A basic guide to keeping Pencilfish.

Geographical origin

South America

Aquarium condition requirements for your Pencilfish

Minimum aquarium size - a minimum tank size of 24 x 12 x 12inches (600mm x 300mm x 300mm) is preferable.

Temperature - generally between 20o-26oC 68o-80oF.Habitat: These fish are found in slow moving ‘back waters’ that are full of plants. A well planted aquarium is beneficial. One species (Nannostomus trifasciatus) has males that tend to be territorial, so plenty of cover is needed. Pencilfish are not plant eaters. All species of tropical plant are acceptable in the aquarium.

Water parameters- Pencilfish are found in soft acid waters but most will readily adapt to hard alkaline water. Nannostomus espei should only be kept in soft acid water.

Pencilfish behaviour with other fish

Pencilfish prefer small slow moving tank mates and are not happy when boisterous fish are around. As they are small fish, they need to be with other small species.

Pencilfish diet

They will readily accept all manner of live, frozen and dried flake foods.

Pencilfish health

Not generally noted for having health problems. Only select fish that are alert and swimming with fins erect. Inspect closely for signs of disease. Reject lethargic, damaged or hollow-bellied specimens.

Habitat - freshwater tropical aquarium

Sociability - good but keep with fish of similar size and calm temperament

Care - easy

The Pet Owners Association are grateful to the Federation of British Aquatic Societies for the above information and image.