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jessiepbg 02-15-2011 02:19 PM

Need General Info on Koi Swordtails
I was at Petco and saw these guys. I've considering setting up a 20 gallon tall (possibly 30 gallon) and moving my 3 cories, male betta, and 2 ghost shrimp to it once it cycled. I've been looking for a schooling fish that would do well with all these tank mates and be happy in a school of 3-4 in 20 gallons. My water runs pretty alkaline, usually around 8.2, but stays stable. It will be fairly heavily planted, so hopefully hiding spaces and ammonia shouldn't be much of a problem. I checked aqadvisor just as a general guide and it said 3 swordtails on top of my current load in a 20 gallon might be cutting it close. If it is, I'd be more than happy to track down a 30 gallon rather than the 20 and maybe add 2 more cories on top of the swordtail school.

fishbreeder 02-15-2011 07:31 PM

just some info
Central America
Maximum Size
Over 4 inches in a large tank
20gal aquarium great
Loves planted aquaria
Prefers 75 to 80o
Good natured, eager eater, fantastic jumper
Loves all foods. Likes vegetable matter.
Prefers pH above neutral. Add salt.
Sex Differences
Mature males sport the sword plus gonopodium
Gestation Period
6 weeks
Number of Young
Dozens – likes to eat babies
Life Span
Two years on average
Get that top fin up. Straighten that tail. Four demerits, Mister. Good gonopodium, tho.

Hi folks. As to no blue swordtails look up Bitter Root Tropicals. They breed gorgeous blue wag swordtails. They sell them via some online auction. Truly stunning fish. Haven't seen the metallic blue sword you show a pic of here in Wisconsin yet , but now that I know they are out there I will be looking for them.
I have a black male swordtail in with red painted females, orange as I call them twin bar female swords, black female swords, blue Mickey mouse platy females, blue tuxedo platy females. He has 12 females in with him so he's a busy happy boy. Most if not all females were carrying young when I got them so with the big gobs of java moss I am finding lots of fry. That and I keep them well fed and do water changes etc.
I plan to separate the painted out a bit later as well as the orange twinbar. Each color will go in a separate 55 gallon tank. My black male has blue in his black so hoping he and the blue platys will combine for a deeper better blue.
Sorry about all the babble. Neat site you have so just had to share where to find blue swords and babble about my breeding efforts tho just starting.
A: Sounds like you're making progress. The biggest problem with livebearers: They tend to crowd and thus stunt each other. Now you have to think in terms of culling the herd. Pull out the youngsters that don't meet your standards. It's a tough job but necessary if you want to improve your stock. In addition, you need lots of tanks and/or massive water changes. One of the icons in the hobby, Jim Langhammer in Detroit, built a system that changed 90% of his water with aged water every day. He was able to raise 80 to 100 swordtails to commercial size in a 20H. Very impressive production. LA
Lyretail gonopodiums grow too long to funtion.
New Origins: Fish farms in Florida and the far east crank out huge volumes of swordtails. Through selective breeding they’ve added high dorsal fins as well as lyre tail finnage.

Water Conditions: Swordtails prefer a pH above neutral. Our Des Moines water works great. Swords also like salt in their water – one teaspoon per gallon. A little more couldn’t hurt.
More hi-fin lyre tail swordtails. Gonopodium on bottom male.
Reds -- most popular of all the swordtails.
Appeal: Anyone spotting the blood-red swordtails can’t resist their velvety beauty. Those who like fancier varieties admire the finnage on the high-finned varieties. In the reds alone, you see blood reds, regular reds, brick reds, tuxedo reds, painted reds, corals, peppermints, red eyes, and red wags (black tail and fins). And most of these same variations continue into yellow, pineapple, marigold, neon, lemon, candy cane, and black.
Every one of these swordtails is a male.
Size: Sold at under two inches, swordtails grown in large tanks can easily double that length. Swords separated by sex grow the largest. We have seen (once) a six-inch swordtail.
Swordtails mix very well in most community tanks.
Swordtails add color and action.
Jumpers: Of all the species of livebearers, swordtails like to jump the most. We for sure recommend a good tank cover – with no holes. We put 30 Montezuma swords in a 20H with a cover. By the next morning every one of them had exited the tank (and this mortal coil) via a one-inch hole where the heater belonged.
Gravid spot. You can see the babies' eyeballs.
Can't see the babies' eyeballs on albino female swordtails. Albino over white? Over black better.
Neon swordtails, female and male..
Sex Comments: Males chase the females all the time. Provide your males two or three females. Females grow larger than males. You can see the eyes of the developing babies in the female’s gravid spot.
Swordtail Foods: Swordtails eat whatever you feed them. They need foods with algae or other vegetation in them. They also constantly snack on the algae growing on your tank’s walls. Swords also love live foods, frozen foods, and their own fry. Swords also respond well to those worm flake foods that increase their litter sizes. Feed several times a day for maximum production.

Saving Fry: Swordtail eggs hatch inside the female. Swordtail fry taste good to other fishes (and to mom). They start life only a little larger than baby guppies. If you want baby swords, you need to keep your eyes open. Healthy females release live fry every six weeks. Give expectant moms a well-planted 10-gallon tank so the babies can hide. Those so-called breeder traps are too small. Moms can find their babies too easily. Keep mom well fed on brine shrimp or she will devour every one of her fry.
Protective Plants: Hornwort makes the ideal plant in a swordtail breeding tank. It grows well in any kind of water. Just give it light. It also grows thousands of tiny pine-looking leaflets for the babies to hide within and provides multiple areas for tiny edible protozoans to thrive upon.
Fry Foods: Baby swordtails eagerly eat powdered dry food. They also love newly hatched shrimps – even the frozen ones. They grow best when fed several times a day (up to a maximum of five times). Add snails to clean up the excess.
Swordtails make good community fishes. They also make great jumpers. Keep yours covered.
Swordtails make a great community tank inhabitant.
"Koi" Swordtails, a relatively new development.
Filtration: Swordtails like clean water, but avoid those baby-eating power filters. Use an under gravel or sponge filter instead. LA.

Jessica Denison, Queensland, Australia, May 31, 2010
Hey LA! I've just bought myself my second swordtail and was I suprised! I thought you might like this picture of my swordtail to add to your fact sheet. I've never seen colours like this on one! He was the only one like him in all the stores I've seen :)!
By the way I love your site! It's helped me so much :)!!
All the best,

Unfortunately, the male hi-fin lyretail swords are unbreedable.

jessiepbg 02-16-2011 07:04 AM

Thanks for the fact sheet. I keep getting conflicting opinions on how big these guys get. Someone told me they usually get to 5-6 inches and I've seen a few articles that say that. This post and a few others I read say they tend to top out at 4 inches. I had someone whose aquarium expertise I respect recommend that I keep them in no less than a 55 gallon, but this fact sheet lists them as getting along well in a 30. The lady at the petstore where I first saw them said they would do ok in a 20 with my setup, but that's a source I don't give much weight to. I'm a little confused by all the differing opinions on these guys. I ended up buying a 30 gallon, so if anyone has some more suggestions on my situation, I'd love to hear them.

julem35 02-16-2011 05:07 PM

Im not sure what the difference is between kio swords and regular, so I hope this helps buttt...

I kept reg. swords in my 30 gallon for a while, they are soooo fun!

Here is a fact sheet from one of my faves. Fish Tank Planner (included bibliography)

Sword tail

Xiphophorus hellerii

Gallons Per Fish:
6 gallons (23 liters)

Minimum Tank Size:
20 gallons (76 liters)

Maximum Fish Size:
5in (13cm)


Eats other fish:

Temperature Range:
64-81°F (17.8-27.2°C)

pH Range:

Hardness Range:

Tank Region:
Top and Middle Region

Life Span:
4 years



All Common Names:
Swordtail, Sword tail

All Scientific Names:
Xiphophorus hellerii. Poecilia helleri, Xiphophorus brevis, Xiphophorus guentheri, Xiphophorus guntheri, Xiphophorus heller, Xiphophorus helleri brevis, Xiphophorus helleri helleri, Xiphophorus helleri strigatus, Xiphophorus hellerii guentheri, Xiphophorus jalapae, Xiphophorus rachovii, Xiphophorus strigatus

"Swordtail." Fish Tank Planner. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2011. <>.

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