Profile of the Mickey Mouse Platy Fish

Xiphophorus maculatus - Mickey Mouse Platy

The Mickey Mouse platy is a great choice for a low-maintenance freshwater fish that also serves as a conversation starter (also known as the golden moon platy or moonfish). The Mickey Mouse platy has a "hidden Mickey" motif near its tail, is adaptable to a variety of water conditions, and is reasonably simple to reproduce. This species carries live young rather than eggs, and the sudden arrival of the small fry may be intriguing for both young and old fishkeepers.

Species Overview

Common Names: Golden moon platy, mickey mouse platy, moonfish

Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus

Adult Size: 1 to 2 inches (3 1/2 to 5 cm)

Life Expectancy: 5 years


Family Poeciliidae
Origin Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Social Peaceful, suitable for a community tank
Mid dweller
10 gallons
Diet Omnivore, eats most foods
Breeding Livebearer
Care Easy
pH 7.0 to 8.2
Hardness 10 to 25 dGH
Temperature 64 to 77 F (18 to 25 C)

Origin and Distribution

This platy is found in North and Central America, from Ciudad Veracruz, Mexico, to northern Belize, Central America. It is not endangered. California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Texas are among the states where nonnative populations have established themselves.

Colors and Markings

If you're curious about the origins of this lovely fish's moniker, look closely at the tail area for a "hidden Mickey." A huge round black patch near the base of the tail is perched atop which are perched two smaller round "ears" that resemble the iconic Disney figure Mickey Mouse.

The hue of the fish can range from pale yellow to gold, red to orange, or even blue. The fins can range in color from light yellow to reddish-black. Long-finned and high-finned types are available. Despite the differences in color and fins, all of the fish are the same species.


The Mickey Mouse platy is a friendly fish that gets along well with a variety of different species. They don't require a lot of space to move about because they aren't schooling fish. As a result, small tanks make excellent homes.

Despite this, Mickey Mouse platies frequently prefer the companionship of other Xiphophorus species. Guppies, mollies, and swordtails are all examples of livebearing fish. Angelfish, catfish, danios, gouramis, and tetras are all good tankmates.

Mickey Mouse Platy Habitat and Care

For beginning aquarium owners, the Mickey Mouse platy is an excellent choice. The Mickey Mouse, like other platys, can survive a broad range of circumstances and is excellent for even tiny aquariums. If you have living plants, bear in mind that they will graze on them. Small to medium-sized and darker-colored substrates are appropriate, as they provide a wonderful contrast to the fish's beautiful hues.

The water situation is not serious. It's best to use alkaline water with a moderate hardness, which is fairly comparable to typical city tap water. A regular community tank temperature of 76 to 78 F will suffice for the Mickey Mouse platy.

Mickey Mouse Platy Diet and Feeding

This fish feeds on living items including insects and worms, as well as foliage, in the wild. They aren't choosy, though, and will eat almost everything, including flake, freeze-dried, frozen, and live meals. Supplement with live meals such brine shrimp, glassworms, and bloodworms. Frozen or freeze-dried versions of the same meals are also a viable option.

A healthy diet includes a variety of foods, including lots of vegetables. Lettuce, spinach, boiled peas, and zucchini, for example, will be readily accepted. Spirulina can be used in place of fresh vegetables.

Gender Differences

Mickey Mouse platys, like other live-bearing fish, display sexual dimorphism, which means males and females have outwardly obvious morphological variations. Females are often bigger and have less brilliant coloration than males. The presence of the gonopodium, a modified anal fin used to hook the female and deposit sperm, distinguishes males. The caudal fin of males is likewise more pointed.

Breeding the Mickey Mouse Platy

This fish, like other livebearing fish, reaches sexual maturity around 4 months of age, hence juvenile fish should be sexed and separated as soon as feasible. Females who mate keep their sperm packets and can give birth for months without having to mate again.

It takes around 30 days for the fry to emerge after mating and fertilization of the eggs. The temperature of the water can slow or speed up the process; warmer water speeds up the process. A typical brood consists of 40 to 60 free-swimming fry.

The female's tummy grows bigger as the fry develop. Eventually, the fry's eyes may be seen through the mother's distended abdomen. You should be ready to house and safeguard the fry when the birthing moment approaches. Otherwise, the parents and any other fish in the aquarium will devour them all.

One technique is to catch the female immediately before she gives birth in a breeding trap. The fry fall through slits in the trap that are too tiny for the mother to pursue. The disadvantage is that the little trap is unnatural and unpleasant for the mother, thus she must be transferred prior to giving birth.

A separate birthing/nursery tank that is thickly planted with fine leafed plants is a preferable option. The fry hide in the plants as soon as they are born. The mother is removed after she has given birth to all of her offspring.

The fry are born as completely developed, extremely little fish. They require extremely delicate cuisine to begin with. Brine shrimp that have just hatched are best, although liquid or powdered fry meal will suffice. Because feedings are necessary multiple times each day, debris will accumulate in the tank more quickly, necessitating daily water changes.

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