Creating a harmonious and vibrant community aquarium is an exciting endeavor, and choosing the right tank mates for your pineapple swordtails is a crucial step in this journey. Pineapple swordtails are peaceful and attractive livebearers, making them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced aquarists. To maintain a peaceful and thriving aquatic environment, it’s essential to select tank mates that share similar water requirements, sizes, and temperaments. In this guide, we will explore some suitable companions for pineapple swordtail, helping you design a balanced and visually captivating aquarium community.

Appearance of the Pineapple Swordtail

The pineapple swordtail, scientifically known as Xiphophorus helleri, is a popular tropical fish species kept in aquariums. It’s a variation of the common swordtail fish. Pineapple swordtails are named for their distinctive coloration and markings, which resemble the appearance of a pineapple.

Here are some key characteristics of the pineapple swordtail:

  • Coloration: Pineapple swordtails have a bright and attractive coloration. Their body is typically a yellowish to golden color with a mottled pattern of black or brown patches, which gives them their pineapple-like appearance.
  • Swordtail: Like other swordtail fish, they have a characteristic elongated lower lobe on their caudal fin, which resembles a sword. This fin can be yellow or orange and adds to their appeal.

Pineapple swordtails are appreciated in the aquarium hobby for their unique and visually appealing appearance. Their distinctive coloration and swordtail fin make them a popular choice among hobbyists. Remember that, like all fish, they require proper care, including a suitable tank size, water quality, and a balanced diet to thrive in captivity.

Aquarium Setup

Setting up an aquarium for pineapple swordtails requires careful consideration of their habitat requirements. Here’s how you should set up their aquarium:

  • Tank Size: A 20-gallon (75 liters) aquarium is a good starting point for a small group of pineapple swordtails. If you plan to keep a larger group or include other fish, you may need a larger tank.
  • Filtration: Use a reliable aquarium filter to maintain water quality. Swordtails are sensitive to water quality, so regular water changes and a well-functioning filter are essential.
  • Heating: Maintain a stable water temperature in the range of 72-82°F (22-28°C). Use an aquarium heater to achieve this.
  • Lighting: Provide moderate to low lighting. Swordtails do not require intense lighting, but some live or artificial plants can provide hiding places and create a natural environment.
  • Substrate: Use fine gravel or sand as the substrate. Swordtails may occasionally nibble at the substrate, so avoid rough or sharp materials.
  • Decorations: Include live or artificial plants and driftwood to create a natural environment. Swordtails like hiding places, and these decorations can also provide some shelter for them.
  • Water Conditions: Maintain slightly alkaline water with a pH level of around 7.0-8.0. They prefer moderately hard water. Regularly test and adjust the water parameters as needed.
  • Aeration: Use an aquarium air pump and air stone for oxygenation. Adequate aeration is essential to maintain healthy water conditions.
  • Tank Mates: Pineapple swordtails are peaceful. Avoid pairing them with fin-nipping fish, and choose compatible tank mates like mollies, platies, guppies, and other community fish.
  • Maintenance: Perform regular water changes (about 20% of the tank volume) every 2-4 weeks to keep the water quality pristine. Vacuum the substrate during water changes to remove debris.
  • Diet: Provide a varied diet, including high-quality flake food, pellets, and occasional treats like frozen or live foods. Swordtails are omnivorous, so include both plant matter and protein in their diet.
  • Breeding Setup: If you plan to breed pineapple swordtails, consider a separate breeding tank with plants or spawning mops for fry to hide in.

Remember to monitor water quality, temperature, and the health of your pineapple swordtail regularly. Maintaining a stable and clean environment is crucial to their well-being and longevity in the aquarium.

Tank Mates

Pineapple swordtails are generally peaceful community fish and can coexist with a variety of tank mates. When selecting tank mates for pineapple swordtail fish, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Similar Water Requirements: Choose fish that share similar water temperature, pH, and hardness requirements. This will help maintain a stable and harmonious environment in the aquarium.
  • Size Compatibility: Avoid tank mates that are significantly larger or smaller than the pineapple swordtails, as size disparities can lead to aggression or predation.
  • Non-Aggressive Species: Select non-aggressive fish to avoid conflicts. Aggressive or fin-nipping fish can stress out pineapple swordtails, especially males with their prominent tail fin.
  • Swimming Level: Choose fish that occupy different levels of the aquarium. Pineapple swordtails typically stay in the mid-to-upper areas of the tank, so having bottom-dwelling or surface-dwelling species can create a visually dynamic tank.
  • Species Compatibility: Research the specific requirements and temperament of potential tank mates to ensure they are compatible. Here are some good tank mates for pineapple swordtails:
  • Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus): These are closely related livebearers and make excellent companions. They have similar care requirements and come in a variety of colors.
  • Mollies (Poecilia spp.): Mollies are another type of livebearer and are generally compatible with pineapple swordtails. They come in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Guppies (Poecilia reticulata): Guppies are small and colorful fish that coexist well with swordtails. Just ensure that you have enough females to balance out the males to avoid harassment.
  • Tetras: Peaceful tetras like neon tetras, ember tetras, or rummy nose tetras can add a splash of color to the aquarium and coexist peacefully with swordtails.
  • Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling catfish are peaceful and can help keep the substrate clean. They are a good choice to complement swordtails.
  • Swordtail Varieties: Different varieties of swordtails (including other color morphs) can be compatible with pineapple swordtails. Just be mindful of any potential hybridization if you plan to breed them.

Remember to monitor the behavior of tank mates and be prepared to separate or rehome any fish that display aggression or harassment. Providing ample hiding places and maintaining proper water quality are key to ensuring a harmonious community aquarium.


In the world of aquarium keeping, the selection of compatible tank mates plays a pivotal role in the well-being of your aquatic pets. Pineapple swordtails, with their charming appearance and amiable disposition, offer a canvas on which to create a captivating underwater world. By carefully choosing tank mates that align with their needs and characteristics, you can establish an ecosystem that not only showcases the beauty of your pineapple swordtail but also promotes the overall health and harmony of your aquarium. Always remember to provide proper care, monitor interactions, and maintain water quality to ensure the longevity and happiness of your fish community. With the right companions, your aquarium can become a thriving, vibrant, and fascinating aquatic microcosm.