By Eric Bodrock
I picked up a bag of six of these odd "wild-type" swordtails at one of the local fish club auctions; they were young and unsexed at only a half of an inch in size. After a couple of months passed, I ended noticing that I had five males and only one female, this commonly happens when you are working with a bag of six fish. I learned a long time ago, when acquiring young fish, it is best to get a group of eight to ten individuals to have a good chance of getting a good sex ratio for a breeding group. Unfortunately, in this case, only one bag was available so I took the chance by getting it.
I selected the nicest of the males, along with the single female and set them up in a fifty-gallon plastic drum, which had the top cut off and was filled about two-thirds of the way. A large sponge filter did the filtering job; no gravel helped keep the maintenance easy. I added a good-sized hunk of "Cats Paw" coral as a pH buffer and it provided some cover for the fish. Several bunches of artificial plants were placed in with them to provide additional cover for the adults and fry.
Diet consisted of live baby brine shrimp and assorted flakes. Feedings were done at least twice a day. Several times a week, frozen bloodworms or live black worms were supplemented into their diet. Water changes were not done on any regular basis, but the pH held around 7.4 and I doubt that pollutants were high or bad since there was only two fish in such a large volume of water.
After a couple of months passed, I noticed a small group of approximately ten fry swimming about in the drum. About six weeks after that, I noticed another group of young numbering near the same as the first batch. At this time, microworms were added to the diet being offered. At ten weeks, the largest of the fry were at an inch in total length, which is a little less than half the size of the adults. - June 2005 -