Profile of the Red Wagtail Platy Fish

Red Platy

The red wagtail platy is a tough and energetic freshwater fish that is pleasant and tranquil. It's also a little, attractive fish that's suitable for all levels of hobbyists; in fact, it's one of the most popular in the fishkeeping industry. Platies come in a variety of hues, making for a visually appealing aquarium. The platy's life goals are to eat and reproduce. They will circle the tank, devouring anything, including algae, and there is no stopping them from reproducing! Platies, like guppies, are live-bearing fish.

Species Overview

Common Name: Red wagtail platy

Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus

Adult Size: 2 inches

Life Expectancy: 4 years


Common Name Red Wagtail Platy
Family Poeciliidae
Origin Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Tank Level Mid dweller
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallon
Diet Omnivore, eats most foods
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

Platies, like as the Red Wagtail, are native to Central and South America, ranging from Mexico to Belize. Ditches, canals, springs, and marshes are ideal for platies because they are tiny, warm bodies of water with silty bottoms and vegetation. Platies were initially introduced to Europe in the early twentieth century, and their easygoing temperament, attractive colorings, and prolific mating habits rapidly made them a popular in aquariums.

Colors and Markings

The size and form of different platy kinds are similar, but they come in a variety of color combinations. Salt and pepper platies are black and white, whereas tuxedo and " Mickey Mouse " platies have distinctive characteristics that are characterized by their names. Red Wagtails are trapezoidal in appearance, with an orange-red body and black fins, like many platies.

Platies in the wild are often brown and yellow with dark dots (though colour varies to some extent), while coloration changes according on the body of water from where they emerged. Wild platies, on the other hand, are generally less stunning than their caged relatives.


Red wagtails are a calm species that like freshwater fish that are similar to them. Mollies, guppies, swordtails, and tetras are all good choices. While male wagtails can be sexually aggressive, they are rarely violent toward other males, and they are generally compatible with a wide range of tankmates. When adding more aggressive species to a tank with platies, such as angelfish, be cautious since platies can easily fall prey to larger, more forceful bullies.

Red Wagtail Platy Habitat and Care

All platies are popular with fishkeepers since they don't require anything extra in the tank other than clean, filtered water that is kept at around room temperature. Choose a tank with a capacity of at least five gallons, and keep a ratio of at least three females to every male so that the females aren't continually hunted for mates. Females prefer a few plants where they may hide from pestering men.

The red wagtail platy is a fantastic choice for beginner fishkeepers since it is easy to care for, but it struggles in a tank that is still cycling. If you don't wait until your aquarium's nitrogen cycle is complete before introducing red wagtail platies, you risk losing your new fish.

Red Wagtail Platy Diet and Feeding

Platies in the wild eat not just protein but also algae, which supplies a lot of fiber. Make sure your platies are getting enough fiber in their new tank. They eat veggies like cucumbers, squash, and spinach in addition to protein sources. Choosing flake meals with vegetable supplements is also a smart option.

You may be overfeeding them if they don't consume all of the meals supplied within a few minutes. Supplement a flake food diet with live food, which provides significantly more nutrition. Microworms, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, Daphnia, fruit flies, and cut up earthworms are all viable options. Platies require one or two meals each day, and while they are typically hungry, they do not overfeed.

Gender Differences

Platies are nearly always ready to reproduce. As a result, ladies' bellies are frequently round and protruding (a precursor to giving live birth to dozens of fry). Furthermore, guys are the ones that are most interested in girls.

Examining the anal fins of male red wagtail platies makes it easier to distinguish them from females (the lower fin behind the belly). Your fish is a female if the anal fin is fan-shaped. Your fish is a male if it is long, flat, and pointed. Females are often larger than men, however this is not always true.

Breeding the Red Wagtail Platy

It's not a question of whether, but when you can breed the red wagtail platy. Females may store sperm for up to six months, are virtually always pregnant with fertilized eggs, and can give birth to 10 to 40 live fry every four to six weeks. It's even possible to have large broods of up to 80 fry. If you don't want to be constantly rearing young platies, only buy male fish.

Although platy parents will not consume their fry, it is still recommended to keep pregnant females in a different tank from the adults in order to keep the fry isolated from the adults. Red wagtail platy fry are simple to grow, and at least a few from each brood should survive in a planted community tank.

Use a separate, bare 10-gallon grow-up tank with an air-powered sponge filter to prevent fry from getting sucked in if you wish to raise a larger percentage of a brood. After a few days, switch to liquifry and then finely crushed flakes. When fed two to three times every day, fry develop swiftly. Every day, change the water and remove any garbage or dead fry. Because juveniles are vulnerable to contaminants, it's critical to maintain the tank clean and clear of debris.

More Pet Fish Species and Further Research

Platies and other Xiphophorus species are simple to grow and make excellent additions to freshwater community aquariums. They are ideal fish for kids since they require little care and are typically extremely robust.

If you are interested in similar species, check out:

Check out additional fish species profiles for more information on other  fish.


"Aquarium Water Quality: Nitrogen Cycle. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services." ;