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post #1 of 5 Old 05-15-2011, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
New 20 gallon

My new 20 gallon has a tetra ex45 hob filter, two large pieces of driftwood and heavily planted. I currently have an albino bristlenose pleco, a pair of cockatoo apistos and 6 long fin serpae tetra. What should I go with to finish it off. I was thinking a school of pencilfish, but I am worried they are peaceful for my current stock. My other thought was a school of black neons. What do you guys think? Is there another species you would suggest?
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-15-2011, 11:03 PM
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Pencil fish should be just fine in that set up. I would for sure not go with black neons in a tank with serpae tetras.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-16-2011, 12:26 PM
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I would not put pencilfish in with Serpae Tetra for the same reason. In such a small space (for Serpae) and with only six in the group, aggression is more likely to be aggravated. And this species is notorious as a "bully" and fin nipper; this is explained in our profile, click on the shaded name to see it.

I don't know what pencilfish you were intending, but most of them are much too sedate for nippers. The fish in Nannostomus spend their day cruising the tank, browsing every surface for tidbits of food, much in the habit of angelfish. This is too easy a target for something that may nip. Nannostomus beckfordi is the only species that might manage to hold its own, as it is a bit feisty too, but I would not risk these two species together in such a small space as a 20g.

If the Serpae remain, I would not add anything more.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-16-2011, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
maybe i will remove the serpae for now. I was looking forward to the coral red pencilfish. Any suggestions for the tank minus the serpae?
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-16-2011, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by spike0544 View Post
maybe i will remove the serpae for now. I was looking forward to the coral red pencilfish. Any suggestions for the tank minus the serpae?
If you do remove the Serpae, then you have many pencilfish options if that was what you were considering. I have or have had many species of pencilfish, and most have spawned. They ironically make excellent dither fish for dwarf cichlids, as they are out and about but not viewed by the cichlids as a "threat." And given their quiet nature, you can fit more of them in a smaller space than you could with something that likes to swim actively. And they absolutely love heavily-planted tanks with wood.

Nannostomus mortenthaleri, the Coral Red Pencilfish, is a real beauty. I have a group of 8 of these in my 33g, and they frequently spawn. They must have very soft and slightly acidic water, as they are wild caught. They are endemic to the Rio Nanay in Peru, and found no where else (that we know of). Closely related to the Dwarf Pencilfish, Nannostomus marginatus, and for a time after their discovery in 2000 many assumed it was a redder variety of the Dwarf which has a very wide distribution over the Amazon basin and is known to exist in several colour variants, but it gained distinct species status in 2001. All this and more is explained in our profile.

Nannostomus eques would be a nice addition with these too, and provide interest with its oblique swimming posture. Also in our profiles; actually, most of the regularly-seen species are included, all in the Nannostomus genus.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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