Surprisingly, all have three black dots/marks at the start of their tail fins. And these marks together form an exact image of Mickey Mouse’s face with ears, explaining their name.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a Mickey Mouse platy fish in your collection?

There are a host of reasons which make them desirable.

Besides being colorfully vibrant, hardy, and active, they are also peaceful, social, non-fussy about food, easy to maintain, and require small tanks.

Thus, anyone,  from beginners to experts, can add them to their community tank without a second thought.

This article covers everything you need to know about the Mickey Mouse platy fish.

Before we proceed, let us understand the term platy. Fishes with tail fins that do not have a sword or pointed edge are called platy fishes.

The below image describes different tail fin shapes. Fishes with rounded and truncated tail fins generally fall under the platy category.

Image Credit: researchgate.net

Generic facts about Mickey Mouse Platy fish

Table 1 – Generic Facts
Scientific Name Xiphophorus Maculatus
Other popular names Golden Moon Platy or Moonfish
Family Poeciliidae
Life Span 3-5 years (approximately)
Adult Fish Size Up to 2 inches (male), up to 3 inches (female)
Diet Omnivorous (Not fussy)
Temperament Social, Non-schooling, Peaceful
Breeding Livebearer (delivers a fry instead of laying eggs)
Origin Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala
Type Freshwater

Habitat and Origin

The Mickey Mouse platy fish is native to Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, and the Atlantic Coast of Mexico. Like other platy fish, they are freshwater fish found in the slow-moving, shallow waters of the wilderness. They thrive on the natural plantations, other small fishes, fish eggs, insects, worms, etc. They eat almost anything.

They have also settled in some areas of the US (like Texas, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Montana, and Louisiana).

Physical Attributes and Size

As described earlier, three black marks at the beginning of their tail fins, resembling a Mickey Mouse face with ears, set them apart.

The male fish grow up to 2 inches long, whereas the female fish can grow up to 3 inches.

They come in a spectrum of enticing colors ranging from pale yellow to golden to red and many more combinations of colors.

Their vibrant personalities, with a Mickey Mouse “tattoo”, and agile swimming are a treat to the eyes!

Types

They come in many variants (based on their colors, except for the high-fin). A few of them are listed below:

Table 2: Types of Mickey Mouse Platy Fish
Sunburst There is a burst of many colors on its body (like silver with shades of red, golden, green, etc.)   Another version has bright yellow, golden to orange colored fish, resembling the colors of the Sun
Blue It looks  blue due to a genetic mutation
Red Because it is Red
Tiger Ruby It has horizontal stripes resembling a tiger
High Fin A cross-breed whose fin on the upper body is higher than usual. Colors can vary according to the mutation
Gold It is golden colored
White Pearl-white color justifies its name
Red Hi-Fin A high fin cross breed which is red
Marlboro It is a rare variety with a pearl-white body and an orange tinge on the upper or later body.
Tricolor It has three different colors on its body

Male v/s Female

The image below explains the main difference between a male and female Mickey Mouse platy fish.

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The male fish has a gonopodium (reproductive appendage used to transfer sperm), whereas female fish have anal fins.

Besides, female fish are larger in size and dull in color compared to their male counterparts.

Price

They cost between $2 to $4 each.

It is advisable to buy from a reliable source (online or offline).

Avoid adding fish directly from the wilderness to your home aquarium. You might end up infecting other fishes if they are carrying any parasites or bacteria. 

Care Guide

Food

The Mickey Mouse platy fish eat pretty much anything. They are not fussy about food.

You can feed them fresh/cooked vegetables, live/frozen worms, dried supplements, and other frozen foods. They will also feast on the algae growing in your tank plantations.

However, try to feed them a variety of foods and include protein-rich food supplements.

Adult fish need to be fed once a day, whereas younger ones need to be fed smaller portions 2-3 times a day.

Observe what they consume immediately after each variety. Repeating that food in the rotation will help.

Overfeeding will either cause health issues or leave uneaten food to rot in the bottom of the tank, contaminating the tank environment and water quality.

Ensure the food is clean and high-quality  (bacteria/ parasite free).

Typical Behavior Patterns

Some of their behavior traits are listed below:

  • They are non-schooling fish
  • Their temperament is peaceful and social
  • It makes them a safe addition to any community tank
  • They mainly swim in mid to top-level tank water
  • They actively explore the place and love hiding in plants
  • They lack parental instinct. So, they can eat their own frys too!

Breeding

They are easy to breed in captivity. No special efforts are needed to breed them if the tank environment (covered in a later section) is maintained.

They start mating at the young age of 4 months. Stopping them from mating could be a challenge!

A ratio of 3 female fish per male fish is ideal to ensure that the female fish do not get stressed out due to continuous spawning attempts from their male counterpart.

In addition, if you have fewer females, you will notice the males and females getting aggressive with each other while spawning.

Mating Indicators

There is no need to pair or separate them for spawning.

The male fish keeps chasing the female fish in an attempt to deposit sperm in her belly with their gonopodium.

The female fish might sometimes reciprocate by chasing him back or might ignore him and swim away.

It continues for a while till the female fish becomes impregnated.

The male fish tries to mate even with a pregnant fish. So remember to isolate her till the fry is delivered.

Interestingly, the female fish can retain male sperm in their bodies and impregnate themselves single-handedly in the absence of any male counterpart in the future.

Identifying and Caring for Pregnant Mickey Mouse Platy

It is vital to watch out for physical changes in the female fish from the 4th month onwards.

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When pregnant, her abdomen will look swollen, and a dark gravid spot will be visible under her anal fin. It is due to living beings growing inside her.

A gentle reminder – isolate the pregnant fish in a separate tank till she delivers to protect her from getting stressed out by the male chasing.

Besides, the newborn frys can be easily isolated from adult Mickey Mouse platys, including their mother.

You can use a

  • Breeding Box – This is a single tank with a small opening for the newborn fish to pass through in the lower tray (portion) while the mother is in the upper part or
  • Breeding Trap – The mother is confined in a rectangular trap on the top. Underneath is a small opening for the fry to pass to the lower tank after birth

These options can stress the mother due to the smaller space for her to move around and might result in delayed delivery, fewer frys born, or dead frys born. Use them wisely.

Remember to feed her regularly and keep the tank environment optimum. There are no special feeding requirements.

There is a 28 days gestation period before delivery. Around 40 to 60 frys get delivered per breeding cycle.

Care for Newborn fry

Remove the mother fish from the breeding tank immediately before she feasts on her own newborn frys.

You can use:

  • A Fry Tank – This option means having two tanks. One for the mother and the other for the frys
  • A Tank Divider – This is the simplest option. Use a see-through divider to keep the frys separate in the same tank.
    But there should be enough space left in the community tank for all adult fishes to move freely after placing the divider
  • It is a great idea to try a DIY fry trap (using a plastic bottle/netted plastic basket) following online videos

As such, the newborn frys do not have any specific feeding requirements. You can feed them the same food as adult fish.

You can feed them egg yolk, frozen brine shrimps, freshly hatched brine shrimps, flakes, micro worms, etc.

Just ensure that you feed them healthy food in smaller portions (crushed or liquid/paste) thrice a day, considering they have small mouths and bellies to eat and digest.

Avoid over-feeding. Feed up to three minutes. Collect all left-over food from the tank bottom after every feeding.

An optimum tank water environment is crucial.

  • Keep changing the tank water every week
  • Add live and floating plants to the tank to eat and hide
  • It also improves the oxygen level and PH balance in the tank water
  • Keep the tank bottom clean
  • Use good filters to aerate the water
  • Ample lighting and sunlight for 10-12 hours are recommended, along with a peaceful night-time with dim lights

The frys are very active swimmers. They will grow fast in a safe tank environment with healthy food.

The frys need isolation for at least two weeks (or more, if need be).

Once they have grown considerably big, add them to the community tank. Ensure the main tank has enough thick plantation to hide in and does not get overcrowded.

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Diseases

There are no diseases observed specifically in Mickey Mouse platys only, plus they are hardy.

However, being freshwater platy fish, they are equally prone to the diseases found in freshwater and platy fishes.

We strongly recommend you consult a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment for any disease. Early detection and cure are critical.

Visit for more about diseases found in freshwater fishes and ways to prevent them.

Read additional and detailed information on all common diseases in Fish, and their prevention.

Tank Recommendations

Table 3 – Overview of Tank Requirements for Mickey Mouse Platy Fish
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
Water Temperature 64 to 77 degrees  F (18 to 25 degrees C)
PH Level 7.0 to 8.2
Water Hardness 10 to 25 dGH (degrees of General Hardness)
Lighting No special requirements. Well-lit tank

Tank Size

While the minimum tank size is 10 gallons, it will also depend on how many fishes you add to your home aquarium.

A look at it will explain if it is overcrowded. Fishes need enough space to swim as they grow in size.

Remember, Mickey Mouse platys will start breeding from the fourth month and add around 40 to 60 frys every month.

Add three to six of them to a 10-gallon tank with a ratio of 1:3 male to female ratio.

Plan your tank size accordingly if you have other fishes too. 

Tank Setup

A tank setup should replicate the Mickey Mouse platys’ natural habitat closely.

It will make them feel safe, happy, and healthy, promoting reproduction.

Substrate 

Since the Mickey Mouse platys are bright-colored, a dark substrate will enhance their presence and beautify your tank.

A small-to-medium-sized, well-rounded (no sharp edges) substrate (including flat rocks, glass pebbles, etc.) is best.

Lighting

They need natural light.

However, it is advisable to have a tastefully lit tank so that:

  • It lights up the corner of the room
  • Anyone gets a clear view of the inside activity, decor, etc.
  • You can feel stress-free by watching them swim
  • Any physical or behavioral changes in the fish are easily detectable

Dim the light at night to provide a day-night cycle inside the tank. 

Plants

Mickey Mouse platys eat vegetation.

Adding live plants will improve oxygen levels, reduce nitrogen levels (by using it as fertilizer), and feed the platys between your feeding sessions(s).

Artificial and floating plants can also be used to decorate your tank. The algae growing on them will feed the Mickey Mouse platys.

Thickly planted tanks provide a natural habitat and double up as a hiding space for the frys.

You can add hornwort, duckweed, and java moss. 

Decor

  • Any natural or artificial decor of your choice that is bacteria/parasite free, with smooth surfaces and broad swim-through space inside any tunnels, is good to go.
  • Try different colors and creative themes, keeping the tank size in mind.
  • It should be easy to clean and maintain in the tank.
  • Harmless if the fish accidentally try to eat it.
  • Driftwood (with/without plants) is the most common tank decor used, besides clay pots and other items (like small bridges, etc.).
  • Decor provides good hiding and playing spaces for your fishes.

Oxygen and Filtration

All fish tanks must have filtration to maintain the quality of the tank water. There are biological filters, mechanical filters, and chemical filters.

Read here for more details on each type of filter.

Mickey Mouse platys prefer slow-moving waters, so choose a filter with adjustable water flow to avoid a strong water current in the tank.

Select a filter suitable to your tank size.

Ensure the filtering mechanism is regularly cleaned and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal functioning.

Tank Mates

The Mickey Mouse platy is a non-schooling fish, which is peaceful and social with all other fishes.

Remember, it enjoys being with other members of the same family (Xiphophorus).

Other platys, Guppies, Danios, Tetras, Mollies, and Gouramis make good tank mates for the Mickey Mouse Platys.

Avoid adding territorial/aggressive fishes to the same community tank with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Surely, most of your queries about Mickey Mouse platy fish care must be answered by now, except the one below.

Can I keep Mickey Mouse Platy and Goldfish in the same tank?

Yes, they can be tankmates.

Conclusion

The Mickey Mouse platy fish is a truly valuable addition to any community tank.

These endearing Mickey tattooed fish are surely something you can flaunt about.

Throw in some tips about caring for them (mentioned above), and they will believe you are an expert!

Besides, they provide a good ROI (Return On Investment) due to their constant reproduction from the fourth month.

You can sell, gift, or exchange the grown-up frys for a different fish of your choice/money.

About the Author

Victoria Lamb

Victoria is a freshwater aquatics specialist, fish keeper, and amphibian enthusiast. She has had more than 6 years of experience caring for aquariums and keeping several fish species, and her home boasts of 3 aquariums and a garden pond. Her goal is to educate fish owners on raising healthy and happy aquatic pets.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior and Welfare

  • University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK (2014-2018)

Writing Experience

Victoria has done ghostwriting for many aquarium and pet websites in the past. She has also worked for Canada's largest natural health magazine- ALIVE, with 300,000 monthly circulations as a freelancer. She had six published articles on animal behavior and welfare during her graduation for her thesis.

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