Beckford's Pencilfish

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Beckford's Pencilfish

Common name: Beckford's pencilfish, golden pencilfish

Scientific name: Nannostomus beckfordi

Distribution: Widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia as well as Indonesia and the Philippines.

Habitat: Shallow blackwater streams among dense root tangles and vegetation

Temperature: 76 - 82°F

pH: 6.0 - 8.2


Adult size: 1.5 inches

Diet: Unfussy omnivore that will readily take all sorts of dried, frozen, and live foods.

Conspecifics: Best kept in large schools of at least 6-10 to reduce nervousness and encourage natural behaviors. Mature males will frequently display and spar with each other, so a large group will also spread out any intraspecific aggression.

Tankmates: Very peaceful with other unaggressive community fish, and may be outcompeted or pushed around by very boisterous tankmates. An excellent dither fish for small New World cichlids, as they spend most of their time in the upper levels and rarely eat fry.

Notes: Like all pencilfish, Nannostomus beckfordi has the ability to completely change its pattern from horizontal stripes to vertical, splotchy bands at night. Males exhibit a number of competitive rituals, including fin-flashing and a form of sparring where two males will line up side-by-side and aggressively shimmy against each other. These fish should be kept in a densely planted aquarium‚ the cover will not only make them less timid, but offer losing males a place to escape aggression.

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