
We have an article going over how you are able to increase the survival rates of your platy fry that can help to take your survival rates from around 5% of all fry to over 80% of all fry making it to adulthood.
We would highly recommend that you try to implement the steps in that article if you do want to breed your own feeder platies as it is a quick, easy, and cheap way to drastically increase the number of fish you have available.
Are Feeder Platies Good For Your Turtle?
Feeder platies can actually be one of the best options for a feeder fish for your turtle as they are a good size, hardy fish that are relatively cheap to source.
The only downside is that they are not as widely available as guppies making it harder to find them in some areas.
If you do have trouble sourcing platies then we would recommend either looking for a local fish breeder or trying to breed your own.
Both of these options will give you a constant supply of cheap, good quality feeder fish for your pet turtle.