freshwater community4




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Scientific Name:   Xiphophorus helleri      
Min. Tank Size:   25 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   64-82°F      
pH:   7.0-8.5/5-25°dGH      
Size:   5"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Livebearer      


Can be kept with Corydoras Catfish, peaceful varieties of Tetras & Barbs, Gouramis and other Livebearers.


Swordtails are named for the long, swordlike extension to the caudal fin present in males of the species. Wild specimens of this species tend to be green in color, but many color variants have been made available to aquarium hobbyists by hybridizing this species. In addition to there being a variety of colors to choose from, including black, red, yellow and orange, there also exists several selectively-bred variants such as lyretail, wagtail, tuxedo, hi-fin and albino Swordtails. In the wild, Swordtails are fairly widely distributed, found in parts of western Mexico and southward toward Guatemala as well as in Honduras to the northwest. These fish tend to inhabit shallow, densely-planted streams, canals, swamps and ditches where algae growth is plentiful.

Tank Set-up

In the home aquarium, Swordtails are a very hardy species, but tend to do best in planted tanks that provide plenty of open swimming space. These fish are generally very peaceful in nature and are highly recommended for community tanks. Though males of the species may become aggressive toward other males, these fish generally get along with Tetras, Barbs, Gouramis, Corydoras and other Livebearers. Fin-nippers should be avoided since the long tail may prove too tempting!


Swordtails are omnivorous fish and will accept almost any food offered to them. The ideal diet for this species will include a variety of live and frozen foods, such as bloodworms, Daphnia, and brine shrimp to supplement a quality flake food and fresh vegetable diet. Green food in the form of algae or a Spirulina-based flake or pellet is required as part of a regular diet for Swordtails.


Breeding swordtails is very easy as long as the water is not too soft or acidic. After a gestation period lasting between 4 and 6 weeks, broods of up to 120 fry will be born. Because the adult fish are likely to eat their own young, they should be separated from the fry after they have been born.

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