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Swordtail Care?


Guest Oranda's R HxC

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Guest Oranda's R HxC

My friend who is also my neighbor got a puppy today (Adopted) and while bringing home dog supply she also got two swordtail fishies in a 2 gallon with air bubbles and thats it. They're very very cute I must say. Not much personality. I want to help her learn proper care. So please tell me how many gallons each fishy needs and I know they'll need a filter and heater? and like type of food they'll need? Thanks

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Well...I think tropicals are a gallon per inch? Swordtails grow up to 5 inches, so a 10 gallon tank would be perfect for them.

Temp around 72-82F, I've had 10 gals stay around 72-75 without a heater, so you can prolly do without, and that's in an air conditioned apartment with just the hood light, even my 30 gal stays around 74.

They're omnivorous, so whatever flake/frozen/live food you throw in, they'll eat. My guppies loved algae wafers and frozen bloodworms :)

They're related to guppies, so I hope your friend has two of the same gender, otherwise she's going to have 20-100 fry every 28 days, lol.

I've had 10 Silver Lyretail Mollies (all males), and they were very easy to keep and beautiful fish :) Once they get to know you they're really friendly and will "kiss" your fingers if you stick them in the water.

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Guest Patches

She sounds like the perfect candidate for those cheap 10gal setup kits. ;)

They come with heater, filter, tank, hood, light. All she needs is the fish!

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Just wanted to drop my 2 cents in. Swordtails are unique in the fact that there will ALWAYS end up being a male and a female. Swords will change gender when a gender is absent. When I bred them, I found out the hard way when I tried to keep the males and the females seperate. Just thought you might want to know. Males tend to stay smaller, usually 2 or 3 inches without that long tail at full growth, while some females can get up to 5" including tail (they don't have the long tail). They prefer temps in the 74 to 76 area, higher temps are breeding temps. They can tolerate small amounts of salt, but only when necessary, and they are live birthers.

Have fun with the new fishes.

Check out different pet stores. SOmetimes they will clear out the floors and clearance their display's for 75% off. Otherwise you are looking at about $40 to $60 for the set-up if you can find one on sale. Check craigslist.

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Swordtails are unique in the fact that there will ALWAYS end up being a male and a female. Swords will change gender when a gender is absent.

:unsure: Um, swordtails can not switch gender. Roni, there could be a couple different explanations for what you experienced, their tails hadn't grown yet, fin rot or agression caused fin damage, etc.

And no, all swordtails are not born female and turn male as they mature either, its a myth.

Swordtails, like most of the livebearers, prefer salt in their tanks; but do just fine without it.

They're related more to platys than guppys, and won't breed as readily as guppys, but they will breed. Some people say they'll cross breed with mollys and platys, and others say they won't.

10 gallons would be a good size, just because it provides more swimming room than a 2 gallon or whatever your friend got. A filter would be the most important purchase, otherwise your friend will need to do water changes VERY frequently to keep any kind of water quality. A heater would be nice to keep the water temp constant. nnnnnn sometimes has the kits on sale too, I'd check there or somewhere similar for the best prices.

Any type of food as mentioned above, but the more variety the better.

Also, your friend should try to find a better petstore, one that won't let you take home two fish and a two-gallon bowl in the same day :)

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Guest Oranda's R HxC

She had the two gallon and it's not a bowl its actually a tank but I guess its equivellent to a bowl if you think about it. I gave her the tank and told her the only thing she should get is a Betta fish and the petstore convinced her that I was wrong and didnt know anything about fish :kickbutt I should've went with her I didnt know that she was going to bring home fish though. Neither fishy has one of those long things on their tails though. I think this means they are both girls? She's named them Sunshine (A yellow bright guy) and Moon (A dark guy with bright fins)

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If you were in Florida I'd just give you a 10 gallon tank. I think I have extra filters and an air pump laying around too.

I already dumped a hood 'n light fixture on a friend, I just have a reptile screen left.

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When I got my 2 swordtail males I didn't even know they were swords! They were in with platies and didn't have the long tails yet. Anyway, both grew the long sword and eventually had to be separated because males can get territorial. My larger male chased the smaller one so much he ended up hiding in a cave decoration all the time--so if your friend has males she may need another tank just to keep the peace. My swords were about 1 1/2 to 2 in. when I bought them and their swords grew a few weeks after that. So maybe you have males and just don't know it yet!

Also, I bought 3 females at a later date and never got any babies--the small male was interested but the girls ignored him. The larger female was interested in my larger male but he chased her away if she got too friendly. :D

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Swordtails are unique in the fact that there will ALWAYS end up being a male and a female. Swords will change gender when a gender is absent.

:unsure: Um, swordtails can not switch gender. Roni, there could be a couple different explanations for what you experienced, their tails hadn't grown yet, fin rot or agression caused fin damage, etc.

And no, all swordtails are not born female and turn male as they mature either, its a myth.

Swordtails, like most of the livebearers, prefer salt in their tanks; but do just fine without it.

They're related more to platys than guppys, and won't breed as readily as guppys, but they will breed. Some people say they'll cross breed with mollys and platys, and others say they won't.

10 gallons would be a good size, just because it provides more swimming room than a 2 gallon or whatever your friend got.

Hi,

I've been gone for a short time and just started getting back online. I was a little shocked when I read your post. Female swords will switch genders when there are an absence of males. True, males do not switch and I should have been clearer when I posted earlier. I know there are many places that say that swords do not switch, but I found a couple that back me up as well as the years of experience I have from breeding them myself.

Many swords bought from pet stores have been generation bred in fresh water and do not handle salt as well as their wild brethren. They can and have crossbred with mollies, and platies. Matter of fact, they are related to platies.

I'm not trying to be argumentive, but I feel that my response should have been given a little more credit instead of being tossed out the door as hogwash. Below are a couple of links that back me up. I know there are some that will back you up as well, but all I am saying is that if they don't switch, I shouldn't have been able to find experts in biology who also say they can.

http://www.tropicalfishexpert.co.uk/swordtails.html

http://www.gender.org.uk/conf/1992/lyon.htm

"In the swordtail, Xyphophorus, where the female changes to male, it has been said that "the mother becomes the father of her own granddaughter". In Thalassoma duperry (from Hawaii) a large female caged alone did not change sex, but if joined by a small female it did. A large female caged with a small, initial phase male (which is the same colour as a female), also changed sex, giving two males in the tank."

There were a few more, but I figured these two would prove my point. I am fully aware that many people believe these facts are myths, but they aren't. I have over 25 years of tropical fish raising experience and bred for several stores over the years. Goldfish... well I am an idiot there, and I will admit I am found often in the GF areas seeking advice. But swords I know. They were my very first fishy love.

Well, take care and I hope you don't take offense because none was meant.

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I appologize, I didn't mean to give the impression I was tossing your response out. Though, re-reading my reply it does sound that way, doesn't it? :( That wasn't my intention, sorry. Just that I had never known them to switch, and there's evidence to back that up too. There are species that can change sex in the absence of the opposite gender, but I didn't think swordtails were one of those species.

I guess that doesn't mean it never happens, you may very well be right, nature's weird like that. But, the first source you listed stated that the switch was purley cosmetic and the changed female was infertile anyway. So arguably, if her friend has two females, the chance of her ending up with a breeding pair is pretty slim either way.

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