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tophat665 09-16-2007 04:28 PM

Swordtails for Cycling
Are swordtails hardy enough to stand up to the rigors of cycling a tank? I was thinking a male and 2 females in a 15 gallon tank to get it started. Eventually they'd move on to a 110 if they survived (and they and their progeny would be the cycling fish for that as well. Once cycled I'd add a trio of leopard ctenos to clean up the fry.)
I know a lot of folks prefer fishless cycling. I am not one of them. I like the feedback I get from seeing how the fish are faring.

Falina 09-16-2007 05:43 PM

I've never intentionally done a fish-cycle however I have found swpordtails to be very hardy fish, hardier than guppies IMHO and I know guppies are often recommended as a cycling fish so I would say they would be hardy enough to have a better chance of surviving than many other fish.


fish_4_all 09-16-2007 09:29 PM

I have found that swordtails suffer severely from fin rot and other infections when used for cycling. The only fish I have really heard of being hardy enough and not suffering some pretty nasty ill effects from cycling are danios but I would say use the less fancy ones Like Zebras or Leopard danios as they would be less likely to suffer from fin rot and other afflictions. Even using danios will likely result in short lived fish and illness and problems down the road.

As for 3 fish to cycle a 15 gallon, the bioload that will be supported when the cycle is over is only the same as the the fish used. In other words, you have to cycle with as many fish as you want to put there afterwards and have them at about the same level of waste production.

tophat665 09-17-2007 08:50 PM

Point of clarification: When I say I like the feedback, I mean happy active fish vs pokey, listless fish, not gasping, dying, rotting, zombie fish.

I go out of my way to jumpstart the cycle with lots of bacteria from established tanks by way of substrate, filter media, or adding a whole cycled filter. And I keep live plants in the tank from the get go. So I rarely see more than 0.25 ppm ammonia at worst. Granted, not the best possible environment for a fish, but hardy fish can handle it with no worse effects than you or I would have from spending our formative years breathing the air of a major urban area.

Swordtails hardy enough to handle that?

Falina 09-17-2007 10:02 PM

IMHO yes.

Just keep an eye out for finrot like F4A mentioned. It's not something I have noticed however, but just keep an eye out.

BTW: When I got 1 of my tanks, a good while ago and dinn't know anything about cycling at this point, I inadvertantly did a fish cycle. One of these fish was a swordtail and he lived for a long time afterwards.

Good luck whatever you choose.

tophat665 09-18-2007 07:56 AM

Good deal. Thanks. Now all I have to do is find some nice swordtails. Looking at Greens or Blacks, though the pineapples are pretty cool too. I've been to 4 places in the last 2 days, only 2 of them had any males (just one at each), and they only had one female the same type as the male. Less than ideal, that.

jr.masterbreeder 10-08-2007 05:52 PM

personally i would go with mollys or platies...

tophat665 11-03-2007 09:22 AM

For the record: This was a really bad idea. I am not 100% convinced that it was a cycling issue so much as I have fairly soft water, and swords like it harder, but I wouldn't use them for this again.

Platies, on the other hand, I have only lost 1 of the 6 I put in, and the rest are already breeding up a storm. (Going to have me some happy, happy bushfish in about a month.)

Falina 11-03-2007 09:29 AM

Sorry to hear that.

At least you know for next time I guess.

fish_4_all 11-03-2007 11:28 AM

Well sometimes we have top learn the hard way. The best part is you followed up on your post and gave some very important and useful information. Sorry to hear about the losses but at least others may not make the same mistake now.

As for soft water being the culprit, I would have thought that the softness would have effected both the swords and the platties about the same since most live bearers like harder water but you may be right.

Congrats on the babies.

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