This colorful fish is not only easy to care for, but it’s also colorful and gorgeous to look at. This fish gets along well with just about any other species of fish, making it an awesome choice for your community aquarium.
With plenty of colors and varieties to choose rom, you shouldn’t be worrying about how to care for a Swordtail Fish – you should be thinking about what you are going to name it!
We’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the Swordtail Fish.
Swordtail Fish Background
Referred to scientifically as Xiphophorus helleri, this fish is very popular in community aquariums. In the wild, these fish normally have olive-green bodies with red stripes. Native to Central and North America, these fish were first discovered and then named in 1848.
The Swordtail Fish is one of the most common Swordtails, and is usually found in variations of red or green, leading to the creation of the specific Green and Red Swordtail Fish breeds. All Swordtail Fish look not unlike Platy fish and Guppies, but they usually have bulkier bodies. In addition, these fish have “swords’ that stick out from the bottom of the male’s tail fin.
Swordtail Fish are found in the Atlantic slopes of southern Mexico all the way to northwestern Honduras. In addition, they are now found in a number of countries in south Africa and Australia as the result of human introduction.
They are found in all kinds of waters, preferring areas that are heavily vegetated. Typically, they are found in canals, warm springs, and ponds.
Swordtail Fish Appearance And Behavior
Swordtail fish are not large freshwater fish species, but they aren’t the smallest you’ll find, either. Growing only to about 6 inches in length, the females of this species are larger than the males, who only grow to about five and a half inches.
There are all kinds of Swordtails, including the Montezuma Swordtail, the Delicate Swordtail, the Mountain Swordtail, and the Pygmy Swordtail. These fish are fast-growing and have beautiful dramatic “sword”-tails, as the name implies.
In the wild, these fish live in groups but do not exhibit schooling behavior. They will often group together in an aquarium, so it’s a good idea to keep multiple fish in your tank. These fish are incredibly hardy and can survive in a range of environments – meaning they can tolerate any small mistakes you might make when you are first getting started!
Swordtail Fish Tank And Water Requirements
As medium-sized fish, these creatures do not need extensive amounts of space. However, they can be quite active, so while decorations are fine to have in your tank, it’s important that you leave plenty of open swimming space.
Ideally, the minimum amount of tank space you should for an adult swordtail is at least 15 gallons. If you intend to add more fish, you need to double that number – make it at least 30. These fish are great jumpers, so in addition to providing plenty of swimming space, you will also want to put a tight-fitting lid on your tank. There would be nothing worse than coming home to see your poor Swordtail Fish lying motionless on your living room floor!
These durable tropical fish can endure a wide range of water conditions. In terms of temperature, they have a large range- anything between 65 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit is fine. Nevertheless, you should try to avoid rapid fluctuations in temperature, as this can cause your fish serious stress and illness.
Swordtail Fish prefer waters that are relatively hard, with a rating of 12 to 30 dGH. The pH should be between 7.0 and 8.4. These fish like waters that are somewhat alkaline.
You should put special systems in place to make sure your tank is appropriately filtered. Install a filtration system before you introduce your fish, as this will keep your water parameters level and secure. You should also conduct weekly water changes of at least ten percent to keep your fish healthy and happy.
What Do Swordtail Fish Eat?
Swordtail fish eat many types of food. In the wild they are omnivores, so when you raise htm in captivity you can feed them just about anything. The best foods are high-quality flake food and live options like bloodworms, brine shrimp, fruit flies, daphnia, and mosquito larvae.
These fish also eat lots of algae and vegetation in a natural habitat. While they will usually leave the plants in your tank alone, it’s a good idea to give them some kind of a plant-based supplement to meet their dietary needs. An algae wafer is the perfect option to help meet this need.
Swordtail Fish Tank Mates
Swordtail Fish are active, yet peaceful, species. They aren’t shy and will instead appreciate having some company in the tank. You might consider housing them with passive species like others swordtails or even related species like mollies, platies, or angelfish.
Many people keep their Swordtails with corydoras, too. You will want to make sure these fish are peaceful, but otherwise, they usually won’t bother your Swordtail Fish as they occupy different levels of the water column. There are some types of tetras you can keep with your Swordtail Fish, too, but you need to make sure they are large and are kept in schools of at least five to prevent aggression.
You should always try to keep your Swordtail Fish with other fish of their own kind, too. This will help them feel the most at home. It’s important to maintain a good female-to-male ratio – ideally, you should only have one male to every four females. You may be able to get away with just three, but four will definitely be more ideal. This will prevent the males from harassing the females, as the somewhat aggressive behavior will be spread out among multiple females.
It should also be noted that male Swordtail Fish will be more aggressive toward other males within these pieces. If you don’t have a large tank, you might want to consider only raising one male Swordtail.
Common Swordtail Fish Diseases
Swordtail Fish are not prone to many diseases, as they are a relatively hardy aquarium species. You should conduct regular water changes, as you should with all freshwater fish species. In addition, you may need to add one or two teaspoons of aquarium salt per gallon to your tank. This will help your fish stay healthy.
One of the most common freshwater fish diseases that can also affect your Swordtail Fish is ich. This disease can cause white spots to appear all over your Swordtail’s body, and it can lead to other, secondary problems as well. If your fish develops ich, you may need to purchase medication to treat it.
Remember that you can easily prevent disease by keeping your tank clean and reducing stress for your fish. Maintaining consistent water parameters and avoiding rapid fluctuations in water temperature or pH can help keep your fish stable. You should also take steps to clean and quarantine any new plants, decorations, or even fish that you add to your aquarium.
Breeding And Life Spans Of Swordtail Fish
Swordtail Fish are unique when it comes to breeding. These fish are livebearers, which means they can breed easily and quickly with little intervention on your part. All you need to do is maintain appropriate male to female ratios, and they will do the work for you.
You will be able to tell that your female Swordtail Fish is pregnant when you notice a dark gravid spot near her anal fin. Her abdomen will also become enlarged.
When the fry are born, you must add additional plants to your tank – these serve as hiding spots for the developing fry – or removing the adults or fry from the tank. Fry are often eaten by adult Swordtail Fish, as well as the adults of other fish species. Therefore, it’s often easiest to simply remove your fry to a separate tank sot hat they will not be harassed or eaten by the other fish in your tank.