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Pencil Fish ID

Sowah

New Member
Hi there. I have been looking for pencil fish as dither for my wc apistogramma cacatuoides. Finally my lfs has got something other than beckfordi but they are unsure of the ID. It would be grateful if someone could identify the species for me, I’m suspecting it’s unifasciatus. Thank you.
 

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Sowah

New Member
My guess would be N. eques, but better to look at them out of the bag when they've had a little time to settle in.
Thank you for your reply. I asked the owner if it’s N. Eques but he said it isn’t. I guess I’ll have to go in personally next week to confirm the species, thank you for your input.
 

Sowah

New Member
Hi all,

I think they are N. eques, N. unifasciatus doesn't have brown dots on the scales.

cheers Darrel
Thanks Darrel. Just an additional question, do they both swim in an oblique position? I’ll show some more pics once I go in next week. Cheers
 

Tom C

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
- You seem to have Nannostomus eques in your bag.
This is one of mine:

resizeimage.aspx

---I asked the owner if it’s N. Eques but he said it isn’t.
If they were exported from Peru, they often have the label Poecilobrycon auratus (which is an old name from 1909!). Maybe the owner of your LFS had that name, or similar? They sometimes also are labelled as Nannobrycon.

- I think I also see another species in your bag. In Nannostomus eques pigmentation of primary horizontal stripe is frequently confined to center of each scale, producing a spotted appearance. But I see fishes in your bag with a solid primary horizontal stripe.
They are probably Nannostomus unifasciatus.
This is one of mine:

resizeimage.aspx


This is completely normal, since these two species often are found and collected together.
This is what I got in the net when I collected in a small lake in the Rio Guaviare drainage in Colombia in 2017:

resizeimage.aspx


Nannostomus eques and Nannostomus unifasciatus often live together in the wild, they are collected together, and often exported together.:)

Looking forward to more photos from you.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
I think that's mostly it. Also, they live with apistos in nature. The smaller rasboras probably also aren't a threat to the fry, but you'd be mixing geographical regions. Some people care about that, others don't. I personally think pencil fish behavior is more interesting than tetras or rasboras, but that is of course subjective.
 

Samala

Member
I also prefer the behavior from pencilfish. Plus, since I've usually had smaller tanks, I like being able to include a non-schooling fish and keep bioload very low.

Pencilfish are also incredibly tough. A current beckfordi female has twice survived jumping from the tank, a broken filter low oxygen event, moving across the country and the state, hurricane power outages of several days, and many rounds of grumpy brooding cichlids.

The beckfordi and marginatus I've had over the years seem to never get sick and they love the same foods as the Apistos. If it weren't for the occasional bratty male, I'd call them perfect companions.
 

Sowah

New Member
- You seem to have Nannostomus eques in your bag.
This is one of mine:

resizeimage.aspx


If they were exported from Peru, they often have the label Poecilobrycon auratus (which is an old name from 1909!). Maybe the owner of your LFS had that name, or similar? They sometimes also are labelled as Nannobrycon.

- I think I also see another species in your bag. In Nannostomus eques pigmentation of primary horizontal stripe is frequently confined to center of each scale, producing a spotted appearance. But I see fishes in your bag with a solid primary horizontal stripe.
They are probably Nannostomus unifasciatus.
This is one of mine:

resizeimage.aspx


This is completely normal, since these two species often are found and collected together.
This is what I got in the net when I collected in a small lake in the Rio Guaviare drainage in Colombia in 2017:

resizeimage.aspx


Nannostomus eques and Nannostomus unifasciatus often live together in the wild, they are collected together, and often exported together.:)

Looking forward to more photos from you.
Thank you Tom for your reply. It is very detailed, I often have a hard time distinguishing these two. May I also ask how do you sex nannostomus eques, from what I've read the male is slender and has a larger anal fin.
Would it be preferred to get 1-2 male then the rest female if I am planning to get 7-10 of them? Would the male show aggression between each other?
Cheers
 

Sowah

New Member
I also prefer the behavior from pencilfish. Plus, since I've usually had smaller tanks, I like being able to include a non-schooling fish and keep bioload very low.

Pencilfish are also incredibly tough. A current beckfordi female has twice survived jumping from the tank, a broken filter low oxygen event, moving across the country and the state, hurricane power outages of several days, and many rounds of grumpy brooding cichlids.

The beckfordi and marginatus I've had over the years seem to never get sick and they love the same foods as the Apistos. If it weren't for the occasional bratty male, I'd call them perfect companions.
Do you have any experience of keeping Tucanoichthys Tucano or ruby tetra with apistogramma. I read they are nice dither fish as well but the tucanos cost around 13USD per fish in my country.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Do you have any experience of keeping Tucanoichthys Tucano or ruby tetra with apistogramma. I read they are nice dither fish as well but the tucanos cost around 13USD per fish in my country.

Just followed an acquaintance setting up a species tank for Tucanos. She bought wild caught specimens, that were so small at the time of purchase I can imagine Apistogramma finding them the right size to be edible. So if chosing Tucanos I would only buy after personal assessment of the fish. Otherwise this could end up as buying very expensive live food. Same goes for the Ruby Tetra. Fully grown specimens I would assume safe for both sides, tetras and eventual Apisto fry.
 

Sowah

New Member
Just followed an acquaintance setting up a species tank for Tucanos. She bought wild caught specimens, that were so small at the time of purchase I can imagine Apistogramma finding them the right size to be edible. So if chosing Tucanos I would only buy after personal assessment of the fish. Otherwise this could end up as buying very expensive live food. Same goes for the Ruby Tetra. Fully grown specimens I would assume safe for both sides, tetras and eventual Apisto fry.
Thank you, in this case I will not consider them. I guess if you introduce both Tucanos and apistogramma together when they are still in juvenile stage would be possible.
 

Tom C

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
.... May I also ask how do you sex nannostomus eques, from what I've read the male is slender and has a larger anal fin.
Would it be preferred to get 1-2 male then the rest female if I am planning to get 7-10 of them? Would the male show aggression between each other?
Yes, normally the males are significantly more slender. The males' modified anal fin can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from the females'. In some populations, however, the males' anal fins are clearly longer and have much more color than the females'.
Nannostomus eques can be a bit picky when it comes to choosing a partner, so the most important is to have more than one of each sex, if you want to try to produce more of them.
They may quarrel a little with each other, but nothing serious.

.... Do you have any experience of keeping Tucanoichthys Tucano or ruby tetra with apistogramma
Ruby tetra, Axelrodia riesei, are super dithers. I have more than 20 of them in a 160 liter tank, for the moment with Apistogramma sp. "D45".
It is possible that they take a few, unguarded newly hatched fry, but hundreds of fry have grown up in that tank, so they are not a problem. And very beautiful!

resizeimage.aspx
 

Sowah

New Member
Yes, normally the males are significantly more slender. The males' modified anal fin can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from the females'. In some populations, however, the males' anal fins are clearly longer and have much more color than the females'.
Nannostomus eques can be a bit picky when it comes to choosing a partner, so the most important is to have more than one of each sex, if you want to try to produce more of them.
They may quarrel a little with each other, but nothing serious.


Ruby tetra, Axelrodia riesei, are super dithers. I have more than 20 of them in a 160 liter tank, for the moment with Apistogramma sp. "D45".
It is possible that they take a few, unguarded newly hatched fry, but hundreds of fry have grown up in that tank, so they are not a problem. And very beautiful!

resizeimage.aspx
Thanks Tom for the very detailed reply, in this case I’ll just get a number of them, I’m sure I’ll get a mixed sex.
Happy to know ruby tetras are good dithers as well, I guess that will be my next dither fish to keep then as they are easier to get hold of from where I live. I have seen them in the shop, they do tend to stay in the mid to bottom level so I won’t be surprised they can pick the new born.
Cheers
 
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