How To Care For Your Swordtail Fishes?

Written by Dennis


The Swordtail fish is a popular freshwater fish that belongs to the family “Poeciliidae” and order Cyprinodontiformes. It is a popular aquarium fish that is closely related to “Southern Platy fish”. The place of origin for this fish has been traced back to North America and Central America.

The Swordtail is an exotic breed that is highly preferred by fish enthusiasts owing to the fact that this species contain a large number of subspecies as well. This fish is highly adored owing to their fascinating color portrayal and their ability to form a visually enticing pet within the aquarium.

However to keep the fishes and your aquarium in sparkling condition, you will need one of the top canister filter. If you are not using one you can always have a check in the article we wrote about it.

Exotic Breeds of tropical Fish Swordtails: 

Green Swordtail:

The Green Swordtail has been known to grow at maximum lengths of about 14 centimeters and females on the other hand are known to make it as long as 16 centimeters.

The typical identity of the swordtail is derived from their elongated lower abdominal lobe which tapers to a caudal fin type appearance in the males.

The preferred type of habitat for this Swordtail comprises of swift flowing water with abundance of aquatic flora within it. They are typically found in canals, densely vegetated rivers and swift flowing streams as well.

Red Swordtail:

The Red Swordtail has seen its inception in Malaysia and is typically one of the most preferred swordtails around. They are peace loving and makes great aquarium fishes as well. They are well suited for community aquarium types.

They also tend to be invasive at times and therefore care should be taken when there are instances of more than one swordtail in the aquarium.

The ideal temperature for them is around 20-28 degree Centigrade and pH level of 7.0 to 8.3. They are omnivore and prefer dried bloodworms, commercial food and algae.

Koi Swordtail:

It is yet another highly sought after colour morph of the Swordtail which is adored by aquarium enthusiasts.

They typically show an average size of about four inches and are farm raised in a lot of Asian countries. Koi Swordtail fishes are typically omnivore in nature and have special affinity towards commercially made food flakes.

They do best in spacious aquariums that have an abundance of plants in them. They also prefer free flowing water and temperature range of around 22-28 degree centigrade. They are perfect as community fishes but can be territorial as well.

Pineapple Swordtail:

The exuberant and illustrative coloration of the pineapple swordtail makes it an ecstatic wonder. It is among the most sought after colour morphs of the Swordtail.

It has an easy care level and is basically omnivore in diet. The temperature suited for these fishes is around 20-28 degree centigrade and an ideal pH stands at 7 to 8.3.

They are communally harmonious species and do well in spacious aquariums of around 20 gallons. The pineapple swordtail can be territorial towards fishes of the same kind and therefore caution needs to be observed as well.

Neon Swordtail:

The Neon Swordtail is perhaps the most intriguing colour morph of the Swordtail that exhibits an eminent coloration similar to an electric contrast.

They have a fairly peaceful temperament making them exceptionally good community fishes. They thrive in spacious aquariums of around 25 gallons with an ideal pH of 7-8.3.

The iridescence is seemingly eye-catching which exhibits a seemingly translucent grace during their movements.

They are typically omnivorous in nature and territorial towards fishes of their own kind. Being easy to care for, visually illustrative and graceful with an easy temperament; these fishes have become extremely popular over the course of time.

Swordtail Molly:

This crossbreed between a Swordtail Fish and a Molly has been gaining a lot of popularity over the years and has been ascended as one of the most popular breed amidst the family.

They have a fairly easy temperament and need not be extensively taken care of. This factor makes them so much sought after since they can be housed as communal pets in a big aquarium with other fishes.

The ideal temperature for them is around 24-28 degrees Celsius with a pH level of 7-8.3. They are good with commercially prepared food flakes and have a special affinity towards brine shrimp and algae. 

Invasive in Nature- Know How To Control:

They are typically an invasive species that can reproduce from a very tender age of just 3 months. It is better to isolate the males and the females in case of breeding since a female can lay up to 80 eggs at a go. The tender age of sexual maturity along with a trace of feral population records have made them a nuisance species over the past decade or so.

Swordtail Fish Breeding- Things You Need To Know

The typical Swordtails are livebearer which refers to the fact that they give birth to fry instead of egg deposition later to be fertilized by the male fishes sperm. The fertilization takes place within the body of the female and the gestation period for the species is around 28 days.

They reach reproductive maturity as early as 3 months and the female can store sperms in her body to fertilize the eggs for 6 future batches. This makes them extremely reproductive.

The most appreciated prospect about this fish breeding is the fact that they can breed completely on their own without the intervention of the owners. They are independent breeders but extremely selective.

Large proportions of female swordtails need to be present to ensure that the male gets a chance to mate as they are known to fail at multiple mating attempts. The male fishes are known to generally harass the females with multiple mating attempts which often do not turn out to be fruitful at all. Therefore having adequate amount of females in the tank is necessary.

Swordtail Fish Care – Easiest Among All

The Swordtail Fish Care is not a great ordeal since they are extremely easy to look after. In terms of typical swordtail fish care, a spacious aquarium of around 25 gallons (minimum) should be acquired or better go for one of the top 30 gal tanks. It is an active fish and loves to move around freely in flowing water. The other aspects of swordtail fish care include:

  • Segregation of male and females as soon as possible since they are reproductive highly.
  • Temperature range of around 20-28 degree centigrade.
  • Abundance of flora within the aquarium is a must since these fishes thrive in vegetative aquariums.
  • The pH level needs to be around 7-8.3 at max.
  • Their diet consists of algae, commercially flaked food, frozen bloodworms (dried) and brine shrimp.

Housing: Housing is a very important aspect of swordtail care. The fish is not a typical house aquarium pet that can be easily brought up in a small and conventional aquarium. They are extremely energetic and active owing to which they require aquarium of at least 25 gallons.

Live plants are yet another requisite for a swordtail habitat. It is not an absolute mist but the requirement does make up for a good breeding place. At the same time they also improve the water quality and provide for oxygen in enhanced amounts.

Bigger filters for these fishes are an added bonus since it improves the quality of water and also provides for a better habitat to the fish. These fishes also love free-flowing water and the current that is brought up by these filters provide for a good habitat to them.

Feeding: Yet another important aspect of caring is feeding. Swordtails have a special affinity towards invertebrates, insects and plants. Algae also form one of the most sought after food requisites. Major proportion of the diet for a swordfish needs to be inclusive of commercially prepared food flakes and frozen foods. This ensures that they can get a hold of a complete diet.

Vegetables like cucumber, peas (shelled) and zucchini can also be administered. These veggies need to be blanched in boiling water and then let off to be cooled. Following this they can be added to the aquarium as a supplementary diet form to grant the fishes with proper swordtail fish care.

Live food is generally recommended for the swordfish to ensure a better upbringing and proper swordtail fish care. The most recommended live foods are:

  • Bloodworms
  • Black worms
  • Brine Shrimps
  • Mosquito Larvae
  • Frozen daphnia

Reasons Swordtail Aquarium Fish Is Preferred So Much

This fish is among the most preferred aquarium fishes and over the course of the years they have been bred into various hybrid forms as well. They are extremely active fishes that have an affinity towards flowing water with an abundance of vegetative plants.

They are extremely suited for community tanks owing to the facts that they have an easy temperament and have their sturdiness compactly associated with them. It is a common laboratory fish as well which has been known to be involved in a lot of studies as well.

The Swordtail Fish exhibits a wide range of color morphs as well which make them essentially interesting as pets. Extensive breeding with the platy fish has rendered most of the swordtail fishes to be hybrids within the aquarium.


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