The Swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri) is perhaps the quintessential community aquarium fish.They are native to North and Central America, ranging from Mexico to Honduras. Here they live in rivers and streams with lots of plants. They are also known to tolerate brackish waters, so can be kept in low salinities.
The time-tested popularity of the Swordtail can be attributed to its ease of care, peaceful temperament, and wonderfully diverse fin and color varieties. The male Swordtail is especially prized for its namesake feature, the showy extension on the lower part of its tail resembling a sword.
They are hardy and easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners. They live in groups, but they are not shoaling fish. Males might show aggression towards each other, so make sure they are outnumbered by females in a ratio of 4 to 1. As they prefer being in groups, each additional fish needs roughly 20-25 litres of water to keep them comfortable. They occupy the middle and upper levels of the tank, rarely exploring down to the bottom. If given enough swimming space, they will be very active members of your aquarium.
Peaceful, active fish such as Swordtails pair well with other similar species. They are social fish that will enjoy the company of other passive tank mates.This is seen in the wild where they live alongside Platies, their close relatives. THey mix well with with Mollies, Rosy Barbs, Neon Tetras, Dwarf Gourami, Pearl Danio, or Angelfish in the mid-levels of the tank. Dwarf Corydoras, Kuhli Loaches, Otocinclus, and Zebra Loaches are good options for adding some activity to the lower levels.
They are jumpers so always keep your tank covered.
Your Swordtails will eat virtually anything, so it’s easy to design a suitable diet. In the wild their omnivorous diet would include insect larvae, algae and other vegetation. You can give them high-quality dried foods to supply a range of nutrients. However, as juveniles they need lots of protein. This means that live or frozen foods like bloodworms, daphnia and brine shrimp are important supplementary items to a dried food diet. Make sure that they receive some vegetation too (this will provide some fiber to ease their digestion) such as Algae wafers.
|Adult Size:||15 – 20 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Beginner|
|Minimum Tank Size:||300 litres|
|Temperament:||Peaceful Community Fish|
|Lifespan:||Up to 5 Years|
|Temperature:||23 to 28°C|
|pH:||7 – 8.4|