Best Food for Swordtail Fish

Did you just buy some swordtails? Now you’re wondering what the best food for swordtail fish should feed them, right? Here’s the short answer: they like eating insects, invertebrates, and plant matter.

This post will tell you everything you need to know about what foods are best for your swordtails. You’ll also get to find out how often you should feed them and how much.

Let’s get started.

What Is the Best Food for Swordtail Fish?

Swordtails (Xiphophoruos hellerii) are an omnivorous freshwater fish species. They enjoy feeding on an assortment of plant matter and algae, along with insects and various invertebrates.

In the wild, these tropical fish forage to find food. Yet, it isn’t always readily available.

Tank fish have inherited this keen sense to gather as much food as possible. It’s one reason why they rush to the surface every time you come near the tank.

However, this can give you the impression that they’re always hungry. They could also just be happy to see you.

Aquarium fish don’t need to exert as much effort to find food. It’s served to them several times a day anyway, so they don’t need to bother themselves.

Not only should you feed them moderate amounts, but you should offer a well-balanced, nutritious diet as well. That can be easily accomplished with the help of the following foods.

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Fish Flakes

A significant portion of your swordtail’s diet should consist of fish flakes. They’re nutritious, easy to digest, and swordtails love them!

The best thing about tropical flakes is that they’re pretty much ideal for almost all types of fish. Plus, they’re rich in salmon, krill, spirulina, and kelp.

When choosing flake food for your fish, find brands free of any preservatives and artificial coloring.

Some come in chunky bulk form. It may be ideal for adult swordtails. Although, you may need to break them into smaller pieces for the babies.


The list of vegetables you can offer your swordtails is a pretty long one. Yet, no matter which you choose, make sure you blanch them first.

Then, leave them to cool down a bit before serving them. This technique stops enzymes from changing in any way. As a result, the vegetables retain their color, texture, and flavor.

Take a look at the top veggie picks that swordtails can’t get enough of:

  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber medallions
  • Shelled peas
  • Zucchini medallions

Live Food

Another type of food that supplements both the flakes and veggies is live food. These foods are great at providing the vitamins and nutrients your fish need.

As is the case with all freshwater fish, swordtails prefer feeding on live bait every once in a while. You can find several of these online, or you can look for them in your backyard.

Simply turn over a couple of rocks or a pile of dead leaves, and you’ll find plenty of juicy live food for your swordtails.

Frozen foods work too. Many aquarists either buy them online or place them in ice trays with a couple of drops of water.

Then, when it’s chow time, take out a cube and leave it for a few minutes to thaw. After that, you can easily pour the liquid into the tank.

Make sure you cover as much of the surface as you can. This way, none of the fish feel left out.

Some people prefer to put the frozen cube into the tank directly. Yet, the problem with this is that one cube may consist of excessively larger portions of food than what your fish need.

This may lead to uneaten food being left in the tank and can contaminate the tank water.

If you still want to go through with it, make sure you cut the frozen cube into smaller chunks. Then, spread them out into the aquarium.

Your tank fish will enjoy the challenge of having to gnaw out their food. At the same time, you’ll reduce the risk of any uneaten food left floating around, polluting the tank.

Check out these great live foods for swordtails:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Mysis
  • Black worms
  • Mosquito larvae (may be illegal to breed or sell in some areas, so check your local wildlife regulations first)

Swordtail Fish Feeding Tips

Now that you know what your swordtails like to eat, it’s time to look at how much and how often you should feed them.

It’s a known fact that pet fish are generally overfed. Unfortunately, aquarists rarely keep track of when they last fed their fish.

Sadly, this can affect your fish’s overall well-being. As a result, it can make them prone to a weakened immune system, leading to fish getting sick or even dying.

How Often Should You Feed Swordtail Fish?

Experts recommend you feed your fish twice a day. This is usually the best feeding amount for adult swordtails.

For swordtail fry, it’s better to feed them up to five or six times a day to grow and develop.

How Much Should You Feed Swordtail Fish?

Both swordtail adults and fry do best when given a small amount of food in each feeding. It comes to about a quarter-cup of fish food or flakes per fish per feeding.

Yet, how can you tell whether you’ve given your fish too much or not enough?

Here’s one way: if your fish can finish their food in less than a minute without hogging their tank mates’ rations, then you’ve given them the right amount. At the same time, there should be minimal amounts of leftovers.

A Final Note

Knowing the best foods for swordtails is a great way to provide your fish with the nutrients they require. It means you’re taking care of their needs and looking out for their well-being.

In addition to knowing what they should need, you should track how often you feed and how much food you offer your fish in each feeding. Bit by bit, you’ll come to know what foods your fish like and which they don’t particularly care for.

It’s a great way to bond with your fish. Plus, you can watch over them as they grow and develop while reducing their chances of diseases or illnesses.