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New Pencilfish Purchase

This is a discussion on New Pencilfish Purchase within the Characins forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> Originally Posted by burnsbabe I'm actually exploring this possibility. Got my tax return. I was thinking a 20H instead of an 20L but I'd ...

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New Pencilfish Purchase
Old 02-24-2011, 06:52 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsbabe View Post
I'm actually exploring this possibility. Got my tax return. I was thinking a 20H instead of an 20L but I'd be interested in your thoughts there.

I have mentioned Hatchets in the past and almost got a group of them instead of the pencils the other day. But yes, I agree. Something big enough to do a decent sized school of maybe two pencil species. Something like the corys on the bottom. Very heavy planting (easier to hit that in a 20 than a 55! ). A tank that size would be relatively cheap to set up too.
Definitely a 20 long. I have a 20g normal (I guess the "high") which is 24 inches in length. It was my spare plant tank, then it got taken over by Farlowella, now it is the spare plant tank again [moved the Far back to the 10, the three of them are now about 1.5 inches and doing well, though I am still not sure they are eating prepared foods; I think they are coming along fine though]. I was looking for another tank this past week, and spotted the 20 long at 30 inches. Odd I had never noticed them before; anyway, i was thinking it would be nice for quiet stream fish like those we are discussing here. i nearly bought it, but I do need a bit more room. I have an ideal spot for a 30-inch tank, and I'd like to put the SE Asian pond fish (in the 33g) in a 30-inch, so a 29g seems best. I'm in the midst of major tank shuffles.

Anyway, in a 20L you could have two groups of pencils, a group of 12+ hatchets, and a group of corys--the pygmy or dwarf species would be ideal, and the Farlowella. Lots of plants like swords, the pygmy chain sword from me, the dwarf sword, a couple Echinodorus bleherae (these will work in small tanks for many months). Some floaters like Frogbit (mine is reproducing again like crazy, after nearly losing all of it) or Pennywort--I can give you all of what I've mentioned. A single strip T8 daylight tube. And sand--not one to suggest sand often, but I am becoming convinced it is better for the pygmy/dwarf species. Regular corys are fine on small gravel, mine have been for more than 20 years; but the dwarfs may not be. Sponge filter is more than adequate. As you say, not a big expense.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 02-24-2011 at 06:54 PM..
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:17 PM   #12
 
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Forgive me for being a bit blockheaded today. I love everything you've described, but you still haven't given a solid reason WHY the long over the high. If it's that some of the fish mentioned need the extra few inches, then no problem. I'm just likely to be getting this from CL rather than new so without a good reason I'm likely to grab the first good deal I find.

They make a "sand" size EcoComplete now, right? All black would be especially nice here.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:36 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burnsbabe View Post
Forgive me for being a bit blockheaded today. I love everything you've described, but you still haven't given a solid reason WHY the long over the high. If it's that some of the fish mentioned need the extra few inches, then no problem. I'm just likely to be getting this from CL rather than new so without a good reason I'm likely to grab the first good deal I find.

They make a "sand" size EcoComplete now, right? All black would be especially nice here.
Thanks in advance.
It's the length and the surface area. More surface area = more fish in the same volume. But with these fish, the length. These are all stream fish, and they like to shoal in groups, but you also need the space for the pencils. Male pencilfish are feisty, about the gentlest I have so far found are the N. eques, the ones that swim at an angle. I have 6 of these, and they are spawning as we type back and forth. Earlier this afternoon I was sitting in front of the 90g, and watching three of the males jostling with each other as to who was going to spawn with the female. Pretty tame stuff compared to cichlids, but tame even for pencils. The N. beckfordi for instance would be far rougher on each other and the females by comparison. And the N. mortenthaleri the same, the males are very pushy even outside of spawning. So the more length, the more plants, and this means the more places for them to retreat out of sight of the dominant male(s).

About the only pencil that suits higher tanks is N. eques or N. unifasciatus. These can do very well in a cube setup, with tall branches from top to bottom. They love to go up and down the branches picking off food bits. But all the other species, several of which I have had over the years, are better in longer tanks. As are almost all the characins, and corys.

Eco-complete only has black and red "gravel" size substrates. Flourite comes in the similar "gravel" size (though it is much smoother and a bit smaller, I've compared the two in the store) in black, and black sand which is very fine sand-size. Red also in the gravel size; and "dark" which is dark brown, and normal, both in larger size grains or bits. I'm getting the Flourite black (not the sand, it is too fine for my liking in a large tank) to re-do my flooded Amazon forest tank.

Byron.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:20 PM   #14
 
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Thanks. I figured it was something along those lines. I'll just be more selective in my CL browsing. I did find a great high setup with a stand, heater, and filter for $40. It just looks too good to pass up.

I knew I'd seen something that was black and smaller than your standard gravel. Now that it's done, I wish I'd done a much higher percentage of the dark stuff in my 55 too. Might fix that sooner or later.
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