Whether you are a beginner or veteran aquarist, you must have heard of the freshwater fish species, the Mickey Mouse Platy. Thanks to their bright colors, these fish are a great addition to your aquarium. Also known as moonfish or golden moon platy, they are an excellent choice because they are easy to care for.
Scientific Name: Xiphophorous maculatus
Common Names: Golden moon platy, moonfish, mickey mouse platy
Life expectancy: About 5 years
Adult size: 1 to 2 inches
Here are some of the key characteristics of Mickey Mouse Platy
|Habitat||Freshwater tropical fish|
|Temperament||Community fish, peaceful|
|Water Temperature||64 -77 F|
|Tank preference||Mid tank dweller|
|Aquarium size||10 gallons|
|Water parameters||Water hardness 10-25 dGH, pH range 7.0 to 8.2|
If you are wondering why this name sounds familiar, it’s because this fish species gets its nickname from the popular animated cartoon Disney character “Mickey Mouse.” They got this name because of the large round spot on the tail area with two smaller markings resembling the ears of the Disney character.
The Mickey Mouse Platy is originally from Central and North America. It could be found from northern Belize to Mexico. There are non-native fish populations of these species across the U.S. in Florida, California, Montana, Nevada, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas. It’s considered to be an endangered species.
As mentioned, this spectacular freshwater fish has similar physical traits to the Mickey Mouse character. It stands out with its beautiful colors that range from pale gold, orange, yellow, or even blue. The fins also stand out and can be red, black, or yellow.
Keep in mind that these fish species can either be high or long-finned. Although they might look different, they are the same species.
Mickey Mouse Platy fish are nano fish, so they are not that big. On average, they grow to 1-2 inches, or 4-5 cm, as adults. Therefore, they are a perfect choice if you are looking for tiny fish for your aquarium.
You can distinguish between the male and female Mickey Mouse Platys because they exhibit sexual dimorphism. Female platys are usually larger and can grow to about 6 cm. Additionally, they don’t have bright colors like their male counterparts.
On the other hand, males have a gonopodium, which is a modified anal fin found in male fish. This is used during mating to deposit sperm into the female fish. Therefore, you can easily tell them apart if you have both in your tank.
In their natural habitat, these fish species have a lifespan of five years. Therefore, if you replicate the same habitat in the tank and provide them with the right diet, they can live for the same period or even longer.
Mickey Mouse Platys are not schooling fish but are still quite social. They are ideal for beginners because they are calm and are a good addition to a peaceful community. You can put them in a 10-gallon tank because they don’t need a lot of room to maneuver.
In the tank, they prefer to stick to the mid-level area and dart around the tank with other tankmates. Since they are peaceful, you can put them together with other peaceful species.
When pairing them up, placing them with other live-bearing fish is better. Mickey Mouse Platys are among the few live-bearing fish species. This can be guppies, swordtails, or mollies. They also fit well with danios, tetras, and catfish.
Habitat and Care
To care for this fish species, here are some of the things you’ll need to consider.
- Tank decoration – They are not too fussy but will tend to nibble on plants, so you should have tougher live plants in your tank.
- Lighting – You need light for your live plants so that they can photosynthesize. Additionally, you can add a light with a timer to control when it goes off.
- Water parameters – The ideal water temperature is 64 to 77F. The water hardness should be 10-25 dGH, and the pH range from 7.0 to 8.2
Like other Platys, this fish species is omnivorous. They feed on plant matter, algae, insects, and worms in their natural wild habitat. In captivity, you can feed them a wide range of food items because they are not picky eaters.
Their diet can include pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms, frozen meaty protein, or tropical flake foods. You can also add some fresh vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, or cooked peas.
Ensure the food is sourced from a reliable supplier to avoid importing parasites into the tank.
Feed your Mickey Mouse Platys twice a day for a couple of minutes. If you overfeed them, the leftover food will rot in your aquarium and lead to health problems.
Mickey Mouse Platys are livebearers, meaning they give birth to fully formed fry instead of laying eggs. They can breed from when they are four months; therefore, you need to determine the sex of your fish early enough.
After the fish have spawned, the fry will take 30 days to emerge. The fry are usually about 40 to 60. You can separate the female from the other fish to prepare for the birth. Otherwise, the fry will be eaten by the other tankmates.
Cost and Availability
Like most Platy species, Mickey Mouse Platys are readily available in pet stores and online. You can get them quite easily.
In terms of cost, these fish species cost about $3.99 on Pet Smart. They also have installment payments that allow you to pay $1 in 4 payments. However, the price can be higher depending on where you buy your fish. Before purchasing some for your tank, take time to compare prices from different suppliers.
Mickey Mouse Platys are ideal fish for aquarists, whether you are a beginner or veteran. They are calm and peaceful; therefore, they will survive with the most peaceful tankmates. Additionally, they are easy to care for and a perfect addition to your tank.
Featured image credit: JuanCarlosPalauDiaz, Pixabay