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Characins / Lebiasinidae / Three-striped Pencilfish

Three-striped Pencilfish, Tube-mouthed Pencilfish
Nannostomus eques

Synonyms: Nannostomus eques, Poecilobrycon auratus, P. eques
Physical description: A slender, elongated fish that has a pointed head.   The lower half of the caudal fin is larger than the upper part.  Five rows of dark spots are located on the pale brown to light gray back.   Below these markings, a wide band extends from the tip of the snout to the lower part of the caudal fin.   The upper lobe of the caudal fin is usually transparent, as are the other fins.  On the anal fin, is a small black and red marking.  
Size/Length: To 2" (5 cm)
Similar species: One-lined Pencilfish ( Nannobrycon unifasciatus)
Habitat: Found in small streams with heavy shore vegetation.   South America; middle reaches of the Amazon, Brazil; Rio Negro, Guyana, Western Columbia
S: top
Aquarium: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L).   Provide large, open swimming areas and a cover of floating plants.  The tank should have dark gravel and be well-planted.   These fish prefer peat filtration.
Water chemistry: pH 5-7.2 (6.5), dH 0-12 (3), 73-84°F (23-29°C).
Social behavior: A peaceful, schooling fish that can be combined with other, non-active fishes of lower swimming levels. 
Suggested companions: Tetras, Corydoras, Loricarids, Killifish, Apistogramma, Discus.
FOOD: Live; insects, Daphnia, mosquito larvae, Artemia, Drosophila, bloodworms; flakes; freeze-dried
SEX: Males are slimmer and more colorful.
Breeding techniques: Use a small tank with a pH of 6.0, a hardness of 2 dH, and a warmer water temperature of 86°F (30°C).  After an active courtship, spawning takes place on the undersides of leaves.   The eggs are laid in groups of four and sink to the bottom.  The parents immediately attempt to eat the eggs after they are laid, so use a pipette to suck the eggs out of the parents reach.   The young hatch in 24-30 hours and are free-swimming about 5 days later.  Start feeding with roftiers, Brine Shrimp nauplii, and powder foods.
Breeding potential: 6. Breeding is slightly more difficult than N. beckfordi, although it is not all that difficult.
Remarks: This fish occasionally swims in an oblique position.
Difficulty of care: 4.  A hardy fish that can be kept in a community tank with other non-aggressive fish.   This fish's diet needs to be regularly supplemented with live foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com