The beautiful colors of the Green Swordtail are what it’s highly prized for today!

The Swordtail has long been an aquarium prize because it’s one of the prettiest fish with a wonderful “sword-like” tail. But the combinations it comes in today are practically unrivaled. There are many wonderful colors and mixtures of colors, and many have extensive finnage.

This all came about through years of selectively breeding the Green Swordtail. It was also crossed with other fish of its genus, particularly the Platy fish Xiphophorous maculatus. Crosses with this Platy introduced an even wider range of colors.

The most popular of the earlier developed color varieties were named for the German cities where they were first bred. These include the Berlin Swordtail, Frankfurt Swordtail, Hamburg Swordtail, and Wiesbaden Swordtail. Other favorites are the Wagtail Swordfish and the Tuxedo Swordfish. These are fish with black markings. Varieties that have a black tail are called a “wag tail” and those with black markings on about 3/4 of the body, but not on the tail, are called a “tuxedo.”


Along with color, swordtails have been developed with wonderful finnage. They can have normal fins (the wild form), and there are high-fin varieties with tall dorsal fins that are either flagshaped or veil-like, and then there are lyre-shaped fins where there outer fin rays are twice as long as the others. Some have a lyretail swordfish have a tail fin that has a double sword (two swords- top and bottom), sometimes called a Dragon Swordtail.

Some of today’s favorites are the Green Swordtail and the Green Wagtail Swordtail. There’s also the Red Swordtails, especially the Bloodred Swordtail, Brickred Swordtail, and Velvet Red Swordtail, along with the Red Wagtail and Red Tuxedo Wagtail Swordtail. A few others include the Marigold Swordtail, Pineapple Swordtail, Neon Swordtail, and Koi Swordtail.

Swordtail fish are not popular because they are pretty. They are also quite hardy so make a wonderful fish for the beginner. These generally peaceful, lively fish enjoy swimming in a loosely grouped school. They do best kept in groups of one male with several females, but are easy to breed and the fry are fast growing. Being generally peaceful, they are good in a community too.

Learn more about these incredible livebearer fish. See pictures and information for the Swordtail Fish Xiphophorous hellerii, Green Swordtail, Red Swordtail, along with their habitat and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.