Swordtail Care: How To Keep These Amazing Fish!

Last Updated on 2023-08-28

Swordtails are colorful and active fish known for their cool sword-like tails, and taking care of them is a fun and rewarding experience for fish lovers. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of swordtail care to help you set up an awesome aquarium for these amazing fish.

So, keep reading to find out everything you need to know! 


Swordtails are ideal for beginners, making them a great choice if you’re a first-time fish keeper. They’re sociable creatures, that do best in groups of 5-6 with 1 male for every 2-3 females.

When choosing a tank pick one which is more horizontal than vertical and has a capacity of at least 20 gallons. The water temperature should be maintained between 72-79°F, and the pH levels should range from 7.0-8.0.

Being omnivorous in nature, Swordtails can be fed both plant and animal matter, but tropical fish flakes should make up the bulk of their diet.

Swordtails are hardy fish, but they can fall prey to diseases like fin rot and ich. Maintaining good water quality in their tank is key to averting these illnesses. And with good care, your Swordtails can live up to 5 years.

When considering tank mates, look for other friendly and peaceful fish. Platy fish, mollies, guppies, neon tetras, and harlequin rasboras are all great choices for Swordtails.

Are Swordtails Easy To Keep?

Swordtails are cool little fish, and if you’re thinking about adding them to your fish tank, the good news is that swordtails are generally considered to be a great choice for beginners. Just make sure to provide them with a suitable environment, keep an eye on the water conditions, and you’re good to go!

First of all, swordtails can adapt to different water conditions, so you don’t have to worry too much about everything being perfect all the time. Of course, you still want to keep their environment clean, but swordtails are pretty forgiving if you make a mistake now and then.

Another reason why swordtails are easy to care for is that they’re not picky eaters. They’ll happily eat different types of food, like flakes, pellets, and even live or frozen treats. Just make sure to give them a balanced diet and not overfeed them.

Swordtails are also peaceful fish, which is great if you want to keep a happy tank with other fish. They generally get along well with their tank mates and won’t start fights or cause trouble. 

When it comes to their tank, swordtails are pretty flexible. They don’t need fancy decorations or complicated setups. Instead, A decent-sized tank with some hiding spots and plants is usually enough to keep them happy. 

Now, like any fish, swordtails have a few specific needs. For example, they prefer slightly alkaline water with a pH of around 7.0 to 8.0. And since they come from warmer regions, they do best in water temperatures between 72°F and 79°F. So, keep an eye on those things and make adjustments if necessary.

Here’s what other fish keepers had to say about keeping swordtails in their tank!

Swordtail Community Thoughts
NameSwordtail (Xiphophorus)
Cost$2.99-$5.99+ Per Fish
OriginCentral America (Mexico, Belize)
Care LevelEasy
Lifespan3-5 Years
Size5.5 Inches
Tank Size20 Gallons
FeedingFish Flakes, Live Food, Blanched Vegetables
Community Tank Yes
Tank LevelMiddle & Top Level
PlantsJava Fern, Amazon Sword, Anubias, Java Moss, Hornwort
Tank MatesGuppies, Mollies, Platies, Corydoras Catfish, Neon Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Honey Gourami’s, Nerite Snails, Endler’s Livebearer’s, Ember Tetras
Breeding TypeLivebearer

Swordtail Appearance

Swordtails are colorful and eye-catching fish that bring a burst of beauty to any fish tank. Whether you choose a variety with a red, orange, or yellow body or a mix of colors, swordtails will definitely make your tank look amazing.

Let’s start with their body shape. Swordtails have long and slim bodies that make them look streamlined. Their bodies are also covered in shiny scales that come in different colors, like red, orange, yellow, and black.

One of the most impressive things about swordtails is their tails. The males have a long, extended lower fin that looks like a sword, giving them their name. This often matches the color of their bodies, but can also have other hues of color too! The females, on the other hand, have a rounder tail without a long sword.

In addition to their tails, swordtails also have a fin on their back called the dorsal fin. This fin can have pretty patterns or colors, making them even more attractive. It’s really cool to watch how their fins move gracefully in the water.

Another interesting thing about swordtails is their eyes. They have big eyes that can be black or dark. Their eyesight is pretty good, which helps them swim around and interact with other fish.

swordtail fish


Swordtails are small to medium-sized fish that can grow up to about 5.5 inches long on average, but with proper care and the right environment, they can get a bit bigger. It’s important to remember that your Swordtails’ size can vary depending on things like their genes and how well they’re taken care of.

When we talk about their size, we consider both their body and tail length. Swordtails have a special feature—the males have a long, extended lower fin called a sword. This sword can grow quite long, making them look even bigger.

It’s also important to mention that there’s a size difference between male and female swordtails. Males are usually a bit smaller than females, both in body and sword length. Some males can even grow up to 5.5 inches, while females can grow up to 6.3 inches.


Swordtails are peaceful and active fish that bring a lot of life to your aquarium. They love to swim around, explore their tank, and engage in playful behavior. Just make sure they have enough space and hiding spots, and you’ll have a captivating display of their fascinating behavior in your tank.

First of all, Swordtails are peaceful and get along well with other fish in a community tank. They don’t like to fight or be aggressive; they just mind their own business most of the time. However, male swordtails can sometimes be a bit territorial, especially when they’re trying to impress the females. 

Swordtails are very active swimmers. They love to swim around and explore their tank. You’ll see them darting here and there, showing off their bright colors and long tails. It’s really fun to watch!

Swordtails also like to check out their surroundings. They’re curious little creatures and enjoy investigating plants, rocks, and other things in their tank. Sometimes they nibble on algae or search for food particles. 

Another thing you’ll observe is that Swordtails can be playful. They might play chase or gently nip at other fish. It’s their way of saying hello and figuring out their place in the group. As long as there’s enough space and hiding spots in the tank, these playful games are harmless and add some extra fun.

During courtship, the male swordtails show off their impressive tails to attract the females. They swim alongside the females, flaunting their sword-like tails and dancing around. It’s quite a show!


On average, Swordtails live for about 3 to 5 years. To ensure they live their best lives, you need to take a few important steps.

First, it’s crucial to maintain good water quality in their tank. That means regularly checking and adjusting the temperature, pH levels, and ammonia/nitrate levels. By keeping the water clean and comfortable, you can help them stay healthy and live longer.

Second, a balanced diet is key to their longevity. Swordtails are not picky eaters and enjoy a variety of foods. Make sure to give them a mix of high-quality fish flakes or pellets, along with some live or frozen treats like brine shrimp or bloodworms. 

Genetics can also play a role in how long Swordtails live. Some may have genes that make them more prone to health issues, while others are naturally hardy and can live longer. While you can’t control their genetics, you can give them the best possible care to maximize their lifespan.

Water Parameters

Let’s talk about the water parameters that are important for Swordtails. These colorful fish have specific needs when it comes to pH levels, temperature, and water hardness in order to thrive.

Tank Size20 Gallons


First, let’s discuss pH. Swordtails like their water slightly alkaline. It’s best to keep the pH level between 7.0 and 8.0. You can use a test kit to check the pH of their tank regularly and make adjustments if needed using pH buffers or additives.


Next, let’s talk about temperature. Swordtails are tropical fish, so they need to be in warm water. The recommended temperature range for Swordtails is between 72°F and 79°F. So, using a reliable aquarium heater will help you maintain a stable temperature in your tank.

Water Hardness

Now for hardness, Swordtails prefer moderately hard water. The ideal range for water hardness is between 12 and 35 dGH. You can test the hardness of your tap water using a test kit. If necessary, you can adjust the water hardness using water conditioners or additives.

Tank Size

Swordtails are active fish, so they need a tank that’s big enough for them to move around comfortably. A good rule of thumb is to have a tank with a minimum capacity of 20 gallons for a small group of Swordtails. If you plan to have more Swordtails or other fish, it’s better to go for an even larger tank.

When choosing a tank, consider the dimensions as well. Swordtails have long, flowing tails, so a tank that is longer rather than taller is ideal. A longer tank gives them more swimming space and lets them show off their beautiful tails.

It’s important to keep in mind that Swordtails are known for their ability to reproduce quickly. If you have both males and females in the tank, you may end up with baby fish, called fry. Having extra space in the tank is helpful for the fry to grow without overcrowding the tank.

And don’t forget to consider the needs of any other fish you plan to keep with Swordtails. Make sure the tank is big enough for all the fish and that they’re compatible with each other.

Swordtails Care Sheet

What Do Swordtail Like In The Wild?

In the wild, Swordtails are found in freshwater streams and rivers in Central America, especially in Mexico and Guatemala. They like areas with lots of plants, such as tropical rainforests and marshy regions.

Another thing Swordtails enjoy is a moderate water flow. They’re used to living in streams and rivers with gentle to moderate currents. This helps keep the water clean and well-oxygenated. In our tanks, we can mimic this by using the right filtration system.

Plants are also important to Swordtails in the wild because they provide hiding places and food sources. Adding live plants to the tank not only looks nice but also makes Swordtails feel at home. Some good plant options are Java fern, Amazon sword, and floating plants like water lettuce or duckweed.

And because swordtails are tropical fish, they prefer swimming in warm water. In their natural habitat, the temperature ranges from 72°F to 79°F. Keeping the water within this range in your tank is important for their well-being.

How To Setup A Tank For Swordtails

Setting up a tank for swordtails is important to create a good home for these beautiful fish. It’s all about choosing the right tank size, filter, and decorations. With a well-designed tank, you’ll have a captivating environment where your swordtails can thrive.

Choose the Right Tank Size

First, select a tank that’s big enough for your swordtail fish to move around comfortably. A tank of at least 20 gallons or more is ideal. Remember, the bigger the tank, the better!

Marina Aquarium Kit – 20 gallon Fish Tank – LED
  • 20 U.S. gallon glass aquarium
  • Includes a Marina Slim S20 clip on filter with quick change filter cartridges
  • Includes everything you need to get your aquatic home started
  • Measures: 24 inches L x 12.5 inches W x 16.5 inches H

Add the Substrate

Next, add a layer of sand or gravel to the bottom of the tank. Rinse it first to get rid of any dirt. This will create a natural and cozy habitat for your swordtails. And since you will be adding plants, consider using aquarium soil, which provides extra nutrients for plant growth.

Fluval 12693 Plant and Shrimp Stratum for Freshwater Fish Tanks, 4.4 lbs. – Aquarium Substrate for Strong Plant Growth, Supports Neutral to Slightly Acidic pH
  • Facilitates Rapid and Beneficial Colonization: Its porous structure enables swift colonization of beneficial nitrifying organisms, fostering a healthy aquatic environment crucial for the well-being of aquarium inhabitants
  • Maintains Optimal pH Levels: Designed to sustain a neutral to slightly acidic pH range, ideal for supporting the growth of various plants, tropical fish, and shrimp commonly found in planted aquarium setups
  • Offers Shelter for Newborn Shrimp: Stratum provides a safe haven for newborn shrimp, offering protection from potential predators until they reach a size where emerging into the main aquarium is viable
  • Preserves Water Quality: Ensures water clarity by preventing discoloration and effectively manages organic discoloration, especially in the presence of natural driftwood, while being specifically formulated for use in freshwater aquariums
  • 4.4 lb bag

Install the Heater

Then, install a heater in the tank to keep the water warm. Swordtails prefer temperatures between 72-79°F. Follow the instructions to set up the heater correctly.

Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater,100W Adjustable Fish Tahk Heater with 2 Suction Cups Free Thermometer Suitable for Marine Saltwater and Freshwater
  • ★100W aquarium heater is suitable for 10 to 20 gallons aquariums,Length – 9″,voltage 110-120V, power cord is 6ft, please choose the right wattage aquarium heater according to our size chart.

Add the Filter

Besides the heater, you’ll need a filter to keep the water clean. Choose a suitable filter for your tank size and follow the instructions to install it properly. The filter will remove impurities and keep the water healthy.

Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter 20 Gallons, 130 GPH, with Stay Clean Technology
  • QUIET AQUARIUM FILTER: The Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter with Stay Clean technology contains a sound shield for quiet filtration less than 40 dB.

Add Decorations

Don’t forget to enhance the tank’s appearance by adding decorations. Choose safe options like rocks, driftwood, or plants. Arrange them carefully, considering your fish’s need for swimming space. Clean any new decorations before placing them in the tank to ensure they’re free from contaminants.

Treat the Water

Before adding water to the tank, use a water conditioner to remove harmful chemicals like chlorine. Follow the instructions on the conditioner bottle and add the appropriate amount to make the water safe for your swordtails.

Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner – Chemical Remover and Detoxifier 500 ml
  • POWERFUL TREATMENT: Seachem Prime is a complete and concentrated conditioner for both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks, working hard to remove chlorine and chloramine.

Fill the Tank

Now, it’s time to fill the tank with water. Use a clean bucket or hose to slowly add water to the tank. Be careful not to disturb the substrate or any decorations. Fill it up to the desired level, giving enough space for your fish to swim comfortably.

Test the Water

After filling the tank, it’s crucial to test the water parameters. Use an aquarium test kit to check the levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. This will help ensure a healthy environment for your swordtails. Make any necessary adjustments to the water conditions.

API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, White, Single, Multi-colored
  • Contains one (1) API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, including 7 bottles of testing solutions, 1 color card and 4 tubes with cap
  • Helps monitor water quality and prevent invisible water problems that can be harmful to fish and cause fish loss

Cycle the Tank

To establish a beneficial bacterial colony, you need to cycle the tank. This process breaks down harmful waste. Add an ammonia source or beneficial bacteria supplements following the instructions. This will help create a balanced and healthy ecosystem for your fish.

Fluval Cycle Biological Enhancer, Aquarium Water Treatment, 16.9 Oz., A8351
  • All-natural water care creates a safe biological habitat to prevent fish loss by eliminating ammonia and nitrite

Acclimate Your Swordtails

Before introducing your swordtails to the tank, you need to acclimate them. Float the bag with the fish in the tank for about 15-20 minutes. Then, gradually add small amounts of tank water to the bag for another 15-20 minutes to help the catfish adjust to the new water parameters.

Then, gently release the fish into their new home. Take your time and let them adjust to their new environment.

Setting up your fish tank doesn’t have to be hard! In fact if you want a complete guide on how to setup an aquarium and the most common beginner mistakes then just click the link!

Male Vs Female

To tell apart male and female swordtail fish, there are some easy ways to do so. Let’s take a closer look at these distinctions.

Size and Body Shape

Firstly, let’s talk about size and body shape. Male Swordtails are generally smaller and slimmer, while females are larger and rounder.

Sword-Like Fins

Next, we have the sword-like extension. Males have a long, sword-like tail fin, which is their standout feature. Females, on the other hand, don’t have this extension.

Colors and Patterns

Male Swordtails are known for their vibrant colors like red, orange, blue, and black. In contrast, females have more muted colors, however, they can still be found in a whole range of colors!


A common sign distinguishing male swordtails from females is the gonopodium, a special organ only males have. This organ is used for fertilizing eggs during mating. Female Swordtails don’t have this organ.

Fin Shape and Behavior

Male swordtails have longer and fancier fins compared to females, and they use these attractive fins to impress females. Males are also more energetic and often seen chasing females or engaging in playful displays. Females, on the other hand, are noticeably calmer.  


To keep your swordtails  healthy, it’s important to provide them with a well-rounded diet. Here’s what you should consider when it comes to feeding:

In feeding your Swordtails, always choose high-quality commercial fish food. Look for flakes or pellets made specifically for tropical fish. These foods are packed with important nutrients and vitamins that promote growth and vibrant colors.

And remember, variety is key. Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, or tubifex worms. These options offer natural sources of protein and mimic their natural feeding habits.

But don’t forget about vegetables! Swordtails are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Offer blanched or lightly steamed vegetables such as spinach, peas, or lettuce. You can also try algae wafers or fish food with spirulina, which provides essential nutrients and fiber.

When it comes to feeding frequency, aim for small meals two to three times a day. Avoid overfeeding, as it can lead to health issues and poor water quality. Feed them only what they can consume in a few minutes. If there’s any leftover food, remove it to keep the water clean.

Keep an eye on their eating habits and adjust their diet accordingly. If they show less interest in certain foods or start gaining weight, make changes to the amount and type of food you offer. It’s important to find a balance between meeting their nutritional needs and preventing overfeeding.

TetraMin Nutritionally Balanced Tropical Flake Food for Tropical Fish, 7.06 oz (pack of 1)
  • TROPICAL FORMULATION: Highly digestible ingredients for use as staple food for your top- and mid-feeding tropical fish.

Tank Mates 

Your swordtails are peaceful and sociable fish that can live happily with various tank mates. Here are five excellent choices for them!


Guppies are colorful and active fish, and they make perfect companions for swordtails. Moreover, they enjoy similar water conditions, so they’ll get along swimmingly. Together, they’ll create a lively and colorful tank.


Mollies are easy to care for and get along nicely with swordtails. Additionally, they come in different colors and patterns, adding beauty to your tank. By introducing mollies, your swordtails will have cool tankmates to hang out with.


Platies are cool fish that make great tank mates for swordtails. Equally important, they come in various colors, allowing you to create a vibrant and visually appealing tank. With platies by their side, your swordtails will have awesome companions.

Corydoras Catfish

Common Corydoras Care Sheet

Corydoras catfish, such as bronze cory or peppered cory, are helpful tank mates for swordtails. Furthermore, they maintain the tank’s cleanliness by munching on leftover food and debris. They’re peaceful creatures that will happily coexist with your swordtails.

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetra Care Sheet

Neon tetras are small but flashy fish that will add excitement to your tank. Moreover, their bright colors create a captivating display. Additionally, they enjoy swimming together in a group, which will make your tank even more lively when paired with swordtails.

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasbora Care Sheet

Harlequin rasboras are lively and small fish that swim together in groups, bringing a sense of energy and movement to the tank. With their shiny pink/silver bodies and distinctive black triangular patches, they create a captivating visual display as they glide alongside the swordtails.

Honey Gouramis

Honey Gourami Care Sheet

Honey gouramis are peaceful and have a captivating golden coloration that adds a touch of elegance to any aquarium. Their non-aggressive nature and compatibility with swordtails make them a great addition to a harmonious and visually appealing community tank.

Nerite Snails

Nerite Snails Care Sheet

Adding snails like Nerite snails to the aquarium not only adds uniqueness but also helps maintain a clean and healthy tank environment. These snails are known for their attractive patterns and are effective algae eaters.

Endler’s Livebearers


Endler’s livebearers are small, active fish that showcase a beautiful array of colors. With their compatibility in water conditions and behavior, they make an excellent choice as tankmates for swordtails.

Ember Tetras


Ember tetras are cute, peaceful fish with a bright red color that makes your tank even livelier. Ember tetras like to swim together in a group and get along well with swordtails; that’s why they’re a good choice for your aquarium.

(If you want to know about the easiest fish to keep, especially if you’re just starting out, then here are my top rated 15 best beginner fish! Voted by over 150 people!)

Best Plants for Swordtails

Swordtails love to have live plants in their tank. So, here are five great plant options for your Swordtail aquarium:

Java Fern

Java Fern is a popular choice for Swordtails because it’s tough and looks nice. Its broad leaves give your Swordtails places to hide and rest. Plus, it can handle different water conditions and doesn’t need strong lighting.

Java Fern Bare Root | Microsorum Pteropus – Low Light Freshwater Aquarium Plant
  • Provide natural resting and hiding places for your smaller fish and invertebrates
  • Make your fish tank look natural and beautiful; Perfect for aquariums of any size

Amazon Sword

The Amazon Sword is a big and beautiful plant that makes your tank look lush. Its long, green leaves create hiding spots for your Swordtails and make the tank feel natural. Just make sure to give it a nutrient-rich substrate and moderate lighting.

Amazon Sword – Echinodorus Bleheri x3 Plants – Live Aquarium Plant
  • Echinodorus bleheri from South America is undemanding and beautiful, and becomes 20-50 cm tall.
  • A nutritious bottom promotes growth, but the plant needs pruning to prevent it depriving plants underneath of light.


Anubias comes in different types, like Anubias barteri, Anubias nana, and Anubias coffeefolia. They all have broad, dark green leaves that your Swordtails will love to swim through and rest on. Anubias can grow in low-light setups, so it’s easy to care for.

SubstrateSource Anubias Live Aquarium Plants – Potted Freshwater Plant for Fish Tanks, Terrariums – Beginner Friendly Low Light (Nana, 1 Pot)
  • Anubias Nana is one of the most popular aquatic plants loved by both beginners and experts alike, and will instantly give your aquarium, paludarium, or terrarium a lush and natural appearance.

Java Moss

Java Moss is a low-maintenance plant that’s great for aquascaping. It forms thick mats where your Swordtail fry and small Swordtails can find shelter. You can attach it to driftwood, rocks or even let it float in the aquarium.

Marcus Fishtanks Java Moss Taxiphyllum Barbieri Easy Live Aquarium Plant – Buy 2 Get 1
  • LIVE AQUARIUM PLANT – 1 Java Moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri) golf ball size portion


Hornwort is a fast-growing plant that helps keep the water clean by absorbing extra nutrients and providing oxygen. Its feathery leaves create a dense, bushy look and give your Swordtails hiding spots. And the best part? You can plant it or let it float in your tank.

Hornwort Ceratophyllum Live Aquarium Plant Planted Tank Beginner – Buy 2 Get 1
  • You will get 1 bundle, each bundle contains 3 stems. The plants will be similar to the one that you see on the picture of the listing. I will also include a mystery plant of my choosing.
  • Live Arrival and Satisfaction Guaranteed

Swordtail Breeding

Breeding your Swordtails is a straightforward process, and it’s a very fun and exciting experience. Generally, you won’t need to do much to get your swordtails to breed, in fact, they’ll do it on their own. But there are things you can do to maximize the chances. So, here are some key points to consider when it comes to swordtail breeding:

Setting Up A Breeding Tank

Prepare a separate tank just for breeding your Swordtails. Make sure the tank has enough space and hiding spots, like plants, for the fish to feel comfortable. Keep the water conditions right with the correct temperature and pH levels.

Choosing The Breeding Group

As you choose the breeding group, select a healthy male Swordtail and at least three females for breeding. Look for bright colors, strong bodies, and active behavior in all the fish. Put them in the breeding tank and give them time to settle in.

Creating A Good Environment

Make sure the breeding tank has a filter, and proper oxygenation, and raise the temperature in your tank by a few degrees. Feed the Swordtails a balanced diet of good-quality fish flakes, pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods to keep them healthy and ready to breed.

Encouraging Courtship And Mating

With several females around, the male Swordtail will try to impress them by showing off his colorful fins and swimming in a zigzag pattern. He will mate with each female individually by using a special fin at the back of his body called the gonopodium.

Separating The Females

After mating, it’s important to separate the females from the male to reduce stress and possible fighting. Place the female in a separate breeding trap or move them to another suitable tank. This allows them to grow the babies without any disturbance.

Waiting For The Babies

As livebearers, female Swordtails will carry the babies inside their bodies for about 4 weeks. During this time, ensure they have a nutritious diet to stay healthy and help the babies grow. Also, feeding your female Swordtails properly as they get closer to giving birth prevents them from eating their fry.

Taking Care Of The Fry

When the gestation period is over, the female Swordtails will give birth to live babies, called fry. The fry can swim right away and will need places to hide, like plants.

Feed them special food made for fry or finely crushed fish flakes. Keep an eye on them and make sure the water is clean and safe for their growth.

Common Diseases 

Despite your best efforts to take care of your Swordtails, they may get sick and will need the right treatment to recover. So, here are some of the most common diseases of Swordtails, and what you can do to treat them. 

DiseaseSymptoms or CausesSuggested Action or Treatment
IchWhite spots on the body and finsRaise water temperature, use ich medication
Fin RotRagged or frayed finsIsolate affected fish, clean the tank, use antibiotics or antifungal medication
Swim Bladder DisorderDifficulty swimming, floating upside downFeed sinking food, improve water quality
DropsySwollen abdomen, raised scalesIsolate affected fish, use antibiotics or antifungal medication
Velvet DiseaseGold or rust-colored dust on the bodyRaise water temperature, use velvet medication
FungusCotton-like growth on the body and finsIsolate affected fish, clean tank, and use antifungal medication

How Many Swordtails Can You Keep Together?

Generally speaking, you can keep around 4 to 6 Swordtails together in a tank. This ensures that they have enough space to thrive without overcrowding the tank. It’s also important to consider factors such as tank size, filtration, and the male-to-female ratio when deciding the number of Swordtails to keep.

Firstly, consider the size of the tank. It’s best to have a 20-gallon tank, but a bigger tank is always better, as it gives the fish more room to swim and reduces the chance of them getting stressed or cramped.

Also, think about the male-to-female ratio. To avoid conflicts and keep things harmonious, aim for one male Swordtail for every two to three females. This helps distribute the male’s attention and prevents too much chasing or fighting.

Aside from the male-to-female ratio, make sure your tank has good filtration and clean water. This is important for your Swordtails’ health. Use a reliable filter system that suits the size of your tank and perform regular water changes to keep the water fresh and safe for the fish.

If you see signs of aggression or stress, such as chasing or nipping at fins, it may mean that the tank is too crowded. In such cases, consider adjusting the number of fish or providing more space for them to swim freely.

Facts About Swordtail

  1. Swordtails are known for their vibrant colors, including shades of red, orange, yellow, and black. These colors add a stunning visual appeal to any aquarium.
  2. The name “swordtail” comes from the elongated lower lobe of the male’s caudal fin, like a sword. This unique feature sets them apart from other types of fish.
  1. Swordtails are livebearers, which means they give birth to live fry instead of laying eggs. 
  1. Male swordtails are more colorful and have a distinctive sword-like tail, while females are larger and have a rounded fin shape.
  1. Swordtails are good jumpers, so it’s important to have a secure aquarium lid to prevent them from escaping your tank.
  1. There are different types of swordtails, each with its own unique colors and features.

Types Of Swordtails

  • Green Swordtail (Xiphophorus Helleri): The Green Swordtail is a captivating fish with its vibrant emerald green color. It brings a lively splash of color to any tank and has a friendly and adaptable nature.
  • Montezuma Swordtail (Xiphophorus Montezumae): The Montezuma Swordtail is known for its fiery mix of red, orange, and black colors. Originating from Mexico, this species prefers slightly cooler water temperatures and adds a vibrant touch to aquariums.
  • Pygmy Swordtail (Xiphophorus Pygmaeus): The Pygmy Swordtail is a small and charming fish that displays bright colors. It’s an ideal choice for smaller tanks and peacefully coexists with other community fish.
  • Yellow Swordtail (Xiphophorus Clemenciae): The Yellow Swordtail stands out with its captivating yellow body and distinct sword-like tail. It thrives in well-maintained tanks and adds a touch of sunshine to any aquatic setting.
  • Chiapas Swordtail (Xiphophorus Alvarezi): Chiapas Swordtais feature eye-catching orange colors with contrasting black markings. Originating from the Chiapas region in Mexico, it prefers tanks with plants and moderate water flow.
  • Delicate Swordtail (Xiphophorus Cortezi): The Delicate Swordtail exhibits a graceful and translucent appearance. Males have a subtle extension on their tail, adding to their elegance. They’re well-suited for peaceful community tanks.
  • Panuco Swordtail (Xiphophorus Nigrensis): The Panuco Swordtail boasts a striking combination of a deep black body and vibrant red tail. It hails from the Panuco River and requires a well-maintained tank with regular water changes.
  • Comma Swordtail (Xiphophorus Signum): The Comma Swordtail gets its name from the comma-shaped marking on its body. It showcases colors like yellow, black, and red, making it visually captivating in community tanks.
  • Sheepshead Swordtail (Xiphophorus Birchmanni): The Sheepshead Swordtail features an intriguing pattern resembling a sheep’s head. It displays shades of silver, black, and yellow, making it an interesting addition to aquariums.
  • Marbled Swordtail (Xiphophorus Meyeri): The Marbled Swordtail showcases a captivating marbled pattern with colors like orange, black, and white. It adapts well to various water conditions and adds an element of beauty to aquatic setups.

What Are Rare Swordtails?

  • Kohaku Swordtail: Kohaku Swordtails are prized varieties of swordtails with bright red and white colors that will remind you of Japanese koi fish. 
  • Dalmatian Swordtail: The Dalmatian Swordtail stands out with its black and white speckled markings, just like the spots on Dalmatian dogs. Its unique spots add charm and make it a standout in any aquarium.
  • Black Hamburg Swordtail: The Black Hamburg Swordtail is known for its elegant and deep black color. Its rare black shade gives it a sophisticated look that fish keepers find captivating.
  • Hi-Fin Albino Red Swordtail: Hi-Fin Albino Red Swordtails have fascinating combinations of vibrant red color and long, graceful fins. Their rare appearance and vibrant hues make them a prized fish for aquarium enthusiasts.
  • Hi-Fin Pineapple Albino Swordtail: Hi-Fin Pineapple Albino Swordtails showcase a mix of yellow and orange colors, just like a tropical pineapple. Their flowing fins add elegance, making them a rare addition to any tank.

How Often Do Swordtails Have Babies?

On average, female swordtails can give birth every four weeks. However, this timeframe can be influenced by factors such as water temperature, diet, and overall health. The number of babies she has can vary as well, anywhere from a few to over 100, depending on how big and mature she is.

To help the baby swordtails survive, it’s a good idea to have places for them to hide in the tank, like plants or decorations. This way, they can stay safe and not get eaten by the adult fish.


Can Swordtails Kill Each Other?

Sometimes, swordtail fish can be aggressive toward each other. An alpha-male may assert dominance by relentlessly chasing and harassing other males, and this behavior can lead to stress, injuries, or even death. 

Can You Keep Two Male Swordtails Together?

If you have a male only tank, then it’s possible to keep two together. However, generally, it’s a good idea to keep more than two males together to reduce the chance of aggression occurring.

How Many Swordtails Can You Keep In A 55 Gallon Tank?

A 55-gallon tank has a large capacity and can comfortably house 10-12 swordtails.

It’s important to consider the male-to-female ratio to prevent excessive competition or aggression. The recommended ratio is one male swordtail to three or more female swordtails.

How Often Do Swordtails Give Birth?

Female swordtails can give birth approximately every four, depending on various factors such as water temperature, diet, and overall health.

Are Swordtails Livebearers?

Swordtails are well-known livebearers, which means female swordfish give birth to live babies instead of laying eggs. 

Are Swordtails Schooling Fish?

Swordtails are not considered true schooling fish, but they do enjoy swimming and interacting together. They are social fish and thrive when kept in a group, but they don’t need a large number to be happy.

Can Swordtails Mate With Mollies?

Swordtails and mollies are too different genetically to have babies together. They belong to different groups of fish, so they can’t successfully breed. 

Can Swordtails Breed With Guppies?

Guppies and swordtails cannot have babies together because they are different types of fish. Swordtails belong to the Xiphophorus group, while guppies are part of the Poecilia group. Their genetic differences prevent them from reproducing successfully. 


By following the tips and tricks we’ve covered in this guide, you’ll be able to give your swordtail fish the best care possible. Just remember to create a comfortable tank, give them good food, and keep an eye on their health. When you create a peaceful and well-kept environment, your swordtails will thrive!

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
About the author

Hey! I'm Nicolas from Iguane Media !

Blogger and Owner of the betta care fish guide
Thanks for reading this blog

I'm an Animal Lover

Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)