Golden pencilfish

Aquarium fish: Golden pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi)
Size: 5 – 6 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 22-27 ° C
Aquarium volume: 54 l

Golden pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi ) – a small freshwater aquarium fish from the slender family.


South America. The species is widely distributed, it is found in Guyana, French Guiana, Surinami, in the eastern Amazon basin in Brazil, and in the Rio Negro and Rio Orinoco in Venezuela. It lives in slow-flowing streams, smaller rivers and wetlands, in particular in areas of dense aquatic vegetation, near submerged tree limbs and decaying leaves.

Characteristics and disposition

In nature, they can reach 6.5 cm in length, and in aquarium conditions they rarely exceed 5 cm.

They are characterized by an elongated, slender, torpedo-shaped body. A thick black stripe runs along the middle of the body from the mouth to the base of the tail. Rectal fin stained red. There are two spots on the caudal fin, separated by a black stripe. The males are generally more slender and more intensely colored – the black stripe is clearly thicker, and the brown of the body is darker above it.

Their anal fin is larger and sharper, in females it is rounded. Males also have white and blue ends on their fins. The color of the fish may vary depending on the origin. Mild-temper fish should be kept in groups of at least 10 . In larger quantities, they are less skittish, look nicer and show more interesting behavior.

They are more likely to stay in the upper parts of the aquarium.

Nutrition and feeding

In natural habitats, they feed on small crustaceans and zooplankton. In the aquarium, you can give ground dry food, but regularly supplemented with small frozen or live food, e.g. artemia larvae, grindal, daphnia.


The small flock of Beckford Microbes requires an aquarium of at least 60 cm long , densely planted.

They will look best against a dark background. The light should not be too bright, preferably muffled by floating vegetation. They like the refraction of the light of rays falling into the tank. Roots and dry leaves are also recommended, which will add a more natural look as well as release the desired tannins. They tolerate water in the range of 6.0-8.0 pH and a temperature of 22-28 ° C.

They are sensitive to fluctuations in water chemistry parameters and should not be introduced into unstable tanks. In a social aquarium they can be kept with fish of similar size and environmental requirements. Good company will be small tetras ( ornamental rapids, amanda’s rapids , black phantom , red neon , etc.), cuirass (spotted tetras , panda , bronze ), and armored birds (otosek , ancistrus ) . Microbes are especially recommended as a supplement to the cast of small cichlids of the Apistogramma genus, whose presence will give you more daring.


In mature and well-arranged aquariums, breeding can take place without the intervention of an aquarist, but they will be only single fry.

If we want to get larger quantities, a more controlled approach and preparation of a separate breeding aquarium is necessary. Flood the small spawning tank with mature water from the main aquarium and limit the amount of light in it – preferably with floating plants. On the bottom we put the roe grate, glass balls, artificial grass or fill most of the tank with small-leaved plants. The water in the spawning tank should be slightly acidic to neutral with a temperature of 26-27 ° C. For filtration, a small sponge filter or air stone is enough to ensure proper movement and aeration of the water.

Before the planned breeding, adult fish are given live and frozen food more often. As soon as the females are fuller and the males are more intensely colored, we select a pair and in the evening we transfer them to the previously prepared breeding aquarium. Spawning usually takes place in the morning of the next day. An adult female can lay up to 200 eggs, but usually there are fewer of them. After the parents have finished spawning, we catch them, because they eat the complex eggs and hunt the fry.

Hatching at higher temperatures of 24-27 ° C takes 24 hours. After another 6 days, the larvae begin to swim freely. We feed the fry with the smallest food until the fish are large enough to accept brine shrimp larvae and micro nematodes.


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