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Pencilfish..

Discussion in 'South American Tank Mates' started by JasonC, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. JasonC

    JasonC Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi,

    So I was curious if anyone has tried N. eques in their apisto tanks? They seem to be the most reasonably priced of the pencilfish for using as a dither and I was wondering if anyone has had issues in the past with them not being suitable due to activity levels, or egg/fry predation? I had checked on TomC's site, which I love for sourcing this type of info, but there was no "personal experience" with this species.

    While I am at it, anyone have issues with Malasian Trumpet snails vs eggs, or will these be fine for stirring my substrate in a breeding tank?

    Thanks!
  2. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I have kept N. eques in breeding tanks many times. They are long-lived for a pencilfish (over 5 years), not really active unless chased and then able to avoid attackers, and they orient their mouth AWAY from fry on the bottom of the tank. To me, they are an ideal dither/target fish.
  3. wethumbs

    wethumbs Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I use N. eques at dither fish. I have lost a few of them to Pelvicachromis when they venture too far down. Even though they orient their mouth upward, more often than not, they will chase after food as it falls towards the bottom. Just make sure to provide them some floating plants as cover.
  4. mummymonkey

    mummymonkey Member 5 Year Member

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    I use them all the time too. I also have some N. eques babies just now as it happens. :)
  5. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    Same as the others they are a good dither, and really interesting fish.
    No MTS are entirely Apistogramma safe, I have them in all the tanks.

    cheers Darrel
  6. gerald

    gerald Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Darrel, That's good to know MTS snails (Melanoides) dont eat Apisto eggs. I was wondering too. Has anybody observed otherwise?
    On the subject of snails and fish eggs, has anyone had egg-predation trouble with the other 3 genera of common fast-reproducing aquarium snails?

    1. small red/brown ramshorns (Planorbis)
    2. left-handed pond snails (Physa, Physella)
    3. right-handed pond snails (Lymnaea).

    Pencilfish: N.eques or any of the "diptail" pencils are great with Apistos, with tall/floating plants or branches near the surface for cover. The only pencil I'd be careful of is mortenthaleri (coral) which can be surprisingly aggressive and might (I'm guessing) be prone to eating fry of small Apistos, Taeniacara, ramirezi, or others with weak fry-guarding skills. Corals should be fine with the bigger Apistos, Nannacara, altispinosa, westies, ...
  7. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I think Planorbis are fine as well, I have a few in with the A. cacatuoides, but they show really rapid shell erosion, and I can only keep them going by continually adding new specimens. I have Physa in some tanks as well, but they have never established themselves, possibly because the Apistogramma eat them? or possibly it is a pH and/or calcium issue.

    cheers Darrel
  8. aquaticclarity

    aquaticclarity Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    pH and calcium levels play a HUGE role in snail shell development and their over all health. Even adding liquid plant fertilizers to a soft water tank will improve many snail's shell development. They can go from easy to crush shells to hurt your fingers hard in a very short time.
  9. Apistomaster

    Apistomaster Member 5 Year Member

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    Nannostomus beckfordi is the least trustworthy of the Pencilfish in an Apistogramma breeding tank. They act more like many of the other popular small Tetras than typical Pencils. Nannostomus eques are my preferred species like many of the others have said.
    N. mortenthaleri has intense inraspecific aggression and requires very soft acid water, preferably black water and allow them much more space than you would normally provide most other species of Pencilfish.

    @mummymonkey,
    I have a question. Did your N. eques fry appear in a dither type set up or did you give them their own breeding tank?
    I had about 23 N. eques in my planted 125 gal Tetra tank and despite virtually complete coverage I still have had about half of mine jump out most likely near the wet/dry filter over flow siphon. I have ten Dicrossus filamentosus in this display type tank.
  10. tjudy

    tjudy Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I use the N. eques as dithers for a lot of different species... not just apistos. Need any? Send me a PM....
  11. john03

    john03 New Member

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  12. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I'm sorry to read this. I rarely have jumping fish, but my tank have a cover of floating plants plus full covers. My guess is that something is picking on the N. eques. They are usually slow moving fish, but when the need arises they can really swim fast and jump. What other species are with these pencilfish? And... welcome to the forum.
  13. Apistomaster

    Apistomaster Member 5 Year Member

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    Most of the N. eques that jump out do so within the first month. Then they seem to settle down quite a bit but as long as there are any openings the risk is always present. Best to plug all openings as best you can to minimize losses due to jumping out.
  14. __CAV__

    __CAV__ New Member

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    Just a quick question but have anyone had issues with using Melafix/tea tree oils/melaleuca branches with pencilfish species?