Platies Pregnant Platies: Symptoms, Duration, Care Guide, FAQs

Pregnant Platies: Symptoms, Duration, Care Guide, FAQs

Platies are a livebearing freshwater topical fish species that give birth to as many as 90 babies each pregnancy. This article will dive into the most common questions about caring foor pregnant platy fish.

How to tell if a platy is pregnant?

A pregnant platy will have a large belly that distends beyond the fish’s normal marquise shape. She will also have a darkly colored grapid spot behind her anal fin, which gets larger as the fish is closer to giving birth.

Pregnant platy belly

How often do platy fish breed?

Male platies will start breeding when females enter their pre-fertilization stage. They will breed often as long as there is a good female-to-male ratio, minimal stress and healthy water parameters.

How often do platies have babies?

Platies have a gestation period of about 28 days. This means that a pregnant female will carry fry in her womb for approximately four weeks before giving birth. Platy fish can become pregnant within two weeks after giving birth.

Platy fry a few days old

Some platies are more fertile than others so it’s unlikely that all of your females will become pregnant at once.

In our experience, we’ve ever had more than one platy at any given time. But we often have at least one platy that becomes pregnant each month or two.

Is my platy pregnant or bloated?

A dark gravid spot around a female platy’s anal fin is the most reliable symptom of her being pregnant. Platies can get large bellies by overeating, which they tend to do if they are overfed. But their bloating will usually go down after a day.

A prolonged period of time with a large belly is a good indication that your platy may be pregnant.

Do platy fish eat their babies?

Platies will often hunt and eat their fry because they do not have parental instincts. It’s important to relocate your fry into another grow out tank if you intend on keeping or selling them.

In our experience, most fully-grown 3-inch platies will try to eat fry in their tank. However, juvenile and smaller-sized platies typically do not attempt to oeat the fry at all.

Most fry will instinctually keep away from larger fish and will tend to hide where possible. Live plants provide good protection by providing space to hide and break line of sight.

Dense plants, such as guppy grass, are a great option because it’s difficult for adults to effective chase the fry.

How long does it take a platy fish to give birth?

Most platies give birth to 20-80 fry over a period of several days. But don’t be surprised if it takes as long as a three weeks if it’s the platy’s first birth. In rare circumstances a platy may finish giving birth in just a few hours.

Should you separate a pregnant platy?

It is not necessary to separate a pregnant platy but it is beneficial to maximize the survival rate of her fry. A separated female may give birth to more healthy fry if she is under less stressful conditons, like she might be in a tank with other adults. A separate tank will also make it easier to setup a breeding box to increase the fry’s survivability.

Can baby platies get pregnant?

It takes approximately 4 months for juvenile platies to become fertile and start breeding. You may notice male platies starting to pay closer attention to females as they enter this pre-fertilization stage.

How do pregnant platies behave?

Pregnant platies usually act more skittish than normal and will often spend more time near the bottom of the tank or in cover behind plants. It is also common for their appetite to increase as they have higher energy requirements.

How to care for a pregnant platy

It is beneficial to feed a pregnant platy a little more food than normal as her appetite increases. High protein foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia or bloodworms will provide adequate nutrition for successful fry development.

You may consider relocating your pregnant platy to another tank before she gives birth. This will reduce stress cused by other fish and may improve her ability to give birth. This is not necessary, though.

Other than that, a pregnant platy does not require additional care outside of your normal care routine.

How to tell the difference between male and female platies

Male platies have a stick-shaped anal fin called a gonopodium, while females have a triangle-shaped anal fin. Other than the anal fin, there are no substantial differences between males and females, which can make them difficult to sex.

What fish can breed with platies?

Platies can breed with fish in the Xiphophorus fish family, which includes xiphophorus hellerii (swordtails), xiphophorus maculatus (southern platyfish) and xiphophorus variatus (variable platyfish). They cannot breed with other livebearers like guppies, endlers or mollies.

Different types of platyfish

Southern platyfish are the most common variety in the fishkeeping hobby that you are likely to find in your local fish store. They are native to North and Central America in warm climates.

Do platies lay eggs?

Platies are livebearers, which means they give birth to live baby fry instead of eggs. Platy fry are able to swim immediately after being born and take approximately 6 months to reach adulthood.

How many fry do platies have?

Platies give birth to approximately 30-90 fry during each pregnancy. Each fry is brithed individually and over the course of several days or weeks.

Ryan Ferguson

Founder, Rooted Tank

Ryan Ferguson, the founder of Rooted Tank, started fishkeeping in 2019. He has continued to level-up his planted aquarium skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other aquarists.


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