Pencil fish (Nannostomus Eques) Care guide – Size, Life Span, Tank Mates, Breeding

Learn how to care for and feed a pencil fish

The pencil fish is scientifically known as Nannostomus Eques who is from South America. It is considered a species with peaceful behavior and is characterized by having the shape of a pencil, with a small and pointed head, a dorsal and anal fin located in front of the other. Inside the water they can measure between 5 to 7 centimeters so they require a large space and low lighting during the day.

Pencil fish

Natural habitat of pencil fish

Due to their wide commercialization, the coloration of pencil fish can vary depending on the origin of the specimens acquired. Those that are distributed within the trade usually have a golden hue next to an elongated stripe bordered in brown, which is what gives it its current name. This genre is recommended for beginners because of the little care they require.

It should be taken into account that due to their elongated thin body they do not withstand the abrasive change of water, so it is recommended to keep them in fresh water of tropical climate. In this way they will remain healthy and robust, depending on the care given to them since they are small they can live up to five years. In order for them to be freed from stress, they need to be surrounded by a lot of natural, fine and not very pointed vegetation.

The temperature for this species must be between 23 and 28 ° C, it must have a pH of 6 to 7 and a hardness that must range from 5 ° dGH to 10 ° dGH. To make them feel safe and comfortable while swimming it is advisable to have a peat filtration and if you have a filter try to make it one that generates medium currents so as not to hinder your trip.

General characteristics

Pencil fish come from the omnivore family so it receives all kinds of food. However, we must strive to have a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins so that their defenses always remain high. With a good diet your immune system will always be protected from any disease that in some cases can even cause death.

Care for pencil fish

The pencil fish is characterized by being a caracinoid, that is, it comes from the family of teleostormos since it does not have an adipose fin. It is native to South America and is used to living in fresh water, currently it has become a very popular species within home aquariums thanks to its striking color. To preserve it for many years requires special care for its correct development.

Basic care of pencil fish

Pencil fish are easy to breed, you just need to keep them in a fish tank full of fresh water with quite a bit of natural vegetation such as nooks and crannies, stones, logs, plants etc., so that they can feel comfortable while swimming. To prevent these fish from stressing the ground should be dark and it is best not to be exposed to too much light as their eyes are a bit sensitive to clarity.

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It is important to change the water from time to time to prevent this species from staining, care must be taken when doing so because they are not used to sudden changes. This will help prevent the accumulation of pests or bacteria that can make the fish sick. The temperature for the aquarium should be between 23 and 28 ° C along with a ph of 5 to 6, in addition to a dH between 5 to 10.

When buying a pencil fish in a pet store it is necessary to buy one specimen for every 60 l, at least you must have 6 of them since this genus usually lives in small groups. Inside the water it can reach a size of up to 7 centimeters so you need to opt for a tall aquarium that is surrounded by tall and thin leaves to facilitate swimming.

How to care for this species

For the fish to remain robust and with good energies it is necessary to keep it well fed. Being descended from the omnivore family, they can be given fish food which you can buy in any store near your home. Another healthy option is to give them live larvae of insects, shrimp, artemias, mosquitoes, crustaceans, among others.

Feeding the pencilf ish

Pencil fish come from the omnivore family so it easily adapts to flake dried foods, although the ideas are to have a balanced diet rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals to strengthen your immune system. In order for the fish to feed well without getting bored of the routine it is recommended to complete the diet with live foods such as artemia, daphia and tubifex. With this you will be able to have a healthy and robust species.

What do pencil fish eat?

Pencil fish have an organism that can easily digest food so they perfectly accept everything they are given. In nature they are insect-eating species so they usually eat artemia, daphnia, mosquito larvae, shrimp, crustaceans, insects, Drosophila, among other foods that help greater resistance.

This species has a very peaceful behavior so it appreciates the company of other fish of other genera. However, the most advisable thing is that they live with those of the same species since they are a little slow when swimming, this means that the consortium of others can steal advantage at the time of eating and can leave it without feeding.

It is necessary to vary the food to prevent the pencil fish from getting soaked and taking away the appetite, in addition it should be given in small portions at least three times a day since if it is given very often they can leave aside the food for lack of hunger. Food should be given as close as possible to prevent others from arriving and taking it away.

How to feed the pencil fish

To prevent food from being infected by bacteria or pests accumulated in the habitat it is important to clean it at least twice a week. With this you will prevent this species from getting sick with any infection. Remember that food is essential for the survival of fish since it is a source of life and health, if you follow the necessary guidelines it can live up to ten years without causing any problem.

Baby pencil fish

Pencil is the name of a freshwater fish from South America, it is easy to maintain since it does not need too much attention. For its correct development it is only necessary to keep it in an aquarium surrounded by tall plants, little pointed stones, nooks and crannies, trunks, etc. The sex of this genus can be clearly distinguished because males turn out to be thinner and more showy than females, despite this difference both are very preferred.

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How pencil fish reproduce

As for the reproduction of pencil fish we can mention that it is a bit complicated, this is because after laying their own species eats the eggs to meet their food need. To prevent this from happening it is necessary to raise the aquarium water to 30°C so that they flay under the large and thin leaves, especially so that they reach the surface in groups of three or four.

Once the laying is given, the eggs can be extracted separated from their parents and placed in another tank to ensure their survival, then you must wait for them to hatch within 24 hours. After this time the little fish are born which begins to swim in the next four days after their birth.

Another option to keep the future calf stable is to opt for a small tank that has a pH of 6.0 along with a hardness of 2°dGH and a temperature of 30°C to keep the water warm for the eggs. With this you will get the laying to be given on it instead of the leaves, in this case the laying can be given in groups of only four due to the space.

Tips for Successful Parenting

When the baby of the pencil fish is born, it is important to monitor them then at least for the first five days since their size does not fend for themselves. For successful breeding it is recommended to feed them with finely chopped egg yolk, rotifers,infusoria or artemia nauplii. This food will be enough to properly develop your body.

Types of pencil fish

Pencil fish is recommended for people who want to have their own aquarium at home, it is a species that does not need more care and is perfect for populating community aquariums because it is a fairly quiet species. It has the characteristic of living in groups of 6 to 10. It is also an animal of nocturnal habits that usually hides in its habitat throughout the day and goes out at night to feed.

What types of pencil fish exist

Within the family of pencil fish there are other types of the same species among them, we find: three-banded pencil fish, tubular mouth pencil fish, tube pencil fish and the golden pencil fish. Below, we will know more about each one.

  • Three-banded pencil fish: this species can live up to three years. It is characterized by having an elongated body, at night its color becomes darker and loses its intense cream coloration. It has three bands above the black body that go from the mouth to the caudal fin.
  • Golden pencil fish: it is native to South American rivers so it is used to living in fresh water. Inside an aquarium they can measure up to 16 centimeters, their body is thin and elongated, it has several teeth and its mouth is located towards the top.
  • Tube pencil fish: measures approximately 5 centimeters in length, has a wide variety of beautiful colors that stand out in the aquarium and are of amazonian type. For its correct development it must live in a conditioned according to its needs.

Recommendations to take care of your types

Before opting for a pencil fish it is necessary to know some guidelines so as not to fail in the attempt. For them to live healthily the aquarium must have abundant natural vegetation such as tall plants, little pointed stones, among others so that they can release their stress. It must also have enough water depending on the number of specimens you have and give you special products so that they can have an adequate diet, while strengthening their immune system.

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Ideal aquariums for pencil fish

Fish are small animals that can become your best company of the human being, if you want to have your own aquarium at home your best option is the pencil fish. This species is characterized by having a peaceful behavior and appreciates the company of other genera, however for its correct development it is important to choose an aquarium that meets its needs.

Fish tanks for pencil fish

Now you can find fish tanks of different sizes and styles for your pencil fish, in this case the ideal is to opt for one that is high and wide so that they can swim to their liking during the night. Most of these fish usually swim with their heads obliquely, that is, all the time they see down, so you should not place heavy or pointed objects since you can hurt some of their fins.

If you want to have this type of species in your aquarium you need to know that they request a large fish tank to be comfortable, especially when it comes time for egg reproduction. The temperature should be between 24 and 28 ° C since they do not resist sudden changes, in addition the water must have a pH of 6 to 7 and must be soft at least 8 to 10 dGh.

If you want to decorate the perfect aquarium, but make sure it has plenty of vegetation such as rocks, auks, tall plants and non-heavy trunks that allow the pencilfish to hide and feed properly. It is also important to know that the stratum for this type of species should be dark with fairly light lighting so that they have more confidence in going out during the day.

Elements that the fish tank must have

The fish tank for this genus must contain light elements to prevent them from colliding with an object and being injured. In addition, the water must be fresh with a tropical climate to keep the body of the fish in a suitable environment, in this way it is even possible that the pencils are less aggressive or that they are easily stressed.