Caring for Your New Moon or Platy
Info from Aqualand Pets Plus on Xiphophorus maculatus

 
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Moon/Platy Factoids

Origin

Central America Mexico and Guatemala

Maximum Size

Males smaller than 2 inches, Females slightly larger

Housing

20L aquarium best, 10 okay

Security

Not necessary, but likes bushy plants

Temperature

75 to 80o

Attitude

Good natured.  Eager eater.

Foods

Loves all foods

Water

Prefers pH above neutral.  Add salt.

Gestation Period

Six weeks

Number of Young

Dozens

Life Span

Two years

LA
Note the odd colored platies mixed in.


Platy Name:  Some people call these guys platies because they were originally named Platipoecilius ((flat-headed fish) maculatus (with spots).  They’re now (at least today) called Xiphophorus (sword-bearer) maculatus. 

LA
Still moons to some of us.

Moon Name:  Old timers call them moons because of the crescent moons right in front of their tails.  From this same “moon” spot, breeders developed the black-tailed “wags” and the Mickey faces.

LA
Everyone likes the "Mickey moons."

LA
M...I...C... ♫   Go on and finish.  You know the words.

 

Origins:  Slow moving waters in Mexico and Guatemala contain these perky little blue livebearers.  Selective breeding developed the bright reds, golds, hifins, plume-tails, Mickey faces, vari-colored fins and any number of varied and attractive colors in the platies.

Water Conditions:  Moons prefer a pH above neutral.  Our Des Moines water works great.  They also like salt in their water – one teaspoon per gallon.  Keep it around 75o although they can stand it colder or hotter.

LA
Pick from an ever-increasing rainbow of platy colors.

LA
Mix 'em up and enjoy the rainbow.

Appeal:  Talk about easy-to-keep.  Platies need no special foods or care – except clean water.  All the colors of the rainbow except green (green showed up this year -- 2003) and purple show up in moons -- a long way from their original sparkly blue.  Their fins and tails come in different colors and different shapes.  Who can resist these colorful little guys?

LA
Moons work great in community tanks.
 

Size:   Most moons average around two inches in length.  You usually find them for sale at about 1.5 inches.  This means they get along with nearly any other fishes.

Jumpers:  Not as bad at leaping as their swordtail cousins, we’d still recommend a good tank cover.  Platies will jump out – particularly after water changes.

No Goldfish:  Oddly enough, moons don’t mix well with goldfish.  They constantly pick, pick, pick at goldfishes -- apparently snacking on their slime coating.  When a moon jumps out of his tank and lands in one of our goldfish tanks below, he bugs every goldfish in the tank.

Foods:   Moons will eagerly eat whatever you feed them.  They need foods with algae in them.  They also constantly snack on the algae growing on your tank’s surfaces.  Moons also love live foods and frozen foods.  They also respond well to those worm flakes that increase their litter sizes.

Saving Fry:  If you want baby moons, you need to keep your eyes open.  Females release live fry every six weeks.  Look for chubby moms with a dark anal area.  The “dark” comes from the eyeballs of their babies showing thru.  Put the expectant mom in a well-planted 10-gallon tank so the babies can hide.  Moon fry taste good – even to their moms.  Feed her well. 

Fry Foods:  Baby moons eagerly eat powdered dry food.  They love newly hatched shrimps – even the frozen ones.  They grow best when fed several times a day (up to a maximum of five times).  Frequency of feeding is more important than type of food.  Put in some big snails to clean up the excess.

Filtration:  Baby moons need clean water.  Power filters will suck them up.    Not all survive the trip thru the impeller.  Use an under gravel or sponge filter.

LA
Platies are inexpensive, colorful, easy to keep.

Summary:  You can’t beat moons.  In addition to being nearly trouble free and very colorful, platies also cost very little.  LA.

© 1998, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

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