Now, when I initially came across this name, I thought to myself that this must be one aggressive fish! But I was wrong. Swordtails are one of the most peaceful fish that you will find on the planet. The reason why they are called swordtails is not because they are fighters, instead, it is because of a physical aspect of theirs.
In the male swordtail, the tail fin also known as the anal fin is elongated as if it were a sword. As this is a very uncommon yet dazzling feature found in this fish, scientists and hobbyists decided to name it after this trait. Swordtail fish are quite fascinating creatures when it comes to gender differences. The female swordtail is devoid of any sword and has a non-elongated fan-shaped anal fin.
This can make it appear more like some other closely related fish such as the platy. A lot of people are firm believers that female swordtails can mutate in their lives and grow a sword to become a male. Now, this is quite bizarre, but it has been reported by many fish keepers from across the globe.
Although there are many who validate the truthfulness of this mid-life gender swap, yet experts believe that these are only late-blooming males who grow their elongated anal fin sword later in their life. That is why these gender-swapping females are never pregnant even during their perceived female stage; because they are actually males! This is the group of fish that give birth to live babies instead of laying eggs.
In the aquatic world, this is a rare phenomenon as usually mammals like ourselves are known to give birth to live babies. Yet, nature has bestowed this feature in the live-bearer fish as well and swordtails are one of them. This helps the swordtails to have a great survival ratio for its babies as live-bearers are able to provide maximum protection and care to their baby fish also known as fry. When the fry are born, they are fully developed and can survive on their own.
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The swordtails have a very high ratio of survival during birth for its fry, yet, it is important to understand that like most live-bearers, swordtails would eat their own fry once they are born. Why, you ask? Because swordtails and all other live-bearer fish have no maternal instincts. As an omnivore an organism that eats both plants and animals , your swordtail will easily eat its own fry without another thought.
Swordtails are far larger than your average live-bearer fish. The male swordtail can attain a size of 4 inches while the female can grow up to 5 inches in length and that is quite big if you consider other close relatives of the swordtails like the platy that can grow to a maximum size of 2. This can give the male swordtail a total length of 6 inches which is huge according to aquarium standards.
Despite that, the size of swordtails is usually smaller in aquariums as compared to the wild. One can expect that the closed environment for the fish in the aquarium must play a huge role in the overall decrease in its natural size. This is the reason why your average gallon tank might not be a great fit for swordtails, especially if you are willing to let it breed and then plan on keeping the fry.
If you want to keep a community of swordtails, then you should be looking at gallons or above for your tank size.
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They come in a wide variety of colors; out of which green is the most common in the natural waters. Another combination of swordtail that can easily be found in natural waters is red with black tail. You can find a lot of other vivid and eye-catching colors in this fish. Although these colors are not a natural mix which can be easily found in rivers and lakes, yet, these colors have been developed over years of inter-breeding between different closely related species. It is famous that swordtails can breed with platy fish which are a close relative of theirs. The platy is found in around a dozen breath-taking colors and have passed on a few of those to the swordtails as well.
The swordtail fish rarely have some speckles on its fins. Not only that, you can also find a few breeds of swordtails that have varying types of tails and fin. The swordtails have a very friendly and harmonic nature. The females usually bond pretty well and can be found swimming around, exploring the tank with one another. The males, on the other hand, might be a different story. A lot of people isolate their swordtail males from the females. This is an effort to curb the rate of reproduction in these fish which can give birth to a new batch almost every month! But what this does is frustrate the males which, in turn, begin fighting with each other.
They would be found chasing the other ones or nipping at their fins. In very rare cases, a dominating bully proclaims himself as the Lord of the tank.
This bully can be found chasing innocent younger males who are just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Such aggressive males need to be tended to in time so that the issue can be resolved before it causes great amounts of stress for the other fish. You can give the bully a time-out by isolating it from the community tank and placing it individually in another one. At times, when you put the bully back in the community tank after such a time-out, the tough guy forgets his role as a bully and lives in harmony with the other fish. This is only because most owners never provide the proper environment for fish to thrive in.
A swordtail fish which lives in a healthy environment can be expected to live for years. Swordtail fish usually do not die from aging. In fact, most swordtail deaths occur due to diseases or stress. Being live-bearers, the process of swordtail birth puts a lot of pressure on the little bodies of these fish. After all, they are just fish, right?
You would need to buy a tank and pour in some water and the fish will be partying all night to celebrate their existence. Fish are one of those pets that require very specific parameters in their environment in order to live a healthy life. Swordtails, in particular, have an average lifespan of years. The major reason why they fail to survive for more than a year in aquariums is that fish owners never take out the time to learn about the tank requirements for their breeds so that they can create healthy conditions for them.
Studying about the natural environments of these fish will help us understand better as to what sort of conditions are required by swordtail fish and how we can recreate them in an aquarium. Swordtails are usually found in the fresh waters of Northern and Central America.
Here, you can find them in great numbers in the wild as they reproduce at an exponential rate. The average female swordtail would attain sexual maturity within 4 months and then continue to reproduce every month of her life as long as she is healthy. This has increased the number of swordtails in natural waters to a great extent.
Honduras, Gautemala, Mexico and other areas which border the Atlantic coast are filled with this fish.
follow site In terms of the type of water body that these fish prefer; they can live in freshwater lakes, rivers, small ponds, and even ditches. Swordtails usually prefer to live in shallow waters which are very thickly planted. The vegetation has many benefits for the fish as it acts as a source of food, a place for hiding, and a natural source of oxygen. In the wild, swordtails would feed on insects and crustaceans to meet their protein requirements, while plants, detritus, and algae would suffice their vegetative appetite. Because of such diverse living conditions in the wild, swordtails have attained the ability to endure a plethora of different living conditions.
Herbivorous in the wild, and algae-based flake foods should be used as a staple. Also enjoys small invertebrates such as daphnia and bloodworms. Very peaceful.
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Adaptable, but does best around pH 7. Xiphophorus variatus Meek , the variatus platy of the hobby but variable platyfish to ichthyology. Endemic to Mexico but like many other livebearers widely introduced elsewhere. Larger than the common platy around 2.