The Belonidae or Needlefish Family includes elongated, "needle-shaped" fish that inhabit marine and occasionally brackish water environments, although a few species have ventured into freshwater. Needlefish are piscivorous and accomplished jumpers.

Silver Needlefish
Xenentodon cancila
SYN : Esoxcancila, Belone cancila, Mastemcembalus cancila
PD : An elongated, needle-shaped species with long, tooth jaws. The lower jaw is slightly longer than the upper. The back is light brown and the belly is silver-brown. A dark brown bands runs from the tip of the jaws to the caudal fin. The rear edge of the caudal fin is convex. The fins are colorless.
SIZE : To 12" (30 cm)
SS : None
HAB : Found in fresh and occasionally brackish water in Asia; India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar),Thailand, and Malaysia.
S: top
TANK : A 48" (122 cm) or 55-90 gallon (209-342 L) tank is only adequate for fish to 8" (20 cm) in length. This species prefers a large, shallow tank that has a large surface area. Use a fine gravel substrate and plant the tank heavily. Use a tight-fitting cover and a partial cover of floating plants. Leave 4-6" (10-15 cm) from the surface to the cover. Use wood and rocks to give some shelter.
WATER : pH 6.2-7.5 (7.0), 6-20 dH (9), 73-84°F (23-29°C). A 1% addition of salt can be used. Add 7.5 tsp. salt for every 10 gallons (10 g/10 L).
SB : A timid shoaling fish that should be only combined with large fish of the lower strata. An active predator.
SC :Larger catfish of the Bagridae, Clariidae, and Loricariidae families, South American Cichlasomines, Gobies.
FOOD : Eats mostly live fish, crickets, frogs; will readily take most live food from thesurface,
SEX:The male has a black edge on its dorsal and anal fins.
B : Has been bred in larger tank of over 70 gallons (265 L). The water used is generally acidic, from 6.4-6.7; hard, 12-15 dH; and has a temperature from 77-81°F (25-27°C). Spawning occurs at dawn and continues for several days. Each morning 5-15 colorless eggs are laid amongst plants. The eggs hang by threads and hatch in 10 days. The fry measure 0.5" (1.3 cm) in length and can be raised on Artemia nauplii and small fish fry.
BP : 9. Breeding is rare.
REMARKS:A nervous fish that when frightened, will jump against the cover and sides of the tank. This frequently results in injury or death.
DC : 7. This large predator requires well maintained water and a diet including live foods.

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By Rhett Butler


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