Sunburst Platy Stats InfographicSunburst platy, also known as the Mickey Mouse Platy is an attractive choice for a tank. It isn’t very challenging to keep in your tank since it can eat both meat and vegetables!

This sunburst platyfish guide will help you learn all you need to know before adding this fish to your aquarium

What is Sunburst Platy?

Sunburst platy is a popular choice among new and experienced aquarists as it’s easy to care for fish and comes in attractive colors. The fully grown fish can easily grab anyone’s attention due to its shimmering silver scales and bright colours.

Although it is rather easy to care for fish, still you have to provide suitable water conditions, proper lighting, and food.


Scientific name  Xiphophorus maculatus
Origin  Central and North America
Common names  Mickey mouse platy, moonfish, southern platy fish
Temperature  70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
pH  6.5-7
Tank size  20 gallons
Nitrite levels 0 ppm
Suitable tank mates  Same species or other species of platies
Care level  Easy 
Behaviour  Peaceful 

Sunburst Platy Care

Platy fish are known as active swimmers, this means these fish need adequate space and water to freely swim and stay healthy. On another note, the requirement of excessive water is to get the required amount of oxygen. Swimming also helps these fish to reach the oxygen level required for survival and health of sunburst platys.

If you’ve planned to get one or more sunburst platy fish, you first need to learn how to care for this fish properly. So, let’s dive into the details of sunburst platy care:

Water Parameters

As sunburst platy belongs to a tropical climate, you must provide warm water with enough light and oxygen. The ideal temperature is between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and as for the pH level, it should be 6.5-7. Additionally, you’ve to keep the nitrates and nitrites levels in the required amount, where the preferred nitrate and nitrite levels for sunburst platy are 0ppm.

Besides the ideal water parameters, sunburst platy can adjust to the fluctuations in the aquarium water. Even if the water parameters are much different from the natural habitat of this tropical fish, it can adjust to the changing environment quite quickly.

For example, sunburst platys will have no issue with this change if the water temperature increases by 80 and is close to 90. However, your other fish species may become sick due to temperature change or maybe even die.


Sunburst platy is an omnivore fish, which means it can eat everything you’ll provide in the tank. It can eat plants, algae, bugs, and all other food items. Although sunburst platy isn’t a picky eater, you have to provide a balanced diet to keep your fish healthy.

A balanced diet for sunburst platy would include food pallets or commercial tropical flake, carnivore pellets, bloodworms, and blackworms. Sunburst platy loves eating brine shrimp, daphnia, cyclops, and algae.

It’s recommended to feed these items as treats occasionally along with a regular balanced diet. These food items have rich amounts of vitamins, minerals, and proteins that sunburst platy needs for growth and survival.


Xiphophorus maculatus platy fish care, breeding and tank matesAlthough sunburst platy can live with other fish in the aquarium, on the other hand, other fish can make it tough for platy fish. Due to its small size and delicate body, it can be a victim of voracious predators like guppies and swordtails.

Besides these big fishes, almost every aquatic predator, including large invertebrates too, can attack and eat sunburst platy. Hence, if you keep sunburst platy with other aquatic organisms, you’re solely responsible for the safety of your platy fish.


The average lifespan of sunburst platy is three to five years. With proper care and a healthy living environment, your sunburst platy can even survive for more than seven years. This long sunburst platy lifespan is often seen when the fish is in its natural habitat.

However, when kept in the aquarium, this fish often has a short lifespan due to fluctuations in the aquarium conditions. These fluctuations can stress sunburst platy, eventually leading to its death. Factors that you can adjust for a long lifespan of sunburst platy are its diet, aquarium environment, tank mates, etc.

Health Conditions and Parasitic Attack

Diseases and parasites that can make sunburst platy sick are columnar, protozoan parasites, and ich. If not treated on time, these conditions and parasites can kill the fish. The best way to treat your fish is to consult a vet and ask for advice and possible treatment, as to cautiousness, it is best not to do it yourself because the chances are that you can harm your fish.

To protect the sunburst platy from these diseases and parasites, you should always quarantine new fish before adding them to the tank. If symptoms of these conditions appear in any fish, keep that fish in a separate tank sunburst platy lifespan

A Brief Description

Sunburst platy originally belongs to Central and North America, a native species of Mexico, Veracruz, Northern Belize, Costa Rice, and Honduras. It’s a popular freshwater tropical fish that is commonly known as sunburst platy, this name attributes the physical features of the sunburst platy. The body of this fish has a unique pattern on the sides that resembles the rising sun; hence how it is called.

The scientific name for sunburst platy is “Xiphophorus maculatus,” as it is also famous for being “mickey mouse platy,” “moonfish,” “southern platy fish,” and “livebearer fish.” However, all the sunburst platy fish are considered the same; there are somewhat differences.

For example, mickey mouse platy fish is produced by breeding common red and orange platy in Central America, hence, it has some minor differences in characteristics, including appearance.

Most sunburst platy fish are low-maintenance fish and perfect for new aquarists, since sunburst platys are native to Central America, they prefer water hardness of 10 to 25 degrees dH. When correct aquarium conditions are provided, sunburst platy can grow about two or two and a half inches in length. It’s an omnivore fish and can eat both flaked meals and algae.

Most Suitable Tank Mates

The most suitable tank mates for sunburst platy same species or other species of platies. This fish loves to live in a tank filled with fish, but of course not the aggressive ones. If you can find some non-aggressive fish with similar tank requirements like sunburst platy, they can be good tank mates.

Tropical fish, including catfish, cichlids, loaches, puffers, aren’t suitable tank mates even though they have similar habitat requirements. These are aggressive fish and won’t live with the sunburst platy peacefully.


Sunburst platy breeding is really easy since these are livebearers. Most of the livebearers are for increasing their number quickly, furthermore, sunburst platys are compatible with most live-bearing ones, hence they are bred in large numbers.

Male and female sunburst platys can be easily distinguished. Male sunburst platy is smaller in size than female fish. When you see your sunburst platy pregnant, there is no need to provide any extra care, since these fish give birth often and are very much used to this process.

However, for baby sunburst platy you have to be careful regarding the diet. It’s recommended to feed baby platy brine shrimp immediately after birth for almost a week, followed by switching the brine shrimp with crushed flakes. It helps lower the risk of anemia, which is often seen in small fish when they feed on the same diet for a long time.

Ideal Aquarium Environment and Size for Sunburst Platy

An ideal aquarium environment for sunburst platy should have the following things:

  • A tank size having at least 20 gallons of water capacity.
  • Add a lot of plants and other decorative items to provide enough hiding places for sunburst platy.

Use a filter in the sunburst platy tank. If you don’t want to use a filter, perform water changes more often than your usual routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Big and Bulky Sunburst Platy Can Grow?

Caring for Sunburst Platy

The maximum size that sunburst platy can grow is seven inches, note that this size is achievable only if the tank conditions are suitable for sunburst platy. If the tank isn’t properly maintained or care isn’t provided, the growth of the sunburst platy can be compromised.

When sunburst platy fish are fully matured, they weigh between one to two ounces, yet again, the weight can be compromised depending upon the care level you’ll provide.

Are Sunburst Platy Aggressive or Peaceful Fish?

Sunburst platy are mostly very peaceful, they love to live in a group of five to six fish of the same or different species. However, while putting different fish species in the same tank, you’ve to ensure that their requirements of water parameters are similar.

If you keep them with other platies or swordtails, these fish will be happy. The number of fish in the tank can be more than six, too, if the tank has enough capacity. But, if your tank is small and you forcefully add more fish in the tank, it will make your sunburst platy aggressive.


Things that you learned about sunburst platy in this detailed article are:

  • Sunburst platy is a native of North America and Central America.
  • They can adjust to the changing tank conditions without being affected.
  • Being an omnivore, it can consume both meaty and plant-based diets.
  • The average lifespan of sunburst platy is three to five years.
  • They are peaceful fish and don’t like to live with aggressive tank mates.
  • Breeding sunburst platy is easy because they are livebearers.

When you care for your sunburst platy correctly, it will show normal, healthy growth and high activity in the tank. You obviously won’t need idle sunburst platy in your fish tank. So, start practicing the care tips mentioned in this post to keep your sunburst platy happy and healthy! 

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