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Maximum size : 4 cm

Golden Pencilfish - Nannostomus beckfordi : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Golden Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi) are a stunning and peaceful species that thrive in biotope aquariums with their own kind. Although they are compatible with similarly sized fish in community tanks, they prefer to avoid larger or more aggressive tankmates. To create the perfect home for these delicate fish, a heavily planted aquarium with a dark substrate and sheltered areas are essential. Providing floating plants, driftwood branches and dried leaf litter will create the ideal habitat for Golden Pencilfish. Gentle filtration with an air-powered sponge filter is recommended to maintain stable water conditions. The elongated body of the Golden Pencilfish is a shimmering gold with a silvery band running along the middle of the flanks. A reddish band joins the silvery band above, while a blackish band is below, with a creamy-white underbelly. The fish display a distinctive black spot on the lower half of their gill covers and have a stunning red caudal fin.

Golden Pencilfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing male and female Golden Pencilfish is a relatively easy task. Males exhibit a more vibrant and intense coloration, in addition to possessing an enlarged, well-developed anal fin utilized during courtship and spawning. Their anal fin is also curved towards the back. Females, on the other hand, have a straight anal fin, a rounder body shape, and are less colourful than males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameNannostomus beckfordi
Year Described1872
Other NamesBeckford' s pencil fish, Brown Pencilfish.
OriginsGuyana Suriname Brazil Venezuela
Max Size4 cm
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 8.0
GH5 - 19
TDS18 - 268
69 - 80
20.6 - 26.7

Natural Habitat

Golden Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi) are a fascinating fish species, originating from the lush rivers and swampy areas of South America. Their natural habitats are often dense with aquatic vegetation, submerged bogwood and branches, and an abundance of leaf litter. You can find them in small, slow-moving rivers, swampy areas, and sluggish tributaries of the Amazon drainage in Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana, and Guyana. In the wild, Golden Pencilfish are known to be shy and prefer to stay hidden in the vegetation.
 Orinoco - Venezuela
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Golden Pencilfish are fascinating egg scatterers that require some effort to breed. While they don' t take care of their young, the adult fish will spawn naturally in a well-established aquarium, and some fry may survive. However, if you want to increase your chances of successfully breeding these fish, conditioning a large group with plenty of live food is recommended. To encourage spawning, select a pair or a group containing one or two males and several females, and place them in a small breeding tank with mature water and plenty of fine-leaved plants, plastic grass matting, or spawning mops. You can also use marbles or pebbles to line the bottom of a bare tank to prevent the parents from getting to the eggs. Maintain a dimly lit tank with neutral to slightly acidic water, and keep the temperature at the high end of their range. Add a small sponge air filter for circulation, and spawning should occur naturally. After spawning, remove the parents from the breeding tank and introduce Paramecium or green water to feed the fry. About three days later, the fry should become free-swimming and can be fed finely crushed flake food, microworms, or newly hatched brine shrimp once they are big enough.

Diet & feeding

Golden Pencilfish are not known to be selective eaters and will readily consume various types of food. While high-quality flake food is suitable as a staple diet, it is essential to supplement their diet with live or frozen food to ensure their nutritional needs are being met. Offering them foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, grindal worms, and tubifex will provide them with essential proteins and nutrients for optimal health and vitality.

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