An easy species of fish for the novice aquarium keeper to maintain is the Platy fish, more commonly known simply as Platys. They are primarily a non-aggressive community fish, meaning that they like to be with their own kind and seldom attack other species. This plus their hardiness makes them a good component of an aquarium containing other communal fish.
The Platy is a species that is mainly native to central America, from parts of Mexico to Belize. Because of their species origin, they prefer slow moving fresh water at temperatures between 64 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. At maturity, they are about two and a half inches long. They are omnivorous, and eat plants, small worms, insects and crustaceans in the wild. This trait assures the aquarium owner that Platys are not fussy eaters.
Platys are a live bearing fish, and will produce offspring approximately every four to six weeks. They are very prolific, producing from twenty to forty young fish at a time. While they are a communal species, mature female fish are known to eat young ones, so it it good to provide plants and other shelter for young fish to hide among as they mature. This is a process which they will complete in three or four months. Aquarists should also be aware that mature males may compete for dominance if there is an insufficient number of mature females. A good ratio to maintain is about three females for every male. In addition, an aquarium that is larger rather than smaller will help the owner deal with a possible platy population problem.
In nature, these fish are rather drab in color, but breeders have developed strains with jaw dropping colors such as the Mickey Mouse Platy and the Gold Comet Platy. While the species Platy Poecilus is indigenous to the areas cited above, it has also been found thriving in the wildland waters of California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada and Texas. While these examples are no doubt due to the release of fish from breeders, and not migration, their existence is proof of the hardiness and adaptability of the Platy.