Alpha/bully swordtail

Chris1212

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Started a few weeks ago with three male swordtail and three male platy in our 20g One platy was sick on arrival and eventually died - I think it had ich and gave it to the others who are all cleared up now after meds. Since the 3rd or 4th day, the biggest swordtail has dominated the middle of the tank. All 5 fish eat but he is definitely the alpha and likes to let everyone know- definitely nips especially during feeding time and periodicially if someone swims through his territory, but no major damage or signs of infection. The 2 Platy don't seem to be phased all that much and go about their business (actually they seem to like to instigate him a bit). The smallest swordtail swims around no problem and picks up all the scraps of food the others let fall (he actually seems to be the smartest). The middle sized swordtail has made a home in one of the corners behind a tree root decoration...comes up out of it to eat (eats plenty) and when the lights go off in the evening.

I'm not concerned but does this seem to be a normal community and would I be ok introducing either some tetras, danios, or bottomfeeders at some point down the road?

IMG_20200916_120812.jpg
 

chromedome52

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Swordtail males are territorial. A 20 gallon long tank is the territorial size for a single male Swordtail. Your tank is smaller in footprint, so a little undersized.

In the wild, males hold territories and try to entice shoals of big females into their space. Females will wander around in shoals, looking for the best males. In aquaria some of this territoriality is slightly reduced, but occasionally a male will simply display a natural level of territoriality.

right now he has extra subordinates to chase. If there were only two Swords, the dominant male would not tolerate the existence of the second.
 
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Chris1212

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That makes sense. It's funny to watch the whole dance, especially the two Platy just kind of mess with his area when he isn't watching. The other two swordtails seem content enough not running the show
 

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