How Many Swordtails Should Be Kept Together?

All fish lovers want the best possible conditions for their fish. Especially if their pet fish are unique and colorful like swordtails.

These relatively large fish take quite the space. It could be mind-boggling to figure out how many swordtails should be kept together.

Swordtails should be kept in groups of 4-6 fish. The number of females should outnumber the males by at least three to one.

This is to tone down the male aggressiveness. The ideal tank size that could hold such a group of swordtails should range between 50 and 60 gallons.

If you’d like to have more than six swordtails in your aquarium; then stay with us a little more to get into the specifics.

Orange Swordtail

How Many Swordtails Should Be Kept Together?

Swordtails are social fish and they prefer to stay in groups. How many exactly? We recommend a group of at least four. However, the size of your tank and your preference can increase that number.

Swordtails aren’t your average-sized fish. An almost 6 inch (15-centimeter) fish needs a decent amount of space to live comfortably. Coincidentally, a 15-gallon tank seems to be the sweet spot for a single swordtail.

A lone swordtail can adjust in a 7-8 gallon tank but it won’t be as active as it needs to be. Any smaller than that, and the swordtail might pass away from inactivity.

That being said, there are two “minimums” that you need to keep in mind with swordtails:

Minimum Recommended Ratio of Swordtails

The ideal female to male ratio in swordtail fish is 3:1. That means you should keep three females for every male.

The reason behind this is simple. The males of most live-bearer species species are aggressive if kept together in large numbers. Especially if there are no females to keep them distracted.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to keep two males together. You’ll need six females with them to keep them busy enough from fighting each other.

You could take that number down to five or even four. It’s not rocket science. However, it’s always a good idea to keep more female swordtails around to tone down the male aggression.

Minimum Recommended Number of Swordtails

With the appropriate ratio explained, the minimum number of Swordtails should be an easy guess now.

Four swordtails (one male and three females) is our recommended minimum number for a group of swordtails. For these colorful swimmers to live comfortably, you’ll need a 45-gallon tank.

You could sneak down to a 40-gallon tank if it’s your only option. It’s not that specific.

However, it’s not recommended to go any less than 40 gallons. The Swordtails won’t move enough and that would affect their health.

How Many Swordtails Can Live Together?

We’ve mentioned earlier that you need four swordtails to make a healthy group. All you have to do is duplicate the recommended number and ratio while meeting the needs of the fish.

For example, you can keep eight swordtails with the recommended ratio. Yet, you need to keep a few things in mind.

The Size of the Aquarium

These sword bearers need quite the space to live in. Eight swordtails will need at least an 80-gallon tank (ideally 90) to live comfortably.

An 80-gallon tank takes more space than you might expect. If you live in a small household, that space is better off having a more useful piece of furniture.

The Maintenance of the Aquarium

The bigger your tank is, the more maintenance it would require, and the stronger your filter needs to be.

Swordtails are clean fish. But the higher their number, the more cleaning you’ll need to do. You’d also need to clean more frequently than if you have a smaller tank.

The Fast Breeding

Like all live-bearers, swordtails have an incredibly fast reproduction speed.

Under the right conditions, you should expect your swordtail females to have babies every month.

If that wasn’t hard enough, you should expect anywhere between 40-100 babies from every female in the tank!

On the other hand, swordtails don’t have parental instincts and they eat most of their babies. That should slow down their reproduction somewhat.

However, that won’t stop them from overpopulating the tank faster than you can handle.

Will Swordtails Fight Each Other?

There’s a difference between occasional fighting that’s considered normal and aggressive territorial fighting.

As long as you stick to the female to male ratio, you shouldn’t see your swordtails fighting any more than they should.

When they should fight you might ask? Fish tend to be overly aggressive in breeding seasons. The males might bite or chase each other over a female.

However, that’s considered normal behavior. The bigger the number of females compared to males, the fewer fights you’ll see.

Can you keep Two Male Swordtails?

Not only can you keep two males swordtails together, but you’ll also have less aggression if you add more males.

Male swordtails living alone could still bully each other, but nowhere near as much if there’s a female around.

The reason behind that is simple. They fight to get the female. If there’s no female, there will be no fight for breeding.

Additionally, larger groups tend to tone down the bullying if one male decides to attack the other.

Final Words

So, how many swordtails should be kept together? The best answer is three females and one male, which brings you to four swordtails.

Aquarium maintenance, food, cleaning, and breeding control are all factors to keep in mind as you increase the number of swordtails.

With all of these factors considered. You can duplicate the one male / three female formula as much as you can handle.

However, for those of you who just want beautiful fish in their homes, we recommend having 4-6 Swordtails in a 50 or 60-gallon tank.