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The Swordtail, one of the "classic" aquarium fish, has maintained its
popularity throughout the years. Easy to care for and pleasant to the
eye it's easy to see why.
Listed tank sizes are the minimum
||4 3/4 inches (12 cm)
||7 to 8
||Medium hard to hard 10-30 dH
||72° to 82° f (21-28°C)
Mexico and Guatemala
General Body Form:
The males are elongated, with the adults having a long sword shaped
Caudal fin extension formed from the eight lowermost fin rays. Females
are more robust and lack the sword. In both sexes the Dorsal fin has
a straight outer edge. There has been much cross breeding within the
family to produce many different colors and fin shapes. Lyretail swords
have an upper and lower sword and others have "high fin" Dorsal fins
as well. I believe that the original wild form ids still the most beautiful
and would highly recommend it.
Because of the vast array of colors we see today in the hobby, I will
outline the coloration of the Original wild Green Swordtail. The upper-side
is Olive-green with the sides being Yellow-Green highlighted by Brown
edges. A dark stripe runs from the nose through the eye down the length
of the body and in males along the bottom of his sword, giving it an
underlining effect. Also on the sides near this stripe is an area of
iridescent light Green bordered in Red, which under certain light conditions
is stunning. The coloration of the sword itself can be Green, Yellow,
Orange, Red or any combination of these colors. The Dorsal fin is a
Yellow-Green color with one or more rows of Red dots. All in all a very
nice looking fish even without the cross breeding.
An easily cared for fish that does well in all types of community aquaria.
Give them a fairly large tank with live plants and open swimming areas,
avoid too much driftwood as a rule the livebearers do not like acidic
water. Although not a schooling fish they benefit by being kept with
a large number of their own kind. Among the males there is a distinct
hierarchy. Temperature range from seventy-two to eighty-two degrees.
A very peaceful and hardy species.
Rivers in Mexico and Guatemala.
As the male matures the Anal fin develops into a structure for reproduction
called the Gonopodium. The Gonopodium can be moved in almost any direction
and stores the sperm in packs called spermatophores. Once the sperm
is inserted into the female it fertilizers her eggs and the rest is
stored in the Oviduct walls for later use. The eggs are very rich in
yolk and the young develop by consuming their yolk stores. In light
colored females pregnancy can be recognized by the growing dark body
marking in front of the Anal fin.
Young Livebearers are fairly large at birth and their development
is very advanced. They can swim right away, which is needed to avoid
their enemies including their parents who give no natal care whatsoever.
The fry grow very rapidly and will eagerly accept fine flake food.
An interesting fact on Swordtails is their ability to appear to change
sexes. All young swordtails are female and if a potential male starts
to develop early, he will continue to become a slender small male.
If a potential male goes through a female stage complete with the
typical female form and gravid spot, he will develop into a large
thickset "late" male.