Keeping Male Swordtails Together

Keeping male swordtails together is fine as long as there are no females around. They typically fight over females, so the lack of them should call for no fights. Still, the male swordtails may fight to assert dominance or to mark their territory. 

Like all animals, fish have a pecking order, and males thrive on dominance. When you’re only keeping males in a tank, you won’t have them fighting over females, which is pretty good. However, there’s nothing to say that they won’t fight for other reasons.

Generally, some people reported they managed to keep all-male swordtail tanks safely, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t.

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

Is Keeping Male Swordtails Together Okay?

Keeping male swordtails together in one tank is okay if you provide enough room for them to live. However, when the room is too tight for them, they tend to get aggressive and try to claim their territory, pushing them to fight fellow fish in the tank.

These fish are naturally very active and can swim backward, so they need enough room in the tank to live.

They may still fight if the food is scarce. So, if you want to keep males in one tank, you should feed them enough to avoid fights.

When the male fish fight, you’ll find them raising their dorsal fins and shaking their bodies. They’ll then start nipping at each other occasionally. After a while, one fish may submit to the dominant one and stop fighting. If that’s the case, you’ll notice the sub fish hiding most of the time and avoiding encounters with the other one.

Bear in mind that you don’t want one male to be dominant over the others because he’ll start causing a nuisance. You’ll find him chasing his fellow fish without a purpose, and his actions may cause stress in the tank.

Group of Swordtails on Gravel

Are Male Swordtails Naturally Aggressive?

Male swordtails are only aggressive in some situations, and they’re generally not among the aggressive species. They may show aggression when they’re mating or when the food is scarce. They may also fight other fish when there’s not enough room for them to live.

Other than that, male swordtails will hardly fight.

Of course, if there’s a female in the tank, they’ll fight for her attention, so the last thing you want to do is keep males with one female in the same tank. That’s a recipe for disaster.

What’s the Best Ratio for Swordtails in a Single Tank?

The ultimate good ratio for swordtails in a single tank is one male to three females. One male won’t have a reason to fight over females, and the three females will prevent him from attempting to fight them.

Likewise, if you want to keep two males in a tank, you’ll need to provide six females to prevent fights. But generally, the best way to prevent male swordtails from fighting over females is to remove females from the tank.

Keeping them alone in sufficient room will keep them from fighting each other.

How Much Room Do Male Swordtails Need?

As a rule of thumb, a single swordtail needs 15 gallons of water to swim comfortably. These fish are highly active, and they tend to swim backward. So it goes without saying that they need plenty of room in the tank.

If you want to keep five males in a single tank, you’ll have to provide at least 75 gallons. On the other hand, if you’re keeping three males, it’d be best to buy a 55-gallon tank.

How About Keeping Only Two Male Swordtails Together?

If keeping a lot of male swordtails together in one tank is risky, how about keeping two males only? Well, that’s only riskier than keeping a full group.

When there are only two males in the tank, there’s a chance one of them will be more aggressive or have a dominant personality. So, he’ll start nipping at the other fish and trying to fight him, which will cause stress in the whole tank.

There’s always the chance that they won’t get along together. On the other hand, when it’s a full group, they’ll be able to live peacefully even if two of them don’t get along. They’ll get distracted with the other fish, and they likely won’t fight each other frequently.

You can always try to keep two males in one tank together. If they’re fine, so be it. If they fight, it’s better to put them in separate tanks.

How to Protect Male Swordtails Living Together

To protect your male swordtails living together, there are a couple of steps you can take. You’ll need to invest some time and effort, but it’ll pay off when you find the males living peacefully together.

Install a Tank Divider

If your male fish are fighting or attacking each other, a tank divider may solve your problem. It’ll divide the tank’s room by half, so each of the fish has enough room to live without the nuisance of another fish nearby.

Of course, a divider isn’t the best solution aesthetically, but it’ll put off the fish from fighting until you put them in another tank.

Give Them Enough Food

Adult swordtails must eat twice a day, or else they’ll start looking for alternatives. These alternatives include the fellow fish or live plants in the aquarium. So, if you want to prevent your male swordtails from fighting, you may want to make sure you’re feeding them enough.

Keep in mind that swordtails need plenty of green in their diet, so make sure to give them a lot of veggies. They’re fans of peas and zucchinis.

Closing Thoughts

Keeping male swordtails together in one tank is okay, but there’s always a risk of them fighting. To prevent this, you can make sure they have enough room to live—at least 15 gallons for each fish.

On top of that, you’ll want to ensure they’re all getting fed enough, or else they’ll attack each other.