Xiphophorus helleri Description
The swordtail is easy to care for and lives happily with most other community fish.
This fish has become established in many urban waterways which illustrates it's adaptation to varied
The original Xiphophorus helleri is mainly olive green as it's natural colour. This colour is darker at the top of the back and lightens toward the belly. A thin orange stripe extends down the sides.
The orange swordtail is by far the most common domesticated variety. Many other variations are also available.
Dark orange varieties are often sold as red swordtails.
A pineapple swordtail displays several shades of orange moving toward yellow down the body.
Black swords with or without metallic blue spots, tuxedo swordtails and combinations of all these colours have also been produced.
Many of these varieties may have originated from mating with the platy (Xiphophorus variatus).
The swordtail is a notorious jumper and should always have it's fish tank covered
with a sheet of glass or an aquarium hood.
Family - Poeciliidae
Size - 8-12 cm not including sword length. Females grow largest.
Fish Origin - Northern South America
Water - Suits a wide range of water conditions.
Temperature - 22-26°C
Feeding - Undemanding, feed with a general tropical flake
Sexing - Male displays gonopodium and a sword protruding from the bottom of the tail
Breeding - Livebearers
Aquarium - Needs large tank and other swordtails or Poeciliidae to school with
This Poeciliidae species is not particularly difficult to reproduce and will breed without live food or other conditioning. Parents may eat the young fry so
plant cover such as
java moss and
the use of a
livebearer breeding net are advised.
The male will relentlessly pursue females. They will use their sword in courtship displays before chasing the female around the tank. Keep several females per male to give them a break. When breeding these fish one male will be able to perform fatherly duties for up to fifteen fish.
Lyre tail swordtails and hi fin varieties have been produced. Breeding these varieties can pose difficulties as the male's gonopodium is often to long to be useful in impregnation.
Black Molly | Platy | Sailfin Molly | Guppy | Endler's Guppy | Aquarium
Further information about
swordtails on our partner's website.