So you just bought some swordtails and wondering what and how to feed them.
As a beginner, you might think that fish are hungry every time you approach the aquarium.
This is partially true, because in the wild the food does not come in such an abundance as in aquariums. They need to constantly hunt for food in order to maintain their health and reproduction.
In aquariums this is a bit different. Pet fish usually are overfeed, which is not good for their health.
Beside health issues, uneaten food as well produced fish waste will result in poor water quality. Unadequent water parameters will, again, contribute to different diseases. So overfeeding your swordtails can trigger a chain reaction which can result in fish dying.
So, how much and how many times to feed swordtail fish?
It is enough to feed your swordtail fish once or twice a day with small amounts of food, which they can eat in less than a minute. Offer your swordtails a variety of high quality food in order to keep them healthy and beautiful.
The goal is to keep them well-fed and healthy but reduce waste production.
While adult swordtail fish will happily live with one or two feedings, swordtail fry might need more food in order to grow. In the following I will explain what and how to feed swordtail fry as well will recommend a few food types you can use to raise beautiful swordtail fish.
If you are interested in on how to raise swordtail fry, please read my linked guide, where I go into more details on this topic.
Feeding Schedule for Swordtail Fry
Unlike the bigger swordtails, maintaining the small babies is always a tall order. First, you need to protect them from the raging jaws of the bigger pets. Second, since their immune system is so low, they are vulnerable to a number of tropical diseases. Definitely, you will need some proper diet to enhance their growth rate and immunity system.
So, what is the best meal for the small babies?
The trick to raising healthy and fast growing babies lies in the provision of frequent quality food. Unlike the bigger boys and girls, babies need regular feeding. That is, four to five times every day. Very small amount of foods are recommended. You can use de-capsulated baby shrimp eggs or crushed flakes for smaller sizes.
Once the babies reach an inch length, they can now be offered larger foods such as brine shrimp, Mysis, and bloodworms. You will realize that at this stage the babies tend to grow faster and bigger. As a result, you may need to secure another larger tank since at this stage they grow stronger and improves in their swimming prowess.
Apart from the feeding itself, there is a dire need to separate the sexes in different tanks, one for males and the other for females. You will also need to keep only a batch that you can easily handle. It is therefore a norm to sell excess babies to different firms and individuals since maintaining a huge number of swordtailsis always a tall order when it comes to dietary.
Feeding Schedule for Adult Swordtail Fish
An ideal swordtail’s diet should resemble the natural one for the wild swordtails, which mainly consists of plant matter, algae, insects, and invertebrates. Good portion of the diet should consist of high-quality flakes supplemented with live or frozen foods and blanched vegetables. These foods provide the needed nutrients same to what the wild environment offers.
Vegetables such as cucumber medallions, broccoli, shelled peas, and Zucchini should be blanched in boiling water and allowed to cool before being added to the aquarium in the tank. Blanching enhances sinking of the vegetable foods in the aquarium.
Live foods are also ideal for swordtails’ outstanding health. They include; bloodworms, black worms, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp. Mosquito larvae are illegal in some culture so you will need to check out for that.
Best Commercial Food for Swordtail Fish
– Aquacarium Tropical Flakes Natural Fish Food
If you really need tropical flakes that are ideal for any type of fish, then here is your answer. The food comes loaded with shrimp, spirulina, krill, salmon, and kelp. The food is free from any artificial coloring and preservatives. It does not harbor any filler; therefore, it is ideal for clean looking water since you do not have to replace the filler pads so often.
– Brine Shrimp Freeze Dried Bulk Tropical Fish Food by Aquacarium
This supplement is the only treatment that your aquarium fish species need. It comes with excellent quality shrimp ideal for conditioning in both fresh and salt-water fish species. It comes in the form of cubed brine shrimps that can be broken down to smaller chunks. The bigger swordtails can eat these cubed shrimps as a whole while it will force you to go the extra mile and break the shrimps into smaller pieces for the baby swordtails.
– Aquacarium Spirulina Flakes Natural Fish Food
This fantastic and fresh vegetable-based diet is the only ideal food for your herbivores. These flakes are processed with no low-cost fillers and preservatives. Hence, it realizes the ideal clean water condition necessary for your tank.
Effects of Overfeeding
In as much as you may want to maintain healthy and every-time satisfied swordtails, there is more than harm if the food provided are in excess. Most people believe that overfeeding causes gastrointestinal problems, however, that is not scientifically proven. It is a fallacy.
Overfeeding can only be fatal when the amount of foods left accumulate in the tank hence depriving the pets of the necessary space for proper breathing and swimming. Overfeeding also causes stress thus enhancing your pets’ vulnerability to potential diseases such as fin rot.
Some of the uneaten waste foods decompose. In the process, they produce byproducts that are harmful to the pets’ health. Such products include; ammonia and carbon (IV) oxide, which in most cases tampers with the ammonia and pH level of the aquarium.
Recent research shows that overfeeding, though not related to ingestion problems, can cause poor health conditions such as the development of hepatic lipidosis, commonly known as fatty liver disease.
To avoid overfeeding, regularly provide pets with small but well-balanced food that they can eat in a period of not more than five minutes. In reality, aquarists are attracted to their pets. They want to interact with them so often. In addition, they will always feel the urge to offer pets much meal than expected. It is advisable to draft a feeding timetable for the swordtails before it is too late.
Swordtail fish species take an average of sixteen to twenty-four hours to fully digest and ingest the food eaten. Therefore, it is prudent to feed them once per day. Better still, you can offer them light foods twice per day.
Can Swordtail Fish Eat Vegetables?
Yes. For exquisite health, supplement the swordtails with a number of vegetables such as shelled peas, cucumber medallion, broccoli, and Zucchini. Before incorporating the vegetables into the aquarium, you will need to scald them in boiling water or steam for a short period and allow them to cool.
This process inhibits the enzyme action hence retaining the flavor, texture and color of the vegetables. You should also blanch vegetables that are ripe for freezing.
Apart from inhibiting the enzyme action, scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam also helps in killing the surface bacteria and remove dirt. It protects your pets from eating bitter foods that could otherwise result in disease infection.
How Long Can Swordtail Fish Live Without Food?
A healthy swordtail fish can go without food for as long as one to two weeks. However, this does not mean that you should skip serving them with meals for that number of days. It simply means that there is no need to fret having missed or forgotten to feed them for a day or two.
Chances are that timetables may not sometimes be favorable. Not once will you leave the fish alone in order to run some errands or go for a weekend holiday. Two or three days without food cannot kill the fish at all. On the other hand, any indication of a specific fish not eating should be a cue to stress or disease.
Bottom line, there is no harm leaving the fish without food for some days. However, for ideal health, you will need to serve your pets with their favorite dish on a daily basis.
What Live Food to Feed Swordtail Fish?
The most popular live foods for fish species include blackworms, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp. When introducing the live foods into the aquarium, ensure that they do not float since floating may result in uneaten meals.
Feeding is the surest way through which you can interact with your pets as an aquarist. Slowly introduce the food in the aquarium bit by bit while maintaining your eyes on the pets to ascertain whether they are interested or not. Through this, you will come to understand your pets’ behaviors and their different cravings.
Importantly, ensure that all the food served sink. On the other hand, all the sunken food should be eaten and not left to decompose. You can introduce bottom-feeding fish species such as miniature catfish into the tank to clear the remaining food.