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How To Keep A Platy In Saltwater!

After we published our article going over how to acclimatize a guppy to a saltwater tank, we have noticed people reaching out and asking questions about getting a platy to live in saltwater.

Although it is possible to acclimatize a platy to saltwater, is it generally not considered as easy as acclimatizing a guppy to saltwater so we would NOT recommend this for someone who is new to fish keeping as you will require experience to go through this process correctly.

The best way to convert your platy to living in saltwater is to use an acclimatization drip box that will allow you to slowly increase the salinity of the water that the platy is living in over a period of time.

This allows you to safely build up the salinity tolerance of your platy to allow its body to adjust as required to drastically increase the survival rate of the platy when living in salt water.

Please note, even using an acclimatization drip box still does pose a risk to your platy and there is never a guarantee that you platy will survive the saltwater acclimatization process!

If you do have any prized platies that are a rare or unique color or pattern then we would never recommend that you try to convert them to a saltwater platy as the risk is just too high.

Even some experienced fish keepers who have successfully converted platies, mollies, and guppies to living in saltwater still can’t guarantee a 100% success rate with their fish so keep this in mind.

Can Platies Survive In Saltwater?

Platies can survive in saltwater provided that they are put through an acclimatization process when switching them from freshwater to saltwater platies.

Platy fish are still the weakest options out of the three main livebearer species that are acclimatized to living in saltwater though with guppies and mollies being a much better option and taking to saltwater much better than platies.

This is why we usually discourage anyone from even trying to convert their platies to living in saltwater due to there being a high fail rate until you perfect your saltwater acclimatization process but even then, there will still be a relatively large number of fish who fail the conversion and unfortunately perish.

One thing that is becoming increasingly popular is for people to breed their platies in saltwater tanks with lower salinity and then selling the offspring as a “saltwater platy” that does not need to be acclimatized.

These are popular in Australia and are becoming more popular in North America but are still lacking in Europe.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to just purchase one of these platies that have always lived in a saltwater tank and their prices are usually not that much more than a regular platy either making this a good option for many people rather than trying to actually acclimatize your fish.

Is It Easy To Get A Platy To Live In Saltwater?

It is not easy to acclimatize a platy to live in saltwater and most fish keepers who attempt the process will have a high fail rate where many of their platies will perish.

Many of the people who try to acclimatize platies to living in saltwater successfully will spend months of consistent attempts on working out the problems with their process to improve their success rates.

Even once the platy has been acclimatized to living in a saltwater tank, they still have to have very strict salinity levels that have very little fluctuation in them or the fish can still perish, even if it has been living in a saltwater tank for an extended period of time.

This is why the demand to just purchase a platy that has already been acclimatized to living in saltwater is so high as they tend to be the most hardy saltwater platy that you are able to get.

We are aware of two stories of saltwater platies being able to thrive in the wild after people dumped the fish into saltwater in their local area but both of these are actually incorrect.

The incident in Australia was actually mollies that had been converted to living in a saltwater environment and the incident in Florida, USA was guppies but both were originally reported as being a self sustaining platy colony in a saltwater environment.

How Do You Acclimatise A Platy To Live In Saltwater?

There are a number of different ways that you are able to try and acclimatise a platy to live in saltwater but an acclimatization drip box is usually the cheapest and easiest method that holds a moderate to high success rate depending on your experience.

The more times you go through the process of acclimatising a plty to live in saltwater, the more problems that you can iron out of your process to help improve your success rate.

The idea of an acclimatization drip box is that you can have the platy in a container with freshwater from its current aquarium in it while you use the drip box to slowly add saltwater to the current water supply.

This will slowly increase the salinity levels in the water that your platy is living in to help it acclimatize to saltwater without perishing and although there are a number of DIY alternatives to using a drip box, we would never recommend them as they can be inaccurate and put far too much saltwater into your platies container and cause serious problems.

We would always recommend that you use the slowest drip rate on your acclimatization drip box possible for the first time you try to switch a platy over from freshwater to saltwater and focus on the long game.

This is a slow and steady process and should never be rushed. We have seen some people report that they usually keep the platy or platies that they are converting in a 5 gallon tank, setup their drip box and then leave it to do its job over months, not weeks!

Just remember that you will have to keep on adding the saltwater to your drip box to keep the process going.


That brings our article going over keeping a platy in saltwater to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand that even though there are ways that you can acclimatize a platy to live in saltwater, there is always going to be a risk and the process to actually acclimatize your platy to live in saltwater is more difficult than most people initially realise. Even people who have been converting platies to live in saltwater tanks for years still don’t have a hundred percent success rate.