Barred Pencilfish (Everything You Should Know)

Barred Pencilfish Featured Image

Barred Pencilfish, also known as Espe’s Pencilfish, is a small freshwater fish with the scientific name Nannostomus espei.

The name comes from Greek and Latin words meaning “small mouth” and honors Heinrich Espe, a tropical fish importer/exporter.

This fish belongs to the Lebiasinidae family and was first discovered in 1956 by Herman Meinken in the Mazaruni River system in Guyana.

This is still the only place where this fish is found.

Unlike other Pencilfish species that have horizontal stripes, the Barred Pencilfish has five unique comma-like patches on its body.

Other species may show this pattern at night, but only this one has it all the time, even during daylight hours.

The person who named this fish, Heinrich Espe, provided specimens to Meinken for identification.

In its natural habitat, Barred Pencilfish feeds on worms, crustaceans, and insects.

Barred Pencilfish Interesting Facts

  • Barred Pencilfish has unique comma-like patches, unlike other species’ horizontal stripes.
  • This fish is found only in Guyana’s Mazaruni River system.
  • It prefers slightly acidic to neutral water with temperatures between 72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C).

Barred Pencilfish Habitat

Barred Pencilfish is from the Mazaruni River system in South America, specifically Guyana. It lives in freshwater and swims close to the bottom (benthopelagic).

This prefers slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH between 5.5 to 7.0, as well as low to moderate hardness (4 to 10 dH).

The ideal temperature range for this tropical fish is 72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C).

Water Temperature:72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C)
Water pH:5.5 to 7.0 pH
Water Hardness:4 to 10 dH

Barred Pencilfish Physical Characteristics

Size: 1.1 inches (2.8 centimeters)

Barred Pencilfish grow up to a maximum length of 1.6 inches (4.0 centimeters).

However, the common length is around 1.1 inches (2.8 centimeters).

Barred Pencilfish Reproduction

Barred Pencilfish have a unique mating process. When they want to mate, the males swim above the females and gently tap their heads.

The females use a special fin, shaped like a bag, to stick 20 to 40 eggs onto the bottom side of the leaves.

Barred Pencilfish Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Nannostomus espei
Also Known As:Barred Pencilfish, Espe’s Pencilfish
Conservation Status:Least Concern

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