Magical, Disappearing swordtail? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 3 Old 06-22-2014, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
New Member
Magical, Disappearing swordtail?

Hello all, I have a question for you; can 1 swordtail, 2 mollies (plain black mollies, scarlet swordtail) and one catfish kill and completely consume another, similarly sized swordtail in the span of a few hours?

Here's the background for that crazy question:
I don't know what will be relevant, so I'll give it all to you. I kept a 15 gallon tank with swordtails (4 scarlet swordtails and 1 catfish, to be exact) for nearly a year. I went on vacation recently and had a neighbor care for the fish. Unfortunately, while I was gone, my tank filter malfunctioned and by the time I got home, the ammonia buildup had killed off three of my beloved swordtails and left the last one in fairly bad condition. (Scrubber, the catfish, seemed to be unaffected. He was my first ever fish, and has been happily cleaning his first, small five gallon home, and after about 4 months, the newer 15 gal tank for nearly 14 months. I love that little guy!) I separated Scrubber and the remaining swordtail into the little, bare bottomed, 5 gal tank that I keep cycling for unexpected fry, emptied the 15 gal tank completely, and started a whole new cycle from scratch. Yesterday was the 21 day mark, and the test kits finally showed that the water was ammonia and nitrite free, so I put my swordtail and Scrubber back into the big aquarium. I then headed to the local breeder where I purchased the first batch of swordtails and got 2 female mollies, and another swordtail to help fill the aquarium a bit. After several hours of letting them adjust to the temperature, I released them into their new home. All seemed to be going well all day yesterday, and most of today, until just now. I feed the fish at night, right before bed, as part of my nighttime routine, but at feeding time tonight, no little hungry mouths came bobbing to the surface. Upon a very close examination, one of the swordtails is absolutely nowhere to be found. No body, no evidence that the fish miraculously jumped through the aquarium cover, just... nothing. Could the other fish have eaten him- completely? I mean, there isn't even any evidence of a skeleton.
terrashpere is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 3 Old 06-22-2014, 10:41 AM
TFK Moderator
SeaHorse's Avatar
Hi! I'm sorry you are having some troubles with your tank and fish. Well Yes is the short answer... It depends on what kind of "catfish" you have. Many are nocturnal and hunt at night. They can easily latch onto a sleeping fish in your tank and consume one. So that IS a possibility. If you have snails they will also clean up "left overs".
Can you try to post a pic of your catfish so we can figure out what kind it is?

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
SeaHorse is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 06-23-2014, 11:55 PM
In theoryit is possible in that time frame, but I'd bet the fishroom that is not the case. What type of catfish do you have? If it is a cory or pleco the short answer is no. You would need a ton of snails and a lot more time to devour a full grown sword. My swords are 4" (+) and that is a lot of fish to eat. Not to be too gross, but livebearers tend not to pick at dead fish until they bloat and split. I see that occasionally in my outdoor pools as there are always a few deaths during the long summer. If I had to guess this fish flew out of the tank when the lights went off and is now like those french fries under the car seat in summer time. Sorry that is my best guess. Ask your breeder if he turns the lights off at night? Many larger livebearer breeders don't as it speeds up the breeding cycle and eventual death of the fish.
henningc is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The magical fish disappearing act!!! Shadowhawkiv Freshwater and Tropical Fish 3 06-02-2008 01:30 PM
Red Male Swordtail + Black Female Swordtail = ? The Dude Fish Breeding 5 03-17-2007 09:44 AM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome