How to Tell a Molly From a Platy {Which One Is Hardier?}

Are you here to find how you can tell the difference between a Molly and Platy? Which one is hardier and will survive longer in your tank? In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of telling Mollies and Platies apart.

How to Tell a Molly From a Platy: Mollies are larger, sleeker, from the Poecilia family with an upward facing mouth and overall colors that are green, black white and orange. Platies are smaller, from the Xiphophorus family and often found with spots across their bodies. 

Are Platy And Molly The Same?

No. It seems to be a common occurrence that someone has mistaken a molly for a platy and vice versa. Let’s try to tell them apart:


  • Peocilia family 
  • Larger
  • Sleeker
  • Mouth facing upwards
  • Able to live 3-5 years


  • Xiphophorus family 
  • Warmer hues of red, orange, yellow, etc.
  • Smaller
  • Wider
  • Often with spots
  • Able to live 3-4 years

Both types of fish are livebearers that live in freshwater. They cannot interbreed, but they will get along in the same tank if there is enough room with plenty of hiding spaces in planted areas.

Are Mollies or Platies Better?

We do not prefer to pick the better between the two species of livebearers, but we can say that mollies tend to be hardier. Mollies can be treated for tank parasites and infections with more aquarium salt compared to platies.

A molly fish is able to regulate its internal organs as well to expel any unwanted chemicals or pollutants in the water.

Platies are not very sensitive and could also withstand a tank cycling, but they are smaller and susceptible to succumbing to disease or strong doses of medication.

Can Mollies Live With Platies?

Yes. Both types of fish enjoy harder water that is slightly more alkaline. Guppies, platies and mollies can live together with danios, barbs and cichlids.

The tank must be spacious with enough territories to prevent disputes. You are looking to add plants or decorations to offer these restful locations to take breaks from the community when they need it.

Molly Fish Parameters

  • Temperature: 75°-80°F (24°-26.7°C)
  • Ammonia/Nitrite: 0.
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm.
  • pH: 7.5-8.5.
  • GH: 12-25 dGH (200-416 ppm)
  • KH: 10-25 dkh (178-450 ppm)

Platy Fish Parameters

  • Temperature: 70°-80°F (21°-27°C)
  • Ammonia/Nitrite: 0.
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm.
  • pH: 7.0-8.0.
  • GH: 10-28 dGH (167-467 ppm)
  • KH: 3-5 dKH (54-90 ppm)

By comparing the water parameters for each individual species, you can determine that there is a happy medium to keep both fish together in the same tank.

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What’s the Difference Between Mollies and Platies?

Mollies are a welcome addition for beginners who are new to the hobby of fish keeping. Mollies are found in freshwaters of Mexico and northern regions of South America. Mollies can be slightly more aggressive than platies that are smaller and tend to get out of the way.

Platies have beautiful colors, patterns and often carry spots on their bodies. They also come for freshwaters in Mexico, but not in the exact same locations as mollies.

Both types of fish enjoy hiding spaces and tall plants to relax. They will both benefit from 10-25% water changes each week.

Mollies may survive up to a year longer than platies with both species living a minimum of 3 years under healthy tank conditions,.

Are There Different Tank Sizes and Dietary Difference Between Mollies and Platies?

You should keep 3-4 mollies and 5 or more platies together in the same 20 gallon tank or separate 10 gallon tanks. Both types of fish enjoy similar omnivorous meals and are not picky eaters.

You can add in brine shrimp, bloodworms or other meaty foods during the week, but you can keep the staple food as high quality pellets or flakes with some algae wafers thrown in as well.

Always remove leftovers after 3 minutes to reduce any chance of spikes in ammonia from excess debris or detritus.

What Are The Best Tankmates For Mollies and Platies?

Now that we know how larger, sleeker mollies differ from smaller, spotted and more colorful platies, let’s look at which tankmates go well with both species housed together.

Here are some great tankmates to keep them all together in a community tank larger than 20 gallons:

  • Rosy Barbs
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Zebra Loaches
  • Yo-yo Loaches
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Tetras
  • Corydora Catfish.
  • Swordtails
  • Guppies
  • Characins
  • Various shrimp and snails

Avoid larger territorial fish like African Cichlids or aggressive Oscar fish. The tank size and territories marked by planted areas and decorations are always important.

Make you have clean, cycled tank water that is tested for optimal parameters with zero ammonia readings.


Molly and Platy species are similar to the untrained eye, but we hope this article provides you with enough differentiating qualities that are exemplified in their appearance and behavior to help you tell them apart.

Keeping both of them together in the same tank is encouraged and suitable. They will not interbreed with each other.

You should feel comfortable with their relative peaceful nature to get long in a spacious setting where there is clean water, beneficial bacteria thriving and plenty of hiding spaces to rest and relax.


Thanks for visiting for this article on Molly and Platy fish. We have plenty more informative articles for your interest. Check out our home page and search bar for hundreds of more selections that could benefit you and your aquatic life. Bye for now!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.

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