The Xiphophorous Hellerii is also known as swordfish. This curious freshwater animal has a cheerful and friendly temperament. The swordtail is native to Central America and North America.
It owes its name to the appearance of its tail which, although it may seem, is not used as an offensive weapon . Its tail is simply the extension of the caudal fin of the male.
The sword tail can reach 15 centimeters in length when they are free. However, in a community aquarium the male can reach 10 centimeters and females 12 centimeters. The body of the swordtail is adapted to the feeding on the surface of the water . For this reason, its mouth is oriented upwards and its elongated body provides stability when swimming.
The female swordtail is larger than the male, and the differences between both They are very evident . The females do not have the characteristic 'sword tail', nor do they have the gonopodium, which is the reproductive adaptation of the anal fin.
However, there are cases in which females adults can develop masculine characteristics . In fact, this sexual reversal is very common in this species.
The feeding of swordtail fish
In its natural state, swordtail fish are omnivores . They tend to feed on a wide variety of insects, invertebrates, plant material and algae. When kept in a home aquarium, this diet should be reproduced as accurately as possible.
The most important portion of your diet should consist of high quality scales . In addition, swordtail fish eat bleached vegetables and live or frozen foods. Preferred vegetables are usually zucchini medallions, cucumber medallions, peeled peas and broccoli. All the vegetables should be blanched in boiling water first, then let them cool and give them to the fish.
On the other hand, the best live foods to feed a swordtail are daphnia or fleas. Water. In addition, they enjoy black worms, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae or fruit flies . Its taste in frozen foods can be quite similar. For this reason, frozen foods are also a good option to feed your fish.
The ideal tank for your fish
Most people usually start with a tank of about 10 gallons However, these fish are relatively large, so this space will not be enough. The minimum recommended size for this species is 29 gallons, otherwise it could suffer from stunted growth.
If you are interested in acquiring a pair of swordtails, you should know that soon 29 gallons will not be enough for all the fry . In addition, fish tanks should always be covered. Swordtails have the habit of jumping, and accidents can happen.
A densely planted aquarium mimics its natural habitat, as well as providing shelter and privacy to fish . Although it is not a mandatory requirement, try to have your aquarium plants alive. Artificial plants will also work, but they do not offer benefits such as improving water quality and oxygenate it, as living plants would.
Large filters generally work best for habitat of the sword tail fish . If it is within your means, always try to filter the water in the tank. Keep in mind that, despite its strength and durability, you should avoid sudden changes in temperature at all costs . This can cause a lot of damage to your fish and weaken your immune system.
Swordtail fish are very efficient and fast breeders, so you will not need any visits from the aquarist . It is very easy to recognize a pregnant female. At first glance you should be able to recognize the bulging shape of your belly. In addition, you will see a dark spot near the anal fin.
When the fry are born, they are so small that they are in serious danger. It is necessary to take certain precautions so that the fry are not accidentally ingested by their parents. You can add more plants so that the small fry have a place to shelter, or you can simply remove the adults from the tank.
Very few of the young fry will survive if they are not separated from them. Adults. Once the fingerlings are large enough not to be considered a possible food, it's time to put them back together.
The sword tail is a fish quite peaceful and sociable that coexists very well with other species. This is very true when it coexists with other swordtails or similar passive species.
They are relatively long-lived, and they can live between three and five years , depending on the care provided. If you are thinking about having an aquarium and do not know which fish to choose, this small fish is your best option.