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Montezuma Swordtail

montezuma swordtail

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Scientific Name:   Xiphophorus montezumae      
Min. Tank Size:   25 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful/Males can be quarrelsome      
Temperature:   68-79°F      
pH 7.0-8.0/10-20°dGH     
Size:   3-5"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding Livebearer      


Can be kept with Corydoras, Catfish, Tetras, Barbs, Gouramis and other Livebearers.

Montezuma Swordtail

The Montezuma Swordtail is native to Central America. It can be found in parts of northeastern Mexico where it tends to inhabit rivers and other bodies of water that are thick with vegetation. These fish are one of the only wild types of Swordtail existing in the aquarium hobby - most Swordtails seen in pet stores were bred or hybridized from Xiphophorus helleri. Wild Montezuma Swordtails closely resemble wild Xiphophorus helleri, but they tend to be larger and have black spots. These spots are most evident in males of the species - male specimens also exhibit the distinctive swordlike extension of the caudal fin which is typically lined in black.

Tank Set-up

This species is typically peaceful and shy in nature, making it a good addition to the community tank. These fish prefer densely-planted tank setups, but also require a great deal of open swimming space. Heavily-planted areas will provide cover for female fishes and for young fry.


In the home aquarium, Montezuma Swordtails are likely to accept a variety of foods. Feed your Montezuma Swordtails live, frozen and freeze-dried foods, such as brine shrimp, Daphnia, and bloodworms, several times a week to supplement a quality flake food diet. Feed your Montezuma a varied diet to promote optimum health and coloration of this beautiful fish.


Breeding this species is not especially difficult and you may find that it occurs naturally in the community tank. Like most Livebearers, females of this species can store sperm and one fertilization may result in several different broods. Most female specimens give birth to fry every 30 days or so. If you hope to raise any number of fry, separate the pregnant female in a breeding tank then remove her once the fry have been born.

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