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Putting Newborn Platys with Neon Tetras — Good or Bad Idea?

Putting Newborn Platys with Neon Tetras — Good or Bad Idea?

Platys are great fish to keep because they are colorful and hardy. Unfortunately, they are also prolific breeders.

What to do with the fry is a challenge. If you want to keep them, then do not place newborn platy fry with neon tetras or any other fish, because they will eat the fry.

Platy fry needs to be kept by themselves for at least six weeks or until they are too large to be eaten.


Putting Newborn Platys with Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are generally peaceful fish but will eat any and all fish fry they can find. Newborn platy fry is small enough for neon tetras to eat. Ideally, the pregnant mother platy should be separated from other fish until after she gives birth. She will eat the babies if left with them.


Breeding Platys: Just Add Water

One of the reasons why Platys are such popular pet fish is because they breed so rapidly. Rabbits seem positively celibate next to a pair of Platys.

A female can get pregnant every month. She can have as many as 80 babies, although less than 40 is the average.

Anyone keeping a pair of Platys will be faced with the problem of what to do with the babies.

Even if you buy just one platy from a pet store, chances are high that you will buy a pregnant platy (read up on how a pregnant platy fish looks like if you don’t know how to spot one). In most pet stores, platys are kept in community tanks and usually, the sexes are not separated.

If your new platy is getting fatter and fatter, it’s time to start making arrangements about what to do with the fry.

For example purposes, we’re assuming that you want to keep the fry. We are also going to assume that the mother is being kept in a community aquarium with neon tetras.

It is controversial whether neon tetras should be kept with platys because neon tetras like softer water than livebearers like platys, mollies, or swordtails.

However, many sources claim that neon tetras do fine with Platys. Try and see if both fishes can live together.


Getting Ready for Platy Babies

A heavily pregnant mother platy needs to be separated from other members of the tank. She needs to give birth to the fry and then put back into her old tank.

The fry need a safe place to grow. This special place for mom and babies can be a breeder box or a small aquarium.

Breeder boxes, also called breeder traps, are very small, clear plastic boxes that hang inside the community aquarium. They contain a divider with thin slots for the fry to fall through and stay safe from mom.

Fry should be kept in a breeder box for one or two weeks, depending on how fast they grow, as they will soon overcrowd the box.

A better place for a fry nursery is a small aquarium at least five gallons large. It does not need to have a substrate but does need plastic or live plants for the fry to hide from a hungry Mom.

It also needs heating, lighting, and a gentle filter. A hood is optional, but it’s a good place to set a light on.


When to Move Mom

Platy pregnancies last for about a month. Platys often give birth late at night or when you are not around, so it’s best to separate her when she is heavily pregnant.

When a female platy is soon to give birth, the bottom of her belly becomes square instead of round.

The opening on her underside where poop comes out (and where the babies will also come out) is called the cloaca. This dilates or resembles a bright white pea when she is about to give birth, also called dropping the fry.

Place her in the breeding box or nursery tank. When she has given birth, she will visibly deflate.

Place her back into her old tank when at least an hour has passed since the appearance of the last fry, or when she starts eating the fry, whichever comes first.


Caring for Newborn Fry

Even though the nursery tank should have a filter, the water will need a 25 percent change at least every two weeks, because the babies will poop a lot.

Do a partial water change whenever the water starts looking dirty or becomes cloudy. Also, check the tank frequently for any dead babies and remove the bodies promptly, as decaying fry can drastically change the water quality.

Platy fry are not fussy eaters. They need at least three feedings a day.

Only give enough food so they have eaten it all in three minutes. Otherwise, the food rots and deteriorates the water quality.

Good foods include:

  • Fish flakes or pellets ground up into dust. Although there is fish food made for fry, platy fry can live on the same flakes or pellets you feed the parents.
  • Ground-up freeze-dried bloodworms or tubifex
  • Live or frozen baby brine shrimp
  • Boiled egg yolk.

Fry grow quickly, but not at a predictable rate. Various factors affect the Platys’ growth rate.

They can be placed in a tank with neon tetras when they are about an inch long, or about the size of the tetras.


Frequently Asked Questions about Putting Newborn Platys with Neon Tetras


Can I Put Neon Tetras with Platys?

Neon tetras are good tank mates for adult platys. Since they thrive best in schools, keep at least six tetras or they may die from stress. Get an aquarium at least 20 gallons large to keep both six neon tetras and up to three Platys.


Do Neon Tetras Eat Platy Fry?

Neon tetras are carnivores, and platy fry is definitely on their menus. Newborn platy fry are only 0.25 inches (7 or 8 millimeters) long, which is snack size to a neon tetra. Even well-fed tetras will not pass up the chance to chow down on fresh baby Platys.


Until When Can You Place The Platy Fry in the Breeding Box?

The longest newborn platy fry can be kept in a breeder box is two weeks, although some breeders will remove them at one week. Fry should be removed to an aquarium at least five gallons large where they have enough room to grow in good water conditions.


The Least You Need to Know

If you want to keep platy fry or newborn Platys, do not put them with any fish, even small community fish like neon tetras, because the fry will be eaten.

It’s best to keep the fry separate from any other fish until they grow too large to be considered food. Platy fry should be at least one inch long before being added to a tank with neon tetras.