Aquarium Fish


posted: 05/15/12
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Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Swordtail is an easy-to-keep, peaceful, live-bearing fish. It can be obtained in many color variations, as well as fin and tail variations. The most common varieties include: Red Wag, Red Velvet, Marigold, Black Nubian, Pineapple, and Neon Swordtail. The male has an extension on the lower part of its tail, resembling a sword. The Swordtail is a jumper, so be sure to provide an adequate cover over the aquarium. This fish is very popular with all aquarists, from beginners to advanced.

The Swordtail requires a tank of at least 20 gallons that is well planted with plenty of room for swimming. Because of its peaceful nature, the Swordtail is well suited for the community aquarium, although it will sometimes eat fry. The male can be aggressive towards other males, so care should be taken when housing more than one.

The Swordtail is a livebearer and can give birth to as many as 80 fry at one time. A spawning box is recommended, or if one is not available, dense floating cover should be provided to protect the fry from the adults. Once sex is determined, the males should be separated because swordtails can begin breeding at as young as three months of age.

The Swordtail is an omnivore that will eat commercially prepared flaked foods and algae, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp.

Ideal tank mates include: Guppies, Platies, Mollies, Tetras, Rasboras, Gouramis, Rainbowfish, Danios, Angelfish, Plecos and Scavenger Catfish.

Fish Facts

Name: Swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri)

Family: Poeciliidae

Range: Mexico, Central America

Size: Up to 4.5 inches

Diet: Omnivore

Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Well-planted, open areas

Tank Conditions: 64-82°F; pH 7.0-8.3; dH 12-30

Minimum Tank Capacity: 20 gallons

Light: Medium

Temperament: Peaceful

Swimming Level: Top to middle

Care Level: Easy

Reproduction: Livebearer

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