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Swordtail Advice

Discussion in 'Livebearers' started by Silencedogood, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    Quick question-
    My female swordtail lost her mate last week. I plan on getting another male in a few weeks but just wondering if that's too long to wait. She hides behind plants a lot; not sure if that's from loneliness. Tanks mates are 3 guppies, 5 neon tetras. and a pleco. (She bullies the guppies and neons).
     
  2. Byron

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    When both genders are in the same tank, it is best to have more females to males, i.e., one male to two or three females. Males can drive females very hard, and it is not uncommon that the female is killed. If the female was in the plants when the male was still in the tank, that is likely the reason. He may be gone, but she is still afraid. The other aspect is tank size; swordtails are not small fish, with mature sizes in the 4 to 5 inch range; six inches is not abnormal. This means at least a 30-inch length tank, so you need space for any additional swordtails.
     
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  3. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    I did notice that he bothered the female sometimes. So if I add a male I should add a couple more females.
    My tank is 24 inches in length.
     
  4. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    As Byron said, swordtails need a tank at least 30 inches long, so your 24 inch long tank is not big enough for swordtails.


    I notice that in a post in another thread you say the GH of your tank is 75 ppm. This is good for neon tetras but far too soft for livebearers, which all need hard water. This may have contributed to the death of the male swordtail. I would not get more swordtails, or any other livebearers, with this hardness. You may well find the female swordtail and the guppies also suffer from your low GH.
     
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  5. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    That must have been an older thread. My gh was 100-200 ppm the last time I tested it.
     
  6. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Yes it was a couple of months old. Have you done something to alter the GH? It doesn't normally change unless you do something to change it.

    But 100 to 200 ppm (5.6 to 11.2 dH) is a huge range, can you pin it down to a smaller range, or better still an actual figure? 100 ppm is soft and 200 is moderately hard. Swordtails do better in water harder than 200 ppm.
     
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  7. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    Yes, I added baking soda to bring up my ph which brought up my gh. It was about 10 dh.
     
  8. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Baking soda is sodium hydrogen carbonate; it cannot alter GH although it does alter KH (which measures the buffering capacity of the water which is virtually all carbonates).

    GH is a measure of the amount of divalent metal ions. In practical terms, this means mainly calclum with some magnesium and trace amounts of other divalent metal ions.
    GH cannot measure sodium because sodium is monovalent; sodium does not form part of GH so adding sodium does not affect GH.
    (info from my son who has a doctorate in chemistry and used to work for a water testing company)


    Do you mean KH rather than GH? Baking soda would definitely increase KH.
     
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  9. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    That makes sense because my kh definitely increased as well. Not sure why my gh increased though. I actually don't know what to add that would increase it.
     
  10. Byron

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    I agree completely with everything essjay has posted here, including the fact that the water is too soft for swordtails.

    At this stage, you should not start experimenting with increasing the GH, because this is a very complex subject and there are ramifications to these additives. And on that note, do not use baking soda. This is not a permanent buffer and it can do more harm than good to fish.

    The GH as essjay said is the dissolved mineral content of the water. This impacts fish very much, because all freshwater species have evolved over thousands of years to function ion very specific water. Some species, such as all livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, Endlers, mollies) must have mineral in the water or they cannot carry out their physiological processes. The fish works harder and harder trying to manage, but it only weakens, making it more susceptible to other issues and it will always die prematurely, guaranteed. Soft water fish have evolved to function without these minerals, to varying degrees, and they will have problems if they are forced into water where they have to deal with minerals. This is just the GH; the pH factors in as well.

    The point here is that raising the GH to benefit the swordtails will make life more difficult for the neon tetra and pleco which are soft water species. And before someone brings it up, yes, there is some adaptability with some species, but it is limited and the bottom line is that soft water species will always be healthier in soft water.

    So, once we pin down your GH, assuming it is going to be on the soft side, you should forget livebearers and look for other soft water species. This tank is not suited to swordtails anyway so this avoids that problem (a larger tank). We can consider suitable species.
     
  11. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    My gh is 10 dh. My livebearers and neon tetras have been thriving except for the water quality issues I had from the 9+ inch pleco.
     
  12. Byron

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    Earlier a considerable range was indicated, but if the GH does not fall lower than 10 dGH, that is the minimum for swordtails; if it were me, I would want it a tad higher for l;ivebearers, but again, this is not going to benefit the other soft water fish so I wouldn't mess with it.
     
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  13. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    The testing kit I use gives a large range.
     
  14. Byron

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    A few posts back it was given as somewhere between 100 to 200 ppm (5.6 to 11.2 dH)--this large a range is useless. You have to be able to pin it down degree by degree to know what you are working with. If the GH is at the low end of this range, the swordtail will have difficulty carrying out normal necessary functions internally, and it will weaken and eventually die before its time.
     
  15. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood Fish Crazy

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    Yeah, I pinned it down to 10 dH.
     

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