Will Swordtail Fish Eat Shrimps? 4 tips to keep them together

Will swordtails eat shrimps?

Swordtail fish are very nice and active fish to have in your aquarium, they could grow up to 5.5 inches to 6 inches. Although they do clean tanks by eating algae, sometimes they need to be supplemented with smaller animals that could help to keep the tank clean too by taking on the leftover foods at the bottom, and also adding more color and more activities to the tank. There are so many questions from aquarists asking, if Swordtails could eat Shrimp or if they could be able to live together. In this article, we will answer these questions.

Will Swordtail Fish eat Shrimp? Yes, Swordtail fish are omnivores, they are known to feed on smaller animals, especially crustaceans, and Shrimps could be easily killed and eaten by them.

Generally, fish are omnivores and scavengers too, meaning that they could eat anything they feel like, including smaller animals, plants, and vegetables too.

Swordtails although are small, could eat a lot of things, especially those animals that are smaller than them, and could easily fit in their mouth, such as baby shrimps, baby crayfish, etc.

The fact is, many aquarium shrimps are not up to 5-7 inches in size, so they are smaller than swordtails and would be nipped at by the fish until they become weak and die, and they will be eaten by the fish.

One funny thing about shrimps is, that although they are very useful, they are very weak and the weakest among crustaceans, and so will be an easy target for this type of fish.

Although Shrimps are bottom dwellers, while Swordtails are mid and surface dwellers, they will always come for them down to the bottom when they are hungry and feel like eating, and shrimps are way slower than fish making them easy targets for attacks by fish.

Talking about Shrimp getting eaten by Swordtails, the Shrimp fry or babies are the ones at the most risk of being eaten because they are small and could easily be swallowed by the fish.

Swordtail fish will eat any type of Shrimp, be it Cherry shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Ghost shrimp, etc.

Can Shrimps And Swordtail Fish Be Kept Together?

Will swordtails eat shrimps?

Yes, although Swordtails will try to eat them, if certain precautions are taken, they can live together.

Shrimps and Swordtails are both freshwater dwellers, and could certainly tolerate almost the same water conditions and quality.

Let us look at their characteristics.

Swordtail Fish Water Parameters And Characteristics

The male Swordtails have a sword-like tail extension and an anal fin, while the female has rounded tails

Adult Size Male Swordtail Adult Size: 5.5”
Female Swordtail Adult Size: 6”(an inch longer than males)

Water Condition Hard, Alkaline water(12-30dGH)

Water Temperature 65-80°F.

Tank Region Usually found dwelling along the mid and top section of the tank.

Tank Size At least 10- 15-gallon per fish (45L) or larger.

Food Omnivorous (Algea, Bloodworms, Baby shrimps, etc.)

Lifespan 3-5 years.

Temperament non-aggressive.

Shrimps Water Parameters And Characteristics

pH level range: 6.4 to 8.0, ideal range: 6.8 to 7.5.

Temperature range: 65° to 80° F.

Water type: kH 0-10; gH 4-14; TDS 80-200.

Temperature Non-aggressive.

If you watch their water parameters and temperament closely, you will find out that they could certainly live in the same tank and will still be okay, that’s if the fish decides to maintain its lane, which we will discuss very soon in this article.

Although they could eat Shrimps when they have the opportunity, they are still suitable and could live together in a tank, that’s if the correct precautions are taken anyway!.

How To Keep Shrimps And Swordtail Fish Together

From the above, you must have learned that Swordtails could eat Shrimps, so this is why many aquarists don’t keep them together, but there are methods or tips you could use to keep them in the same tank. They are:

1. Keeping them in a planted tank: The fact is, live plants do serve many purposes in the tank such as aeration, chemical reduction, hiding places, food, and shelter.

Plants are very beneficial to both shrimps and Swordtails, and in this case, it is more beneficial to Shrimps because they will use those plants as hiding places to escape from attacks and hide from the fish too.

Although Swordtails will try to pick on the plants, I will advise you to get those hard and bitter plants, so that they will keep off. Plants like Java Fern will do.

2. Get more Shrimps than Swordtails: This is another strategy to keep them together and it works.

The idea is to let the number of these crustaceans far outnumber the fish, to intimidate the fish.

This is because, once their number is far more than that of the fish, the fish will be intimidated and will learn to avoid them.

3. Another strategy that works is to keep them with the type of Shrimps that are bigger than they are or at least the same size as them.

One of the things Swordtails hate most is getting stressed, so, if they are kept with Shrimps that are bigger than them or the same size as them, such as the Bamboo shrimps, etc, they won’t bother them because the size will intimidate them, and force them to stay on their lane since they only kill and eat what they could easily kill.

4. Use a tank divider to separate both creatures in your tank.

This sounds like the safest method of keeping these two different aquatic animals together in a tank.

By so doing, both won’t have the opportunity to get to each other, and they will be forced to maintain their lane and mind their business.

What Fish Will Not Eat Shrimp?

You might feel disappointed knowing that Swordtail fish do eat Shrimp, so to help you more, here are some of the fish that don’t eat Shrimp.

#1 — Guppies. Guppies and shrimp can be placed in the same aquarium.

#2 — Celestial Pearl Danio.

#3 — Ember Tetras.

#4 — Endler’s Livebearers.

#5 — Pygmy Corydoras.

#6 — Harlequin Rasboras.

#7 — Sparkling Gourami.

#9 — Kuhli Loach.


Although Swordtails could eat Shrimps, if you follow the tips I gave above, you could be able to keep them together.

So Good luck.