How Many Swordtails In a 10-Gallon Tank?

You can only fit 2 swordtails in a 1 gallon tank. Even with only 2 fish, this isn’t an ideal set up and you really should consider a larger tank to keep your fish happy and healthy

Swordtails are peaceful but extremely active fish, and they thrive in smaller groups. So, a larger tank at least 20 gallons is ideal to allow you to include 5 swordtails to create a small school.

How can you make sure that you’ve picked the right tank size for your fish? Keep on reading to find out.

How Many Swordtails In a 10-Gallon Tank?

Despite their peaceful temperament and moderate size, swordtails need plenty of space to move freely, and a 10-gallon fish tank is a bit small.

These are peaceful freshwater fish, and in their natural habitat, they prefer to move and live in groups. They’re not schooling fish, and they don’t mind living alone. A group of five to six fish would be perfect as long as you’re maintaining healthy aquarium conditions and providing the fish with enough food.

Female swordtails grow to be slightly larger than the males, usually reaching a length of 6.3 inches. Male fish can be as long as 5.5 inches when they reach maturity.

Males have a sword-like part that extends at the back of the tail, making the fish appear larger than they really are. Females have more rounded tail edges than males.

This is why you also need to pay attention to the male to the female ratio when you’re adding swordtails to the tank. A healthy ratio of 1:3 male to female is perfect to “spread out” the male swordtails harassing the females.

Red Wagtail Swordtail

What is the Smallest Tank You Can Use for Swordtails?

The option of going for a bigger aquarium isn’t always accessible, especially if you don’t have enough space in the house. Larger fish tanks are also more expensive, more difficult to maintain, and heavier.

So, if you’re looking for the smallest tank size for swordtails, you can start with a tank that measures 20 gallons. This will be big enough for a single fish, as the fish moves a lot and requires enough space to roam freely. You can add 5 gallons per every additional fish you wish to add.

Despite doing well on their own, swordtails will thrive when kept in a small group. A group of five or six fish will be ideal, as long as the community isn’t competitive and all the fish have access to food.

Before adding more fish to the tank, you need to think about a few factors.

  • The tank should be big enough to accommodate live plants. These are tropical fish that originally live in the warm rivers of Central America, and their natural habitat is heavily vegetated. Despite being highly adaptive, the tank should contain enough plants to mimic the fish’s natural habitat.
  • Male swordtails are likely to get aggressive, especially towards other males. As a result, you need to pay attention to the ratio of males to females in your tank and add more females if you can’t get a larger tank.
  • Make sure that your fish has reached maturity. If you add baby fish to a small tank, it might be too small to support the adult fish.
  • Decorations like rocks and caves are essential so the tank mimics the fish’s natural habitat, and they also provide several hiding spots that swordtails need and appreciate.
  • An elongated tank is more suitable for swordtails than a square one. These fish are pretty active and will swim back and forth all day long, so an elongated aquarium will be more appealing.

Two Swordtails on Gravel

What Other Tank Mates Can You Add to the Tank?

Swordtails will appreciate life in a big tank that measures bigger than 50 or even 100 gallons. However, such a big tank will also enable you to build a diverse community of other fish and aquatic animals that go well with swordtails.

These fish aren’t aggressive, but you need to focus on choosing peaceful tank mates that have the same tank requirements to eliminate the risk of aggression. Here are some fish types that you can keep with your swordtails.


The platy fish belongs to the same family as the swordtail, so they can co-exist peacefully. Platies have the same tank requirements and are quite peaceful, so they’ll unlikely act aggressively towards the much larger swordtails.

Neon Tetra

The neon tetra fish add bright and attractive colors to any tank. It has the same tank requirements as swordtails, so this fish will be an excellent companion.

However, swordtails are tougher than neon tetras, as the latter are known to be extremely sensitive to poor tank conditions. This is why they’re always recommended for more experienced aquarists.

Betta Fish

Despite being a little bit more aggressive than swordtails and their favorite tank mates, betta fish can exist in the same tank if it’s big enough. They’re showy fish with big fins, and they can live in harmony with swordtails if you keep one male in the tank and provide enough food.

Adding many males will raise aggression and these fish will start attacking the other species in the aquarium.

Common Pleco

Unlike the swordtail fish that prefers to swim in the middle of the water, the Common Pleco is a bottom feeder that remains hidden most of the day. This is a peaceful, rather large fish, that will prefer to spend most of its time hiding in a cave.

Wrap Up

A 10-gallon tank is a bit small to keep your swordtails happy and healthy. Ideally, a tank size of at least 20 gallons should be sufficient.

Swordtails thrive in smaller groups of five or six fish, as long as there’s enough food and vegetation. If you want to add more fish, you need to make sure that you’re maintaining the ratio of 1 male to 3 females in the tank. You should also make sure that all fish have enough hiding spots.

Have Another Tank Size You’re Looking for?

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