Almost every tropical fish hobbyist is guaranteed to have kept platy at some time or another.
But one variety of platy that you might not have come across so far in your aquarist journey is the Mickey Mouse Platy.
These quirky fish are easy to care for and add a touch of bright color and activity to your community fish tank.
Keep reading to find out how to care for and breed the Mickey Mouse Platy.
Mickey Mouse Platy – Overview
|Mickey Mouse Platy Info|
|Common names||Mickey Mouse Platy, Moonfish, Golden Moon Platy|
|Scientific name||Xiphophorus maculatus|
|Size||1 to 2 inches|
|Lifespan||Approximately 5 years|
|Minimum tank size||10 gallons|
|Water temperature||640 to 770 F|
|Water parameters||pH range 7.0 to 8.2, water hardness 10 to 25 dGH|
|Temperament||Peaceful, community fish|
Origins and Distribution
Mickey Mouse Platys are native to Central and North America, ranging from Mexico to northern Belize.
There are also non-native populations that inhabit several locations in the US, including Florida, Colorado, California, Louisiana, Nevada, Hawaii, Montana, and Texas.
Unsurprisingly, given the fish’s wide distribution, the species is not considered to be endangered.
These beautiful freshwater fish get their nickname from a large round black spot in the tail area. On top of the spot are two smaller round markings that resemble ears, producing the characteristic look of the famous Disney character: Mickey Mouse.
The fish’s body can be in a range of gorgeous colors, including pale gold to yellow, orange, red, and even blue. The finnage can be red or black-tinged or pale yellow. You can also find high-finned and long-finned varieties.
However, regardless of the fin and color variations, these are all classified as the same species of Mickey Mouse Platy.
What Size Are Mickey Mouse Platys?
Mickey Mouse Platys are nano fish, growing to an adult size of just 1 to 2 inches.
As is the case with most livebearers, Mickey Mouse Platys exhibit sexual dimorphism which means males and females are different in appearance.
Female platys are generally larger and not as vibrantly colored as males. Males have an obvious gonopodium or modified anal fin that’s used during mating to deposit sperm into the female. Male platys also have a more pointed tail fin.
Like other varieties of platy, the Mickey Mouse version is readily available in good fish stores and online.
These are relatively cheap fish to buy, typically retailing at around a few dollars each. Sometimes, you can get a better deal if you buy several fish.
How Long Do Mickey Mouse Platys Live?
In the wild, platys have a lifespan of around five years. If you replicate the fish’s natural habitat in the captive environment of your fish tank and provide your platys with a high-quality, varied diet, they should live for around the same length of time or even a little longer.
Although they’re not a schooling fish, Mickey Mouse Platys are still highly social creatures that make an excellent addition to a peaceful community setup.
These brightly colored fish make a wonderful display, darting around the tank with their tank mates.
Mickey Mouse Platys generally stick to the mid-water area of the water column, although they do swim throughout the tank.
Mickey Mouse Platy – Care Guide
In this section of our guide, we explain how to care for these pretty cartoon characters so that they thrive!
Platys are very easy to care for, so we can recommend them for beginners. That said, you still need to provide your fish with a clean, well-maintained environment in which to live and feed them a correct diet.
Platys are small fish that can thrive in a relatively small tank of around 10 gallons. That said, these are active fish that love to explore their tank, so a larger aquarium is better for the fish if you have the space to accommodate them.
Platys do well when kept in groups of around six to eight. If you want to keep more fish than that, you’ll need to add one gallon of water for every inch of fish you want to keep.
Mickey Mouse Platys are not fussy when it comes to their habitat, which is one of the things that makes this species so perfect for beginners to the hobby.
Platys are known to nibble on plants, but if you choose tougher plant varieties, they should survive and flourish. Living plants are an excellent addition to your aquarium, providing shelter for fry, producing oxygen, removing CO2 from the water, and taking up harmful nitrates that they use as fertilizer.
As well as plants, you can include flat rocks, glass pebbles, twisted roots, and driftwood. Choose a dark-colored substrate that will help to make your platys’ colors pop.
Tasteful lighting can bring out the colors and beauty of your fish, as well as provide them with a clear night/day cycle.
Fish benefit from knowing when it’s morning and time to get active and when it’s time to sleep at night when the lights go out. We recommend choosing a lighting unit with an inbuilt timer or investing in a cheap plug-in timer that you can get from your local DIY store.
If you keep living plants in your setup, you will need to provide at least eight to ten hours of light every day so that the plants can photosynthesize.
What to Feed Mickey Mouse Platys
Platys are omnivores. In the wild environment, these fish eat insects and worms, as well as some plant matter and algae.
In captivity, you can feed your Mickey Mouse Platy a diet of high-quality tropical flake foods, pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms, and frozen meaty protein.
If you have a reliable supplier, you can include live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and glass worms. However, to avoid importing bacteria and parasites into your aquarium, we recommend using frozen foods instead.
You can also add variety to your fish’s diet by including some fresh veggies, such as cooked peas, spinach, lettuce, and zucchini. As an alternative, you could try offering some spirulina.
How Much to Feed Mickey Mouse Fish
Overfeeding your fish causes health issues, including bloating and constipation. So, to avoid overloading the digestive system, we recommend that you feed your platys twice a day, giving them only what they will eat in a couple of minutes.
As well as causing health problems for your fish, overfeeding them will leave uneaten food to rot in your aquarium, causing pollution and poor water quality. You’ll need to remove any leftover food from the tank before it begins rotting.
You can prevent this problem by including a few snails and shrimp in your setup. These creatures make an efficient cleanup crew that will eat uneaten food, dead plant material, and general detritus, too.
Mickey Mouse Platys are pretty tolerant and hardy when it comes to water quality. However, you still need to keep the tank clean and healthy for the fish.
This involves carrying out weekly partial water changes of up to 20% to remove nitrates from the water.
You should also use an aquarium vacuum cleaner to get rid of organic waste matter accumulations from around decorations and plants, as well as beneath internal filter boxes.
Mickey Mouse Platys like alkaline water of moderate hardness. Luckily, that’s similar to most city tap water, having a pH of 7.0 to 8.2 and a hardness of between 10 and 25 dGH.
The water temperature can cover a fairly broad range, but the ideal is between 760 to 780 F.
You should run an efficient filtration system in your tank. Platys are quite small fish that don’t appreciate a very strong current in the tank.
We recommend a sponge filter or HOB-style filter unit that has an adjustable outflow. Very large tanks can do best with an external canister filter, as long as the unit doesn’t create a very strong flow.
Every month, you should rinse the filter media in some used tank water to get rid of any sludge that would prevent the filter from operating efficiently.
Depending on the make of filter you’re using, you’ll need to periodically replace spent filter media. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on that.
Who Are Good Tank Mates for Mickey Mouse Platy?
Mickey Mouse fish are peaceful creatures that can live in a community with a wide range of other fish species. Since platy are not schooling fish, they don’t need masses of swimming space and can be quite happy in a small tank.
Compatible tank mates for Mickey Mouse Platy include:
- Other platy
We would advise you to avoid including any large, semi-aggressive fish in the community that might view the platys as a food source.
It’s also a good idea to include a cleanup crew in your tank, such as shrimp and freshwater snails. These creatures will mooch around the tank eating leftover food and organic waste without disturbing your platys. These helpful invertebrates are also entertaining to watch.
Health and Diseases
Mickey Mouse Platys are hardy fish that don’t generally have any serious health problems. However, these fish can be susceptible to the most common fish diseases, such as Velvet, White Spot Disease, bacterial infections, and skin flukes.
Keep the environment clean, feed the fish a high-quality, varied diet, and be sure to quarantine any new fish and live plants before adding them to your main display tank.
Mickey Mouse Platys are livebearers, giving birth to fully-formed fry rather than laying eggs.
Like other livebearing freshwater fish, Mickey Mouse Platys can breed from as early as four months of age. This means you need to determine sex and separate young specimens as early as you can.
Interestingly, females that mate can retain sperm packets and continue to reproduce for several months without actually mating again for several months.
Once the fish have spawned, it takes around 30 days for between 40 and 60 fry to appear.
Water temperature has a direct influence on the fry’s gestation period. If the temperature is warmer, the gestation period is usually shorter.
As the fry develops inside the female, her belly becomes larger until you can see the eyes of the fry through the stretched skin. Once they arrive, they will seek shelter in dense clumps of plants.
This is essential otherwise the parents and other larger fish in the tank will see the tiny fish as a snack and eat them.
Baby Mickey Mouse Platys
You can protect the fry by placing the female into a breeding trap right before she gives birth to the fry.
These devices are designed so that the tiny babies fall through slits in the trap but the mother is too big to follow. The downside to that is that the mother can easily become stressed by confinement. You need to time moving her to the breeding trap perfectly so that she doesn’t spend too much time in there.
Alternatively, you can set up a separate spawning tank or nursery aquarium. The nursery must be very heavily planted so that the baby fish have somewhere to hide. Once the mother has delivered all her fry, she must be removed!
Since the fry are born as fully formed fish, you’ll need to feed them. You can use commercially prepared powdered or liquid fry food or newly hatched baby brine shrimp to feed your fry.
You’ll need to feed the fry several times every day, changing the water daily to remove uneaten food and keep the water healthy for the fish.
Mickey Mouse Platys can make a wonderful addition to any peaceful community aquarium. These cute fish are a perfect choice for beginners, and you can also breed them very easily for a fun project.
Did you breed Mickey Mouse Platys in your aquarium? Tell us in the comments section below.