As noted above, the distinctive feature of the swordtail is a fin in the form of a sword, which only males can boast. Their color is very different: they are red, orange, black and yellow. Sometimes the color of the calf of a fish may differ from the fins. But as a rule, mainly male can attract with its brightness and unusual beauty. The female on its background fades, although it is larger in size. Quite a frequent case is the transformation of the female swordtail in the male. She has a tail in the form of a sword and changes behavior: she begins to care for females, but it is barren. The reasons for this joke of nature are still not clear.
Types of Sword
There are a huge number of species of these fish, which vary in color and in the form of fins:
- Green Swordsman. This variety has an olive-brown color and thin red stripes along the body, and the sword has a colored border. In natural habitat there is only this species, the other species are obtained by crossing with other fish.
- Citric. It differs from the green swordtail only in color. Breeding of this species is a rather problematic process, since the offspring do not always retain parental signs.
- Bulgarian white. It is an albino, but the maintenance and breeding of the Sword of this species is a simpler occupation, unlike the lemon ones.
- Red. This species was obtained by crossing a green swordtail with a red petillia.
- The black. Hybrid green Swordsman and black plagia. It is a rather rare species, because of the excess pigment, these fish often get sick and die.
- Calico. It differs from other types of tricolor coloring. As a rule, he has black and red spots on his main white background.
- Rainbow. On the gray-green torso there is an orange tint, and reddish stripes run along the body.
- Brindle. This look is red with black specks, and his sword is always black.
- Mountain. It has a cream shade, and on its sides there are zigzag stripes of light tones.
Habitat in nature
Homeland of these fish - Central America. Natural habitats for them are water bodies of such countries as Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Unlike aquarium and breeding species, the original swordtail is much paler.
In nature, these fish can be found in various reservoirs - they are suitable for both fast rivers and still fresh waters. It is preferable for them to be in shallow and abundantly overgrown places with rich vegetation necessary for feeding the Sword. The main food of fish in these conditions are various algae, insects and detritus. In the wild, swordtails differ in size from aquariums. The length of the male, excluding the sword, is about ten centimeters, and the females - thirteen.
The most common types of swordtails in nature are:
Maintenance and care
Despite the fact that these fish are peaceful and unpretentious, breeding and keeping of swordtails in an aquarium with other relatives of a smaller size is undesirable. This is due to the fact that larger fish will terrorize small ones. In addition, you should not add to the aquarium to the swordtails of sedentary neighbors. As a rule, males of swordtails are rather cocky, so there is a chance that they will be able to damage the fins of other fish.
Sometimes problematic maintenance of the Sword in one aquarium. As a rule, males are not very friendly towards each other. In pursuit of leadership, two cocky males will fight all the time. The optimal composition of swordtails in the aquarium is as follows: three females and one male. But it is also possible that there are three or more males in the aquarium. Thus, the attention of the swordtail will not be directed to a specific opponent, in this regard, the degree of conflict can be significantly reduced.
Features of the content in the aquarium
It should be noted that the aquarium fish Swordsman is not too complicated in its maintenance and care. For children, an aquarium with these fish will be a good gift. But still there are certain nuances that are worth considering.
Due to the fact that fish love to group in the upper layers of water, the composition and color of the soil do not have a special meaning. It can be sand, gravel, coral chips. But it is worth considering that the growth and the general condition of the plants depend on the quality of the soil, but vegetation is crucial for the swordmen. They need plants for shelter, so you should choose several types at once. The following options are perfect:
- Vallisneria. It is quite a popular plant that does not require special care. There are three types: dwarf, giant and spiral. Their length can be up to two meters. This plant is recommended to plant in the corners of the aquarium.
- Elodea - it grows in rivers, swamps, ponds and lakes in North America. Recall that this is where you can meet the wild Sword. This plant is used for decorative purposes and does not require special care.
- Hornpaw is unpretentious and common plant, which also serves as a filter for the aquarium. It helps to enrich the water with oxygen, as well as remove nitrates from it. This plant does not need to be planted in the ground, as it does not have roots. It can float in the water column, but if desired, it is recommended to fix it with a stone or snag.
- Lemna - This plant is used for decoration of the aquarium, and for feeding fish. As a rule, it floats on the surface of the aquarium, which gives the fish a sense of security. Lemna is great for shelter during spawning, as well as used as food, which contains a large amount of nutrients.
And this is not the whole list of plants that are perfect for keeping swordtails. But it is worth considering the factor of compatibility of fish and plants in a particular habitat. For example, swordtails require water with a pH of 7-8 and a hardness of 8-25 ° dH.
It is also important to monitor the absence of changes in temperature, acidity and hardness of water, so as not to cause stress among the inhabitants of the aquarium. For the maintenance and breeding of the sword, it is necessary to maintain the pH value at a stable level. To keep the water clean, it is necessary to partially change it once a week. You can replace approximately one third of the total volume. In addition, aquarium filtration is required. For the swordsmen it is enough to acquire one internal filter. It is also worth thinking about aeration in the event that the aquarium is full of people. As mentioned earlier, the content of these fish is picky, so they feel good in both fresh and brackish water.
For the maintenance of swordtails at home, it is desirable to purchase a spacious elongated aquarium. Its length should be at least thirty centimeters, and each fish should have about three liters of water.
Proper illumination in the aquarium will help to create plants that tend to float on the surface of the water. Such green plantings will help create diffused light and will also provide shelter for fry during the breeding season. It is worth noting that it is common for swordtail males to periodically jump out of the water. Therefore, to avoid this kind of situations, the aquarium should be covered with glass. There are so many different accessories for the aquarium, which will please not only you, but also your underwater inhabitants. Located on the bottom of the original trinkets in the form of ships and antique amphorae will be an additional refuge for the fish.
Aquarium fish swordtails in the care and maintenance, though unpretentious, but nevertheless demanding on food. Sword bearers should be fed both live and frozen food, and one should not forget about dry flakes. Plant foods should be high in fiber. Considering that swordtails in the wild habitat prefer fragile algae, it is possible to purchase for them in specialized stores flakes with a plant component. In addition, experts recommend diversifying the menu with lean meat, dried bread, chicken egg yolk, as well as boiled squids and fish. The following categories of fodder will be suitable for feeding the swordsmen: vegetable, dry, live (tubule, daphnia, bloodworm, Artemia, Cyclops). Vegetable food can be made independently of lettuce, spinach, nettle or algae. But the most important thing is that the plants you have collected are young. Before chopping it is necessary to pour boiling water over them.
Young swordfish in the care and maintenance of more finicky. They should be fed not only with special dry food, but also offered to eat microworms, shredded tubers, live dust (the smallest microorganisms). Also, experts recommend adding egg yolk and spirulina to fry. Such additives will help accelerate the growth of fish and improve their color.
In the care and maintenance of the Sword, as we found out earlier, are not too whimsical. But what if in addition to these fish in the aquarium there are other species? Swordtails can feel quite comfortable with the following types of fish:
- Pecilia Is a close relative of the Sword. There are cases when these species interbreed with each other, while bringing beautiful offspring.
- Guppy They belong to the same family as the Sword. As a rule, these two species are similar to each other. According to experts, the percentage of mortality in an aquarium will decrease if only two of these species are left.
- Mollies Originally from the waters of Central America, as well as the swordtails. There is the possibility of crossing these species, which is considered quite successful selection.
- Gourami. It is an excellent neighbor for the Sword bearer, as they are close relatives. The fish of these species have similar temperaments and requirements for conditions of detention.
Who can be dangerous in a tank?
Swordtails do not get along with representatives of the carp family. These include koi carps, goldfish, barbs, danios. The fact is that the above fish are predators, so it will be easy for them to destroy the sword bearer.
Also, do not combine the Sword with snails and shrimp, unless you want to please them with a delicacy. These active fish cleverly know how to get snails from the shell. It is worth noting that the swordtails are aggressively disposed towards crustaceans and small fish. Therefore, adding them to the "swords", you thereby shorten their lifespan.
Many sources indicate that the scalar can become good neighbors for the Sword. But in fact this is a controversial issue. Undoubtedly, the angelfish have a calm disposition, but compatibility with them is quite controversial. This experiment should be carried out only in a spacious aquarium with a variety of different shelters.
With cichlids, as well as with scalars, swordtails have partial compatibility. But it is worth considering that these fish are much larger. Therefore, it is highly likely that they can eat the Sword. In addition, these species have a different diet.
It is worth noting that the swordtails in general are peace-loving. It is believed that young fish are quieter than those that are older. It is also believed that the cause of the aggression is the lack of light for them.
Many aquarists know that the swordtails fish are not too whimsical in their care and maintenance. But still these fish are just as susceptible to disease as any other creature.
In aquarium fish diseases are divided into:
- infectious caused by various microorganisms can be transmitted between individuals,
- Invasive - appear due to unicellular and multicellular parasites,
- non-infectious, which are caused by large parasites or the wrong conditions.
Therefore, when acquiring swordtails, the first thing is to inspect them for signs of disease. Experts advise as a preventive measure, before launching a novice into the general aquarium, to hold it for about twenty minutes in salted water. The solution is made at the rate of one tablespoon of salt per liter of water. This procedure will help rid the sword bearer of all kinds of external microbes and protect other fish.
But as a rule, this species of fish is not particularly susceptible to various diseases. The most common cause of disease becomes infected and poor-quality food. Therefore, in order to avoid contamination, purchase food for fish only from trusted vendors. If you notice a sick fish, you should immediately deposit it in a separate container so as not to infect the rest.
Propagation of the Sword
In order for your fish to be healthy and bring offspring, you need to know some secrets of caring for them. Novice aquarists should be aware of the breeding and maintenance of the Sword. Sexual maturity in these fish occurs in favorable conditions after about three months. First of all, it is important to observe the temperature regime, and to ensure the safety of fry, you should use a separate tank or a special separator that can be installed inside the aquarium.
If you want to keep as many offspring as possible, then advance the female to a separate place in advance. Otherwise, it is likely that the fry will eat their own relatives.
Experts advise for the breeding of the Swordsmen to create the following specific conditions:
- The optimum temperature for breeding is slightly higher than usual - from 28 to 30 degrees.
- Change water as often as possible.
The optimal breeding medium is pure warm water with a high oxygen content. Adding different plants will only benefit. You can also affect the future floor of the fish with the help of water temperature. If the temperature of the water in the aquarium exceeds 30 degrees, there will be more males, and if it is about 25 degrees, more females will be born.
For the selection of beautiful fish is to choose the right parents. Experts advise to select Swordsmen for breeding on the following grounds: it is better to take a male eight months old, and the female should be at least ten months old. It is better to choose small fish with a rounded belly.
Behavior in the aquarium
The nature of the swordsmen is peaceful, they, as a rule, do not show aggression towards representatives of similar species. It can be kept in the same container with neons, tetras, minors, ternetias, danios, guppies, mollies, different types of catfish, scalars, etc. It is undesirable to settle with veil fish, as the tails and fins of the latter risk being plucked.
Within the species, skirmishes and fights can occur between males, especially if there are only two of them in the aquarium. Therefore, experienced aquarists recommend settling at least three male swordsmen at a time.
How to equip a habitat?
When choosing an aquarium, it is better to dwell on a wide version, with a volume of at least 30 liters. The calculation should be such that three liters of water are needed per fish. The length of the tank is recommended not less than 30 cm. A lid or glass is obligatory from above, as the swordtails are very bright and can jump out of the blue.
With regard to water quality, it is better to adhere to the temperature in the range of 18-26 degrees, hardness 8-22 DH, acidity 7-8 pH.
The purity of the water is very important, so it will be useful to install a filter. Regularly (about once a week), you need to replace the water with a third of the volume of the aquarium, before it stood for about a day.
For the prevention of diseases of the swordmen, experts recommend for every 10 liters of water to add a tablespoon of sea salt or table salt. But this is not always possible, as it can negatively affect other inhabitants of the aquarium and plants.
Lighting should be good, but not in direct sunlight.
Swordsman color "Koi".
Soil can take any color and texture.
As for the algae, for the background it is better to arrange dense thickets of cabomba, dentate elodeans and the like. At the side of the aquarium they plant small-leaved and long Indian limnofilu, glitter, and peristristum. On the surface of the water is good to place Riccia. The foreground should be free space for swimming and feeding.
You can decorate the aquarium with stones, grottoes, snags. But this is not necessary, since the swordsmen do not need shelters.
What to feed?
Unpretentiousness in food - another one of the advantages of these fish. But in order for their growth and development to be the best, nutrition should be diversified and alternated. What can be used?
- Dry, live and frozen food (bloodworm, artemia, daphnia, etc.).
- Vegetable food, cooked independently (algae, spinach, nettle, lettuce leaves are scalded with boiling water, and then crushed).
- Non-standard dressing: boiled egg yolk, crackers, squid or boiled fish. Разумеется, все предварительно нужно измельчить.
Остатки корма нужно убирать, чтобы вода в аквариуме дольше оставалась чистой.
Меченосец с вильчатым хвостом.
Эти рыбки болеют не часто. Основные причины заболеваний меченосцев – это несоблюдение условий содержания, простуды и инфекции, попавшие с кормом.
They can suffer fungal diseases that are easily eliminated after quarantine in salted water. It cleans the integuments of harmful bacteria and parasites.
A salt bath (at the rate of one tablespoon of salt per liter of water) with a duration of 15-20 minutes will help treat the pet and prevent general infection in the aquarium. You can fix the effect of the bath by placing the fish for two days in a weak solution of methylene blue (temperature is about 25 degrees).
For the treatment of diseases of the gills, scales, as well as for infectious individuals, trypaflavin and biomycin are used in solutions.
Female with upper tail.
If an aquarium is overpopulated with swordtail females, then they can change their gender to male. At the same time, the xiphoid process grows in them and gonopodia appear on the anal fin. Males do not possess the gift of reincarnation.
Now, having studied the characteristics of keeping and caring for the swordtails, even beginner lovers of these fish will be able to create ideal conditions for their pets.
Differences males and females
Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish small females and male swordtails from each other, but it is possible with certain knowledge. Naturally, at first it is important to pay attention to the fin on the tail, which is long in the males and resembles a sword. Females do not have this difference.
In addition, you should inspect the fin near the anus, which is located at the bottom of the abdomen. In males, it has an unusual shape - stretched out and resembles a tube. Thanks to him, he fertilizes the eggs in the abdomen of the female. The same fin in females is rounded in shape.
By coloring, males and females do not differ among themselves. And because of the many crosses, hybrids of any color are bred.
The fishtail aquarium fish is unusual in that females are able to transform into males. The floor of the fish is formed in several stages.
Among the 4 month old fish, small males first form, and after a while, some of the females also become males. Some of these females first spawned at first. But if you keep the Sword in favorable conditions, then they will not change the floor.
Species of fish
- Green Swordsman - distinguished by its olive color with a greenish tint. Horizontally, the body has a bright red stripe and several lighter ones. The body is oblate from the sides, and the sword on the tail of the males is beautifully bordered. Females are slightly larger, their shades are lighter.
- Lemon –Albine a variation of the previous species. Its difference lies only in the yellowish shade of the body. They survive poorly during reproduction.
- White Bulgarian swordtails - Also albino variety, but they are more viable than lemon.
- Black - a hybrid from the crossing of green swordtails and black pelicia. Their body is somewhat wider compared with the usual species. Color - black with a greenish or bluish tinge. Fish often suffer from diseases associated with an excess of pigments in the body. This complicates their reproduction.
- Red - were obtained as a result of the crossing of green swordtails and red pellits. The view features a bright red hull.
- Calico Swordsman - They were called so due to the tricolor color - the main white color of the body is complemented by several large black and reddish spots.
- Rainbow colored - similar in color to Australian rainbow fish. Their body is a gray-green color with an orange glow. Along the red-brown stripes. The fins of the fish are bright orange.
- Tiger swordtail - they get their name because of the pronounced black spots on a red background. On the tail of the males is a long sword.
- Mountain - their body is creamy yellow in color, and on the sides are small specks and barely noticeable zigzags.
- The Swordsmen of Cortez (Xiphophorus cortez) - the birthplace of this species in nature - the country of Mexico. The size of individuals is from 5 to 5.5 cm; females are also larger than males. On the body from the tail to the eye is a brown strip in the shape of a zigzag. The scales of the fish are gray-yellow, and there are specks on the fin of the back. The sword on the tail of males grows up to 2 cm in length and is distinguished by a yellow color.
- Micromachine swordtail (Xiphophorus xiphidium) - this species also lives in natural conditions in the climatic zone of Mexico. The female swordtail reaches 5 cm, and the male does not grow more than 4 cm. This type of beige or olive shade with or without vertical stripes. There are dark spots on the tail. The sword on the tail of males is transparent and short only 5 mm.
- Clementia Swordtails (Xiphophorus clemenciae) - individuals reach 4.5–5 cm in length, but the female is much larger than the male. The body is a silver-blue color with reddish horizontal stripes. The sword on the tail of the male is large - up to 3.5 cm in length.
- The sword-bearer of Montezuma (Xiphophorus montezumae) - the body length of the female of this species reaches 7 cm, and the male - a maximum of 5 cm. The body is painted in a lilac shade, which turns brown in the back. Also on the body are several zigzag stripes that are fainter than the main color. The male is distinguished by a yellow dorsal fin with a dark speck.
- KoiKohaku swordtailIn other words, Santa Claus - this species is distinguished by three large spots of bright red color on the white body of the fish. The length of Santa Clauses can reach 10 cm.
- Forked swordtail (fork) - got its name due to the unusually forked tail shape.
- Cuban swordtail - a type of bright red color with black fins.
- Berlinsky swordtail - a large individual, growing to 10 -12 cm in length, excluding tail in males. The lower fin resembles a peak, and the lower part of the abdomen is darkened.
- Pineapple Sword (Xiphophorus hellerii var.) - has bright orange fins and the same color of the lower half of the body.
- Flag swordtail - so called because of its dorsal fin, it is large and resembles a sail in appearance. Subspecies considered swordtail ruby flag saturated red. Also a subspecies of the flag species is the red-tailed red.
- Lyretail Sword (Hiphophorus helleri) - is a selection form of green swordtails with an unusual tail fin.
How to feed the swordtails
It is acceptable to feed these fish with flakes, fresh live or frozen food, as well as other suitable feeds for aquarium fish. They need a varied diet with the inclusion of plant foods with a high concentration of fiber. The fact is that in natural conditions, almost the entire diet consists of algae and their fouling.
In the aquarium it is impossible to plant a huge number of plants, so you can always buy a special bait based on plant components. These flakes are recommended to make the basis of the diet, and live food should be given only as a supplement in a small amount. You can choose any live food, as the fish are completely unpretentious in food.
How is breeding
Swordtails are viviparous fishes, the fry appears already fully formed. Caviar is fertilized inside the body of the female and harvested to full maturity. This time is about 30 days.
It is very easy to breed fish in your home aquarium. Males are constantly active. The main thing in time to set aside the female to protect the fry and they became food.
When the female sword bearer becomes very stout and a dark spot appears on her belly, it means that the time of birth is approaching. It can be left in the general aquarium, but too few fry will survive, as other fish will quickly eat them.
If you wish to breed a large number of fry, it is necessary to deposit the female before giving birth and equip this place with a large number of dense plants. She gives birth most easily in the thickets, and after giving birth, chases the fry, so they will be calmer in the shelter.
So, after getting acquainted with the characteristics of care, maintenance and breeding of the Sword, even novice aquarists will be able to create suitable conditions for the life of the fish.