Swordtail Fish Feeding Schedule: Guide for Beginners

Dive into the fascinating world of swordtail fish and discover the secret to keeping your vibrant aquatic friends healthy and happy! Embark on this beginner’s guide to learn the essentials of a well-balanced swordtail fish feeding schedule that ensures a thriving underwater paradise.

swordtail fish feeding

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What do Swordtail Fish Eat?

The first step to creating a successful feeding schedule is understanding what your swordtail fish prefer to munch on. These colorful creatures are primarily omnivorous, meaning they naturally consume a mix of plant-based and animal-based foods. Here’s a breakdown of their preferred diet:

  • Live Foods: In their natural habitat, swordtail fish enjoy feasting on small insects and their larvae, such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae. Live foods offer high protein content, which contributes to their growth, vibrant colors, and overall health.
  • Frozen Foods: While live food is great, frozen options like bloodworms, tubifex worms, and mysis shrimp are more convenient for most aquarists. These options are nutrient-rich and equally palatable to swordtail fish.
  • Vegetables: Since they are also partial to plant-based foods, do not forget to include some veggies in their diet. Chopped, boiled spinach and lettuce, as well as blanched peas or zucchini, will be happily accepted by your aquatic companions.
  • Flake or Pellet Foods: For more practical day-to-day feeding, high-quality flake or pellet foods provide essential nutrients to keep your swordtail fish healthy. Choose a reputable brand and ensure it contains a good mix of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Algae: Swordtails are excellent algae controllers in aquariums. They nibble on naturally-growing algae, which acts as a supplementary food source and contributes to maintaining their ideal diet.

Understanding what swordtail fish eat is crucial to establishing a balanced feeding schedule that caters to their nutritional requirements. Keep in mind that a varied diet helps maintain a strong immune system, ensuring your swordtail fish live a long and healthy life. As you continue reading, you will learn about the ideal feeding schedule for these vibrant creatures!

tuxedo red male swordtail fish

How Often to Feed Swordtail Fish?

Now that we’ve established the nutritional preferences of swordtails, it’s time to delve into how often they should be fed in order to maintain their active and vibrant existence.

  • Juvenile Swordtails: Young swordtail fish require more frequent feeding as they are in a crucial phase of growth and development. It is optimal to feed juvenile swordtails three to four times daily with small portions. This schedule ensures they receive enough nutrients to support their growth.
  • Adult Swordtails: Mature swordtail fish can have a slightly more relaxed feeding schedule. Offering food twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, will suffice to keep them happy and healthy.
  • Portion Sizes: The golden rule for feeding swordtail fish, or any aquarium fish for that matter, is not to overfeed. Offer portions that your swordtails can consume within 2-3 minutes. Uneaten food lingering in the tank can lead to water quality issues and negatively impact the health of your fish.
  • Varying the Diet: In order to ensure a well-balanced diet, alternate between the various types of food mentioned earlier. For instance, you can feed them with flakes or pellets daily, while incorporating live or frozen foods and vegetables every couple of days.
  • Fasting: Occasionally, one day of fasting per week can be beneficial for your swordtail fish. This allows their digestive systems to cleanse and can help prevent health issues related to overfeeding.

Regularly offering varied food helps maintain their immune system and is key to ensuring they lead a healthy and happy life. As a beginner, following this guide on the habits and frequencies of feeding will provide a strong foundation for your thriving, colorful underwater world!

red female swordtail fish

Feeding Schedule for Adult Swordtails

Creating a consistent and well-balanced feeding schedule is essential for the health and well-being of your adult swordtail fish. A well-structured plan takes into consideration not just the frequency, but also the variety and portion sizes of their meals. Below, you’ll find a sample feeding schedule to keep your adult swordtails in tip-top shape:


  • Morning: Granules or flakes
  • Evening: Granules or flakes


  • Morning: Granules or flakes
  • Evening: Frozen brine shrimp or daphnia


  • Morning: Granules or flakes
  • Evening: Blanched vegetables or boiled spinach


  • Morning: Granules or flakes
  • Evening: Granules or flakes


  • Morning: Granules or flakes
  • Evening: Frozen bloodworms or tubifex worms


  • Morning: Granules or flakes
  • Evening: Granules or flakes


  • Fasting day

By following this feeding schedule, you ensure that your swordtail fish receive a well-rounded diet and avoid boredom from eating the same food repeatedly. This plan incorporates the essential types of food, such as granules or flakes for daily meals, combined with frozen foods and vegetables every couple of days.

Remember always to keep portion sizes in check, ensuring your fish can finish their meal within 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to health issues and deteriorating water conditions, so it’s better to feed them smaller portions.

Lastly, don’t forget to observe your swordtail fish’s feeding habits and make adjustments as necessary. Each fish is unique, and as their caretaker, you’ll learn what keeps them happiest and healthiest. Adhering to a well-balanced and consistent feeding schedule is the path to success in maintaining a thriving underwater haven filled with vibrant and energetic swordtail fish.

Feeding Schedule for Baby Swordtails

Baby swordtails, also known as fry, require special attention when it comes to their feeding schedule. As they are rapidly growing and developing, these young ones need to receive a higher frequency of food and ample nutrition to ensure they grow into healthy adults. Here’s a sample feeding schedule for baby swordtails:

Daily Routine:

  • Morning: Crushed flakes or specially formulated fry food
  • Mid-Morning: Freshly hatched baby brine shrimp or microworms
  • Afternoon: Crushed flakes or specially formulated fry food
  • Evening: Freshly hatched baby brine shrimp or daphnia

This daily schedule ensures that baby swordtails receive a rich diet, covering crucial food types such as crushed flakes, specially formulated fry food, and live baby brine shrimp.

  • Crushed Flakes: Choose high-quality flakes and crush them to an appropriate size for the fry’s tiny mouths. Crushing regular flakes is a more affordable option when compared to buying specially formulated fry food.
  • Specially Formulated Fry Food: If you prefer, you can opt for fry food specifically designed to provide ample nutrition for developing fish. Typically, these formulations are high in protein, which supports healthy growth.
  • Live or Frozen Foods: Introduce live foods like baby brine shrimp, microworms, or daphnia to their diet once the fry are a week old. These foods promote growth and encourage natural feeding skills.

Do keep in mind that fry have smaller stomachs and a shorter digestive process compared to adult swordtails, so it’s essential to feed them smaller portions throughout the day. As they grow, gradually reduce the feeding frequency and adapt the portion sizes accordingly.

Always observe your baby swordtails to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition and make adjustments to their feeding schedule as needed. Maintaining a consistent and well-rounded feeding plan for your fry lays the groundwork for raising healthy, strong, and vibrant adult swordtails ready to take on the world!

red swordtail fish

How Long Can Swordtails Go Without Food?

Aquarium enthusiasts often wonder how long their aquatic friends can go without food, whether it’s due to a busy schedule or vacation plans. While swordtail fish thrive on consistency, they can tolerate short periods without sustenance if necessary. However, the length of time without food varies between adult swordtails and fry.

  • Adult Swordtails: Mature swordtail fish can usually go without food for up to 5-7 days. Their bodies are well-equipped to handle temporary fasting periods, and they might even snack on some algae in your aquarium to satisfy their hunger.
  • Fry: Baby swordtails, on the other hand, are far more sensitive and have higher caloric requirements due to their rapid growth phase. Fry should not be left without food for more than 24-48 hours, as this may lead to stunted growth or increased stress levels.

While swordtails can survive a few days without food, it is essential to provide them with the proper care and nutrition whenever possible. If you are planning a trip, you might consider some options to ensure your fish are well-fed during your absence:

  • Ask a friend or neighbor: Having someone you trust visit your home to feed your fish can be the easiest solution. Provide clear feeding instructions and portion sizes to ensure your fish don’t go hungry or, worse, get overfed.
  • Automated fish feeder: Investing in an automatic fish feeder can offer a reliable method for feeding your fish during your absence. These devices dispense pre-determined amounts of food at specified intervals, ensuring your fish continue to receive their meals.
  • Vacation food blocks: Available in pet stores, these slow-release food blocks dissolve gradually over time, providing nutrients to your fish while you’re away.

Always prioritize the well-being of your swordtail fish, and ensure they receive consistent, nutritious meals whenever possible. Proper care and attention will result in a thriving, healthy community of vibrant, energetic swordtails in your aquarium!


Now you’re prepared to embark on the journey of setting up a thriving ecosystem for your swordtail fish. If you’ve found this guide helpful or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Happy fish keeping!

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