Max Size: 4cm

Golden Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi)

Golden Pencilfish is a slow-moving, relatively peaceful species that do best with six or more of their own kind in a biotope setting. You can house them in a community tank environment with similarly sized fish, but they will not fight with more extensive or boisterous tankmates.

The Golden Pencilfish sports an elongated body that is gold with a silvery band along the middle of the flanks joined above by a reddish band, and below by a blackish band with a creamy-white underbelly.

It displays a black spot on the lower half of its gill covers and has a red caudal fin.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameNannostomus beckfordi
Other NamesBeckford's pencil fish, Brown Pencilfish.
OriginsBrazil, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela
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℃

Photos of the Golden Pencilfish

Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish Sparring
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish
Golden Pencilfish

Natural Habitat

The Golden Pencilfish originate from French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and the eastern Amazon drainage in Para and Amapa states in Brazil. You can also find them in the Rio Madeira, in the lower and middle Amazon, upstream to the lower Rio Orinoco and Rio Negro in Venezuela in South America.

They inhabit small slow-moving rivers, swampy areas, and sluggish tributaries that are densely vegetated with aquatic plants and have submerged bogwood and branches and an abundance of leaf litter.


What to feed the Golden Pencilfish

Golden Pencil fish are not fussy eaters and will accept most foods offered. In the home aquarium, they can be fed high quality dried crushed flake but should be given daily portions of live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods such as Moina, brine shrimp, daphnia, grindal worms or tubifex.

How to sex the Golden Pencilfish

It is relatively straightforward to distinguish males from females. Males have an enlarged, well developed anal fin which is used in courtship and spawning and are more intensely coloured than females as well as having a curved posterior anal fin. In contrast, the female's anal fin is straight, and they are less colourful and are noticeably more round-bodied than males.

How to breed the Golden Pencilfish

Golden Pencilfish are egg scatterers that do not care for their young. Adults in an established aquarium will often spawn without any intervention and in a densely planted tank, some fry can appear and may survive.

If you intend on increasing the yield of fry, you should condition a large group with live plenty of live foods. Once the fish have been prepared, select a single pair, or a group containing one or two males and several females. It would be better to put them in a small breeding tank with mature water and plenty of fine-leaved plants, plastic grass matting that is sometimes used for egg scatterers or spawning mops. Alternatively, you can line the bottom of a bare tank with marbles or pebbles that will allow eggs to fall to the bottom but prevent the parents from getting to them.

It would be best if you kept the tank dimly lit, the water neutral to slightly acidic, and the temperature at the high end of their range. Provide a small sponge air filter into the tank for circulation, and spawning should begin.

After spawning occurs, remove the parents from the breeding tank and introduce Paramecium or green water into the tank.

About three days later, the fry should become free-swimming. When the fry is big enough, feed them finely crushed flake food, microworms, or newly hatched brine shrimp.

Other Pencilfish of interest

Barred Pencilfish(Nannostomus espei)
Coral Red Pencilfish(Nannostomus mortenthaleri)
Dwarf Pencilfish(Nannostomus marginatus)
Hockeystick Pencilfish(Nannostomus eques)
Purple Pencilfish(Nannostomus rubrocaudatus)
Three Lined Pencilfish(Nannostomus trifasciatus)
View all Pencilfish
Date Added: 21/10/2020 - Updated: 22/11/2021 16:50:28