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Twostripe Pencilfish 2cm (Nannostomus digrammus)

Nannostomus digrammus
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Family: Lebiasinidae

Native to the central Amazon basin with records existing from the Madeira, Branco, Trombetas, and Tapajos river drainages, plus the Rupununi basin in Guyana.

Inhabits sluggish tributaries, small rivers and swampy areas, particularly in areas with dense growth of aquatic vegetation or submerged woody structures and leaf litter.

Maximum Standard Length:
25 – 30mm.

Aquarium Size:
Base dimensions of at least 45 x 30cm or equivalent are required.

Should ideally be kept in a heavily-planted set-up, preferably with a dark substrate. The broken lines of sight that exist in such a display allow it to display natural behaviour as well as helping to reduce skittishness. Floating plants are a useful addition as are driftwood branches and dried leaf litter, the latter in particular driving establishment of microbe colonies as decomposition occurs. Such microorganisms can provide a valuable secondary food source for fry, whilst the tannins and other chemicals released by the decaying leaves are also thought beneficial. Use gentle filtration; an air-powered sponge-style unit should prove adequate in most cases.

Water Conditions:
22 – 28°C
pH: 5.0 – 7.0
Hardness: 18 – 179 ppm

In the aquarium it will accept dried foods of a suitable size but should also be offered daily meals of small live and frozen fare such as Artemia nauplii, Moina, grindal worm, etc.

Behaviour and Compatibility:
Very peaceful but does not make an ideal community fish due to its small size and rather timid nature. In a community it’s best kept with similarly-sized, peaceful characids and smaller callichthyid or loricariid catfishes. It also makes an ideal dither fish for Apistogramma spp. and other dwarf cichlids since  it tends to inhabit the middle-to-upper regions of the tank, and does not actively predate fry. Though gregarious by nature it’s a shoaling rather than schooling species with rival males sparring on a regular basis during daylight hours. It’s not uncommon to see nipped fins within a group though this behaviour does not normally extend to tankmates. Buy as many as possible, ideally 10 or more, as when kept in larger groups any aggression is spread between individuals plus the fish are bolder and exhibit more natural behaviour.

Sexual Dimorphism:
Adult males possess a highly-modified, extended anal-fin, are more intensely-coloured, and usually slimmer than females.