Swordtail Behavior

Discussion in 'Swordtails' started by Bargle, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. BargleNew MemberMember

    My wife has a relatively new 10 gallon tank (1.5 weeks old) in her classroom. There are three platys of unknown sex in the tank as well as two male swordtails and one female swordtail. Most of the fish get along fine, but one of the male swordtails chases the other around, to the point where the lone male spends all his time hiding from the other fish. Can anything be done about this? What should we do with the loner?

    For what it's worth, the fish went in to the tank two days ago. The clerk at the pet store didn't tell us anything about the nitrogen cycle, which appears to be starting based on the results from our test kit[1]. I would have liked to have gotten that squared away before the fish went in the tank, but now we're stuck :/

    [1] It's a Jungle 6-in-1, which does not appear to be highly regarded based on what I've read in this forum.
  2. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Not uncommon for male Swords to chase each other around & for one to be the dominant fish. This is usually caused by not having enough females to share amongst the males. Each male needs at least 4 females to himself. Having only one female will end up with the males fighting each other. Worse still when the female gets pregnant she will reject the males advances. When she starts to do that the male will start beating her up to. The best advice I have regarding the Swords is to return 1 male & the female to the LFS you got them from. The tank isn't big enough to keep enough females for even one of the males, especially with the Platies in there as well.

    As for the uncycled tank, daily water changes are your best defense against ammonia or nitrite poisoning of your fish. Many people recommend using Tetra Safe Start along with daily water changes so this may be a product you wish to look into using.
  3. BargleNew MemberMember

    Yikes. The thing that really burns me is that I told the guy at the fish store that there already was a male swordtail in there. He asked me if I wanted a male and a female. I asked him if that would be a problem and he said no. This of course, was before I had done any research online. For what it's worth, the store was a national chain and not a local place. That's the last time I shop at a national chain for fish and aquarium supplies.

    How much water should be cycled? 10%? Can SafeStart be used with fish in the tank?

    Thanks for the advice!
  4. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Without the Safe Start i would be doing daily water changes between 25-50%. Getting an API liquid Master Test Kit will help with this greatly. That way you can test for the exact ammonia concentrations & keep track of how far through cycling the tank is.

    Unfortunately most of us have learned the hard way not to trust any advise from LFS & especially from a pet store. They are not usually interested in the long term welfare of your fish or in you having a successful aquarium. They are more interested in making a sale & that's about it. It will probably take a long time to find a LFS you can trust & always check the advise that they give you with the good folks of Fishlore before you actually follow thier advice. You may still be able to return the fish to the pet store or perhaps you can find another LFS or a friend with an aquarium that will take them off your hands.
  5. BargleNew MemberMember

    Wow, that's a lot. I will see about getting the test kit tomorrow.

    It's evident now that the store employees cannot be trusted. It's too bad we're finding this out now when it's too late :(

    On that note, where should I go to find a good LFS?
  6. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Couldn't tell you. I'm in Australia.:)

    Usually it is trial & error though. You need to get advise from different LFS & check the information they give you with a credible source like the people on Fishlore. Once you find an LFS that seems to be giving good advise, try to build up a relationship with the employees at that store. If they see you becoming a regular they should start to take an interest in your tank & it being a success. They know it's not good for them to give bad advise as that means they will probably lose a good customer. You may end up paying more for certain items than in some other places but it can be worth it to build up that relationship with a good LFS.

    If the tank is in a classroom then the water changes shouldn't be too much of a problem. Your wife can get the students involved in the care of the fish (if they are old enough) & teach them about the chemical processes that are taking place within the tank. (again if they are old enough)
  7. HitchHikerValued MemberMember

    What I have found is doing your research on line and then I usually shop my LFS first, and the national chains only when they have sales, or I know exactly what it is that I want. You also have to be careful about your LFS. Depending on who you talk to you may already know more than they do.
  8. BargleNew MemberMember

    A follow up:

    The larger swordtail has started to nip at the smaller one's side. We got a tank divider to keep them separate for now. My wife also decided she liked the fish so much in the classroom that she got a 26 gallon tank for home, which will likely become the new residence of one or the other swordtails once we get the nitrogen cycle started.

    We went back through the kit she got with the first tank, and evidently there is some Tetra Safe Start in there, and it was in the tank a week before the fish went in. Also, she has continued to do water replacement to keep the ammonia level down.

    Is there an appropriate place on these forums to discuss LFSs?
  9. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Check and make sure that it is Tetra SafeStart and not Tetra AquaSafe. AquaSafe is a water conditioner that removes chlorine and heavy metal. SafeStart is a bacterial additive for cycling. As far as I know, there are no starter kits that come with SafeStart, but many come with AquaSafe.