About Swordtail Babies


New Member
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Hi! One of my swordtails gave birth recently (about a week ago) and while cleaning I discovered 2 babies that I have separated and kept in a small box. This is the first time it happened for me. Also one of the female swordtails died a few days back. It was getting large white discoloured spots on the left side at 2 or 3 places. 0 ammonia 0.1 nitrite and 6ppm nitrates. Didn't look like ich at all.

1. Is it possible the dead one was the mother. How often do swordtails die giving birth? Were the spots normal?

2. How large a tank should I get for the 2 of them until they grow larger than an inch? Maybe the next time more are born and I'll need to shift them. Would a 3 gallon suffice? I get a feeling it's too small.

3. I'm feeding them crushed flakes for now, can I give them live bloodworms now or later? Or anything else you'd suggest.

4. What filter to use? Will a sponge filter attached to an air pump be sufficient? There is no mechanical filtration at all with it.



Valued Member
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5 to 10 years
It is definitely not an ich, maybe some kind of bacterial infection caused by the stress of giving birth, live bearers are more vulnerable to the infection after or at the time of giving birth because they become weak. I dont think the spots were normal.
when the babies are of right size you can keep them in the community tank but until they are small you need to keep them separate size of the tank should be determined by the size and number of babies. i recommend get a big enough tank cause live bearers may drop more babies.
crushed flakes mixed with the tank water is also good to feed but, dont feed anything big for now.
sponge filter will be the best choice according to me.


Fishlore VIP
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More than 10 years
I would say you had a bacterial infection in there, with no certain connection to her dropping babies. Swords are very sensitive to their water, and if your water is a bit soft or if you are going too easy on the water changes, problems like that may develop.
If you haven't had the fish long, they can also come from the store.

Do you know your water hardness?

That water issue affects fry raising. If you already have a sponge, get it into the main tank now, to get it seeded for the cycle. I would get a 10 gallon. You don't need a heater for swordtails, and a cover is optional for raising. I like giving swords space, and a 10 gives you future options if you ever get a bunch of babies.

Raising them gives you a lot of fish, but the process of growth and of development of the male swords is very interesting.
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