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How Your Platy Disappeared In Your Tank!

Keeping platies in fish tanks is on the rise again and although the species has been on an upward trend when it comes to their popularity for a number of months now, over the last month or so, they have seen a huge spike in popularity due to a number of viral videos and photographs on social media.

The unique colors and patterns of the platy fish, low price, and ease of care make them very popular but we have noticed people reaching out to ask questions about why their platy disappeared in their tank recently.

A platy is a natural hider and it is totally normal for a platy to look for places that they are able to hide within a tank be it in plants, decorations or actual fish hides.

Sometimes platies will hide behind the actual tank accessories such as your filter unit but unfortunately, in some cases platies can be eaten by larger tank mates or they can jump out of the tank and end up on the floor around the tank if there is no lid on the tank.

Even if you do add a lid to your tank, a platy can still jump out of the water and end up trapped behind the lighting unit or hood on the tank keeping it out of the water long enough for the fish to unfortunately perish.

Thankfully though, the majority of the time when someone things that their platy has disappeared, it is often just hiding out of video for a couple of hours to relax.

Is It Normal For A Platy To Disappear In An Aquarium?

Most platies do like to hide for a couple of hours each day, especially in a community tank that is heavily stocked with other fish species.

The hiding is totally natural for the species and it serves as a way for the fish to relax and de-stress before it emerges from its hiding spot to go about its normal business.

As we covered in our article on why your platy hides in your aquarium plants, this is totally normal and there is nothing to worry about in the majority of cases as a platy in a perfectly kept aquarium where there are no problems will still hide for a couple of hours per day.

This is just one of the things with platy fish that you have to factor in, they are cheap, beautiful, and have unique patterns but they will commonly hide.

Thankfully though, if you have enough platies in your aquarium, there will usually be plenty on display swimming at any given time so you can still take pleasure in viewing your fish whenever you like.

In heavily stocked tanks that contain too many fish, the frequency that a platy will hide does increase as well as the chances of the larger fish in the tank eating a platy too giving the impression that the fish has disappeared.

In some heavily stocked platy only tanks, two fish may fight for dominance until one fish has unfortunately died.

The other fish in the tank as well as any shrimp and snails may then eat the remains of the platy including its bones until there is nothing left giving the impression that the platy disappeared.

How Did My Platy Disappear In My Tank?

If your platy has truly disappeared in your tank with no signs of the missing fish around the tank, in the lid of the tank, behind the accessories in the tank or amongst the plants and decorations then it is highly likely that the fish has been eaten by its tank mates.

Thankfully this is rare and in most cases, when a platy seems to have disappeared, it will emerge from its hiding spot within an hour or so and swim around the tank as normal.

Depending on how you have your aquarium setup, your platy may be able to “disappear” for over a day due to a tank being heavily planted or there being plenty of easy hiding places for your platy to go to.

Although the platy species do tend to be bright and colorful, they are also very good at hiding themselves even against a background that is a totally different color to the fish.

As we touched on earlier in the article though, in some cases, a platy may jump out of your tank or at least try to jump out of you tank and end up stuck in the lid of the tank somewhere causing the fish to perish.

This is thankfully rare and if you are in the same room as your tank when your platy jumps out, you can usually hear the splash and thud of the fish hitting the floor giving you a chance to save your fish and get it back into the tank to save it before it perishes.

Is There Anything That I Can Do To Stop My Platy Disappearing In Its Tank?

The two best options to prevent your platy disappearing in your aquarium tank is to make sure that your platy has suitable tank mates that are not going to try and eat the fish and that you have a lid on your aquarium.

A decent lid will be able to stop your platy from jumping out of the aquarium and the more expensive aquariums come with lids specifically designed to reduce the chances of your platy accidentally getting stuck within the lid of the aquarium if it does try to jump out of the water too.

Outside of being eaten by a tank mate and jumping out of the tank, there really are very few serious reasons that you would want to take steps to prevent your platy from disappearing or hiding in its tank.

As we have covered earlier in the article, you really should be letting your platies hide for a few hours a day if they with as it is totally natural and to be expected with the species and keeping them in a tank without hiding spaces will spike their stress levels and result in potential problems further down the line.

If you like, you can choose to add some fish hideout to your aquarium as they can be a nice middle ground between your platies having somewhere to hide and you having a good idea of where you fish are.

This lets your platies get out of sight and feel safe when they need to but also offer you some easy places to check to see if your platy is just hiding or if it has actually disappeared.


That brings our article going over if your platy disappeared in your tank to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the potential causes of a platy fish disappearing in your aquarium but for the most part, the fish will usually just be hiding. Many people new to platies have been cought out by a crafty platy who is exceptionally good at hiding apparently disappearing for a couple of days only to turn up again a few days later when it feels like it.