Swordtails: Quick Guide To Keeping These Unique Freshwater Aquarium Fish


Do you want to add diversity to your freshwater aquarium? You should keep Swordtails. Though every fish is beautiful and unique in its way, Swordtails stand out because of the males have a sword-like tail, just as the name represents. 

This type of fish is colorful and vibrant. It brings different hues to the fish tank. Also, Swordtails are livebearer fish. That means they give birth to living offspring, instead of eggs. 

This detailed guide is a must-read for you if you are considering keeping Swordtails in your freshwater aquarium. Let’s get right into it. 

Ideal Habitat

Swordtails are one of the oldest discovered breeds of fish. They were found in Central and Northern America, in the 19th century. 

They are used to flowy waters and also like grazing on vegetation. You will be happy to know that it is relatively easy to reflect their natural habitat in an aquarium. 

Tank Size

The Swordtails can live in a 15-gallon tank. However, they do need more room to swim around. It is better if you keep a tank that can hold 20 gallons of water, minimum. If you can afford a bigger one, well and good. 

  • Rule of thumb: With each new Swordfish that you put in your freshwater aquarium, add 5 to 6 gallons of water. 

Tank Set-Up 

Temperature: Since Swordtail fish is tolerant, they can adapt to quite a few different water temperatures. The optimum temperature for their tank is between 70 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. 

pH: They like fairly alkaline water. Hence, keep the pH around 7.0 to 8.4.

Water hardness: They like hard water, so the water hardness in their tank should be anywhere between 12 dGH to 30 dGH. 

Plants: As mentioned above, Swordtails do like greenery. They also feed off it. However, don’t go overboard with it. Just put enough that they can graze away. 

Decorations: Use rocks to replicate their natural habitat. They like rocky substances. 

Warning: Avoid using wood decorations like logs. Those release acids that will decrease the pH value of the water. These fish like the pH to be between neutral and alkaline. 

Tank Mates

Swordtails are calm and friendly fish. They are good at socializing too. So, provide them with the right tank mates to keep your fish happy. 

  1. Platies
  2. Mollies
  3. Neon Tetras
  4. Pearl Danio
  5. Rosy Barbs
  6. Angelfish
  7. Dwarf Gouramis 
  8. Dwarf Corydoras
  9. Zebra Loaches
  10. Kuhli Loaches
  11. Otocinclus 
  12. Apple Snails
  13. Ghost Shrimps

Don’t keep them with aggressive fish, like the ones from the Cichlids family, etc. 

  • Can you keep Swordtails with other Swordtails?

Yup, you can. Swordtails enjoy the company of other Swordtails. Due to the males’ aggressive nature, don’t keep more than one male in smaller tanks. 

Rule of thumb: In bigger tanks, keep a ratio of 1:4 between male and female Swordfish.


Fortunately, Swordtail fish is not picky eaters. You can feed your Swordtails with a variety of food items. 

  • Larvae
  • Algae
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Cyclops
  • Salad
  • Spinach
  • Artemia
  • Egg yolk
  • Nettle
  • Lean meat
  • Dried bread
  • Squid 
  • Pipe maker

The vegetation provides them fiber that aids their digestion. 

Feeding routine: Feed your Swordtails food twice a day. The amount should be enough to be finished in 2 minutes. 


Swordtails are resilient fish, and they can adapt to different tank conditions well. You should still monitor the water, its cleanliness, and temperature. 

Cleaning routine: Change 20% of the water of the tank weekly. Also, clean the walls and rocks in the tank. 

Low water temperatures can affect the immunity of fish. The dirty water can cause diseases. So, you ought to be vigilant with the cleanliness of the tank water.


That’s about it for keeping and caring for Swordtails. I hope you are confident that you can keep these live-bearers. Just maintain a clean tank, good living conditions, and a proper feeding routine.

Fish are an amazing choice of pets. They keep your mood pleasant, and you will form a bond with them soon enough. Trust me, you will genuinely enjoy keeping pet fish.

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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