June 13

Sarah Robertson

Sword Tail Guppies Care Tips Every Fish Keeper Needs to Know

Swordtail Guppies are a favorite Livebearer fish among aquarium enthusiasts. Swordtail is a freshwater fish that makes an excellent pet, particularly for beginners. In addition to being one of the most beautiful guppy fish, they are also very colorful. The most prolific swordtails inhabit Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico near sources of freshwater like mountain creeks and lowland rivers.

For many years, Swordtail Guppy s have been bred to produce a large number of colors, forms, and sizes. Reds, oranges, and greens are among the most popular colors. The sword typically has a black band on the bottom edge, regardless of the fish's color. Some of the newer color morphs don't have this band, however. Selective breeding has also led to different swordtail sizes and shapes.

When kept as pets, Swordtail Guppies should be placed in an aquarium that's at least 10 gallons in size. The larger the tank, the better. 20 gallons is even better. Swordtails are peaceful fish that do well when kept with other peaceful species like mollies, platies, and tetras. They are not compatible with aggressive fish or fin nippers. If you want your Swordtail Guppy to thrive, you need to provide them with the proper care. 

Do you want to know everything about Sword Tail Guppy Care? Keep reading!

Quick Facts about Sword Tail Guppy Fish 

  • Scientific Name: Xiphophorus helleri (Poeciliidae)
  • Origin: Central America, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico
  • Size: 2.5 inches (6.3 cm), females are larger.
  • Average purchase size: 1 - 1.5 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm) or larger.
  • Experience Level: Easy and low-maintenance, Suitable for beginners
  • Appearance: Elongated and slender fish. Females have a slightly larger body size than males
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Lifespan: 3 – 5 years
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons (37 L) is sufficient for a small group of Swordtail Guppies.
  • Tank Requirements: A tank cover is a must-have for any aquarium. It is important to have plants, driftwood, and other hiding places for the fry in your aquarium, as well as 1 tablespoon of aquarium salts per 5 gallons of water.
  • Compatibility: peaceful with other community fish, but can be nippy towards tank mates with long fins such as angels and bettas.
  • Water Temperature: 64-82°F (18-27°C)
  • Water pH: pH 6-8
  • dGH of Water: 9-15°dH
  • Tank Region: Throughout the tank
  • Breeding: Livebearers
  • 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.
sword tail guppies

Sword Tail Guppies Care

The only vital consideration for swordtail care is tank size. While they can technically reside in a 10-gallon tank, more space to move means happier and healthier fish.

This fish will give birth sooner if all requirements are met. Remember that they can reproduce in as little as three months, and will continue to do so every 4-6 weeks. Another factor to consider is that this fish has the ability to give birth to an approximate 150 babies in a single delivery.

The waters where they originate are high-oxygen and have a pH range of 5.5–7.8, with water hardness ranges from 1dH to 24dH. The water temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) in those areas. Replicating those water conditions as closely as possible will give your fish the best chance to thrive.

Another important factor to consider for swordtail care is its diet. They are omnivores, so they will eat both plant and meat-based foods. Providing them with both will help them to stay healthy and maintain their vibrant colors.

As with any pet, regular checkups by a veterinarian who specializes in fish is important to ensure your swordtail is healthy and to catch any potential problems early. So, now that you know the basics of swordtail care, go out and get yourself one of these beautiful fish!

Sword Tail Guppies Size 

The average swordtail guppy size is about 2.5 to 3.5 inches long, with the females being slightly larger than the males. However, some specimens can grow up to 4 or 5 inches in length. Some factors that can affect their size are the quality of their diet and their living conditions. For instance, if they are living in cramped and dirty quarters, they will likely be stunted in growth.

Sword Tail Guppies Lifespan

Since swordtails are livebearers, the birthing process can put a lot of strain on their small bodies. While they may become sleepier and their colors might fade with age, growing old isn't necessarily a death sentence for them. Though they get weaker over time, it usually takes an illness or physical stressor to kill them. The average lifespan for this species is 3-4 years. However, some females don't make it as long due to the strenuous nature of giving birth.

Sword Tail Guppies Appearance

The name swordtail refers to the fish's appearance, especially that of males. The male swordtail has a long fin along the bottom half of his body which can be up to half the length of his entire body. The female caudal fin does not have a similar projection.

There are many color combinations of Swordtails with colors such as orange, red, green, and yellow being available. These fish sometimes have partial black coloring too.

Every color has its own distinctiveness. The swordtail's body is a olive green when found in the wild, and it has yellow and red stripes running down its sides. The wild form of this fish is commonly known as the Red Swordtail or Green Swordtail guppies. Apart from these there are Blue swordtail guppies.

Some very unusual swordtail types have small, bright dots lining their fins. Because they've been bred in captivation Swordtails come in a wider variety of colors than ever before.

Swordtail Guppy Fish Tail Shape 

Swordtail Guppies can be easily distinguished by their unique tail shape.

As per the tail shape Sword tail guppies are available in three different varieties:

  • Top Swordtail Guppies
  • Bottom Swordtail Guppies
  • Double Swordtail Guppies

Sexual Dimorphism

A few characteristics can help you to distinguish between male and female swordtail guppies. For example, only males have tail fins that are elongated. The tail fin of female fish is rounder. At adulthood, female bodies are more rounded, fuller, and about a half-inch longer on average than male bodies.

Sword Tail Guppies Behavior 

Swordtails are peaceful by nature and can be kept with other community fish. They do best in groups of 3 or more and tend to shoal close together when feeling threatened.

While they don't bother other fish, they will often nip at the fins of slow-moving tank mates or those with long flowing fins. This is especially true of male swordtails towards other males. They are also known to be jumpers, so a tight-fitting lid is necessary to prevent them from leaping out of the tank.

When it comes to plant life, swordtail guppies are not particularly fussy and will often eat soft leaves as well as most algae. This can actually be beneficial as it helps to keep the tank clean.

Swordtail guppies are active fish that enjoy swimming and exploring their surroundings. They are not known to be shy and will often greet you at the glass when you approach the tank.

sword tail guppies

Sword Tail Guppies Feeding & Diet 

Swordtails are known for their ravenous appetites and will consume anything they can get their hands on. A good amount of what they consume are insects and plants. Small live food should be given to them in an aquarium setting.

You can use either flakes or freeze-dried commercial products. It's important to include a variety of meats and live foods in their diet.

The best way to ensure your pet fish are getting all the nutrients they need is to combine a high-quality flake food with dried brine shrimp supplements. Freeze-dried brine shrimp are not only healthy, but affordable as well. So there's no excuse not to provide your fish with a nutritious diet!

Sword Tail Guppies Tank Mates

Male and female swordtail guppies can coexist peacefully in the same tank, but it's recommended to have two or more females for every one male. They can live in a community tank with other peaceful fish. Some of the suitable tankmates for swordtail guppies are:

  • Other Livebearers (Platies, Mollies)
  • Rasboras
  • Tetras
  • Danios
  • Corydoras catfish

To avoid accidental breeding, it is better to keep only one gender of the species.

Guppies are known to be fin nippers, so avoid keeping them with fish that have long, flowing fins like bettas and angels.

Sword Tail Guppies Tank Setup

If you want to keep swordtail guppies, you need to provide them with good tank conditions.

Here are few things you need to take into account:

  • The tank should be at least 10-20 gallons
  • It needs to have a filter and a heater
  • The water should be clean and well-aerated
  • Plants are a must in a swordtail guppy tank as they provide the fish with places to hide. Live plants are best, but you can also use plastic or silk plants.
  • You can decorate the tank with rocks, driftwood, and other aquarium-safe décor.
  • Soft substrate or no substrate at all is best for swordtail guppies.
  • When it comes to lighting, a low-light setup is fine.

Sword Tail Guppies Breeding

Livebearers are fish that, instead of egg-laying, give birth to live young. Swordtail guppy is one such livebearer fish species that is quite popular because of its prolific breeding nature. To breed Swordtail Guppies, simply put the male and female in the same tank and they will mate naturally.

Males pursue females for the purpose of mating. If there are more males than females, this can cause stress for the females as they may be constantly pursued. Livebearers have the ability to produce multiple batches of offspring from a single male fertilization.

This is due to their unusual reproductive system in which the female stores sperm in her body and can use it over time to fertilize her eggs. Fish can begin breeding as early as 3 months old. Once you have confirmed the sex of your swordtail, it is best to keep them separated. The most certain sign that a female swordtail is about to give birth is when she starts to act aggressively towards males and distance herself from them.

However, you may also notice their bellies increasing in size. On a pregnant female guppy, in the anal vent area, there will be a dark triangular-shaped gravid patch. This dark spot will grow in size and become darker as the pregnancy proceeds. The female fish, about to give birth, will hide in a corner and limit her movement to that space.

Gestation periods differ based on the size of the fish, lasting anywhere from 4-6 weeks for smaller animals and 8-10 weeks for larger ones. Depending on the size, each batch can have 25 to 100+ babies. Many Livebearer parents will consume their children if they are not properly nourished leading up to giving birth. The best way to combat this is by ensuring they are healthy and well-nourished before they give birth.

Keep pregnant females in a breeder net or trap until they give birth, and make sure to provide lots of plants and ornaments where the fry can hide safely. If you follow this guide, your fish fry will have a higher chance of survival. If you want to be prepared, buying breeding grass for the top of the tank is a great idea.

The mother could give birth at any time, and if you don't have a breeder box ready, the breeding grass will serve as an adequate replacement. The small babies resemble bubbles and will automatically rise to the surface of the aquarium. The breeder grass will be great for hiding and protecting your smaller fish from the larger ones in your aquarium. Another possibility is to rescue them as soon as you notice them swimming and place them in another tank.

if you want to increase the variety of fish in your aquarium, one option is to breed a female swordtail with a male platy. Before you purchase a male pure Swordtail Guppy from a fish store, check with the shopkeeper to make sure it is in fact a purebred.

sword tail guppies

Sword Tail Guppies Fry

Immediately after they are born, new-borns start to look for food. Flake food that has been finely crushed is a good option to feed your fry. By rubbing the flakes between your fingers, you can turn them into a fine powder. Some fish enthusiasts only provide live foods.

While live foods are the ideal option, for most people this is not a viable choice. Try to feed the babies three small meals every day. Most of the time, you will feed your fish too much, and the uneaten food will sink to the bottom of the tank and decompose. This can cause problems with water quality, so be sure to remove any uneaten food after each feeding.

As they grow, you can start to feed them larger foods. Guppy fry grow quickly, so they will need to be fed more often than adult fish. After a few weeks, you can start to feed them twice a day.

Guppy fry are very delicate and need to be in pristine water conditions. Be sure to do regular water changes and keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrite levels. These levels should always be at 0 ppm. If they start to rise, do a water change immediately.

As your fry grow, you will need to start thinking about sexing them. This is because once they reach sexual maturity, the males will start to harass the females. To avoid this, you should either remove the males or set up a separate tank for them.

Sword Tail Guppies Diseases

Guppies are generally a hardy fish, but they are still susceptible to diseases. The most common diseases that affect guppies are:

White Spot Disease:

This is a parasitic infection that is caused by the Ichthyophthirius multifiliis parasite. Symptoms include white spots on the body, gills, and fins. The fish may also scratch themselves on objects in the tank and have clamped fins. To treat this disease, you will need to raise the temperature of the water to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use a medication that is specifically designed to treat ich, such as Ich-X.

Gill Flukes: 

This is a parasitic infection that is caused by the Dactylogyrus parasite. Symptoms include gasping for air at the surface of the water, clamped fins, and lethargy. The gills may also appear red and inflamed. To treat this disease, you will need to use a medication that is specifically designed to treat flukes, such as Fluke-Tabs.

Velvet Disease: 

This is a parasitic infection that is caused by the Oodinium parasite. Symptoms include a velvety or dusty appearance on the body, clamped fins, and lethargy. The fish may also scratch themselves on objects in the tank. To treat this disease, you will need to raise the temperature of the water to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use a medication that is specifically designed to treat velvet disease.

Fin Rot:

This is a bacterial infection that is caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. Symptoms include frayed or ragged fins, and redness or inflammation around the base of the fins. The fish may also scratch themselves on objects in the tank. To treat this disease, you will need to use an antibacterial medication, such as Kanaplex.


This is a bacterial infection that is caused by the Flexibacter columnaris bacteria. Symptoms include fraying fins, redness or inflammation around the base of the fins, and ulcers on the body. The fish may also scratch themselves on objects in the tank. To treat this disease, you will need to use an antibacterial medication, such as Columnaris-X.

While these are the most common diseases that affect guppies, there are many others that can affect them as well. Be sure to watch for any changes in your fish's behavior or appearance and consult a veterinarian if you are unsure of what is causing the problem.

Preventing Disease in Sword Tail Guppies 

The best way to prevent disease is to maintain clean and healthy water conditions. Be sure to do regular water changes and vacuum the gravel to remove any waste. You should also remove any dead or dying fish from the tank as soon as possible.

In addition, you should quarantine new fish before adding them to your main tank. This will allow you to watch for any signs of disease and treat them before they have a chance to spread.

You should also consider adding a UV sterilizer to your tank. This will help to kill any parasites that may be present in the water.

sword tail guppies


How Do I Set Up A Tank For Swordtail Guppies?

When setting up a tank for your swordtail guppies, it is important to provide them with plenty of hiding spots and places to swim. Aquatic plants can be used for this purpose. You should also use a fine gravel or sand substrate. Be sure to add a filter and aerate the water. The ideal temperature range for your tank is 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Are Swordtail Guppies Suitable For Beginner Aquarists? 

Yes, swordtail guppies are suitable for beginner aquarists. They are hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. They are also easy to care for and do not require special attention. However, it is still important to do your research before adding any new fish to your tank.

What Do Swordtail Guppies Eat?

Swordtail guppies are omnivores, so their diet should be plant and animal based. Providing them with a good quality flake food or pellet that contains all the essential nutrients is a great start. Other food options for your fish include live, frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia or tubifex worms. Vegetables such as blanched spinach, zucchini or cucumber can also be offered.

How Often Should I Feed My Swordtail Guppies?

You should feed your swordtail guppies several times a day in small amounts. This will help to prevent over-feeding and keep the water quality high. Ideal feeding times are morning and evening. 2-3 times a day is sufficient.

How Long Do Swordtail Guppies Live?

Your swordtail guppies will live for 2-3 years if you take proper care of them.

How Often Should I Change The Water In My Swordtail Guppy Tank?

You should do a partial water change of 20-25% every week. This will help to keep the water quality high and prevent the build-up of toxins. Vacuuming the gravel and removing any dead or dying fish from the tank are also important measures to take.

What Are Some Common Diseases That Affect Swordtail Guppies?

Some common diseases that can affect swordtail guppies include ich, velvet, fin rot and bacterial infections. Be sure to maintain clean and healthy water conditions to help prevent these diseases. You should also quarantine new fish before adding them to your tank.

Can Swordtail Guppies Breed With Other Fish?

Swordtail guppies can breed with other fish, but it is not recommended. This can lead to hybridization and genetic defects. If you want your swordtail guppies to breed, it is best to set up a separate breeding tank. This will ensure that the offspring are purebred and healthy.

Do Swordtail Guppies Get Along With Other Fish?

Swordtail guppies generally do well with other peaceful fish. They are not aggressive and will not harm other fish in the tank. However, they may compete for food, so it is best to provide them with their own space. They can also be bullied by larger, more aggressive fish. Some of the best tank mates for swordtail guppies include other peaceful fish such as mollies, platies, tetras and Corydoras catfish.

How Big Do Swordtail Guppies Get?

Swordtail guppies can grow up to 2-3 inches in length. However, they are usually only about 1-2 inches long.

What Colors Do Swordtail Guppies Come In?

Swordtail guppies come in a wide variety of colors, including black, blue, green, purple, red and yellow.

How Many Swordtail Guppies Should Be Kept Together? 

It is best to keep at least 5-6 swordtail guppies together. This will provide them with the social interaction they need and help to prevent aggression. If your intention is to mate them, then you will need to keep a ratio of 1 male to 2-3 females.

sword tail guppies

Final Thoughts

Sword tail guppies are a hardy fish that can be a great addition to your aquarium. They are relatively easy to care for, but there are some things you need to keep in mind. Be sure to maintain clean and healthy water conditions, as this will go a long way in preventing disease. You should also quarantine new fish.

Following these tips will help you to create a happy and healthy environment for your sword tail guppies. Their sword tail is one of their most defining features, and it is sure to add some flair to your aquarium!

Being an omnivore the diet of the swordtail guppy can be both plant and animal based. A good quality flake food or pellet that contains all the essential nutrients will suffice as a base diet. To this you can add live, frozen or freeze-dried foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia or tubifex worms.

Vegetables can also be offered. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day rather than one large feeding. This will help to prevent over-feeding and keep the water quality high.

With proper care and attention your swordtail guppies will live for 2-3 years. Since they are such hardy fish, they can be a great addition to both beginner and experienced aquariums. So if you're looking for a new fish to add to your tank, Sword tail guppies are a great option!

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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