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How many hatchets/pencils would you get?

This is a discussion on How many hatchets/pencils would you get? within the Characins forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> Definitely avoid Emperor in this mix. First off, I don't consider a 3-foot tank sufficient. I have both Emperor species, Nematobrycon palmeri and N. ...

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How many hatchets/pencils would you get?
Old 03-24-2012, 11:16 AM   #11
 
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Definitely avoid Emperor in this mix. First off, I don't consider a 3-foot tank sufficient. I have both Emperor species, Nematobrycon palmeri and N. lacortei in my 90g, all are fry that survived and are now a group of a dozen spawning adults -- you just can't stop these species, they are tough and prolific. Males are quite robust and determined. My originals had to be moved from tank to tank 4 times due to their aggressiveness; twice all the other fish in the tank--and this is a 115g 5-foot and the 4-foot 90g--were cowering at the surface with the males cruising the tank at their leisure. I finally gave them away, then a week or two later the fry started appearing in their last tank. I've left these, they are in with some more sturdy fish now, Black Ruby Barb and Congo Tetra, to see if growing up among these fish will lessen their feistyness. So far, so good. But never put these with sedate fish.

To the pencils in the water column. N. eques and N. unifasciatus primarily remain close to the surface; they have no issue with hatchetfish, I have C. marthae in with mine. My N. marginatus in that tank I would say move around, but the majority of the time are in the top half of the water column. My N. mortenthaleri are similar, maybe a bit more spread out. My N. rubrocaudatus are always at the bottom, hiding behind wood and plants. I rarely see them, which as I mentioned previously is fairly understandable given their natural habitat.

Hemigrammus pulcher would not be my choice as these remain upper water, about mid-tank but I don't think mine have ever gone below mid-tank. And they are perhaps a bit drab for the pencils and hatchets, a lot of tanks/grays with little colour except the N. mortenthaleri. Hyphessobrycon metae are not all that colourful either, but I have 12 of these in my 70g with the pencils and hatchets and they are certainly compatible. H. metae remain mid water pretty much. The very similar Hyphessobrycon loretoensis is nice, I have these in the same tank. I say similar because Gery suggested they might actually be the same species or subspecies when this genus is eventually sorted out. The 100+ species in Hyphessobrycon and Hemigrammus (which fish are identical except for the scaled caudal and even that is not reliable) clearly belong to different genera as the cladistic analysis and DNA work already done shows.

Cardinal Tetra (group of 7) would be ideal, they are lower in the water, and admirably suited to soft acidic conditions and minimal light, and in their habitat occur in some of the same waters as N. marginatus. Hemigrammus bleheri is another low-water fish, though I would prefer a larger group and this would be crowding things here. Hyphessobrycon bentosi would work well, a lower half fish very sedate and not active; a group of 7 with 4 males/3 females. These always stay in shade, they do not like bright overhead light (neither do the cardinals) and the male display is something to behold.
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magpie (03-24-2012)
Old 03-24-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
 
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OK, no Emperors! I don't want to have to deal with aggression.

I initially wanted cardinals... I can't remember why I took them off my list. I thought it was something about water, obviously not the softness - was it the temperature? Reading about them, I can't figure out why I wrote them off, essentially. Maybe it was just because I ended up with other fish, and there was no real water parameter issue. Hmmmm....

Wouldn't the cardinals be happier in a larger group of say 10?

I also do like the looks of those H. bentosi, and they are in stock at my LFS.

OK, so we will have:

TOP TO BOTTOM (I think pretty close to this specific order?):
- 10-14 marbled hatchets
- 10-14 N. eques/unifasciatus

- 2 gertrudae rainbows (sorry guys)
- 7-9 N. Mortenthaleri
- 7-10 Cardinal tetras
- 1 purple pencil (rubrocaudatus - sorry, lady)
- 7 H. Bentosi

- 2 Laetacara A. (mine definitely use the middle part of the tank as well as the bottom, unlike the Apisto)
- 3 farlowella

- 2 Stiphodon gobies
- 1 Apisto baenschi inka
- 8 kuhli loaches


Those in bold are the ones I do not have that I need to choose between. Probably would be able to get 2 of the 4? I don't want to overstock.

N. eques/unifasc
I like the unique swimming style / angle of them a lot, and a decent group would add a nice visual interest to the tank. The problem is that if they're truly top dwellers like the hatchets, that is a lot of fish at the top. I will have to watch those in the store and watch their habits. If they hang out in the middle up to the top, that should be fine. In that case, they might be nice with any of the other three.

N. Mortenthaleri
The color and patterning would be striking and a nice addition to the tank - love the red. If they are middle dwellers they'd fill a nice spot in the column.

Cardinal tetras
Again, a nice color contrast "pop" for the tank. Do they prefer middle or middle-lower tank?

H. Bentosi
Nice to have a different-shaped fish, nice coloration too. Seems that they prefer the lower area of the tank, which may be a bit too crowded right now?


Just organizing the thoughts in my head so I can make a good decision. I'll go look at everyone today. I won't be adding anyone until the Laetacara settle down from spawning, I think, because even though they're not harassing anyone, (and certainly not even looking at the hatchetfish) there is more chasing and darting around in the tank than normal. I wonder if this would stress out new fish, even if they were upper-tank fish like the hatchets or the N. eques.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:52 PM   #13
 
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This needs some re-jigging. I hadn't realized about the cichlids, that makes a difference. I answered the cardinal questino last time, they are mid-low fish, and 7 are OK. One article by a SA photographerédiver pointed out that he always found cardinals in groups of hundreds when the vegetation was scant, and groups of five within the larger shoal when it was thick.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:06 PM   #14
 
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Feel free to recommend re-jiggings. ;)
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:17 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magpie View Post
Feel free to recommend re-jiggings. ;)
Taking your posted fish list, and keepoing in mind this is a 65g at 3-feet [blue indicates my number suggestion if different]:

- 12-14 marbled hatchets
- 9-12 N. eques/unifasciatus 9 if one species, 12 with 6 each if both
- 2 gertrudae rainbows (sorry guys)
- 7 N. Mortenthaleri I would stay with 7
- 7 Cardinal tetras
- 1 purple pencil (rubrocaudatus - sorry, lady)
- 7 H. Bentosi

- 2 Laetacara A. (mine definitely use the middle part of the tank as well as the bottom, unlike the Apisto)
- 3 farlowella

- 2 Stiphodon gobies
- 1 Apisto baenschi inka
- 8 kuhli loaches

Byron.
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:07 PM   #16
 
I've never had any issues of aggression from emperor tetras. I have 8 in a 55 gallon with over 30 other fish and have had them for years. 17 of the fish in that tank are also golden pencilfish. Comparing those two species only aggression is amongst themselves and the pencilfish are the more aggressive ones. I've also found little emperor fry and raise them to adults. I haven't had the pencilfish long but I hope to breed them as well.
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magpie (03-27-2012)
Old 03-26-2012, 03:42 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikaila31 View Post
I've never had any issues of aggression from emperor tetras. I have 8 in a 55 gallon with over 30 other fish and have had them for years. 17 of the fish in that tank are also golden pencilfish. Comparing those two species only aggression is amongst themselves and the pencilfish are the more aggressive ones. I've also found little emperor fry and raise them to adults. I haven't had the pencilfish long but I hope to breed them as well.
Yes, Nanostomus beckfordi is quite feisty; I had to move my 21 out of the 115g because they kept coming up under the hatchetfish and nipping them. They're now in with the Emperors, Congo and Barb, and get back what they give.

My Rainbow Emperors were pretty much exactly like that, only worse when the males drove all other characins out of their "territory". The only fish in the tank the Emperors didn't bother with was the lone Bolivian Ram. It is his tank after all, 115g worth.

I happened to get a mix of Emperor and Rainbow Emperor, and will say the worst were the Rainbow Emperor.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:03 AM   #18
 
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I wasn't thinking that I could/would add all 4 species, I was thinking of choosing 2 of the 4... Or maybe 3.

I went to the LFS. The N. Eques were at the top 1/3 of the tank, not just at the surface. They are so unique with their behavior and I love their brown and red coloration. I think I have decided on them as a definite yes.

There were only 4 N. Mortenthaleri so I will wait and see on them, maybe they will get another batch. They were in the middle to lower area of the tank.

They had Hyphess. Robertsi and the white-finned variety and I prefer the white-finned looks-wise. They are nice, larger than my other choices. They are at middle to lower areas.

Two other fish that caught my eye for smaller tetras were:
Ruby Tetra (Axelodria riesei)
Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

Haven't done much research yet on those two.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:11 PM   #19
 
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Right now the Mortenthaleri aren't available in the numbers I want, so I will start with the Hatchets/N. eques and go from there. I am thinking that I could choose the Pencilfish OR the Cardinals/Rubies and then decrease the Hatchets back to 10, and up the Eques to 12.

TOP TO BOTTOM (I think pretty close to this specific order?):

- 10 marbled hatchets
- 12 N. eques

- 2 gertrudae rainbows (sorry guys)
- 1 purple pencil (rubrocaudatus - sorry, lady)

- 7 N. Mortenthaleri
OR
- 10 Cardinal tetras
OR Ruby Tetra (Axelodria riesei)

- 7 H. Bentosi


- 2 Laetacara A. (mine definitely use the middle part of the tank as well as the bottom, unlike the Apisto)
- 3 farlowella

- 2 Stiphodon gobies
- 1 Apisto baenschi inka
- 8 kuhli loaches


Overstocked?
What would you do?



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Old 03-29-2012, 05:34 PM   #20
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magpie View Post
Right now the Mortenthaleri aren't available in the numbers I want, so I will start with the Hatchets/N. eques and go from there. I am thinking that I could choose the Pencilfish OR the Cardinals/Rubies and then decrease the Hatchets back to 10, and up the Eques to 12.

TOP TO BOTTOM (I think pretty close to this specific order?):
- 10 marbled hatchets
- 12 N. eques

- 2 gertrudae rainbows (sorry guys)
- 1 purple pencil (rubrocaudatus - sorry, lady)

- 7 N. Mortenthaleri
OR
- 10 Cardinal tetras OR Ruby Tetra (Axelodria riesei)

- 7 H. Bentosi

- 2 Laetacara A. (mine definitely use the middle part of the tank as well as the bottom, unlike the Apisto)
- 3 farlowella

- 2 Stiphodon gobies
- 1 Apisto baenschi inka
- 8 kuhli loaches


Overstocked?
What would you do?





My earlier numbers of each species were thought out, from the perspective of the species somewhat more than the tank. I would not reduce hatchets, you almost cannot have too many of these.
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