As platies continue to grow in their popularity within the fish keeping community, we are seeing a direct increase in questions from the people who are new to keeping platies in their aquariums about various types of platy behavior.
One thing that we are seeing many people reaching out to ask about is about their platy eating plants in their tank.
The most common reason as to why platies might be eating plants in their aquarium is that the plants are a source of food for them.
Platies are omnivorous fish and they will eat both meat and plant matter in the wild. This means that they will consume algae, invertebrates, and other small fish when they can as well as plants.
If you are trying to set up a self sustaining ecosystem in your aquarium and you notice that your platies are focusing on eating the plants in the tank, you may want to increase the bloodwork, shrimp or daphnia population.
Trying to increase the algae or at least leave more algae in the tank when cleaning it to let the platies eat the algae can also reduce the number of plants that your platy will eat too.
Is It Normal For A Platy To Eat The Plants In Its Aquarium?
Platies are omnivorous fish and they will eat both meat and plant matter in the wild. This means that is it normal for a platy to consume algae, detritus, and live plants that they have access to in addition to various, suitable sources of meat based food too.
Although platies are omnivorous, they do tend to prefer meat based foods rather than plant based foods. This is something that you will need to take into account when you are planning and preparing platy food for your aquarium.
If you want to make sure that your platies are getting the right mix of food, we recommend using a high quality platy food that contains both meat and plant matter.
You can also supplement their diet with live, freeze dried or frozen food sources too such as bloodworm or daphnia as platies really do tend to enjoy having these foods as a treat.
Do Platys Eat Dead Plants?
Platies will consume detritus from plants as it is a good source of nutrition for them. This means that they will eat any dead plant matter that is in the aquarium and can help to keep the tank clean.
If you are noticing that your platy is eating a lot of the plants in your tank, it might be a sign to increase the frequency that you offer them food.
Detritus is an important part of the platy’s diet, as it is a good source of nutrition. It contains essential vitamins and minerals that help keep platies healthy and thriving.
Platies consume detritus as a way to get their daily intake of these important nutrients, which helps them stay healthy and looking their best.
Platies forage for detritus in their tank when they are hungry and a single platy can eat a surprising amount of detritus each day.
This means that they will eat any dead plant matter that is in the aquarium and can help to keep the tank clean that in turn helps to reduce the amount of tank maintenance required for the plant.
If detritus is not eaten by platies, it can decay and cause problems with water quality. The bacteria in your tank that break down the detritus can release nitrates and phosphates into the water, which can cause algae growth. This can make the tank look dirty and can be difficult to clean.
Do Platies Eat Algae?
Platies will naturally consume algae as a source of food in the wild. This means that they will eat any algae that is in their aquarium tank and can help to keep the tank clean.
Most platies tend to enjoy younger algae growth but they will usually eat all types of algae if they are hungry enough.
Although platies will eat algae, they definitely tend to prefer eating detritus or animal based foods instead of algae.
If your tank is having problems with algae growth then getting an actual algae eater such as a pleco might be a better option than relying on platies to eat the algae for you.
Some types of algae are not that nutritious either and although they can take up a large amount of space in the stomach of your platy, they might not actually be providing them with that much in terms of nutrition.
This is something to keep in mind when you are trying to determine whether or not platies are a good option for eating the algae in your tank as well as how you balance the rest of your platies diet.
Are There Any Plants You Can Add to Your Aquarium For Your Platy To Eat?
Platies tend to enjoy eating surface growing plants such as frogbit and duckweed with some fish keepers intentionally adding these plants to their tanks as a source of food for their fish.
As frogbit and duckweed are both cheap and easy to find, they can be a good option if you are looking for plants that platies will eat.
If you are going to add frogbit or duckweed to your platy tank, we recommend adding them to an area of the tank where the platies can easily access them without risk.
This is usually away from any filters or pumps in your tank and you can buy a cheap surface divider to make sure that the plants will not float to these areas of your tank.
Many people will also use a surface divider to keep a small circle in the surface of their water free from plants like frogbit and duckweed too so they can add other food sources to that circle. This can help you to make sure that platies are getting a good mix of different foods in their diet.
Another option is to add live plants to your platy tank that are known to be platy safe. These plants can provide your platy with a place to hide, some shade and a source of food all in one. In reality though, platies will much on the plants that are in their aquarium no matter what type of plant you add to their tank.