How many hatchets/pencils would you get? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 24 Old 03-22-2012, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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How many hatchets/pencils would you get?

Hi there,

I recently had a large number of deaths to either gill flukes or toxins introduced from a piece of driftwood. I originally had marbled hatchetfish, purple dwarf pencilfish (Nannostomus rubrocaudatus), and gertrudae rainbows. I lost a large number of these fish, and was thinking that instead ofre-stocking the rainbows again, I'd just do larger numbers of pencilfish (maybe two types?) and hatchetfish.

I have a 3-ft 65 gallon tank.

How many hatchetfish could I do?

How many pencilfish? I was thinking red
(Nannostomus mortenthaleri) instead of purple this time. My LFS also has Brown-tailed (nannobrycon eques) , dwarf (nannostomus marginatus) and one-lined (nannobryon unifasciatus).

Or any other ideas?

I also have 2 Laetacara Araguaiae, 1 Apisto Baenschi Inka, 3 Farlowella catfish, 8 kuhli loaches, 2 stiphodon gobies.

I only have 4 hatchetfish, 2 gertrudae rainbows, and 1 purple pencilfish (marginatus) left.

Last edited by magpie; 03-22-2012 at 02:38 PM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magpie View Post
Hi there,

I recently had a large number of deaths to either gill flukes or toxins introduced from a piece of driftwood. I originally had marbled hatchetfish, purple dwarf pencilfish (Nannostomus rubrocaudatus), and gertrudae rainbows. I lost a large number of these fish, and was thinking that instead ofre-stocking the rainbows again, I'd just do larger numbers of pencilfish (maybe two types?) and hatchetfish.

I have a 3-ft 65 gallon tank.

How many hatchetfish could I do?

How many pencilfish? I was thinking red (Nannostomus mortenthaleri) instead of purple this time. My LFS also has Brown-tailed (nannobrycon eques) , dwarf (nannostomus marginatus) and one-lined (nannobryon unifasciatus).

Or any other ideas?

I also have 2 Laetacara Araguaiae, 1 Apisto Baenschi Inka, 3 Farlowella catfish, 8 kuhli loaches, 2 stiphodon gobies.

I only have 4 hatchetfish, 2 gertrudae rainbows, and 1 purple pencilfish (marginatus) left.

So sorry for the loss of your fish. I hate it when that happens!!!
I'm curious to know too. I have one pair of rainbows now and am re-stocking a 72 gallon tank and want some pencil fish. They are really cool! I don't see where it tells how many you should keep together in fish profiles. Maybe someone who knows will answer soon.
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post #3 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 10:59 AM
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It does mention group size in the profiles, either under the Compatibility/Temperament section or under Discussion. If you find one that doesn't, let me know and I'll add it.

For Carnegiella species of hatchetfish, more is always better. In your 3-foot tank (surface area is the prime concern) I would say around 12+ Marble Hatchetfish. So another 8-10 added to the 4 remaining. When i had my C. strigata in my 3-foot I had 21, which was cozy, but they are now back in the 115g but they congregate on the far right side regardless, within about a square foot, at the opposite end to the filter outflow: they do not like currents.

For pencilfish, more again is always better. With the species in question, I have had very good luck with Nannostomus mortenthaleri as a group of 7 in my 3-foot 33g. Originally I had 8, 4 each m/f, but one died for reasons unknown. This group is settled now for over a year, have regularly spawned, in fact I have two surviving fry now over half an ich and beginning to get their colouration. So that ups the group to 9. But 7-9 is my suggestion for that tank. I believe you have lots of plants and wood; these fish absolutely need both, they do not need swimming room, but they do need cover, above and within.

The N. rubrocaudatus, if you go with them, same as above. Wood branches are even more critical, as this fish occurs only in a watercourse in Peru that is thick with wood and branches, and the fish remain solitary, each around a branch, which is why they are so expensive: collecting them one by one in a tangle of branches is not easy. This is probably my least favourite of the genus; I never see them.

If you have the true dwarf pencil, Nannostomus marginatus, a larger group. I would get 11-12 in a 3-foot tank.

Nannostomus eques and Nannostomus unifasciatus are almost identical--the latter is very rare, I've only once seen it locally. These also need a decent group. No less than 12 of whichever, or a mix of both is nice, 6-7 of each species. I currently have 12 N. eques and they regularly spawn but the tank they are in (my 70g flooded Amazon forest) has too many inquisitive fish and the eggs get eaten. I have my N. marginatus in with these, they never interact or bother each other, very different behaviours. The N. eques and N. unifasciatus are interesting for their angle at 45 degrees. They tend to like to stay close for the most part. Water Sprite is an ideal floating plant with these, they spend all day among the dangling roots, looking for microscopic plankton.

I see no problems with the numbers I've suggested, all together in the 3-foot tank. I would not add any more cichlids though; my A. baenschi found the N. marginatus a threat, and constantly went after them when the female had eggs and fry.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 24 Old 03-23-2012, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Perfect, thanks so much! I'm going to scope out the pencilfish and see what I think. I may consider mixing it up. I find the 45-degree-ers fascinating. :)

I already have brazilian pennywort floating, so they should like that - lots of roots to poke around in.

I wasn't planning on adding any more cichlids. Definitely not enough room, even with the dense planting. Especially since the Laetacara pair are evidently going to be a spawning pair. (Total unrelated side note - the Laetacara are amazing snail hunters!)
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post #5 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 08:09 PM
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looking at what fish you have or are planning, it seems as if you have fish that are either mostly near the surface or down by the substrate, in a tall tank that leaves a lot of room in the middle, maybe some Hemigrammus pulcher or Hyphessobrycon metae or similar instead of one of the upper level groups, I have no personal experience with either, but according to the profiles, it looks like they would work
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post #6 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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do both sets of pencilfish hang near the top as well? I thought they'd be more of a middle-column fish, since my Rubrocaudatus were middle-to lower. Hmmm...

I am pretty open to suggestions - would prefer to stick to SA species.

What about a group of Emperor Tetras - Nematobrycon palmeri?
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post #7 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 08:59 PM
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it's my understanding that pencilfish in general stay near the surface and especially N. eques, but that is based solely on what I've read, I have never had any pencilfish so I could be wrong

I have had emperors and found them to be a bit aggressive, though it was in a much smaller tank
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post #8 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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With each other? How many did you have and what size tank?
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 09:14 PM
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generally nippy and chasing, there weren't very many other tankmates at the time if I remember

it was a 20 tall with only about 5, I think, so that may have been the issue, hopefully others will share their experiences with them to get a better idea of their typical behavior
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-23-2012, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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I've read that they do better with a larger group, but have no first hand exp.

Thanks for your input! I just like the looks of them but will have to go to the LFS and stare at everyone and their behavior and tank level preference. :)
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