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Will swordtails shoal with mollies or platies?

Retired Viking

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I would sit down and write up a list of the fish you have and then break it down by hard/soft water, community fish vs aggressive fish and tank size (needs large or can live in small tanks) It will make it easier and post if you have a question on a specific fish or concern it will also make it easier for us to answer. Good luck
 
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Ianvaldius

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Those are both valid suggestions. My main question was whether or not I needed to get more swordtails, but the thread brought up concerns I hadn’t thought about.
 

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swordtails are somewhat shoaling but not like tetras and cory. 3-4 of them would be good, I would think that having other fish like mollies in the same tank they would be fine but you may want to google "are swordtails shoaling fish" to make sure.
 

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Those are both valid suggestions. My main question was whether or not I needed to get more swordtails, but the thread brought up concerns I hadn’t thought about.
There is some unclear information in this thread, but I will start with this last post/question. After I say, welcome to TFF. :hi:

Your water is not hard enough for livebearers. A GH of 75-150 ppm (mentioned in post #5) is moderately soft (equates to 4 to 8 dGH). This is fine for most any soft water fish species, but it will mean trouble, stress, weakening and eventual early death for all livebearers. Swordtails, mollies, platies, guppies and Endlers are livebearers. Given your source water parameters, you will find it much easier to have success if you select fish suited to your water. There is no "middle ground" anyway, and adjusting parameters means a lot of additional issues along the way.

The initial question asked about swordtails and platies getting along and "shoaling" was mentioned, so allow me to clarify shoaling. Shoaling fish species are those that must be in a group. Minimum numbers are always asked for, and this can vary for some species, but more will always mean healthier and "happier" fish, that is scientific fact. Characins (tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish, characidium, etc), cyprinids (rasboras, barbs, danios, loaches), many catfish (Corydoras especially), rainbowfish, are shoaling fish. Livebearers are not shoaling. Having a feew of them together is fine, essential for breeding obviously, but not essential as it is with shoaling species.

This brings me to the clown loaches. Loaches are shoaling fish but they are also very social fish and they develop an hierarchy within the group early on. There must be five or more of the species together, from the first; adding fish down the road rarely works, if ever, and this is not fair to the fish. If you will have at minimum a tank that is 6 feet in length--though 8 feet is advised by all reliable sources--you will be OK with a group of five or six or seven. But the group must be together now. If this large a tank is not in the near future, I would return the two clown loaches for their own good. This is not going to end well. I learned a lesson many years ago...never acquire a fish today for which you do not now have the tank that will accomodate it at maturity. Plans change; it is not fair to harm the fish just to suit our intentions.

Loaches and cories cannot be combined in the same tank. I know, some will do this, and claim no problem. But they cannot ask the fish. Loaches are highly social, somewhat aggressive (including during feeding), and territorial. Cories are about as peaceful and opposite as any fish can be. They do not get along together, the cories will always be the losers, and this harms them in ways we cannot see until it is too late.

The Rainbow Shark cannot be combined with cories. As for the loaches, this is hit and miss, depending upon the temperament of both species.

Gouramis are sedate fish and cannot be combined with active fish like danios. The loaches could be issues here too.

I think I've caught the crucial issues, feel free to ask about any of it. We are here to help your fish.
 

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Something I didn't mention in my previous post may help in the understanding of why all this is so important. Each species of freshwater fish has evolved over thousands of years to function within a very specific environment. By environment here we mean the water parameters, the habitat conditions (aquascaping to the aquarist), numbers of the species (shoaling especially), and other fish sharing the immediate habitat. The physiology of the species will only function well when all of these conditions are met. They are programmed into the fish's DNA. We cannot change them. The fish "expects" these things, and in their absence the fish will have stress, and as this continues the stress becomes acute, and at that point it is too late to reverse. Acute stress further weakens the fish's physiology, causes difficulties for the metabolism to function, weakens the immune system, and always shortens the lifespan. Stress is the direct cause of 95% of all disease in aquarium fish; the pathogen needs to be present, but it is the stress we cause the fish that prevents the fish from naturally combating the pathogen. It all comes back to the aquarist. The two citations in my signature block refer to all of this.
 
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Ianvaldius

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Something I didn't mention in my previous post may help in the understanding of why all this is so important. Each species of freshwater fish has evolved over thousands of years to function within a very specific environment. By environment here we mean the water parameters, the habitat conditions (aquascaping to the aquarist), numbers of the species (shoaling especially), and other fish sharing the immediate habitat. The physiology of the species will only function well when all of these conditions are met. They are programmed into the fish's DNA. We cannot change them. The fish "expects" these things, and in their absence the fish will have stress, and as this continues the stress becomes acute, and at that point it is too late to reverse. Acute stress further weakens the fish's physiology, causes difficulties for the metabolism to function, weakens the immune system, and always shortens the lifespan. Stress is the direct cause of 95% of all disease in aquarium fish; the pathogen needs to be present, but it is the stress we cause the fish that prevents the fish from naturally combating the pathogen. It all comes back to the aquarist. The two citations in my signature block refer to all of this.
Thank you for the information and concerns. What is the best way to increase my water hardness without hurting my fish? Upon further research, it appears that the danios and even the corys could do better with a higher water hardness. I will discuss the specific needs of the clown loaches with my girlfriend.
 
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Ianvaldius

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I have some crushed eggshells. Would that work if I dechlorinated them first? Or perhaps baking soda? I'm trying to limit going outside because of the virus.
 

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Baking soda has sodium in it which is not good for fish, I never tried egg shells in a tank, used them in my wife garden for the tomato plants. I have to research that one;)
 

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I would not consider increasing the GH/KH/pH. For one thing, it is now ideal for soft water species, including cories and danios. With a very few exceptions, fish species that are soft water come from waters having a GH of less than 1 dGH, and the pH is on the acidic side, dependent upon the specifics of the environment of the habitat. In order to make your water liveable for swordtails and platies, you would need to increase the GH above 10 dGH, and 10 dGH is absolute minimum, higher would be better for the fish. But as soon as you do this, the soft water species begin having a harder time of living. There is no real middle ground if one is concerned for the well-being of the fish.

I have had wild-caught cories and some commercially-raised cories (my pandas) in water with zero GH and zero KH and the pH is below 5. They spawn regularly. Ian Fuller who owns Corydoras World and knows more about this family than any of us uses pure RO water with the same parameters.

I have some crushed eggshells. Would that work if I dechlorinated them first? Or perhaps baking soda? I'm trying to limit going outside because of the virus.
This question appeared as I was typing. Neither is helpful, both are risky. Egg shells are obviously calcareous, but it would take so many to achieve any increase in GH, and frankly I am not certain it even would. Baking soda is not safe; it is sometimes suggested to increase the buffering (KH) but knowledgeable ichthyologists will point out that it is not permanent, and becomes less and less effective as organics increase. Plus it is sodium bicarbonate, and the sodium (common salt) part is definitely detrimental to freshwater fish, particularly soft water species.

Removing the livebearers is your best option. It makes water changes much easier...with increasing the GH you need to prepare the water externally, and as someone who did this for several weeks I can assure you it is very tedious and tiresome.
 

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Mollies, swordtails and platies "can" shoal together but aren't specifically shoaling fish. Overhere they do shoal but not always.
 

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