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Picture of female Swordtail Picture of a pair of Swordtails

Photos taken at Wharf Aquatics
Photos © Sean Evans

Common name:Swordtail
Scientific name:Xiphophorus helleri, though many aquarium varieties are cultivated strains and may be hybrids of different Xiphophorus species.
Size:Males up to 4" (10cm), females slightly larger.
Origin:Central America
Tank setup:Planted community aquarium, with open swimming space.
Compatibility:May be slightly aggressive, but generally compatible as a community fish. Keep 2-3 females per male to avoid constant harrasment of a single female.
Temperature:21-26oC (70-79oF)
Water chemistry:Medium hard and slightly alkaline, pH 7.0-8.0
The addition of salt to the tank is not necessary.
Feeding:Will eat most aquarium foods, use flake, granular and frozen or live foods to vary the diet.
Sexing:Only males have the 'sword' and a gonopodium (modified anal fin). Females have a gravid patch.
Breeding:A livebearer. The female is best removed to a separate tank to give birth. There may be 20-80 or more young, depending on the size of the female.
Comments: A large number of colour varieties have been produced, and forms with an additional 'sword' on the upper tail fin.



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The Tropical Tank Copyright © 2000-2018 Sean Evans This website was last updated on 15th February 2018