There are many strains of swordtail fish. I like the pineapple strain, there are others I like too, but are harder to find at fish stores. These fish are the biggest of the the livebearer group(there are some big mollies too).
I was never able to breed them at home. I had to buy one pregnant female at the store, and in the way home she had half of her fry, but the fishtanks were almost full. Only five of fifty survived. Then when I decided they were a little bit big(10 weeks old), I dared to put them with some diamond tetras and keyhole cichlids. It was a deadly mistake. They ate them alive.
Swordtails take their time to grow. Maybe one day I will buy another pregnant female and dedicate more time raising their fry(at least once).
I like to add molly fish with barbs. Platies suppose to go well with barbs too, but the barbs are very active, and platies feel overwhelmed by the barbs to the point where I have seen platies getting mad at barbs. That haven’t happened with gold barbs and mollies. Molly goes well with swordtail, tetras.
Mollies are more docile than platies, and mollies are bigger in size(maybe is because I haven’t seen an aggressive molly yet).
So as an all rounder community fish from the livebearers. I would say Molly!.
About two months ago I got a couple of them. They were a male and a female. She even laid eggs, but the other fish ate them. Then the female got very sick and turned black color, and got very skinny. My original idea was to breed them, but after she died there was no way to do it again.
If you want to breed them, you have to have a match couple. They have to like each other to mate. But you have to give them a whole long 20 gallon tank, or a 30 gallon. Because after the eggs hatch, there have to be no other fish but them, otherwise the other fish will eat the eggs.
But first, if your water ph is around 7, you should bring it down to 6.5 because on alkaline water the eggs don’t hatch. Bring the ph down slowly with the fish in the tank already. So they acclimate step by step. I do so by taking 10% water out, and then filling that 10% with RO water and doing ph, and hardness water tests.
Once the eggs hatch the parents will raise the fry.
I got another female german blue ram, but the male didn’t like her, and he chase her all around the tank. She runs desperate far from him, but he is a bully. So I took her no another tank. So I wasn’t able to make them breed.
It’s been almost four months since I got the first three female guppies(they were the second fish I ever had(the first were three zebrafish). At the same time I got a male guppy, but all of them died, very probably for new tank syndrome.
Luckily one orange tail female guppy who was in the most advanced pregnancy when I got her, had her fry. This strain is a type of red tuxedo.
Now three months and a half later only five of 14 survivor fish were males and they are beautiful. The other ten are females. Guppies reproduce themselves easily. You buy one strain and keep breeding them between the same strain and you have fish for an eternity basically. Or you can mix breed them too if you want to experiment between different strains as I’m doing it right now between a red tuxedo and a blue moscow.
There are several guppy strains in the market. The hard part is to get the ones you like the most if they are not available in your aquarium stores which is high likely they will not. And the tons of color and grace in their tails these fish have is the reason why many old and new fish keepers love them and keep them.
Update March/19/2017. I have been keeping fish for 5 months already. With 8 fish tanks and several species of fish. Guppies, platies, zebrafish, swordtails, mollies, several tetras, pearl gouramis, killifish, rasboras, barbs, bettas, blue german rams, gold severum, geophagus, kribensis, angel fish.
Now I understand why guppies will never fade. Guppies give you so much joy. You can create your own strains if you want, they reproduce by a million that’s right, but the surplus can be given to friends, or feed bigger fish, even letting them go on a river or bayou. Every three months you will be able to see what the cross of two strains look like since at that age the males start to get their colors. So it’s always different, every 4 months! All of that is something you can not experience with another aquarium fish species.(You can breed strains of platies if you want, but for this purpose guppies are the way to go right?)
Even the other livebearers are not as versatile to experiment as the guppies. Yes I like silver mollies, they are the most social mollies in my experience. My female silver molly had 4 fry(maybe more but the other fish ate them I believe). And what about swordtails? Well I had 2 red females wagtails with a male, but they never reproduced. The male was too small(I think it was defective lol). So I had a to buy two big pineapple swordtails, one male and one female. The female was pregnant already, and to my best luck it gave birth to half of her fry on the way home in the plastic bag where she came from. Sixty fry came by, now they are 5 weeks old. I read on different message boards about people raising swordtail fry, and I read them saying that from all the livebearers, the swordtails take the longest to mature. That may be because they are bigger fish, same happens with mollies. Mollies, swordtails, even platies are more for the community aquarium, and of course they are bigger, and create more waste, something guppies do not. I like all the livebearers, but for breeding intentionally guppies are the way to go.
Guppies are more delicate because of their long fins and docile attitudes, that’s why I keep them with espei rasboras, and otocinclus catfish. Oh, and guppies are the showstopper of the livebearer group. They are the most colorful!
I don’t know if it is because we are getting close to halloween, but all the guppies died in the fish tank, and that was spooky. But it has to do with the levels of ammonia lately raising because I’m cycling the fish tank for the first time. Today is the 17th day since the fish tank began cycling. The irony is that 16 days ago I got 3 zebra-fish. One week latter 3 female guppies, and one male guppie came to make them companion. Zebra-fish are super active, and they nipped at the tail of the male guppie. It created stress and infection to the guppie who died 4 days latter(He wasn’t cured with medications).Even a new 20 gallon tank was given to him alone where he finally died). Then I decided to move those zebras to the same 20 gallon tank.
When I changed the zebras to the 20 gallon tank the levels of ammonia still were not raising in the 36 gallon tank. It was some days latter when it started to happen. Then one female guppy got pop eye disease and died. Couple of days later another blue female guppie started to show signs of tail fin abrasion, and couple of days latter died too.
But it was one female that was already in advance pregnancy when I bought her(the last survivor). I know those fish can stay pregnant between 4 and 6 weeks, but they sense water quality, the stress they are in, etc. The water had low levels of ammonia, so I added ammo lock to minimize it, then the next day right at midnight she relaxed, and had her fry. I noticed it right on time and took the small fish out of the fish tank to the nursery(in the same 20 gallon fish tank where the zebra fish live now, and ammonia is not yet detected.
The female after giving birth stayed at the same 36 gallon tank where all the adult guppies always stayed. Then levels of ammonia came back stronger. She seemed ok yesterday, but I forgot to dose the ammo lock again, and she died.
If everything goes right in a couple of weeks the fry fish will be growing more.
Update. Six days ago the 24 guppy fry were born. They are feeding like little monsters 4 times a day.