The tetras of the genus Nannostomus, called pencil fish because of their somewhat stiff swimming style reminiscent of traveling zeppelins, have been among the most popular ornamental fish for decades. They are very beautiful, usually peaceful and remain small. Three species swim at an angle with their heads up: Nannostomus eques, N. britzkii and N. unifasciatus. While N. britzkii has never been imported in numbers, the other two are commonplace in the ornamental fish market. They are extremely widespread (Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana states) and occur in large numbers. However, there are distinct color differences locally. The variant of N. eques from Peru, which we present here, differs clearly by the coloration of the anal and caudal fin from the conspecifics exported from Brazil (Rio Negro drainage) (see https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/nannostomus-eques-and-n-unifasciatus-two-odd-birds/).
Nannostomus eques is a very peaceful species, which is always a real eye-catcher due to its unusual swimming style. You should always keep these fish in a group of 10-20 specimens, because they are very social and always stay close to conspecifics in the aquarium.
For our customers: the animals have code 271804 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Nannostomus, also known as pencil fish, propel through the aquarium like small, colorful zeppelins. The unusual, somewhat stiff-looking swimming style makes them unique in the colorful world of tetras. There are quite a few species of Nannostomus-species, but the Red Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi), which grows up to 6.5 cm long (but appears smaller due to its slender body shape), is the species best suited for community aquariums. Usually it grows only 5 cm long.
Important for Nannostomus beckfordi, which originates from the central regions of the Amazon basin and Guyana (the photos show bred ones), is a calm fish community, so that it can develop fully. It prefers to swim in the middle and upper water layers. The males in courtship mood are completely different colored than the females, otherwise they can be recognized by the higher amount of red in the fins and the differently shaped anal fin. A water temperature of 24-26°C suits them best.
For our customers: the fish have code 271513 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Finally we could import one of the smallest fish species of the Amazon basin again: Nannostomus anduzei. They stay – including the tail fin – usually smaller than 2 cm. Our current import came via Manaus, so they are Brazilian animals; the specimens on which the original description was based came from the department Amazonas in Venezuela. Optically there is no difference between the Venezuelan and Brazilian animals. A detailed breeding report about these minature fish can be found here: https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/nannostomus-anduzei/
For our customers: the animals have code 271352 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
The Blackstripe pencilfish has been described from Guyana scientifically back in 1909. Here he fish inhabits exclusively the Demerara river basin. The beautiful species attains a maximum length of 4.5 cm and is very peaceful. Formerly the fish was placed in a separate genus, namely Poecilobrycon, due to the long snout. In the meantime the genus Poecilobrycon is considered to be a synonym of Nannostomus. Males differ from the females by the shape of the anal fin. Moreover this fin has a high degree of red coloration in males which is lacking in females.
There is a certain similarity between Nannostomus unifasciatus and N. harrisoni; in contrast to N. unifasciatus N. harrisoni does not swim in a head-up position as N. unifasciatus regulary does. So a confusion of living fish should be excluded.
After many years we can offer now this beauty again. The fish are wild collected ones from Guyana.
For our customers: the animal has code 272004 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Two species of pencilfish from Peru are very famous for their brillant red coloration: N. mortenthaleri and N. rubrocaudatus. Despite their small size – they become only 3-4 cm long – one should never underestimate their aggressivness. Especially N. mortenthaleri can become quite a problem for other small fishes in small tanks. So it is strongly recommended to keep these small fish in comparatively large tanks that allow other fish to avoid the attacks of the pencilfish. Given this one will enjoy a lot the wonderful Nannostomus.
Currently we have very nice wild collected N. rubrocaudatus in stock. The fish are about 3 cm long and full in colour.
For our customers: the fish have code 272264 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Only very rarely we obtain assorted „goldtetras“ in numbers. An exception of that rule is, however, „the“ gold tetra, Hyphessobrycon saizi (usually traded under the wrong name H. eos). But basically every tetra can become a golden one – they are only hard to find.
We now received from Peru large, fully mature golden Nannostomus trifasciatus. The golden colour is a reaction of the skin, caused by an overcomed infection with a parasite; so the strongness of the golden shine differs individually and the offspring of golden fish look absolutely normal – no gold at all. Golden tetras have no disadvantage against normal coloured conspecifics in an aquarium.
In the wild this is totally different. The parasite that causes the golden shine must find its way in the intestines of a fish-eating bird to develop and to reproduce. Until a golden tetra is eaten by a bird the parasite stays in an inactive state. The chance that such a golden fish is preyed on is much bigger than for a normal coloured fish, which is camouflaged when looked at from top. So the golden animals are under a much higher pressure to be prayed on than normal ones and this is most probably the reason why ornamental fish collectors usually cannot find them in numbers.
For our customers: the fish have code 272315 on our stocklist.Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer