- Group: Freshwater
- Size: Small
- Temperament: Community
- Aquarium Size: Small
- Swimming Region(s): Mid-Range
- Suitable Tank Mates: Tetras, Barbs, Rasboras, Guppies, Mollies, Swordtails, Small Community Fish
- Difficulty Of Care: Weekly
Pencilfish General Description
The name Pencilfish is given to all of the species of freshwater fish belonging to the Nannostomus genus within the Lebiasinidae family. These fish are named for their slender, pencil-like shape and they generally grow no more than 2 inches long. They are peaceful by nature which makes them great additions to the community tank.
These fish are named for their slender, pencil-like shape and they generally grow no more than 2 inches long.
Pencilfish are native to the tributaries of the various river systems in South America.
Pencilfish generally exhibit gold or iridescent coloration on the body, often with one or more horizontal black stripes. Most also have some red, orange, or maroon coloration in their fins with splashes of color on the sides of the body as well.
Maintenance and Care
The Pencilfish is an easy breed to keep in the home aquarium because its tank requirements are easy to achieve. These fish prefer soft, slightly acidic water with a pH range between 5.5 and 7.0 and a temperature range between 72°F and 82°F. The tank should be decorated with plenty of live plants as well as driftwood and rockwork to provide hiding places. These fish are sensitive to high nitrate levels, so frequent water changes are necessary. It is also important to note that these fish are jumpers, so keep the tank covered.
The Pencilfish is an easy breed to keep in the home aquarium because its tank requirements are easy to achieve.
Pencilfish will accept a wide variety of foods in the home aquarium so be prepared to feed them a variety of high-quality commercial foods as well as fresh and frozen foods. These fish enjoy brine shrimp and other small live foods as well as algae wafers and some fresh vegetation.
In order to increase your chances for success, it is best to remove Pencilfish from the community tank for breeding. These fish are egg layers and they tend to scatter their eggs over plants. These fish will eat their own eggs and fry, so remove them from the tank after spawning.
There are currently 19 species of Pencilfish which have been identified but not all of them are common in the aquarium trade. The most popular species of Pencilfish for the home aquarium include the following: Golden Pencilfishes, Two-Stripe Pencilfishes, Brown Pencilfishes, Dwarf Pencilfishes, Shining Pencilfishes, Three-Stripe Pencilfishes, and One-Line Pencilfishes.
Photo credit: Mirko Rosenau Photography/Bigstock; Neryx/Bigstock