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Xiphophorus maculatus (GUNTHER, 1866)

Platy

SynonymsTop ↑

Platypoecilus maculatus Gunther, 1866; Platypoecilus maculatus aurata Stoye, 1935; Platypoecilus maculatus cyanellus Meinken, 1935; Platypoecilus nigra Brind, 1914; Platypoecilus pulchra Brind, 1914; Platypoecilus rubra Brind, 1914; Platypoecilus maculatus sanguinea Stoye, 1935.

Etymology

Xiphophorus: from the Ancient Greek ξίφος (ksíphos), meaning ‘a kind of double-edged sword’, and -φóρος (-phóros), meaning ‘bearing’, in allusion to the presence of a gonopodium in males of this genus.

maculatus: from the Latin for spotted, a reference to the abdominal spot.

Classification

Poeciliidae

Distribution

Atlantic coastal plain of Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize.

Habitat

It can be found in streams and rivers.

Maximum Standard Length

Male 2″ (5cm), Female 3″ (7.5cm).

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

24″ x 12″ x 12″ (60x30x30cm)

Maintenance

Not critical but this species does appreciate a planted aquarium, and will be seen at its best if kept in this type of setup.

X. maculatus must be maintained in moderately hard or harder water; it will not thrive in soft, acidic water.

Water Conditions

Temperature: 68-79°F (20-26°C)

pH: 7.0-8.2

Hardness: 10-30 dH

Diet

Unfussy and will accept most foods, whether frozen, live or dried.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Very peaceful and can be kept with most community species. They exhibit none of the aggression of some swordtails and mollies, and even males tolerate one another.

When males and females are to be housed in the same tank, there should be more females to spread out the attention of the males which can be relentless.  Batches of fry will be continual.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males are the smaller sex and possess a gonopodium.

Reproduction

Very easy. Will breed in the community tank. To be honest breeding this species is more of a case of ‘when’ rather then ‘how’. If you’re not interested inbreeding them, buy only male fish. Otherwise breeding is much the same as for many other livebearers. We recommend that several females should be kept to every male in order to dissipate vigorous harassment by males. Areas of dense planting will also help. Gestation takes around 4-6 weeks and large broods of up to 80 fry are not uncommon. The adult fish will not eat their young but the best method of raising them is still to remove the gravid female to a separate tank and allow her to give birth there before returning her to the main aquarium. The use of breeding nets or traps is not recommended as their small size is not suitable for raising fry. The fry are quite large and will accept brine shrimp nauplii or powdered flake from birth. They grow very quickly if fed 2-3 times per day.

NotesTop ↑

Another massively popular aquarium fish, with dozens of selectively bred varieties available, including mickey mouse, wagtail, tuxedo, moon, blue, red, comet and hi-fin. Some of these are produced by crossbreeding with X. helleri or X. variatus. Unfortunately many commercially bred platies are not very hardy due to inbreeding and over-production and are prone to disease and premature death.

Wild fish are almost never seen in the hobby.

As long as the ph remains above neutral this fish is one of the best species available to the beginner.

2 Responses to “Xiphophorus maculatus – Platy”

  • illustrator

    It looks to me that the one on the photograph with black upper and lower edges on the caudal should be called “comet” while the one with all black fins is the “wagtail”. If I am not mistaken the gene for both colour patterns is actually the same, but the wagtail variety lost an additional regulator-gene due to crossbreeding with swordtails.


  • Thanks for the feedback illustrator. We are working on the Xiphophorus profiles now!


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