Platies, Mollies or Swordtails? That is the question! Question 

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Prinmel

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I am a current cichlid tank owner, and just tired of the mean spirit of those fish! I want to go back to a peaceful community tank. I only want to get one species of fish with lots of different colors. I have some questions though in order to help me make my choice.
• Which of the 3 gets the biggest? How big?
• Do they all need salt? How much?
• Are all readily available in at least 4 different colors?

I would really appreciate any information. I have read a lot on web sites but would like to have the info directly from the people who have fist hand experience. I am leaning toward the swordtail, as I have read that it can get to 4 inches, but has anyone ever seen one get that big? Some also say that mollies get 3 to 4 inches, but again, has anyone ever seen one get that big?

THANKS!!!!
 

Bad Wolf

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How big is your aquarium? They don't need salt, in my opinion. I've never used salt for any of them.

I have seen male mollies and female mollies that were around 3, nearly 4 inches. I have also seen a female platy that was 3 inches, but she was really old. Swordtails do get big, but I haven't seen one as big as those mollies I described.

Platies can come in a wider variety of colours, from bright red, to a sunset orang colour, to even a grey shade. Swordtails can come in neon, sunset, red and grey, like the Platies (partially because they are very closely related). Mollies can come in a marbled black and white, golden, dramatic black, white, orange or even marble orange.

They all have a wide colour range, but personally, mollies are my fav. I just love their marbled colours.

Just curious, are you planning on breeding them? Or are they just for show?

From my experience, non of my mollies, platies or swordtails have ever grown more than 2.5 inches, so don't get your hopes up to high. If they were to grow to their max size of 4 inches, they would need really healthy water and lots of time.

Here, this site has some great pictures of mollies, platies and swordtails.

Good luck with your fish
 

kribensis keeper

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1.out of the 3 th swordtail gets the biggest about 4inches followed by the mollie2-4 inches and then the platy 2 inches
2.no they do not neeed salt but the mollie does not mind a little bit of salt added once in a while
3.yes they all can come in 4 colours and they a pretty easy to find

I have mollies and there all around 2-2.3 inch except the male sailfin he is almost 3 inch
 
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Prinmel

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I have a 55 gallon tank
 

blkdeath75

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I would go with Platies as you are looking for color options. By far I have seen a ton of variation just in my LFS. Mickey mouse(various colors), red wag, sunset, ect....the options grow out here everyday. Be careful though, if you haven't keep them before, livebearers are like gremlins, just add water and new ones pop up. And unlike most cichlids, they are poor parents, meaning they will turn around and eat them after giving birth......still grosses me out lol. Good Luck!
 

Kunsthure

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I've seen some gorgeous swordtails at Petco recently! Pineapple and one labeled as neon green but isn't. The koi swordtail are pretty too.

I must have giant fish because my largest male platy is about 2.5", the female is about the same size, and all three female mollies are 3". I've had them all since the end of March. The two smaller male platys are about 2".

As for colors, they all come in many different colors but of the three, I'd be able to find the largest variety of colors of platys in my area, with swordtails next then mollies. I've seen blue, rainbow, tiger striped, and one other unusual color I can't remember, in addition to the usual Mickey mouse and wag platys. I don't know if you've got Petco near you, but in my area at least, Petco's got the wider variety of colors.

Oh, and welcome to Fish Lore!

-Lisa
 

angelfish220

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I would do swords. Swords come in just about every color that platies come in, are usually a bit bigger than the platies and males have that dramatic tail. Male Swords can be mean though, if there aren't enough decorations/plants to break up the visual lines.
 

bass master

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I vote swordtails as well, they are by far my favorite.

Idk if the 4-5" max size is supposed to include the sword on swordtails, but mine have never gotten really huge. I would have to say mollies are the largest, they also seem to get "thicker" so I would assume they have a bit more of an effect on the bio load.

None of them really need salt, especially not aquarium salt. Some livebearers are very adaptable to brackish water (and Ive heard even full salt) but aquarium salt is not the right type of salt to replicate these brackish conditions, I wouldnt really worry about adding salt, they should do fine in just plain freshwater.

All of the species have a very wide selection of colors, and crosses between the different colors can create some interesting blends. I would say platies have the widest array of colors, I really like the ones with iridescent blues, but Im sure you wont be disappointed with the color variations of the others.

Keep in mind that multiple males in the same tank can get kind of aggressive, although no where near as aggressive as cichlids. My male sword likes to flare at his reflection and strike at the glass, he also used to nip with the male platy I had on occasion. Be sure to keep at least 2 females per male and I wouldnt recommend more than 1 male per 10 gallons.
 

Bad Wolf

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I n a 55 gallon tank, there would be more than enough space for fry to hide away and survive, that is, if there is a heavily planted area. If you get a large amount of java moss, the babies are more than likely to survive. I have a fresh batch of sword tails atm (plus a 6ish week old batch) and they are thriving in the thick java moss.

I haven't seen to much aggression from male swordtails, or male mollies (in my experience) but I have seen a very, very aggressive male platy once. He lives with my uncle now, only about 1 inch long, but he is the dominant fish.

In a tank like yours you probably wont see much aggression from the males, there is plenty of space. I personally believe you could have more than 1 male per 10 gallons, but that's only because I've never had any aggressive males. It also does depend on the personality (or fishiality... ? ) of the fish. But I do agree 2 (at least) females per male. It just gives the girls time to relax without annoying males chasing them.

Happy Fish Keeping! ^_^
 

abc123d30

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Welcome to Fishlore!

My vote would have to go towards the swords as well I'm planning to get some myself as well. Personally I think swordtails look the coolest and they have plenty of different color variations. Just to name a few there's the red wag, red tux, black velvet, spotted, neon green, marigold, pineapple, sunset, and koi. There's also the lyretail variations that have the fancy fins

I've read that male swords can be a bit aggressive so it would be best to have 2 to 3 females per male.

Good luck with your decision!
 

Bad Wolf

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Oh yeah, the lyretail swords are cool, but sometimes their gonods are over grown, and dont function for breeding...
 

Aquarist

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Good morning,

I have moved your thread to the Aquarium Stocking Questions section of the forum.

Thanks!

Ken
 
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