Swordtail Guppy: Feeding, Breeding, Life Span, Complete Guide

Swordtail Guppy

Swordtail Guppy s are one of the most popular Livebearer fish. Swordtail is a freshwater fish that is one of the greatest choices for a pet fish, especially for beginners. They are also one of the most colorful fish available.

Swordtail Guppy Fish Tail Shape

There are 3 types of the fish tail shape available:

  • Bottom Sword Tail
  • Top Sword Tail
  • Double Sword Tail

Brief Summary

Scientific Name: Xiphophorus helleri (Poeciliidae)

Common Names: Black, Gold Tux, Lyretail, Neon, Spotted, Red Velvet, Belize, Atoyac, Green, Red Simpson, Black Velvet

Origin: Central America, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico

Size: Males can reach a length of 5 inches (13 cm), females can reach a length of 6 inches (15 cm).

Experience Level: Beginner – easy to maintain, hardy, and low-maintenance. Breeding is simple

Appearance: Elongated and slender fish. Females have a slightly larger body size than males

Tank Requirements: A minimum of 15 gallons (60 L). 20 gallons (76 L) or larger size work best. A tank cover for your aquarium is a high recommendation. Plants, driftwood, and other hiding places for the fry is important, as are aquarium salts (1 tablespoon for every 5 gallons of water).

Water pH: pH 6-8

dH of  Water: 9-15°dH

Water Temperature: 64-82°F (18-27°C)

Tank Region: Throughout the tank

Diet: Omnivorous, eating shrimp, flakes, small pellets or granules, and meaty frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms. Feed once a day.

Behavior: This is a small fish with a lot of toughness. When there are bigger fish in the tank, they can take care of themselves. Males may grow violent toward each other

Tank Mates: Keep them away from tropical fish that are large enough to consume them. They should be able to cope with a big number of fish of the same size or greater

Gender: The male has a distinctive long anal fin that makes it easy to identify him

Lifespan: 3-5 years on average

Breeding: Livebearers

Swordtail Guppy Types


The majority of swordtails are found in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, where they can be found in nearly any freshwater source, including mountain creeks, streams, and rivers in the lower sections of these countries.

Swordtail Guppy Color

The name swordtail accurately describes its look, particularly that of the male. The male’s caudal fin protrudes along the lowest half of his body, reaching up to half the length of the entire body. There is no similar projection on the female caudal fin.

Various color combinations of Swordtails are available in a variety of hues and hue combinations such as orange, red, green, yellow, or a combination of these colors with partial black are sometimes available.

Each color has its own uniqueness. When caught in the wild, the swordtail’s body is often olive green with yellow and red stripes running along its two sides. The Red Swordtail or Green Swordtail is the name given to the wild form of this fish.

It is also possible to see little and bright dots dotting the fins for a small percentage of very unusual types. Swordtail has been selectively bred in captivity, resulting in more color varieties.

How to Take Care

Swordtails are simple to care for; the only thing you must be certain of is the tank’s size. While many swordtails can live in a 10-gallon tank, they would benefit from more room to move around.

If this criterion is met, this fish will give birth sooner. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is required, however a larger tank would be preferable.

Keep in mind that they can generate offspring in as little as three months and will continue to do so every 4-6 weeks after that. Another factor to consider is that this fish has the ability to give birth to 150 babies in a single delivery.

The waters in their origin are fast-moving, high-oxygen, and have a pH range of 5.5–7.8. The water hardness ranges from 1dH to 24dH.

The water temperature in those areas appears to be 75°F (24°C) throughout. Swordtails appear to thrive in water with a d H of 10-15, a pH of 7.2, and a temperature of 72°-79°F (22°-26°C) in captivity.

Swordtail Guppy Feeding

Swordtails consume anything they can get their hands on. A substantial portion of their diet consists of insects and plant matter.

Small live meals should be fed to them in an aquarium.

Flakes and frozen or freeze-dried commercial items will work just as well. Make sure to include a lot of meat and live things in your meals.

It is the best to combine a high-quality flake food with dried brine shrimps as a supplement. When you buy freeze-dried brine shrimp, you’re getting a healthy treat at a low cost.


Safe in the Community. It’s best to keep one male and two or more females together. Varius can live in a community with other variatus, other livebearers (platies, mollies, guppies), rasboras, tetras, danios, and some Corydoras catfish. Keep just males or only females to avoid accidental breeding. To avoid males dominating females when mixing genders, a ratio of one male to two or three females is the best choice.

Determining Gender

Male and female swordtails have a few distinct characteristics. The tail fin elongation is only seen in male swordtails. The tail fin of females is rounder. At adulthood, females’ bodies are likewise more rounded, fuller, and about a half-inch longer at maturity.


If you don’t want your swordtails to reproduce, it’s crucial to figure out their gender and separate males from females. They can start reproducing at the age of 12 weeks.


Keep two to three females per male if you’re keeping males and females together. Males pursue females in an attempt to mate with them; if there are more males than females, the females will get stressed with the possibility of their life shortage.

The Sword

For decades, Swordtail Guppy s have been deliberately bred to generate a wide range of colors, forms, and sizes. Vivid reds and oranges, as well as dazzling greens, are among the most popular. The sword normally has a black band along the bottom edge, regardless of the color of the fish.

Swordtail Guppy Breeding

Swordtail Guppy Breeding

Crossbreeding is possible amongst members of the Xiphophorus family.

Swordtail Guppy is a livebearer fish. Livebearers are fish that, instead of laying eggs, give birth to live, free-swimming young and are recognized for their prolific breeding. Livebearers have the ability to produce multiple batches of offspring from a single male fertilization.

Breeding can begin as early as the 3rd month of an animal’s life. It is recommended that swordtails be separated after confirming sex. Although you may notice their bellies growing in size, the most certain sign that they are about to give birth is when they begin to separate themselves from the males and become aggressive towards the male swordtails.

A woman who is about to give birth will conceal herself in a corner and restrict her movement within that space.

Gestation lasts 4-6 weeks for smaller species and 8-10 weeks for larger ones. Each batch can have anywhere from 25 to more than 100 babies every time. The majority of Livebearer parents will eat their children. Making ensuring that they are well-nourished as they get near to giving birth is the best remedy to this problem.

Place pregnant females in a breeder net or trap until they give birth, or provide plenty of plants and ornaments where the fry can find a safe refuge to grow, to gather or safeguard the kids. At least some of the young in a planted tank normally survive. Another way to save babies is rescue them and place them in another tank as soon as you notice the fry swimming.

Breading Tips

If you want to get Swordtail Guppy babies, set up the male and female in the same tank and they will mate within a short period of time. You’re probably wondering, how can you determine whether a female is pregnant? In the anal vent area of a pregnant female guppy, a dark triangular-shaped gravid patch will appear in the vicinity of the anal vent. As the pregnancy proceeds, this will grow in size and become darker.

In the meantime, while you wait for the female to finish developing the fry, it is important to make sure you are prepared for the delivery. When the mother fish begins to have babies, separate the babies from the mother to give the babies more room to grow in their own right.

Purchasing some breeding grass for the top of the tank is also a wonderful idea. In case the mother gives birth before you get a chance to place her in the breeder box, you can use the breeding grass as a backup plan. The tiny babies look as clear as bubbles and will naturally swim to the top of the aquarium. The breeder grass will provide a fantastic hiding place and will protect them from the larger fish in your aquarium.

Swordtail Guppy Fry

As soon as they are out in the water, newborns begin looking for nourishment.

Finely crushed flake food is a good option to provide meals for your new arrivals. You can rub the flakes into a fine powder by rubbing them between your fingertips. Some fish keepers only feed live foods. Live foods would unquestionably be the ideal option, but for the majority of people, this is simply not an option.

Swordtail Guppy Fry Feeding

Crushed or powdered flake food will suffice. Feed the babies three very little meals every day, if possible. The majority of the time, you will overfeed, and the surplus food will fall to the bottom of the tank or breeder box.

Cleaning Breeding Box

If you want to clean a breeding box, we recommend using a 3-foot length of aquarium tubing and a small bucket.

Clean the bottom of the breeder box using the tubing, which works as a syphon. Take care not to drain any newborn fish from the tank.

Swordtail fry grow slowly. Change the water frequently and feed a good amount of meat if you want them to develop faster.

For your infant guppies, try to do a 25% water change once a week. This will help your Swordtail Guppy babies grow to their full potential. Your new offspring will outgrow their habitat after a few weeks in the breeder box, and you will need to shift them to a new tank. Your baby fish will most likely be able to return to the main tank with the other fish by the age of eight weeks. However, the size of the other occupants in your aquarium is a major consideration. Before releasing them into the main tank, use your best judgement.

Blue Swordtail Guppy Size

Quick Note

Please be responsible with your fish, whether you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind strain or you simply notice little fry swimming at the top of your tank one day after work. If you have more than you can handle, consider exchanging them or selling them to a local fish store. Check with your local pet businesses ahead of time to see if you can work out a deal. You can also take use of this occasion to pique the interest of your buddies in fish.

Breeding Partnerships

Because a female swordtail can interbreed with a male member of the platy family of fishes, merging these two groups of fishes in a single aquarium is one option for increasing the variety of your aquarium. Check with the shopkeeper to ensure that the male pure Swordtail Guppy you’re looking for is in fact a purebred while purchasing from a fish market or fish store.

The fish can come from a tank with the label “swordtail exclusively” and still turn out to be a platy. Examine the caudal fin, which may or may not be protruding in the case of male swordtails.

The presence of a male swordtail in an aquarium can cause a female swordtail to disregard him, especially if she is a newcomer. According to hobbyists, the unusual behaviour does not imply that she is incapable of mating with a male member of her group or that she is simply uninterested; it might simply be that the new fish is still getting used to her new surroundings.

Science Experiment

The green swordtail, Xiphophorus helleri (Poeciliidae), has a female preference for male sword length

Swordtail fish show a conspicuous sexual dimorphism in their caudal fin shape, with males having a colorful, extended caudal appendage known as a sword that females lack. Females were given the choice between a pair of males who differed in sword length naturally or experimentally in laboratory tests of female preference for male sword length in the green swordtail, Xiphophorus helleri, to test the hypothesis that female choice contributes to the elaboration of this trait.

The sword disparities between paired guys ranged from 6 to 24 mm in five tests with different pairings of individuals. The amount of time a female spent in association with each male was used to score female preferences. Females preferred males with longer swords in all five tests. Female preference was found to be a growing function of sword length difference: as the difference in blade length grew, so did the strength of the preference.

By experimentally modifying sword lengths, characters connected with sword length were eliminated as sources of choice; preferences were reversed when relative sword lengths were reversed. These findings show that female-driven sexual selection may have aided in the evolution of the sword, and that female preference is based on sword length rather than a character linked to sword length.

The Life Span of a Swordtail Guppy

Due to the fact that swordtails are livebearers, the process of giving birth can place a significant amount of strain on their little, delicate bodies. They become sleepier and their colors become duller as they grow older, but they do not necessarily die as a result of becoming older.

They begin to deteriorate as they grow older, but it is typically an illness or some physical stress that causes them to succumb. The usual life expectancy is three to four years in this species. Some females die sooner than expected as a result of the stress associated with giving birth.

How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Guppy Fish?

To find out more about What Factors Affect a Guppies Lifespan, how to avoid making mistakes, How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Guppy Fish, you can read our article How long do guppies live?


Swordtail Guppy s are one of the most popular Livebearer fish, and they can be found in many aquariums. It is one of the most popular freshwater fish to keep as a pet for beginners. In addition, they are one of the most colorful fish.

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