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Coral-red dwarf pencilfish - Nannostomus mortenthaleri

Coral-red dwarf pencilfish - Nannostomus mortenthaleri

Scientific name: Nannostomus mortenthaleri

Common name: Coral-red dwarf pencilfish

Family: Lebiasinidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 2 - 3 cm (0.79 - 1.18 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.4 - 7

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 14°N (71.43 - 250ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 24 - 26 °C (75.2 - 78.8°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful to females

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Top levels

Food and feeding

Coral-red dwarf pencilfish will greedily accept brine shrimp but to give them a balanced diet, treat them to Cyclops and Tubifex. They will not accept flake or pellet foods.


South America; Coral-red dwarf pencilfish are to be found in the waterways of Peru.


Nannostomus mortenthaleri can be difficult to sex but when comparing a group the makes should be stockier and have a darker red edging on their anal fin.


Breeding these fish can be difficult as they are very sensitive to any lighting changes. The male will change to a purplish colour; this is now the time to place a pair into a breeding tank that has been filled with soft water. Do not use any form of artificial lighting. Add some java moss to the tank for the eggs to fall into. Once spawning is complete, remove the parents and the eggs should hatch in 36 hours. The fry should be free swimming in 4-5 days and will need feeding on newly hatched brine shrimp.


The expected life span of Nannostomus mortenthaleri is 5 years.

Short description

Males are very aggressive towards each other, even to the extent of mortalities. It is best to keep one male with several females.


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Coral-red dwarf pencilfish picture 1 Coral-red dwarf pencilfish picture 2 Coral-red dwarf pencilfish picture 3 Coral-red dwarf pencilfish picture 4

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