Silver Needlefish | Xenentodon cancila
Rainbowfish / Belonidae / Silver Needlefish
Profile: Silver Needlefish
Synonyms: Esox cancila, Belone cancila, Mastemcembalus cancila
Physical description: 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/Length: To 12" (30 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Found in fresh and occasionally brackish water in Asia; India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, and Malaysia.
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: 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).
Social behavior: A timid shoaling fish that should be only combined with large fish of the lower strata. An active predator.
Suggested companions: 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 the surface,
SEX:The male has a black edge on its dorsal and anal fins.
Breeding techniques: 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.
Breeding potential: 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.
Difficulty of care: 7. This large predator requires well maintained water and a diet including live foods.