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 ideal aquarium setup for Golden Pecilfish would be a heavily planted aquarium with a dark substrate and sheltered areas to help reduce skittishness and offer refuge for sub-dominant individuals. Floating plants, driftwood branches and dried leaf litter are all useful, and you will need gentle filtration. An air-powered sponge filter is more than adequate. These fish require stable water conditions; therefore, you should never add them to a biologically immature aquarium.

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. These fish display a black spot on the lower half of their gill covers and they have a red caudal fin.


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
Quick Facts
Scientific NameNannostomus beckfordi
Year Described1872
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℃

Natural Habitat



In the home aquarium, the Golden Pencilfish will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

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

Other Pencilfish of interest

Barred Pencilfish(Nannostomus espei)
Cenepa Red Pencilfish(Nannstomus sp)
Coral Red Pencilfish(Nannostomus mortenthaleri)
Dwarf Pencilfish(Nannostomus marginatus)
Hockeystick Pencilfish(Nannostomus eques)
Purple Pencilfish(Nannostomus rubrocaudatus)
View all Pencilfish
Date Added: 21/10/2020 - Updated: 20/09/2022 15:23:45