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New Fish Tank Tips: If you enjoy reading, go to the library or buy tropical fish books. Get a couple of books on aquarium information or the species you are interested in getting. Reading a book is probably the fastest way to get up to speed and it provides a great reference for the future. On this site you can find some of the fish books we’ve reviewed.
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The Green swordtail (Xiphophorus hellerii) is a species of freshwater fish in family Poecilidae of order Cyprinodontiformes. It is also called Red swordtail. A live-bearer, it is closely related to the southern platyfish or “platy” (X. maculatus) and can interbreed with it. It is native to an area of North and Central America stretching from Veracruz, Mexico, to northwestern Honduras.
The green swordtail prefers swift-flowing, heavily-vegetated rivers and streams, but is also found in warm springs and canals. Omnivorous, its diet includes both plants and small crustaceans, insects, and annelid worms.
X. hellerii has become a nuisance pest as an introduced species in a number of countries. It has caused ecological damage because of its ability to rapidly reproduce in high numbers. Feral populations have established themselves in southern Africa, including Natal, Madagascar and eastern Transvaal in South Africa and Lake Otjikoto in Namibia. Significant populations have also established themselves along the east coast of Australia.
One of the most popular tropical aquarium fish, the green swordtail has been bred into various hybrid forms for the aquarium hobby due to its hardiness and suitability for community tanks.
The green swordtail, as the most common of the swordtail species (and in recognition of the fact that many captive-bred color varieties are not green), is typically known simply as the swordtail in the aquarium hobby. It is often designated X. helleri (with one i), but authorities consider this an orthographic error and the spelling with two is is the valid specific epithet. Due to interbreeding with the southern platyfish or “platy” most “swordtail” in the aquarium are hybrids to some degree.
The males’ elongated caudal fins have been found to significantly affect their chances at mating. The presence of a well-endowed male spurs the maturity of females while it inhibits the maturity of juvenile males in the vicinity of the well-endowed male.
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