Spawning Swordtail Fish? Here’s What to Know - fish-hobbyist

Spawning Swordtail Fish? Here’s What to Know

Description: spawning swordtail fish is easy but requiring preparation. This guide will help you get the best result.

Swordtail fish is not just popular, but also quick to breed. While spawning swordtail fish is easy, it can backfire if you end up with numerous fry that you cannot handle. Learn how to spawn your swordtail properly for the successful breeding program.

Risks in Spawning Swordtail Fish

Tank owners often joke about "not having to breed swordtail fish," since they breed easily and produce large numbers of fry. However, if you have a fish business, considering the risks of breeding is important to manage your fish quota. Here are several concerns in spawning this fish:


Male fish that compete for females often display aggressive behaviors, which lead to fighting. Male fish can also display aggressive mating behaviors toward the females, such as nipping.

Fish fry overload

It is common to get pregnant female swordtail fish when you purchase fish in bulk. This can cause unprepared fish owners or breeders to be overwhelmed. A tank that is overloaded with fish and fry will have lower water quality due to the waste.


Another common problem of fry overload is cannibalism. When you put male and female fish along with too many fry, adult fish may try to eat them. This can affect your ideal fish quota and cause loss.

Early Births

Swordtail may breed easily, but stressed-out females can go into early spawning. This will result in dead or defected fry. 

Once you know the risks, it is time to apply the successful key of breeding the swordtails.

Best Way to Spawn Swordtails

Here are several recommended steps to breed swordtails:

1. Apply the best male-female fish ratio

Ideally, the ratio of male and female fish in a tank is 1:3 or 1:4 (one male per three or four females). This ratio will reduce stress in the females, caused by aggressive male behavior during mating seasons. Prepare multiple breeding tanks if necessary. 

2. Choose breeder tank instead of net

Signs of pregnant swordtail include slightly bulging stomach and dark spots on the belly, which grow bigger. When the female fish look "heavy," lethargic, and eat very little, it is time to move it to a different breeding tank. Breeding net is another popular option, but it causes more stress to the fish.

3. Put enough underwater plants in the tank

If you want the fry to grow alongside their parents, provide enough plants in the tank for their hiding place. For example, you can put breeder grass on the top of the tank, or Java moss at the bottom.

Spawning swordtail fish requires good planning, but once you prepare everything, all you need to do is sit and wait for the new fry to be born.


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