Designed around upon the FBAS comprehensive list of commonly-kept species, these Care Sheets are categorised as those found in FBAS Show Classes.

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.


                                  Pencilfish          01/02/2001

Genera: Nannostomus

Family: Characidae

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
) 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

      Download this Care Sheet                                    Photographs

Aquarium Management Care Sheets
Fish Care Sheet Index
Pond Care Sheet Index

Last updated October 2016