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.
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.
Atlantic coastal plain of Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize.
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)
Temperature: 68-79°F (20-26°C)
Hardness: 10-30 dH
Unfussy and will accept most foods, whether frozen, live or dried.
Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑
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.
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.
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.