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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the event that I get a larger tank for Christmas, I would like to add pencilfish to my fish selection. I currently have 5 small zebra and blue danios, 6 1" cories, a couple of assassain snails, possibly a pest snail or two, a pygmy cory who will be rehomed soon, 3-5 (two may have been eaten) ghost shrimp, two small female bettas, and a gentle male swordtail.
Do you think pencilfish would get along with these in a larger tank? My LFS sells mixed pencilfish pretty cheaply, so a school of pencils would probably be mixed, but I'm guessing that doesn't really matter.
The tank will be heavily planted when I get a chance to go shopping over Christmas.
 

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Some Pencilfish have behaviour patterns similar to Barbs, in that they may show some aggression if kept in groups that are too small.

I have had the most success with large groups of 7 or more. I know some Genus' are outright carnivorous so make sure if you seem that at the shop, you do a quick bit of research.

For the most part though, they are quite peaceful in larger settings with lots of "distractions" (aka plants, wood etc). Very interesting fish to watch. Nannostomus mortenthaleri (Coral Red Pencilfish) is a favourite in the hobby and for good reason - beautiful fish. A couple of males and a half dozen females is a nice group in a 36''-48'' tank.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Alright, thank you! Out of curiosity, do you think pencilfish would school with zebra danios, due to similar size and pattern? As in, five danios and seven pencils would end up in one huge school as opposed to two.
 

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I do not think Pencils and Sanios will school.
Danios are highly active, zipping from one end to the other of a tank, and while they do roam all over, they tend to be upper half fish.
Pencils are the opposite. Not exactly sedentary, still, they are a lot calmer than Danios, and they tend to be a bit lower in the tank. Not bottom dwellers, just not usually all the way up at the surface as much as Danios tend to be.

Probably a good combo, though. Adds interest in more areas of the tank.

I would bulk up the populations of the species you have before getting more species. Most schooling fish are better when you have a dozen or more, when that is possible.
 
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