Swordtail (Xiphophorous helleri)
Native Location: North and Central America
Size: 14 – 16.5 cm (5.5 – 6.5 inches)
Temperature Range: 20 – 27℃ (70 –82℉)
Preferred pH Range: 7 – 8.4
Minimum Aquarium Size: 75 L (20 gallons)
Potential Tankmates: Mollies, Dwarf Gourami, Neon Tetras
Care Level: Beginner
Often mistaken for a Guppy or Platy, Swordtail is one of the best freshwater fish for beginners.
Swordtail will accept varieties of foods but will need a balanced diet, like quality flake food, protein vegetation and live foods. Try bloodworms and brine shrimp; they will also eat algae and other vegetation in their natural habitat. Swordtails are sociable and thrive with good company of other like-minded fish. Males will be aggressive to other Swordtail males. In a smaller aquarium, consider keeping only one male, with two or three females. Though they prefer to live in groups, they are not schooling fish.
Consider Swordtails the athletes of your underwater world. They are fast swimmers and fantastic jumpers. Given the opportunity, they will fly right out of your aquarium. Do not give them that chance, a lid for your tank is necessary if you want to keep Swordtails alive. In their native habitat they live in moving waters, with higher temperatures and high oxygen content. They will hang out in any level of your tank and will tolerate many set up, such as if you enjoy a nice planted aquarium or a fine rockscape.
Colours vary in Swordtails. In the wild, they can be olive green with yellow and red streaks along the length of their body. Other, rarer varieties observe colourful and vibrant spots dotting the fins. Males grow to 14cm (5.5 inches) while females can grow to 16.5cm (6.5 inches). Male caudal fins protrude along its lower half. The fin alone can grow to half the length of the male Swordtails body. Females caudal fin does not display any protrusion. A female Swordtail may choose to ignore any males if she is new in the tank. Swordtails are livebearers. Meaning females hold the eggs inside their body until ready to hatch. It is likely time for birth, when a distance grows between them and the males, with an aggressiveness.