can someone sell me on the pencilfish?

Electric Warrior

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Hi, so I am looking at some kind of mid - top level characin type fish for my tank, and I already have quite a few tetras, so I have been thinking about pencilfish. I have always wanted the coveted coral reds, but I am just not okay with paying £20+ each for one. I've paid stupid money for a single angelfish or discus before, but the thought of paying that much for a pencilfish makes me very uneasy. Who here keeps pencilfish, and what's your honest opinion on them? The place I usually get my fish from has corals, dwarf, and beckfordi right now, although I do know that there are more types. Would they make a good addition to a SA tank? My other thought is possibly another larger tetra like bleeding hearts or something, or possibly some headstanders, but the pencilfish is something that I am interested in learning more about.
 

seangee

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I have n.marginatus (https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/nannostomus-marginatus/) in my SA tank. Got them from MAQ at a good price some time ago. In fairness they were mislabelled in the store, they were sold as n.trifasciatus. N.beckfordi can also often be found at reasonable prices. Thing is they are best in groups of 10+ and even more. At £20 a pop that's a bit eye watering, especially as they are just boring characins. OK I don't think they are boring, but many would not see the point of an SA tank where the major highlight is 40+ cardinal tetras.

I am quite keen on adding a group of n.eques but haven't seen those on sale in the UK for ages.
 

CassCats

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I think the golden pencil fish are gorgeous and make really good additions to blackwater sa tanks.


If looking for a larger flashy tetra for a larger tank setup, emperors are good
 
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Electric Warrior

Electric Warrior

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I have n.marginatus (https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/nannostomus-marginatus/) in my SA tank. Got them from MAQ at a good price some time ago. In fairness they were mislabelled in the store, they were sold as n.trifasciatus. N.beckfordi can also often be found at reasonable prices. Thing is they are best in groups of 10+ and even more. At £20 a pop that's a bit eye watering, especially as they are just boring characins. OK I don't think they are boring, but many would not see the point of an SA tank where the major highlight is 40+ cardinal tetras.

I am quite keen on adding a group of n.eques but haven't seen those on sale in the UK for ages.
That fish you linked looks really similar to the dwarf pencilfish, right (beckfordi)? The fins look a little different but the body colours looks the same? My local Maidenhead closed a few months ago, so I have no local shop anymore (the two private shops are also gone now), which is a bummer for a larger city). I don't have a car and the bus journey to the other nearest one at Dobbies is 5+ miles/1 hr., and because of Covid and being on furlough, all of the fish I've bought the last year have been delivered. The place I always use only has the dwarf, the coral, and the beckfordi. I am not really concerned if people consider then 'boring' looking, but are they boring to observe in the aquarium, because that's what I am more concerned with. Yeah, compared to a huge shoal of tetras, they might not be as visually stunning, but if they are interesting, then I might consider them.
 
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Electric Warrior

Electric Warrior

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I think the golden pencil fish are gorgeous and make really good additions to blackwater sa tanks.


If looking for a larger flashy tetra for a larger tank setup, emperors are good
Lol, I actually have purple emperors right now. I had an outbreak of ich last year that I got from some new rummy nose, and it killed the majority of the emperors, but 6 managed to hang on. A pair of those bred, now I have 19 of them, and judging by what I have seen today, it looks like there is going to be more spawning occurring. I actually didn't know I had fry in the tank, and then a month ago, my 90 gallon sprung a leak, and I had to frantically tear it down and move the fish. Only then did I discover the emperor fry, and (after about 4 hours) I managed to get them all out. I counted something like 25 or so fry, and after moving everything into my qt tank, I've managed to keep 12 of them alive and grown out. If only my rummy's could breed because I only have 6 left; I've been too traumatised to get more yet!
 
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CassCats

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Lol, I actually have purple emperors right now. I had an outbreak of ich last year that I got from some new rummy nose, and it killed the majority of the emperors, but 6 managed to hang on. A pair of those bred, now I have 19 of them, and judging by what I have seen today, it looks like there is going to be more spawning occurring. I actually didn't know I had fry in the tank, and then a month ago, my 90 gallon sprung a leak, and I had to frantically tear it down and move the fish. Only then did I discover the emperor fry, and (after about 4 hours) I managed to get them all out. I counted something like 25 or so fry, and after moving everything into my qt tank, I've managed to keep 12 of them alive and grown out. If only my rummy's could breed because I only have 6 left; I've been too traumatised to get more yet!
Oh no not purple Kerri emperors, I mean the real emperors, Nematobrycon palmeri
 

Colin_T

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Pencilfish are nice and peaceful. They don't cause problems but need to be kept in calm tanks without boisterous fishes. A single species tank is best and allows them to breed without any harassment from other species. The do alright in a mixed community tank too as long as nothing picks on them.
 
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Electric Warrior

Electric Warrior

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Pencilfish are nice and peaceful. They don't cause problems but need to be kept in calm tanks without boisterous fishes. A single species tank is best and allows them to breed without any harassment from other species. The do alright in a mixed community tank too as long as nothing picks on them.
Hmmm, I have a bunch of angels. They don’t bother any of the other fish (including my tetras) as they only pick on each other, but I wouldn’t say my tank is “calm.”
 

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