The Swordtail comes in many different colors with the males being easily identified by their signature sword like tail. The Swordtail is an extremely hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions.
They are livebearers which means that the baby fish come out free swimming. Like their livebearer counterpart, the guppy, the swordtail is a prolific breeder and a female will give birth about once every 28 days. If you are interested in breeding them, please check out the breeding livebearers page for more information.
Some hobbyists have reported problems with aggression among male swordtails when keeping multiples. It may be a good idea to limit the number of male swordtails in your tank. A good mix may be three females to one male.
They will eat most fish foods including flakes, frozen, freeze dried and live foods such as brine shrimp.
Swordtail PicturesSwordtail Video
Scientific Name : Xiphophorus helleri
Common Names : Black Swordtail, Gold Tux, Green, Lyretail, Neon, Red Simpson, Spotted, Red Velvet Swordtails, Black Velvet, Belize, Atoyac
Swordtail Care Level : Easy, good fish for freshwater fish beginners
Size : Up to 5 inches (13 cm)
pH : 7 - 8
Temperature : 72°F - 82°F (22°C - 28°C)
Water Hardness : 9° to 15° dH
Lifespan : 3 - 5 years
Origin / Habitat : Central America
Swordtail Temperament / Behavior : The swordtail is a tough litte fish. They can take care of themselves when there are bigger fish in the tank. The males may become aggressive towards other males.
Swordtail Breeding : They are livebearers, so it is fairly easy for them to breed. Be sure to give a lot of floating cover for the baby swords. Try to put the babies in a separate tank otherwise the adult fish will eat them. Check out this breeding swordtails article for more information.
Aquarium Size : 10 gallon or larger
Swordtail Tank Mates : Don't keep with tropical fish big enough to eat them. They should be able to handle themselves with many fish their same size or larger.
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment
Diet / Foods : Omnivore but they need some greens in their diet. The Swordtail will take flake, freeze dried and live foods.
Tank Region : All over the tank
Gender : Easy to determine - the male has a signature long anal fin.
Fish Forum : Swordtail Forum
Author : Mike FishLoreForum Avatar :
|From: Tammy via email|
Hi. I have a swordtail that had babies last night. When I realized she was having them I moved her and the babies to the breeding net. When I woke this morning the babies were dead (except 2). I moved the mom out and left the 2 babies in the net. Can you please tell me what might have caused the babies to die???
|Hi Tammy. Without more information (such as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels) I would only be guessing as to what caused the death of your baby swords. Here are some possible causes:
I bought three swords and they all died within a week. All of the conditions were right so I don't know what happened. They looked and acted normal except for right before they died they just swam in one spot and didn't move or eat. None of my other fish have died, just the 3 swords. Anyway, I am not going to get them (or buy fish from where I got them) again.
|Sorry about your fish. This fish is usually fairly hardy and one of the last ones to die if the water parameters are out of whack.|
How would you properly care for the baby fish?
|You can give them finely crushed flake food, baby brine shrimp and/or finely crushed freeze dried blood worms. To get the best growth rate possible, try to change the tank water frequently, about once a week. You also need to siphon up any uneaten food so that it doesn't foul the water. Thats when keeping them in a tank without gravel really comes in handy.|
|From: Chris Saunders|
How do I get my female pregnant? I have one male and two females in the tank right now but I don't know what will help them breed.
|Provide them with good water by performing frequent water changes and then wait. You could try bumping up the water a degree or two for a few days and see what happens.|
How do I know when my female swordfish is pregant?
|Look for a growing belly and a dark spot near the anal fin. This dark spot is also called the gravid spot and it may be difficult to see in some species of swords like the red velvet.|
I have been breeding swordtails and they are so amazing! Just watch out if the lid is off the tank, your swords WILL jump out!
More Swordtail Tips
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Related Fish Profile Articles
The Endler's livebearer species might be extinct in the wild. They have very similar care requirements as the guppy and the two are closely related.
One of the first species for beginning hobbyist to breed. The Guppy is a prolific breeder that can be quite hardy and colorful as well. Keep males separated from females if you don't want baby guppies!
Pictured is the black molly. These livebearers like some aquarium salt in the water and will give lots of fish babies. Be responsible and only breed them if you have a plan for what to do with all the fry.
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