Details of all species referred to in these Fish Care Sheets can be found in the FBAS Booklet No 6 - National Show Fish Sizes. Click HERE for information.
Geographic Origin: South America
Common Names: Pencilfish
Compatibility: Prefer small slow moving tank mates.
Not happy when boisterous fish are around. As they are small
fish, they need to be with other small species.
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.
Water Parameters:These fish are found in soft acid waters but most will
readily adapt to hard alkaline water. This is often done at
the local shop.
Nannostomus espei should only be kept in soft acid water.
Health: Not generally noted for having health problems.
Diet: Their favourite food is newly hatched brine shrimp but, due to their size
and the amount they require, this is not an option. They will readily
accept all manner of live , frozen and dried flake foods.
Plants: Not plant eaters. All species of tropical plant are acceptable in the
Breeding Notes : In order to breed these fish, they need to be in soft, slightly
acid water. They are egg scatterers and will avidly eat any
eggs they can see. The use of Java Moss (Vesicularia
dubyana) as a spawning medium is beneficial. Parents must be
removed as soon as they have spawned.
Eggs hatch in 24 hours or so and the fry become free
swimming a day or so later. Fine foods are required.
Availability: Very a popular group of fishes, you may have to search out the
more uncommon species. Only select fish that are alert and
swimming with fins erect. Inspect closely for signs of disease.
Reject lethargic, damaged or hollow-bellied specimens.
Show Class: FBAS Show Class Cb
© FBAS 2007. PWC/RDE Fish Care Sheet 4 1/1