Keeping 'red' pencilfishes in harems?

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Joshaeus

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Hi everyone! Here's my question...is there any particular reason I could not keep a harem (in this case, 1 male and 5-9 females) of one of the various red pencilfish species in a 10 gallon? Most of what I have read about tank size for these fishes gives the psychotic aggression between the males as the primary reason for keeping them in much larger tanks than this, so I was wondering if 10 gallons would work for them so long as there is only one male. Thanks :)
 
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Joshaeus

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...what's this? Nobody keeps pencilfishes? :D
 
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TClare

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Do you mean Nannostomus mortenthaleri, or the red variety of Beckford’s pencilfish? In any case both are pretty small, and should be suitable for your tank. I think mortenthaleri is smaller but there is conflicting information. I don’t have much experience with pencilfish yet, just got some recently. I had ordered red pencilfish but it fell through so I got the normal gold variety, they are still very attractive, but the red ones look spectacular. I may be able to get them soon after all as it turns out. Anyway my tank is bigger, I do see a bit of aggression occasionally but nothing serious, I believe mortenthaleri males can be more aggressive though. I don’t see why it wouldnt work with a harem as you suggest, maybe with just 5 or 6 females as they are very active and zip around alot. I would recommend having your tank well planted including floating plants If possible. I’d be interested to know how it works out if you go ahead.
 
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Joshaeus

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TClare said:
Do you mean Nannostomus mortenthaleri, or the red variety of Beckford’s pencilfish? In any case both are pretty small, and should be suitable for your tank. I think mortenthaleri is smaller but there is conflicting information. I don’t have much experience with pencilfish yet, just got some recently. I had ordered red pencilfish but it fell through so I got the normal gold variety, they are still very attractive, but the red ones look spectacular. I may be able to get them soon after all as it turns out. Anyway my tank is bigger, I do see a bit of aggression occasionally but nothing serious, I believe mortenthaleri males can be more aggressive though. I don’t see why it wouldnt work with a harem as you suggest, maybe with just 5 or 6 females as they are very active and zip around alot. I would recommend having your tank well planted including floating plants If possible. I’d be interested to know how it works out if you go ahead.
Nannostomus mortenthaleri was the fish I had in mind, though Nannostomus rubrocaudatus is also red. Good to hear you have experience with them...thanks :) If I go the pencilfish route, the tank was going to be a very soft, acidic blackwater tank with lots of leaf litter, wood, and likely some plants (especially floating plants).
 
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TClare

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Sounds excellent!
 
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