Swordtail – Xiphophorus helleri
The Swordtail comes from Mexico and Guatemala. These fish are livebearers – the male has a copulatory organ that it uses to impregnate the female. It is interesting to watch the female grow fatter and then one day – swordtail fry can be found swimming in the tank. Unless you want to provide fun and food for other fish in the tank (including swordtails) the fry should be removed. Swordtails have been bred to include many different color patterns and looks. Currently available varieties Include: black swordtail, gold wag swordtail, painted swordtail, red brick swordtail, red velvet swordtail, red wag swordtail, as well as Hi Fin and Lyre-tails
Maximum Size: The maximum length is 5.0 inches. Male swordtails have the lower portion of their caudal fin extended – hence the name swordtail.
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons or larger tank is appropriate.
Care Level: The Swordtail is a relatively easy fish to maintain. On a scale of 1 –10, (10 being easy) it would rate a “7”.
Tank Conditions: Temperature 75 - 82°F; pH: 6.8 – 9.0.
Color: Swordtail color variations that have been produced through breeding are numerous. Multiple color patterns can inhabit the same tank and will breed. It should be noted that by cross breeding color variations, you may end up with lack luster offspring.
Temperament: Swordtails are active fish and often chase other smaller fish but will not harm them. They should be kept in groups of three or more. They will stay occupied with their own group and leave the other fish alone. Males are sometimes territorial and if you have too many males with few females, the males may harass the females trying to mate. Therefore it is best to have more females than males.
Diet: Omnivore - will take a varied diet of flaked foods, and small live freshwater shrimp, larvae etc. They should be fed 1 time each day. High quality vitamin enriched foods should be fed several times each week.
Habitat: Provide with live plants rocks, roots etc. The addition of at least one tablespoon of salt per gallon is advisable.
Compatibility: Swordtail in general can be kept with most other species that can handle the ph and temperature requirements. It is an active fish. It is best to keep in small groups with females outnumbering males.
Remember that as you look to add more fish to a tank, you will need to increase the tank size. As with all aquarium setups, whether it is fresh or salt, consideration needs to be given to the maintenance of water quality. Too many fish can result in poor water quality that can stress and even kill our fish.