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Swordtail aquarium fish: maintenance and care

The sword-bearer (Latin Xiphophorus hellerii) is one of the most popular and unpretentious fish in the aquarium.

The first swordtails appeared in aquariums back in 1864, and since then have not lost their popularity. The long outgrowth on the lower fin in males, like a sword, gave it a name.

But not only for this they love the Swordsman – he is unpretentious, handsome, very diverse in color and easily reproduces.

Swordtails in general are quite peaceful fish, well suited for general aquariums. But, they have very different characters, and he can be both a quiet and timid, and a cocky bully.

Especially males can be aggressive towards each other.

Swordtails are best kept in aquariums with lots of plants and free swimming. Floating plants will create diffused light and provide shelter for fry.

Like many live beetles, swordtails can live in brackish water, but this is not necessary.

In the natural environment live only green swordtails.
In nature, the swordtail resides in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, and Central America. These fish live in rivers with a strong flow, and in swamps.

But in aquariums they interbreed from the same species with poultry, and as a result fish appear that have a varied color: red, lemon, black and even spotted.

Aquarium swordtails have a body of 5-8 cm, extended in length and compressed from the sides. Their mouths are slightly twisted to make it easier to take food from the surface of the water.

The females are larger with noticeable belly and rounded fins, dimmer in color and do not have a sword on the tail fin. With good care, these fish can please owners up to five years, which is considered the average life expectancy.

Originally, the swordtails had only a brownish-olive color with a silver sheen, a pale reddish band along the body and a yellow, red or green sword. But today many varieties of black, lemon, and red have been bred, there are even spotted individuals.

Experienced breeders with fins, as a result of which appeared fish with elongated fins and even with two swords.

Swordtails are viviparous. Fry are born ready for a full independent life. You can multiply the population in certain conditions.

The content strongly influences the quality and quantity of babies born. To get good offspring, the diet of adults should contain not only vegetable, but also animal feed.

You should not include a lot of algae in it, as they are often a source of nitrates and ammonia. Protein food helps to get healthy fry.

When breeding swordsmen at home, you need to follow some rules. Water should be changed regularly: once a week, not less than ¼. Her temperature during this period must be made several degrees warmer.

For the female to produce more offspring, the water must be of high quality. The high content of oxygen pushes the fish to mating. Without internal filtering is necessary.

The walls of the aquarium should be quite high, on top – a lid, otherwise during active games, the Swordtails can jump out.

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The number of females and males in the offspring depends on the water temperature. So, at 24 degrees more girls will be born, and at 25 degrees – boys.

Favorable conditions for offspring:

  1. Setting the temperature depending on the desired result.
  2. Acidity should not exceed 7–8 pH.
  3. Let the level of water hardness 10−12.
  4. The content of nitrates and ammonia should be normal.

The frequency of the appearance of new offspring is directly related to the conditions of the maintenance of the Sword. Experts recommend keeping 3 females and 1 males in one aquarium.

Female individuals can bring in fry without the participation of boys, so even after her transplant into a separate container, she can become pregnant. This phenomenon is due to the fact that the fish retains a part of the milt and arbitrarily fertilizes at any time.

To other inhabitants of the aquarium did not devour the fry, it is recommended to replant the female before giving birth. It can be placed in a special otsadnik, which is located inside the total capacity.

When breeding the Sword, it should be borne in mind that their color will turn out much brighter than that of offspring in the wild.

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?

  1. Dry, live and frozen food (bloodworm, artemia, daphnia, etc.).
  2. Vegetable food, cooked independently (algae, spinach, nettle, lettuce leaves are scalded with boiling water, and then ground).
  3. Non-standard top dressing: boiled egg yolk, crackers, squid or boiled fish. Of course, all you need to grind.

Swordtails are not only omnivorous, but also prone to overeating, so they will not be harmed by fasting days or even a week-long hunger strike.

Leftovers should be cleaned so that the water in the aquarium stays clean longer.

Old males can attack other fish, but here it depends on the particular individual. Some live quite peacefully themselves, and some become violent. Aggression is promoted by close aquariums without plants.

What you don’t need to do exactly is to keep two or more males in the same aquarium. This leads to guaranteed fights.

Who do they get along with? With viviparous: guppies, specials, mollies. Well get along with a variety of bloomers: angelfish, gourami, neon, iris.

But with gold it is better not to contain them. For gold, colder water is needed, and swords are restless neighbors.

It is extremely easy to distinguish a male from a female from a swordtail. Only the male on the tail fin has a sword, a long outgrowth for which the fish got its name.

Also, all viviparous, anal fin of the male is pointed and narrow (gonopodia), and females wide.

Quite often it happens that the female swordtail suddenly grows his sword and becomes a male! However, she behaves like a male, cares for other females, but is barren.

The reasons for this phenomenon are unclear.

Female with upper tail

When obtaining the descendants of swordtails, it is necessary to preserve or improve the species qualities of the fish. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the pair that will give the perfect offspring.

The first condition is the absence of defects in the development and health of future manufacturers.

To stimulate the mating games of the Swordsmen, their habitat requirements must be met. This is important for breeding pedigree fish at home.

There is no need to strive to recreate the optimal natural conditions in the aquarium, because people have long ago cultivated this species, which led to a change in the requirements for living conditions.

Swordtails belong to the viviparous fish. Live fry are born, ready for a full life. Even a regular three-liter jar will be suitable for offspring, but an aquarium of at least 20 liters is required for growing and keeping fry.

Beginner aquarists should know how much swordtails live at home. Their life cycle lasts from 3 to 6 years while creating high-quality living conditions. Sexual maturity occurs in 3-5 months depending on the conditions created by the owner.

First of all, it is necessary to adhere to the temperature regime. To ensure the survival of the fry, it is better to use a separate aquarium-maternity or a special separator, which is installed inside the main aquarium.

If you arrange breeding in the general aquarium, then the other inhabitants can eat the babies.

Typically, the maturity of females is fully comes to 8 months, but there are exceptions. By this time you need to create all the necessary conditions for spawning and start breeding. The process of fertilization in swordsmen lasts differently.

It depends on how many times the female has already mated. If this is her first time, the maximum period is 2 days.

Pregnancy lasts 4 to 6 weeks.

What determines the exact term of carrying:

  1. The quality of the diet and the frequency of feeding.
  2. Temperature indicators of water in the aquarium.
  3. Lighting.

The process of fertilization of the eggs of the male milk occurs inside the female. To determine that the fish is pregnant is extremely difficult.

This is only possible for an experienced specialist. Moreover, the probability of confusing the female, bearing the fry, with a large fish is great.

Signs of a pregnant individual of the swordtail and its appearance:

  1. By the end of the gestation period, the belly of the individual becomes apparent and large.
  2. On the stomach, you can see the outlines. It is square in shape.
  3. A dark spot is observed in the anal fin region.

Fish will begin to multiply in a prepared aquarium when the temperature rises to 28-30 ° C and frequent water changes. It is also important to provide intensive aeration.

Pure warm water with a rich oxygen content – optimal conditions for reproduction. The temperature does not rise immediately, but within a week. pH set at 7.0-8.0, water hardness allowed 10-12 PH. Water temperature determines the prevailing sex of fry.

At 25 ° C there will be more females, at elevated temperatures – males.

For the selection of beautiful fish is important to choose the right manufacturers. Males are better to select eight-month, and females are allowed to choose ten-month.

The size of the female should be large, the belly should be round (sign of readiness for reproduction).

The color of the sex of the swordtail cannot be determined by color. And these fish are able to change the floor.

The process of fertilization is intrauterine. Babies appear after 4-6 weeks. Depending on the age of the species and conditions in the aquarium, the number of young can vary from 50 to 200.

In a pregnant female, the back of the abdomen swells and becomes almost square, a dark spot appears (this is fry). Spawning of swordsmen and childbirth stimulates live food, fresh water and sunlight.

If there is no separate aquarium, then for spawning you can take the usual three-liter jar. Plant vegetation in the bottom in which the fry will hide from the mother (she can eat the young). If the swordtails do not want to multiply, the reason may be a lack of vegetation.

Use distilled water. Be sure to provide good aeration.

After giving birth, the mother must be removed from the minnow, first in another vessel, to make sure that all the fry were born.

Understand that the birth begins, you can by throwing individuals on the aquarium. Her stomach becomes square.

Sword-bearers most often give birth in the morning. The number of fry born at a time can reach up to 200 pieces.

Fish that have appeared should be left in the tank with the mother.

The breeding of swordtails in the aquarium can occur all the time. To do this, the temperature indicators of water should not fall below 26 degrees. If the owner cannot precipitate a pregnant female into a separate container or compartment, thick bushes in the aquarium will be required.

They are needed so that the woman in labor could hide there at the most crucial moment. Male fry born in an aquarium should not remain in it forever.

As soon as they reach puberty, they need to be transplanted.

fry of swordtails

As swordtails breed clearly, but it is important to properly feed the fry. The period from the first seconds of life to the week of age is most important in feeding the young. On these days, it is necessary to leave the light at night and give the young plenty of food with full chemical composition, otherwise weak individuals can grow out of the fry.

A microworm (easy to spread on ground carrots), chopped oligochaetes, rotifers, cyclops will be suitable as the first feed. Live feed can be replaced by industrial mixtures.

Such concentrates combine in themselves all the vitamins and nutrients, so necessary for young animals. Also, when breeding a swordfish s fish aquarium fish, they use for feeding chicken yolk, usual yogurt, special omelette.

You can feed the fish with non-sharp cheese. The product is rubbed on a fine grater and sent in small portions to an aquarium with fry.

Too much feed can lead to water deterioration.

Powdered milk acts as a highly nutritious protein feed. You can cook yourself. The plate with milk is placed in a water bath and evaporated to a dry residue.

The powder is poorly soluble in water and fish is available.

Chicken yolk as a pre-ground feed, add a little water taken from the scab, and poured to the fry.

The yolk is an excellent food for bacteria and the water is quickly polluted from it, so this kind of food can be used only with force majeure. Young animals will not be able to live long in rotten water, and changing water in large quantities is a stress for fish.

For bait fry, you can use yogurt. A little sour milk is poured with boiling water to fold the casein.

Washed protein lumps are placed in a net and placed in an aquarium, gently shaking. The advantage of this feed is that it does not spoil the water.

Store food must be in the refrigerator, but not more than 3-4 days.

These fish do not get sick often. The main causes of diseases of the Sword are non-compliance with conditions of detention, colds and infections, trapped with food.

They can suffer fungal diseases that are easily eliminated after quarantine in salted water. It cleans the integuments of harmful bacteria and parasites.

After buying new pets, you need to carefully check them for plaque, cannon, rashes or sores. If any of the above is available, then the fish is sick.

A salt bath (at the rate of one tablespoon of salt per liter of water) with a duration of 15-20 minutes will help to 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.

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