- Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus
- Synonym: Platypoecilus maculatus, Platypoecilus nigra, Platypoecilus pulchra, Platypoecilus rubra, Poecilia maculata
- Common Names: Golden Moon Platy, Mickey Mouse Platy, Moonfish
- Family: Poeciliidae
- Origin: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
- Adult Size: 1 - 2 inches (3.5 - 5 cm)
- Social: Peaceful, suitable for community tank
- Lifespan: 5 years
- Tank Level: Mid dweller
- Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
- Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
- Breeding: Livebearer
- Care: Easy
- pH: 7.0 - 8.2
- Hardness: 10-25 dGH
- Temperature:64-77 F (18-25 C)
Native to North and Central America from Ciudad Veracruz, Mexico to northern Belize in Central America. Non-native populations now reside in a number of locations within the United States, including; California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Texas.
Believe it or not, everyone doesn’t immediately see where this fish gets its name. Look closely at the tail area, and it will soon become obvious. Near the base of the tail is a large round spot upon which are perched two smaller round ‘ears’ that give it the spitting image of the popular Disney character, Mickey Mouse.
The fish itself may be pale yellow to gold, red to orange, or even bluish in color. The fins may range from pale yellow to red or black tinged. There are also long finned and high finned versions.
Despite the color and fin variations, all are the same species of fish.
The Mickey Mouse Platy is very peaceful and will live peacefully with a wide variety of other fish. Other livebearing fish, such as Guppies, Mollies and Swordtails are suitable. So are Angels, Catfish, Danios, Gouramis and Tetras, to name a few.
Like other platys, the Mickey Mouse tolerates a wide range of conditions, and are suitable for even small aquariums. They will graze on vegetation, so keep that in mind if you have live plants. The ideal substrate is small to medium-sized and darker in color, which also serves as a good contrast to show off the pretty colors of this fish.
Water conditions are not critical. Alkaline water of moderate hardness is ideal, which is very similar to most city tap water. The temperate of a typical community tank, 76-78 degrees F, will do quite nicely for the Mickey Mouse Platy.
In nature, this fish feeds on live foods such as insects and worms, as well as vegetation. However, they are not picky and will accept virtually any food including flake, freeze-dried, frozen, and live foods. A varied diet including plenty of vegetable matter will ensure good health. Fresh produce such as lettuce, spinach, cooked peas or zucchini will be readily accepted. In lieu of fresh veggies, try spirulina.
Live foods, such as brine shrimp, glassworms and bloodworms are a good supplement. Frozen or freeze dried varieties of the same foods are a good alternative.
Like all live-bearing fish, they exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females have externally visible physical differences.
Females are generally larger, and sometimes are less vibrantly colored than the male. Males are easily recognized by the presence of the gonopodium. Males also have a more pointed caudal fin.
Like other livebearing fish, this fish is sexually mature as early as four months of age, which means young fish should be sexed and separated as early as possible. Females who mate will retain sperm packets and can continue to give birth without mating again for a number of months
Once mating has occurred, and the eggs are fertilized, it takes about 30 days for the fry to emerge. The temperature can slow down or speed up the process (warmer water shortens the gestation period). Typical broods are 40-60 fry and born live.
As the fry develop, the belly of the female will become larger. Eventually, the eyes of the fry can be seen through the stretched belly of the mother.
As birthing time draws near, you should be prepared to shelter and protect the fry. Otherwise, the parents and any other fish in the tank will eat most if not all of them.
One option is to place female in a breeding trap just before birth. The trap is designed so the fry falls through slits that are too small for the mother to follow. The negatives of this are that the small trap is stressful for the mother, and must be done before she begins giving birth.
Another method is to have a separate birthing/nursery tank that is heavily planted with fine leafed vegetation. As the fry are born, they hide in the plants. Once the mother had given birth to all her fry, she is removed, thus protecting the fry.
The fry are fully formed very tiny fish. Initially, they need very fine foods to feed upon. Freshly hatched brine shrimp are ideal, but liquid or powdered fry food will do fine. Feedings are required several times per day, which means debris will build up more quickly in the tank, thus requiring daily water changes.