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Variatus Platy

variatus platy

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Scientific Name:   Xiphophorus variatus      
Min. Tank Size:   25 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   68-79°F      
pH:   7.0-8.5/10-25°dGH      
Size:   2.5"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Livebearer      


Excellent choice for the community tank; can be kept with other Livebearers, Tetras, Barbs, Rasboras, Corydoras, Gouramis and other community species.

Variatus Platy

Also called the Variegated Platy, the native range of this species is southern Tamaulipas to northern Veracruz in Mexico. Today, however, feral populations exist in several other countries including Singapore, Columbia, Costa Rica and the USA. Because it is such a popular species, these fish are captive bred on a massive scale in the Far East and in Eastern Europe. Consequently, few wild-caught specimens are seen in the aquarium hobby. Though closely related to Xiphophorus maculatus, the Variatus Platy can be distinguished by its slightly slimmer, more elongated body shape. The dorsal fin in this species is also longer than in Xiphophorus maculatus. Depending on the breeding, these fish come in many colors and patterns. Wagtail, sunset, tuxedo and red are a few of the popular "fancy" varieties that have been developed.

Tank Set-up

In the wild, the Variatus Platy can be found inhabiting warm springs, canals, and ditches heavy in vegetation. In the home aquarium, Variatus Platies are not picky when it comes to tank conditions. They do tend to thrive in planted tanks, however, and will not do well in soft or acidic water. Because they are peaceful and easy to keep, these fish are often recommended for community tanks and can be safely kept with a variety of fish including Corydoras, Tetras, Barbs and other Livebearers.


Variatus Platies are omnivorous by nature, often feeding on worms, crustaceans, insects and plant matter in the wild. In captivity these fish are not picky eaters and will readily accept a variety of live, frozen and freeze-dried foods. For optimum health and coloration, feed a varied diet of brine shrimp, tubifex, and bloodworms along with a good quality flake. A Spirulina-based flake would also be beneficial as part of their regular diet.


Breeding Variatus Platies can easily be accomplished by keeping several females for each male in the tank. The gestation period of this species typically lasts between 4 and 7 weeks and brood size may range from 5 to 100 fry. Breeding traps and nets are not recommended for this species because they are often too small and may cause the female fish to become stressed.

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