Can Guppies and Platies Live Together?
Fishkeeping is a nasty yet oddly rewarding business most times. But beginners are prone to mistakes, especially when trying to combine different fish species in the same aquarium.
This is a notorious mistake that leads to one species being bullied by the other. But it’s not always that bad. Some species mingle wonderfully with each other. Take guppies and platies, for instance.
These two species seem to have been made for each other. They’re average-sized, with a similar appetite and diet, and both are live-bearing fish. You won’t need to adapt the water condition to one species or the other since both are equally accepting.
In this article, I’ll give you a detailed rundown of what it means to keep guppies and platies together!
Ideal Filters for Guppy and Platy Aquarium
You can’t have healthy fish with an unclean aquarium. It doesn’t work that way. This is where filtration comes into play. An aquarium filter will purify the water and eliminate any impurities and debris from the tank.
The question still remains, though – what filter to buy for your guppies and platies? Are all of them just as good or is there something you should know?
From experience, I can tell you that size is preferable to anything else when it comes to platies and guppies. Always opt for the biggest, rather than the most expensive filter.
Over-filtration is always better than under-filtration. It’s not a bad idea to purchase a filter fit for a tank twice the size of the one you’re using. But make sure the filter can hold enough filter media.
A good filter is AquaClear, a hang-on-back filter that comes in five sizes. It has plenty of space for filter media and uses three filtration stages – chemical, mechanical, and biological. You can also control the water current by adjusting the flow rate. This will allow even greater control over your tank.
What Tank Size Should You Get for Guppies and Platies?
Guppies and platies accept the same aquarium size, about 10 gallons. But if you can get your hands on a 20-gallon aquarium, it’s even better. The more space there is, the better. After all, you’re planning to house more than a few fish, right?
What’s more, platies are a bit bigger than guppies so they’ll need more space to swim. Fish, in general, need lots of space so they don’t overcrowd.
With a 20-gallon tank, you’ll be able to hold 15-20 fish, if you have good filtration. But don’t house more than 20 fish in the aquarium because then, you’ll need to get a bigger tank.
Make regular water changes watch for the food intake, and everything should be good or even great. Platies and guppies get along just fine with each other and they rarely compete if you provide enough food.
Plants That Work Well with Guppies and Platies
An aquarium with no plants is barren, depressive, and unhealthy for the fish. This is why you should get a few plants and populate your tank, to the enjoyment of your platies and guppies.
Greenery not only looks good but also absorbs extra nutrients from the water column that could harm your fish. They’re also a good hiding place for guppy and platy fry when their parents decide they want a snack.
This is what I recommend for a mixed platy-guppy tank:
- Java Fern – This is a slow-growth plant with a unique leaf structure and an ideal reproduction method. Most light and water conditions will do, as the Java Fern is extremely adaptable to acidic and alkaline environments. This plant will attach itself to anything due to its high survival instincts. You can attach it to pieces of decor or simply put it in the tank and watch it grow
- Frogbit – You’ve seen this lily-looking plant floating on the surface of lakes, ponds, and other still water bodies. It’s very low-maintenance and fast-growing, offering plenty of hiding places to fry. Frogbit plants absorb much of the nitrate concentration in the water, cleaning up the tank and making it healthy for the fish. But you’ll need to shine a light down on it to grow!
- Anubias – I would definitely recommend Anubias to beginners due to this plant’s hardiness and resilience. It can survive in most conditions that a fish would, making it quite valuable. It has an arrow or heart-shaped leaves and it doesn’t require much maintenance. When it comes to lighting, Anubias plants survive even in low-light tanks (1.8-3 watts per gallon)
- Hornwort – Another easy-to-maintain plant, Hornwort is perfect for beginners due to its high resilience and adaptability. It’ll grow quickly and in its adult form, Hornwort looks great in any aquarium. This plant also oxygenates your tank through photosynthesis, while also offering hiding spots for fish who want to stay away from the light
- Java Moss – A very common and resilient plant, Java Moss will protect fish eggs, and fry, provide food for breeding fish and improve the overall health of the aquarium. It’s very easy to care for it due to its slow growth process and adaptability to low-light conditions. Once it grows to full size, it’ll create an aged appearance to your tank!
I’ve tried all five of these plants and found them just perfect for any aquarium, including a guppy-platy one. Fry will have plenty of hiding spots, the water will be naturally oxygenated, and the nitrite concentration will be lower. There’s no reason not to include these plants in your tank, that’s what I’m saying.
What To Feed Guppies and Platies
Having two different fish species in the same tank isn’t easy. You need to feed each one a specific diet, right? Wrong. Both species will eat approximately the same things, especially if you have homemade food.
Buying commercial food is another great option, since you may not have the time to cook food for them all the time. I recommend reputed brands like New Life Spectrum!
You need a complete diet for your two fish species, and this entails proteins, vitamins, and minerals. New Life Spectrum works for fry, as well. Your platies and guppies will thank you endlessly after getting them a pack of New Life.
From experience, I can tell you that they love these flakes. Don’t feed them too much, though, since they can easily get bloated and die from eating too much.
What About Breeding Platies and Guppies?
Don’t even think about crossbreeding the two species because it won’t work. This isn’t Dr. Moreau’s aquarium either. But breeding between their own species is not a problem, even when they live in the same aquarium.
After mating, the females will give birth to the fry after 30 days, and this applies to both platies and guppies. Guppies are a bit better when it comes to reproduction – female guppies can give birth to 60 fry at a time.
Platies only give birth to around 20-40 babies. On the other hand, both species are similar in that they don’t take care of their babies. They just leave them out to fend for themselves.
At times, they will even eat the babies when they’re hungry. That’s why it’s essential to include many hiding spots in the tank so that the fry can escape the deadly hunt of their parents.
I recommend isolating the pregnant female in a separate tank and letting her give birth to the fry. After she gives birth, return her to the regular tank and keep the fry in the breeding tank for a few days.
After they grow up a little, release them in the main tank but make sure the other fish don’t eat them. Usually, the fry will take care of themselves if they have enough hiding spots, though.
You know you’re doing a great job at keeping the fry safe when your aquarium is full of fish. Be careful, though. Overcrowding is a problem in and of itself that may lead to premature death in fish.
If you’re at risk of overcrowding your aquarium, you can try gifting some to your friends or selling the fry to local fish stores.
Water Requirements for Platies and Guppies
You’ll like that both guppies and platies are okay with the same water conditions. With an aquarium heater, you’ll be able to heat the water in no time and keep the same temperature. The thermostat should remain stable at around 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Both platies and guppies thrive at this particular temperature range.
There’s one more thing – water changes. Do them regularly to remove nitrates and various other chemicals from the water. By regularly, I mean weekly, by the way. Do a 30% water change weekly, and it should be fine. A water conditioner is also necessary if you want to purify the water. Seamchem Prime is a great solution that works on all levels, in my experience.
Most aquarium filters have mechanical filtrations, which you’ll need to clean often because of the residue build-up. The biological filter media needs some rinsing, as well.
In most cases of filthy aquariums, it’s the dirty filter to blame. Many fishkeepers overlook the importance of a clean filter or don’t use a filter at all. That’s just nuts, I say, a fish genocide.
There aren’t too many things I could say more about platies and guppies. A few takeaways from this article are that:
- You need a large enough aquarium for both species
- Get a good filter (the bigger, the better) that can hold a lot of filter media
- Put some aquarium plants in there to help with the cleanliness, oxygenation, and hiding spots for fry
- Feed your fish with homemade food or a comprehensive commercial diet
- No interspecies breeding
- Keep the water clean, filtered, and maintain the nitrite levels to their lowest
That’s about it. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me down below!