The natural forms of popular fish are often very different from aquarium ones in their color. In the natural environment, color, first of all, helps to hide from enemies, and very bright outfits are not in honor here. Aquarium fish, on the contrary, should be bright, because this way they attract more attention. This has led to the fact that breeders have received a huge number of color variations of different fish. For example, to meet the “thoroughbred” platypus is almost impossible, for sale you will find only their various hybrids platies. However, some aquarists prefer the more natural colors of the fish. In our article, we will tell you about the green swordsman, the color of which is closest to its natural form.
Table of contents
The Green Swordsman, or Geller (Xiphophorus hellerii), is a freshwater ray-eater fish from the Pecilia family. Lives in Central America. The name indicates the color feature of the fish – the body is greenish. This is the color that fish have in natural reservoirs. However, this form did not take root in the aquarium hobby; numerous hybrids of Green Swordtails and Platyias, which have elegant colors: red, yellow, etc., have gained great popularity. They are also called swordtails.
In the early days, Green Swordtails were imported from natural reservoirs, now they are grown on special farms in Asia.
The body shape is typical for most swordsmen. It is elongated, up to 10 cm in size. Large eyes and an upper mouth are located on the head. The fins are small and translucent. The lower elongated outgrowth of the caudal fin is transformed into a “sword”.
The main body color is greenish, the back is darker than the abdomen. A purple stripe stretches along the sides of the body – from the gills to the tail.
Life expectancy at home is about 5 years.
Green Swordtails are found on the Atlantic coast of Central America (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras). Fish are very adaptable, so they can be found in a wide variety of biotopes: fast mountain rivers, slow-flowing streams with dense thickets of plants, river mouths where fresh and salt water mixes.
Care and maintenance
The content of the Green Swordtail is not much different from the content of any other form of these fish. It is best to plant a group consisting of one male and 2-3 females, this will help reduce competition among males. The minimum recommended aquarium volume is 60 liters. It should be equipped with a lid to prevent the fish from accidentally jumping out onto the floor.
It is better to use sand or small pebbles as soil. Fish do not tend to dig in the ground. Shelters made of natural materials – stones and driftwood – are obligatory. Be sure to create islands of dense greenery, this will make the fish feel more comfortable. But don’t forget the open swimming area.
From the equipment, you will need a filter, a compressor, and a thermostat. Do not forget to replace 20% of the water in the aquarium with fresh water once a week. Tap water can be hazardous to your pets due to its chlorine and heavy metal content. To keep your fish safe from these unpleasant compounds, use Tetra AquaSafe Conditioner. It instantly removes hazardous substances and enriches the water with B vitamins (to reduce stress) and natural colloids (to protect the mucous membranes of fish).
You should be careful that your water is properly filtrated. If the filtration system right, the water parameters will stay balanced. Always keep track of water parameters so you can take the right steps and prevent possible complications. Your fish will then happily thrive and live healthy and long.
Optimum water parameters for the content: T = 20-28 ° C, pH = 7.0-8.0, GH = 9-19.
Green swordtails do not get along with aggressive fish ( Astronotus, Acars, Cichlazomas ). Veil fins and tails of some fish ( golden, cockerels ) can suffer from swordtails . However, they are very social and enjoy good company, especially when housed with other swordtails or similar passive species.
Feeding the green swordsman
High-quality dry food is perfect for feeding the green swordtails at home. It is better to refuse live and frozen ones, so as not to accidentally introduce an infection into the aquarium.
Herbal supplements should be included in the diet of green swordtails, so it is best to look for foods with a high green content: TetraPRO Algae Multi-Crisps or Tetra Phyll. The basic food for all types of ornamental fish, TetraMin, is also perfect. You can choose flakes or slow-sinking granules, bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, or fruit flies.
You can diversify the menu of green swordsmen with the help of delicious Tetra FreshDelica delicacies. Bloodworms or brine shrimp in nutritious jelly will appeal to sword-bearers. Feed the fish once or twice a day with such a portion of food that will be completely eaten in a few minutes.
Reproduction and breeding
Green Swordtails breed easily at home thanks to living birth. This means that the development of eggs does not take place in water, as in most fish, but in the body of the female. Therefore, a fully formed fry is born.
Distinguishing the male of the Green Swordsman from the female is as easy as shelling pears. Just look at the fish’s anal fin. In males, it has turned into a tubular organ – the gonopodium, which serves to transfer reproductive products to the female. In addition, females have a more rounded abdomen and lack the xiphoid process.
An interesting fact: in inappropriate conditions and when kept without males, one of the female green swordtails is able to “turn” into a male.
You can breed Green Swordtails in communal and spawning aquariums. In the first case, it is necessary to provide more floating plants so that the fry can hide. In the second, after the “birth”, the female should be distracted so that she does not eat her offspring. You can do this either by adding more plants that will be hiding spots for young fry or by manually transiting adults (or fry for that matter) from the tank.
At a time, a female Green Swordsman can bring up to 100 fry. TetraMin Baby special food for fry is perfect for feeding them. Remember to feed your little green swordtails up to six times a day.