Posted by Shari Horowitz in Tropical Fish Hobbyist Blog on September 30, 2011 at 10:32 am
Many Mexican and Central American cichlids share their habitats with various species of swordtails. Many hobbyists think the combination is either difficult or impossible to replicate in captivity—and it certainly doesn’t help that many cichlid fans see swordtails as live food!
In the November issue’s “Cichlid World” column, Ted Judy showcases his aquarium that proves the combination can not only work, but work well http://www.tfhdigital.com/tfh/201111/#pg29. He makes several key points that are critical to success, including that the cichlid species must not be overly aggressive, large, or a known piscivore. It is also wise to include only adult swords that are not much smaller than the cichlids. Providing plenty of room and hiding places is also a must.
In this particular tank, the swift current is also a critical feature that is easily noticed due to the sideswept substrate and blowing plants. The current was added because the fish come from a well-oxygenated riverine habitat, but it provides the added bonus of allowing the fish to exercise naturally and to expend extra energy. On the downside, the female swordtails must be rotated out of the tank to give birth both because of the fast current and so the fry can escape hungry cichlids.
So the next time you are considering what to put in with your cichlids, try thinking about swordtails—they are not simply feeder fish!