The Swordtail fish - Care, Breeding, Feeding and Forum
An article explaining how to care for swordtail fish with pictures and friendly forum that contains real questions and answers. Feel free to visit the following page too: Swordtail profile with forum. We'd love to hear about your experiences regarding raising Swordtails, so once you've finished reading the below-shown article leave us a message at the bottom of this page, please!
Introduction to raising Swordtails
Xiphophorus hellerii - Swordtailfish is a favourite aquarium live-bearer fish and generally, this species is considered a suitable tropical fish for beginners, however it is not that easy indeed. In fact one has to be an experienced aquarist because Swordtail fish require proper care and handling just like other fish, thus impulsive buy must be avoided.
General information as mentioned in our database
Fish name: Xiphophorus hellerii
Common name: Swordtail
Maximum size (ranges from min to max): 10.0 - 12.0 cm (3.9 - 4.7 inch)
Recommended pH of water: 7.0 - 8.0
Water hardness (dGH): dGH 12.0 - 18.0 °N (214 to 321 ppm, or 4.29 to 6.43 mEq)
Recommended temperature: 21.0 - 28.0 °C (69.8 - 82.4 °F)
Temperament towards its family: peaceful
Temperament towards other fish species: peaceful
Preferred swimming place in the aquarium: Top levels
The way of breeding: Live-bearer
Fish origin : Central America
Body and sexual dimorphism of the Swordtail fish
Both genders may reach reasonable lengths in the adulthood, which as mentioned above, can range between 10-12 cm (3.9 - 4.7 inch) including the tail (males). The male’s body is elongated with a sword in the adult age and males also have a sexual organ called gonopodium. The female’s body is bigger than male’s and she is more robust than the male as well as not having any sword and gonopodium.
The name Swordfish was given according to this organ rather than as a part of the caudal fin.
This tropical fish has some general colour variations. The wild form is olive green, with a red or brown lateral stripe and speckles on the dorsal and, sometimes, caudal fins. The male’s sword is yellow, the bottom edge is black. Just like other species, captive breeding of Swordtails has produced many colour varieties including black, red, and lots of body patterns.
This species can be fed flakes, live-frozen worms and other food designed for tropical aquarium fish. Like for all fishes, their diet has to be varied and not monotonous. Especially they need green foods which contain algae, which means any food with, or based on, spirulina is an ideal supplementary diet not only supporting their taste, but the immune system, general condition and health too. In addition aquarists could install powerful lighting in order to stimulate algae bloom in a tank thereby providing the Swordtails with what they demand and require as the basic food element. Reviewing the excrements of the fish will give a fishkeeper good overview of foods the fish are fed as when the colour varies from green to black then everything is fine. If you notice other colours, you should consider changing the food, otherwise your fish may face serious problems. If this is the case it is recommended you simply change the food quality and amount. The difference in foods is not only whether one brand colours the water, but it also is about what ingredients each food contains.
Feeding should be performed once or twice a day for adult specimens. Newborns should be fed up to 6 times a day while juveniles maximally 2 times a day. A juvenile is a fish which is at least 3 cm (1.18 inch) long.
Breeding the Swordtail fish
To speed up the breeding process, feed your fish live food and preferably earthworms and simulate rainy seasons in a tank by changing a small percentage of water even on a daily basis; Anything up to 5% should help fish in order to start the courtship process.
Firstly the male fertilizes the female with the gonopodium. The male inserts his sperms into the female. Unusually though, the females are able to save some sperms for later fertilization. The fry grow in the female where they consume the yolk stores. The female’s pregnancy can be identified by the dark body in front of the anal fin.
Young swordtails are bigger than other fry of non live-bearer fishes. They immediately swim and can hide from predators. They also grow quickly and can eat flakes soon after birth.
Aquarium conditions and care
This species needs free space for swimming, however lots of aquarium plants is a necessity too. For this fish you need an aquarium with a minimum length of 1 meter (39.37 inch) as they're good swimmers. It means that an aquarium with a capacity of 200 litres (52.83 US gallon, 43.99 Imperial gallon) or more is suitable just for four specimens. For example, one male and 3 females is an ideal ratio as in general it is not recommended to keep 2 males in one tank since there is a hierarchy between Swordtails and only one male is the dominant one, and could possibly harass the rest. If you keep the conditions inside the tank of a good quality, swordtails will become very playful.
If the conditions are secured according to the top of this page, and if the fish are given enough space, plants and care, you will enjoy a lot of little specimens being born for months. However it isn’t recommended too house to many fish in one tank due to their harassment behaviour. Instead one should give or sell them, otherwise there's a risk of overpopulating your aquarium. As it's a well-known fact that livebearers do produce much more waste than egg-laying species there's not only the problem with harassment but also with pollution in a tank.
Space requirements per specimen
Fish keepers often ask "How many swordtails should I get?", which has been partially answered in the paragraph above. Bear in mind that when you're buying, most likely these specimens are juveniles and they'll grow. Also, adult specimens aren't as playful as juveniles. They become more territorial, although not extremely territorial which is why plants, rocks and bogwood should be present in their tank. At least 40 litres (10.57 US gallon, 8.80 Imperial gallon) per specimen is recommended.
These fish are very good swimmers. If needed, they can swim very fast and can jump over the surface of the aquarium water which is dangerous, since they can jump out. Naturally, they would die unless you put them back quickly. The reason they’re good jumpers is they come from streaming waters originally. Because of this fact ensure there's a strong water current present in the aquarium. Swordtails and other live-bearers produce lots of excrements therefore it is needed to run a good and efficient filtration system and clear the bottom layers of the tank from time to time.
These fish love hard water therefore a fishkeeper has to watch out whether conditions in the tank aren't affected by driftwood or peat which can make water acidic. Peat may be present in the filtration system as a media.
Adapting to new conditions
Swordtails can adapt to new conditions, i.e. after being moved from one tank to another, or after adding a new piece of rock, cave or large bogwood into the tank, but probably won’t reproduce that fast. In general, any fish, including swordtails, adapts to new conditions easily as long as right environment exists in the tank. No background, no plants, bad water conditions, very bright light, insufficient space, very fast flow of water are factors that don't help a fish to adapt in a reasonable time. Try to copy water conditions from the old tank (applies to pH, general hardness, temperature).
Common names, misspellings:
Green Swordtail, Red Swordtail, Xiphophorus hellerihelleri, Poecilia helleri, Xiphophorus helleri, Xiphophorus helleribrevis, Xiphophorus helleristrigatus.
Swordtails on other websites
When you're finished with this article and all below-shown comments (below sponsored links), feel free to visit the following pages, all are devoted to raising Swordtail fish in home fish tanks. Swordtail Fish, Xiphophorous helleri @ Animal-World.Com, Swordtail Fish @ AquaticCommunity.Com, Swordtail - Xiphophorus helleri @ FishLore.Com, Swordtail - Xiphophorus hellerii @ AquaHobby.Com, Swordtail, Xiphophorus hellerii Profile, with care, maintenance requirements and breeding information for your tropical fish @ BadMansTropicalFish.Com. If any of the links doesn't work, contact us, please.