Do Swordtail Eat Plants?

Swordtails do eat plants, but only dying ones or plants with algae on them. They don’t normally eat live plants; the most they’ll do is peck at them. 

However, you never know with omnivorous fish. One day, they’re shying away from the plant in the tank. The other day, they’ll be pecking at it like their lives depend on it.

If you have an Anarchis in your fish tank, you may find your swordtails snacking on it. They won’t entirely eat it, though. Instead, they’ll keep pecking without doing significant damage.

Here’s everything you need to know about the matter.

Do Swordtail Eat Plants?

Swordtails are omnivorous species, so it’s not surprising that they eat plants. However, they don’t gobble down plants like they do with their food. Instead, they only peck on the leaves, not doing harm most of the time.

They also only eat some kinds of plants, including algae, anacharis, and java moss.

On top of that, they only eat plants when they don’t have sufficient food. If you’re feeding them enough for their diet, they won’t need to nibble on the plants in your tank. Many swordtail owners mention that they’ve never had a plant problem.

Group of Swordtails

What Plants Do Swordtails Eat?

Like all omnivorous species, swordtails will eat any plant they find on their way. Once they taste, they’ll decide whether they want to continue eating. More often than not, they won’t like the taste, so they won’t proceed.

Generally, swordtails prefer algae and leafy plants. These include anacharis, water sprite, java moss, and ambulia. However, they may also eat plants with tiny leaves like duckweed.

How to Protect Your Aqua Plants From Your Swordtail

Swordtails don’t normally eat plants except if their food is insufficient. So, the first step you should do to protect your aqua plants is to feed the fish right. Here are all the steps you need to take.

Feed the Fish Sufficiently

Adult swordtail should be fed twice a day. If they’re fed less than that, they may start looking for alternative feeding sources, which are often live plants in the aquarium.

You should make sure your swordtails are eating sufficiently and fulfilling their dietary needs. Their diet should include vegetables, invertebrates, algae, and insects.

If you don’t want to feed them commercial food, you should opt for veggies instead. Try to feed them shelled peas, cucumber medallions, and zucchini.

All you have to do is boil the vegetables in water beforehand to get them to soften. Then, throw them into the aquarium and watch the swordtail eat them in a matter of seconds.

Make Sure the Water Parameters Are Alright

Sometimes, the swordtails in your tank will be stressed because of a change in their water. If the pH changes, the oxygen level lowers, or the temperature changes, they may get stressed and nibble on plants.

Always make sure the tank’s pH is between 7.0 and 8.5, and the temperature shouldn’t exceed 82 F degrees. And watch out for any signs of lack of oxygen; you can test the water for oxygen if you need it. Make sure to add oxygen as soon as possible if its levels are low because it’s dangerous for the fish if you leave it like this.

Prevent the Fish From Reaching the Plants

If you’re feeding your swordtail enough, and they’re still biting the tank plants, you can start thinking out of the box. You can still have your fish and plants living in the same tank, but put a barrier between them.

All you have to do is buy some platforms and decorations for the tank to prevent the fish from reaching the plants. That way, you’ll gain the best of both worlds. You’ll have a beautifully decorated tank, and your fish will leave your plants alone.

Make Sure Your Tank Has Enough Plants

If you’re afraid your swordtail will eat all of your tank plants, you can always add more. Of course, you don’t want to overcrowd your tank with plants. That won’t only limit the fish’ room to live, but it may also mess with the tank’s oxygen levels.

However, you can always add one or a couple of more plants to make sure your tank will always have spare if your swordtail decides to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have doubts about plants with swordtails in one tank, check these frequently asked questions for further info.

What kinds of plants can I add with swordtails?

Your swordtails will be fine with a variety of plants, including Anubias, java fern, and duckweed. They’ll generally do better with living plants, even if they tend to nibble on them.

Swordtails prefer plants that they can hide behind, so make sure to get a leafy plant. They’re also not bottom feeders, so they don’t need substrate.

Do swordtails need tank lids?

If you’re adding plants to your swordtail tank, it’s better to get tank lids. Not all fish can jump, but swordtails can. Unless you want to see your swordtail grabbing the plant and jumping, it’s better to cover the tank to avoid creating a mess around it.

What do swordtails eat?

Swordtails can eat a lot of foods, including insects and veggies. They eat fruit flies, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and even bloodworms.

Aside from that, they eat algae and vegetables. You can feed them commercial food or boil some vegetables for them. They’ll be okay with both, but boiling the veggies at home will save you a lot of money, considering that these fish eat twice a day.

Closing Thoughts

Swordtails do eat plants because they need green in their diet. However, the live plants that live in tanks aren’t their priority. They’ll only eat those if they’re not getting enough vegetables in their diet. So, you can always make sure you’re feeding them enough veggies, and you should be fine.

Generally, swordtails eat a large variety of vegetables, including peas, zucchinis, and cucumbers. Some people also feed them lettuce.