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FAQs on the Larger Pencilfishes 

Related Articles: Pencilfishes, Characoids/Tetras & Relatives

Related FAQs: 

Anostomus anostomus in captivity. May be very nippy!

Re: Hoplarchus psittacus not feeding      1/24/19
Im send you the link of the Anostomus. They are boisterous among themselves but are oblivious to any other fish.
<I bet! Anostomus are notoriously cranky in home aquaria. They sometimes chase similar-looking fish, but otherwise make good aquarium residents with robust community species.>
They dont look too big in the photo, but they are. Theyve been here for over 4 years. I guess they dont have much longer? :(out of a group of 8 I've only lost one so far.
<They live a while. My singleton has to be a good 8 years old by now.>
Update on psittacus. I did a deep substrate cleaning ( quite hard to reach every area in such a densely planted tank). I also remembered what used to happen with discus and low temperatures. The tank stays at 25 during the day, i raised the temp to 28 over night. The psittacus has fed all day!
Not as much as the rest but he's definitely bolder and swallowing food. No spitting. He has taken tablets and pellets so far. Im making some room to add driftwood right now. Lets see if he keeps eating.
<Indeed; do watch oxygen levels as you warm the water up.>
In 5-6 years this aquarium has suffered quite a few plagues due to inexperience. Last two years have been pretty stable. Since its a planted tank it will naturally tend to accumulate detritus and an increasing amount of decayed mulm. I guess it would be a good idea to restart the tank?
<Not necessarily. To a degree, fish consume the decaying organic material, particularly Anostomus, which seem to be as much detritus and algae eaters as anything else. Rebuilding a tank can make sense, but it's not something to undertake lightly, and does lead to stress for the fish. Of course the main thing is that the filter is happy, so keep that running in a bucket of water so that the bacteria aren't stressed.>
If i miss maintenance for more than 3 weeks fish start to get sick, something which does not happen in my other tanks which are relatively more stocked. Is there such a thing as a "sick" substrate? Holding opportunistic pathogens?
<Not really. Pathogenic bacteria are all over the tank already -- Aeromonas in particular. Mature, deep substrates have anaerobic conditions that hold the bacteria that get rid of nitrate. That's a good thing. When you rip up the substrate, most of those bacteria will die, so nitrate can accumulate faster between water changes. That's a bad thing! Another risk is you suddenly expose hydrogen sulphide produced by anaerobic decay into the water. Assuming you remove all the fish first, this shouldn't be a danger to them. But if you leave the fish in the tank while removing the substrate, it's a potential danger, especially if water circulation is poor. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hoplarchus psittacus not feeding      1/24/19

<These certainly look like Anostomus ternetzi to me! Nice fish, a little smaller than Anostomus anostomus, and generally a bit less aggressive. Neale.>
<<RMF, have attached the photo.>>

Presently own 2 Lepo 11/7/10
<... Leporinus sp.?>
both are over 6 inches in length.
<... likely fasciatus>
Just recently the colour of the back half of the body has turned back to black and the tail fin is now black as well. Is there any reason why?
<Neurological damage>
They eat flake food only, temperature of the water is 70 -- 72.There is a kissing Gourami, a Golden Sevrin
<Ignorant, no>
, tiger and albino barbs in the tank as well.
<... search WWM re the above terms. Likely your Pencilfish "jumped", damaged itself. Bob Fenner>

Tiger Barbs - would they survive with my current mix of fish 9/24/08
I've corresponded with Neale before, so wouldn't mind making a shout-out/saying another friendly hello.
<Seems to be on a hiatus today>
What I was wondering is a compatibility question. I have the two banded Leporinus, now about 8" long. The male is a little bigger and brighter than the female. Also, two full grown cichlids, one enormous and lazy plecostomus, a smaller Pleco, puffer fish(he's my favorite), and what I believe is a peacock eel (approx. 15" in length).
Everyone gets along good fortunately. What I wondering is if a school of tiger barbs would survive with the current mix. My main concern is the size, as the ones at the pet store are teeny tiny. With plenty of hiding places, do you think the addition of the young tiger barbs would be survive in my 100 gal tank?
<Mmm, maybe... though these Leporinus (likely L. fasciatus here) can be VERY mean/picky, they can't likely catch up with Tiger Barbs in this setting, and Peacock Spiny Eels rarely eat other fishes. I would be tempted to try to "grow them up" a bit elsewhere (they do grow quickly given frequent feedings, water changes) ahead of actual introduction in your larger system... but I give you good odds of them getting along here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tiger Barbs - would they survive with my current mix of fish 9/24/08 Hi Bob! Thanks for your reply. <Welcome Skye> My banded Leporinus are VERY mean. <VERY typical for this species> I didn't know what they were when I got them, but within a month, they had an expensive meal after devouring all my Bala sharks - and they(the banded bee looking fish) were only 1" at the time. <Now that they're larger they won't be quite so easy to navigate...> On the tiger barbs, I'm going to go with your advice, and grow them a bit in my hospital tank (while crossing fingers that no one in the big tank gets sick), before introducing them. <Ah, good> If I took a picture with my cell phone and emailed it, would you be able to tell me which variety of Leporinus I have? Thank you for your other reply. Skye <Mmm, yes... but don't see it attached here. Take a look under the genus on Fishbase.org or on WWM... BobF>

Gender on my black banded Leporinus  - 6/3/08 Any way I can tell the gender differences on my black banded Leporinus fish? <No; though like most characins you can expect females to be (perhaps) a big bigger and (almost certainly) much more rotund when filled with eggs. Maturity supposedly comes at lengths of 15 cm (according to Fishbase) while maximum size is around 30 cm.> I've had luck with everything else I have bred, but the info on breeding these guys is far and few between compared to other more common fish. <Part of the problem with Leporinus fasciatus is that it is rather an aggressive towards its own kind as well as highly predatory fish. It is also a notorious fin- and scale-eater. It may well be a gregarious fish in the wild (most Anostomidae are) but you'd need a huge tank and at least six specimens for that to work out in captivity. The end result is that most people keep them a single specimens in large, rough-and-tumble show tanks rather than community systems. This makes the demand for them rather small, so little effort has been put into breeding them. As far as I know all specimens in the trade are wild caught. A beautiful fish, but a very challenging one. You might be better off with Anostomus anostomus, a smaller, less aggressive species that is easier to keep in groups and has -- very occasionally -- been spawned. According to Baensch vol. 1, this species spawns like Chilodus punctatus.> Thank you! Skye <Sincerely, Neale.>

Re: Gender on my black banded Leporinus  - 6/3/08 Neale, Thank you so very much for a prompt response. <Happy to help.> Right now, the *only* other tank mates they have are Bala sharks. <"They"? You have more than one...? Do be very careful -- Anostomidae generally become intolerant of one another as they mature. You may be lucky of course and have too females or whatever... but do keep an eye out for fin damage.> The Bala's school together and they all seem to leave one another alone. <Cool. But do watch what happens, and make sure this tank is big enough for all these animals.> The community tank is separate (and smaller) since from what I knew, they are aggressive. <Indeed they can be. Not always, but often. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gender on my black banded Leporinus -- 6/4/08 Hello again Neale! <Hello!> The guy who gave me these said they were attacking his other fish, hence have me the two black banded Leporinus. The other (freshwater only) fish I have bred was only done for the fun of it, so I have given many away on Craigslist, and is the way I meet people and other enthusiasts. <Fish breeding is great fun. It is also (in my view) an objective test of your fishkeeping skills: happy, healthy fish breed; unhappy fish do not. So if you're getting baby fish, your skills are proven. Of course some fish are more challenging than others, so it's fun to work up the difficulty scale as your skills develop.> The origin on these two I likely will never know. It took a lot of web research to figure out what they were called. After seeing pictures, I'm positive on what they are. <Leporinus should be very distinctive in size, colouration, and also the shape of the mouth.> They are about 5.5-6 inches in length currently, so in the 75 gal, I expect they will reach adulthood. Was hoping if there was a way to sex them, I would be able to find a way to attempt breeding. <I'm sure its possible, but there's nothing published on it. Read up on the other Anostomidae first, and expand outwards from that.> The Bala sharks are all I had in the one tank, so reason I added the Leporinus in. Didn't want my tetras eaten. <Indeed not.> Just for prevention, I have added Melafix and anti-ich to ensure them a good chance at survival. <Prophylactic treatment is often pointless, and sometimes risky because things like formalin and copper are, to some degree, toxic to your fish. Melafix is of questionable value at the best of times.> So far, no nipping, chasing are mean behaviors. Luckily the tank is by the computer so I can watch them VERY close all day. <Very good. I keep pufferfish in the community tank next to my Mac, and so I get to keep a close eye on things. That's allowed me to establish which species are safely mixed with puffers and which are not. People do keep Leporinus in mixed species tanks, it just isn't something you can assume will work in every case.> Skye <Good luck, Neale.>

Leporinus vs. Pleco  6/5/08 I recent wrote and had a nice email exchange with Neale. I had been given a couple of banded Leporinus' who date leave my Bala sharks alone. The Leporinus' are about double the size of the Balas who are only six months old. What surprises me is that I had to move my plecostomus to a hospital tank. The Pleco is larger than the Leporinus' and I thought of all fish, he was last I'd need to move. They kept nipping and attacking the poor thing! <Absolutely typical for Leporinus I'm afraid. Providing a deep cave in which the Plec can hide completely can help, though the catfish will become completely nocturnal if it feels unsure about swimming about during the day.> Could they be "immune" to the Pleco's dorsal stinger - the area where they kept pecking at)? <Not aware that any of the Loricariidae actually have stings. While it is true the pectoral and dorsal fin spines are serrated, I don't think they have venom glands.> The Pleco doesn't show signs of injury and is in a small 10 gal recovery tank alone in the interim for his own safety and relaxation. <If the Plec is a big one, do check water quality: a 10 gallon tank isn't going to usefully dilute the ammonia produced by a big catfish.> The Leporinus LOVE to eat peas, and I thought about dropping some tasty ghost shrimp in to see if they like those. Either way, they are quite graceful despite being a larger fish and fun to look at. <Indeed they are lovely fish, and very opportunistic feeders, and need a mix of greens and animal foods. I've watched them destroy heads of curly lettuce, and don't even think about putting them in a planted tank!> Skye <Cheers, Neale.>

To Neale. I had acquired two banded Leporinus. 07/07/08 I have previously written to Neale. <'Tis I.> This is just a happy update on my fish. I had acquired two banded Leporinus. They originally were about the same size as my Bala sharks. Now that have easily doubled in size, but seem to like each other. <Lucky! Often these fish become quite territorial, though they are presumably schooling fish in the wild.> They've been doing this "kissy" motion on the lips with each other once in awhile, and will do this "quiver" looking dance while side by side. One now has just a slightly more prominent belly. Another behavior I observed that I haven't seen any other fish do; they will pick up rocks (the pea sized gravel stuff) from the bottom of the tank, and in one corner in particular, keep moving the rocks from there, making a notable dip. <Interesting. Perhaps nest-building behaviour; they inhabit rocky rapids, and like other fish from such habitats may make gravel nests to shelter their eggs.> I put a few of my mollies in the tank now with my "bumble bee fish" (Leporinus - I think they look like swimming bees). They leave the mollies alone and couldn't care less. I leave ample hiding spots and plants in the tank just in case anything were to happen while I'm asleep so that things have a chance. A couple of the mollies are very pregnant and seem perfectly happy, so I'm hoping there will be a delivery of live fry on the menu real soon. My swimming bees have also gotten friendly to the point they will swim up and eat food from my fingers. <You're doing remarkably well! Usually these fish become aggressive or at least nippy; they are omnivores in the wild, and apart from their staple plant-based diet they also eat small fish and the scales/fins of larger fish.> I'm having a lot of fun with these unique fish, so hope to have them for years to come. I read somewhere they can live 35 years! Skye <In the "Baensch Aquarium Atlas" the authors comment that no-one can call themselves an aquarist until they've kept Anostomidae, the family to which your Leporinus belongs. I'm sympathetic to that viewpoint. Although problematic and challenging in many ways, they are also exceptionally characterful and offer lots of curious behaviours. That combination of difficulties and rewards is what makes them an objective test of one's fishkeeping skills. In any case, I'm glad you're enjoying your fish, and look forward to some pictures of their nests and social behaviour! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Leporinus; diet, behaviour   7/22/08 Hi Neale! (or whoever intercepts this message, could you pass along to him please? Thanks!) <It is me.> I've written about my 2 banded Leporinus. I'm amazed how quickly they continue to grow! I always keep a vacation feeder tablet or two in my tanks (and throw any left over, if any, away after 1-2 weeks.) If the fish have not had their fill of flakes, bloodworms or brine, there is always a treat to peck at. So far, everyone has stayed plump, healthy and happy. The Pleco who was initially nipped up has healed, returned to the main tank, and thinks the tabs are for him. He's growing quite fast as well. <All sounds great. I'd perhaps skip the "vacation feeder tablet" as being a waste of money. Stick in a half a head of lettuce (or cheap aquarium plants like Elodea) and both the Leporinus and the Plecs will enjoy themselves without any water quality/chemistry problems. Vacation feeder tablets are mostly chalk, so all they really do is raise the pH and carbonate hardness. Do remember that fish don't need to be fed over breaks less than a week. Fatten them up beforehand, stick some aquatic plants in the tank for them to graze on, and that's it! Without (much) protein in the system, you are less likely to have water quality problems while you're away, and water changes aren't so important.> The interesting thing I am writing about is what my banded "bees" are up to. I was recently out of town for several days, so had a friend watch after the fish. Just in case any feedings were missed, I sprinkled multiple 3 day feeder tablets into the tanks. I have returned to fine the "bees" have picked up the majority of tablets and moved them to one corner of their tank. Incidentally, this is the same corner they have done the nesting behaviors of picking up the gravel rock at the bottom of the tank and moving it around. I have never seen a fish pick up and hoard feeder tablets. Would you say this is a nesting, territorial or hoarding type of behavior? <Absolutely no idea! There are no reports of breeding behaviour in this species that I'm aware of. What they are doing does sound like nest building, though provisioning a nest with food is not something fish tend to do. My guess would be they simply used the tablets as "pebbles" and thought no more of it. Hoarding food is difficult for fish because water currents would tend to empty the hoard quickly. The closest thing I'm aware of to that is Damselfish guarding their "farms" of algae, but that's really a form of territoriality, just concentrated on a feeding patch rather than a nest. In any even, it would be great to see some photos of this behaviour.> Hope you are your fish are well. Skye <Thanks for writing in! All very interesting! Cheers, Neale.>

Picture of the Leporinus  9/27/08
Bob, Neale, crew;
This is a picture of the boy. He is about 6-8 months old. I'm pretty sure
this is a banded Leporinus.
<Is a L. fasciatus. BobF>

Re: Picture of the Leporinus
Thank you Bob. I'm glad uploading the picture worked! As I understand, the
L. fasciatus is the common pet-store variety?
<Yes... the most common, though have seen a handful of species of this genus, sometimes a dozen or more of the family/subfamily in older literature, at "more progressive", larger stores. BobF>

Re: Dramatic Fish or Personality Disorder? Leporinus   12/5/08 Hi Neale! <Hello!> Nice to hear from you again. Perhaps you don't remember me, as I'm sure the crew gets inundated with emails on a regular basis. <Indeed we do!> You've given me a lot of great advice on these black banded Leporinus fasciatus before. The ill look they had after cleaning the inside resolved minutes after I finished siphoning the rocks. They are curious and will get within a couple inches of the glass to look at me, but any sudden movement and they swim away. <Sounds typical for the species. This is indeed typical behaviour with large characins generally: curious, but nervous.> In the attached picture, my puffer is on the right side of the pic. This picture is a little older, as the banded Leporinus (I have 2) are about double the size now. The puffer is about 3 years old and one surprisingly docile for a fish. I had to add hiding spaces, as he was the one the Leporinus were picking on. He's never pecked at anyone, and couldn't seem to care less about the other fish. He does puff as a defense mechanism when chased, which fortunately is not often. My computer is set up next to the tank, so I'm literally watching my fish hours per day, turning the lights out so they have downtime when I go to bed. <Hmm... does look like a common or garden Tetraodon nigroviridis to me, rather that Tetraodon cutcutia (the species traditionally called the Emerald Puffer in the hobby). Tetraodon nigroviridis is an odd species in some ways: while adults are supposedly freshwater fish in the wild, with juveniles being found in brackish water, in aquaria they seem to do better across the board kept in brackish water. Specimens in brackish water get bigger and live twice as long. Some folks recommend keeping adults in marine tanks! You may well be lucky, but if your specimen ever starts showing odd colours, persistent fungal infections, etc., then it may well be time to move him to at least slightly brackish conditions.> The cobalt blue cichlid in the pic (your crew assisted in identification of) was unfortunately the result of a fatal attack by the Leporinus. They got his eye, gill and mouth. I put him in a hospital tank, but his injuries were too much for him. The Plecos like to suck on the glass on top of the tank (divided in sections of it), and the Leporinus always chew up the dorsal fins <Leporinus are indeed "fin biters" and wild fish likely eat small fish as well, so they're certainly opportunistic predators to some degree. They're quite fashionable additions to Malawi-type community tanks here in England, and you'll often see them in display tanks in department stores and sushi bars, alongside bright blue Mbuna and so on. But as you're observing, they're less than trustworthy animals.> My salinity is probably negligible. 1 tablespoon per 5 gal. <Indeed, doing little if anything useful or harmful. Do be careful with salt though: some vets maintain it is a stress factor on Mbuna, leading to the infamous Malawi Bloat syndrome. Not everyone agrees, but it's something to consider. When keeping Mbuna, it's more important to maintain a reasonably high carbonate hardness; if you do that, everything else "comes out in the wash" as we say in England. In other words, take care of the carbonate hardness, and general hardness and pH and pH stability usually balance out just right all by themselves.> Everyone seems happy, healthy and active. It was later I read that the banded guys are native to freshwater, but no "burnt" looking fins or signs suggestive in an adverse way. Also, they peck lips, build nests, and are happy. <One tablespoon of salt is about 18 grammes of salt (one teaspoon is 6 grammes). So that's about 18 grammes per 18 litres (5 gallons), or a gramme per litre. Normal seawater is 35 grammes per litre, so you have one thirty-fifth normal salinity, obviously not much at all. You could drink that salinity and be fine!> Thank you for your answer to my other email. You answer my question well in that they (the Leporinus') are a naturally nervous fish. <There you go!> Neale, do you have a 'private' or separate email so I can send you better quality pics sometime, and just say hello, share what's up with my finned friends? Skye <I do, and it's on my web site, which you can find by Googling. But I'd suggest subscribing to the WWM forum, and that'll allow you to upload links to high resolution images just fine (there are various free image hosting sites if you need one, such as Flickr). Give me a heads-up, and I will stop by and comment, and the advantage is that other folks can take a look and contribute. Cheers, Neale.>

Leporinus fasciatus... Potentially HUGE fish in Small Tank 8/15/07 Hello again, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I recently purchased a Leporinus fasciatus, <Grows to a foot, minimum tank size 70 gallons.> as well as a Pangasius catfish, <Grows to 4 feet! See: http://www.planetcatfish.com/catalog/image.php?image_id=5186 These fish do not belong being sold to the general public.> for my 29 gallon tank. They are in there with a small Columbian shark <A brackish schooling fish that grows to 18".> and a plecostomus. <Common Plecos grow to 18".> Recently I noticed the Leporinus has torn skin [a large white/clear piece hanging off one side]. I caught him in the net to have a closer look, and that piece fell off as soon as I did. After letting it go, I removed the carbon from my two filters, and added a dose of Melafix and some StressZyme. Now there just seems to be these white blotches on that one side. I'm wondering if maybe the catfish and Leporinus are fighting, since both seem to like this one corner of the tank. Or maybe there is something else wrong. I do know that the Leporinus is a brackish fish, <Not true.> and I do keep the salinity at a constant level. <Only helpful for the Columbian shark. Most folks assume a "little aquarium salt" is brackish but this doesn't make brackish water. None of your other fish will appreciate salt in their environment. If you're not using marine salt & measuring it with a hydrometer, it won't make much difference to the shark anyway. Even low-end brackish water would require around a cup of salt/5g.> I'm hoping you can shed some light on this problem as I do not want him/her to go belly up on me anytime soon! Thanks! <My take on this is: The Leporinus is a very skittish, active fish (needs a tight-fitting cover, to prevent jumping), that needs a lot of swimming room, as is the Columbian shark & the Pangasius catfish. I think they are running into each other trying to swim in a tank that is too small for them & running into things. Please check into the adult sizes of the fish you plan on purchasing, before you buy them. I think you have BIG problems ahead. Until you can return or rehome your fish, Melafix & water changes should heal the wound. ~PP>

Black Ghost Knife w/ Rainbow Shark? <& Banded Pencil?>  - 05/01/07 Good afternoon! <Christina> I apologize if you have answered this question before but I have looked through numerous Internet sites including reading most of your FAQs on BGK compatibility without finding much of an answer for my specific concern. Let me start off by saying that I fully realize that within a couple of years, I will need to purchase a MUCH larger set up and am already planning for it, I just do not have the floors to handle it at this time. For now, I have recently set up a 30 gallon aquarium, have let it cycle, and purchased 2 "diamond" tetras, one honey dwarf gourami, and a 4-5" BGK. My hopes/plan was to incorporate my 10 gallon fish that have a great need for a larger tank (one 4" angelfish, one 4" Banded Leporinus and one 4" Rainbow Shark). <Yikes... this Pencilfish species can be very "nippy"... the FW minnow shark possibly as well> I started with placing the Rainbow Shark into the 30 gallon that for the past 24 hours has housed the gourami, tetras and the BGK. The shark immediately went into the large ship ornament that housed the ghost Knifefish. <A typical behaviour... hiding> Both fish started swimming around one another nipping. I removed the shark and placed him back in the 10 gallon until I am able to get advice on the situation. <Maybe another such "ship" or tube...> There are two other ornaments including a tube in the tank that the fish can swim into to hide. Will the Black Ghost Knifefish and the Rainbow Shark be OK together (even in a MUCH larger tank such as 75 gallons or 125 gallons? <Likely so, yes> Is there a better way to introduce them? Should I first place the angel and Leporinus in the 30 gallon? <I would not place the Leporinus here> Thanks for any advice you can provide. ~Christina <There is a good chance that the Shark may get along if introduced slowly (as in a floating colander for a few days, the lights off), but not the large pencil. Bob Fenner>

Sorubim lima 1/11/07... Leporinus aggression   1/12/06 Can you give me an idea of what to do? I Just purchased 1/10/07 a Sorubim lima 6" at my local ps. I have him housed in a 100 gal tank with a 7" Leporinus. As soon as I put in the catfish the Leporinus has been all over him. <Yes... some large Pencilfish species, individuals can be pure territorial terrors> I have had the tank covered with a blanket all day to try to give the cat time to adjust to the his new surroundings. <I'd remove, at least physically separate the Pencil> I notice a couple of small bite marks from the Leporinus near the cat's tail and the cat has a cloudy eye. Should I treat for ick now? <I would not...> I see no other signs of ick but I don't want to wait until it is too late! Should I remove this catfish now? Is there anyway to get the Leporinus to leave him alone? Please help- Mike <I'd remove the Leporinus... try re-acquainting them in a few weeks when the Pimelodid cat is better situated. Bob Fenner> Keeping Cichlids with L. fasciatus   9/30/06 Hello Crew, Excellent web site and I look at it a lot. Great work. I am a cichlid lover from Moscow. I currently have in my 175gal: 1 `6 GT 1 `5 Oscar 2 `3 Cons 1 `3 Pink Con 5 `4 Silver Dollars 1 `7 Pleco 2 `3 Hemichromis bimaculatus Once upon a time I kept 6 red bellied piranhas in a 120 gallon tank with Leporinus fasciatus (Picture attached) <Mmm, nope. RMF>. To my surprise this tiger colour fish (don't know the common name) is described in many books as a peaceful fish, but I noticed on the contrary, and its indeed a very aggressive fish to the extent that even piranhas didn't mess with it. The question  is whether I may keep Leporinus fish again and do not have any idea of whether its a good thing to do by putting it with my above mentioned cichlids? Any suggestions will be appreciated. I really want to keep this fish again. Cheers < Most of the literature refers to smaller fish. Larger Leporinus can get up to over a foot long and are very fast swimmers. Your Oscar and green terror are big enough to handle him but not fast enough to fend him off. The Leporinus will not back down from your cichlids and may cause problems.-Chuck> Image permission?  - 04/05/2006 Abramites hypselonotus - Can we borrow this image on www.allfishforums.com? Of course we will add a note as to whose photo it is, and where to find the original source.   Thanks for your time! <Mmm, you folks appear to be non-profit... per our Content Policy, you're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Leporinus fasciatus and (yummy) plants My problem is maintaining plants in my aquarium. Research has lead me to believe it is my Leporinus fasciatus. My aquarium is a 44 gal, 36" bowfront with undergravel filter and a penguin BioWheel 170. Other livestock are a rainbow shark, 3 glass catfish, 3 Hatchetfish, 3 ghost shrimp, and a Pleco. No fish additions for about 3-4 years, no fish deaths in about 3 years-all these are 4-6 years in my care. The Leporinus is maybe now 7 inches- initially harassed by the rainbow shark until it outgrew it-now usually the shark gives in (maybe 5 inches).  Tank is 8 years old, Leporinus was moved in about 4 years ago when it was getting big for a smaller tank it was in. Single 36" fluorescent. I did okay with plants (avoiding high light requiring plants) until then. Since then I cannot maintain decent plantings (I also suspect he may have took out my snails). Java Fern has done very well and now has patches throughout the tank, Cryptocoryne wendtii has survived for 2 years but is a little chewed on. Nothing else have I been able to maintain. I admit I have quit changing the bulb in the last 2 years as nothing does well anyway, but prior I changed the bulb every six months with aquarium full spectrum fluorescents. <Does need to be changed about this often> I cannot find anywhere on your site compatibility listings, and would like more options in what I can grow, and am tired of spending money on plants that don't survive. Are there ones you can suggest that would survive or do I need to consider finding another home for him. I really ultimately would like a well planted tank. Thanks for any suggestions. SMS <It may be that your minnow shark and Pleco are contributing to your lack of success here as well... as the Pencilfish and lack of photosynthetic active radiation... Other tough plants like the Crypts, Anubias... or very fast growing ones like Vallisneria americana, Crinum species might do... You really need to add more light and change the lamps for same as well though. Perhaps another system w/o plant eaters...? Bob Fenner> 

Tankmates For Leporinus? Thanks for all of the info, I think I have the tank, and the Ick, under control for now. Its been about a week or two since I first contacted you and I took your advice and took the 3 Bala sharks back, which leaves me with 1 rainbow shark, 1 clown loach, 1 Pleco, and 2 Leporinus (Leporinus fasciatus), and that frog.  All seems to be well and the fish seem to get along decently enough. I'm thinking about getting a larger tank (55 gallon) and transferring these fish over to the tank after a while and using the smaller tank as a community fish tank or something. <A good idea. You may even want to go larger. I think that you'll find them much more peaceful in a larger tank!> My question is the Leporinus seem to be very aggressive and the top dogs of the tank, (they also seem to be growing very fast), do you have any recommendations of good tank mates for them once I switch them over to the 55 gallon tank? <I'd go with some "larger" tetras, like Lemon Tetras, Serpaes, etc., which are both attractive and capable of "standing up" to the potential aggression of these guys...> Also will the Leporinus eat live food (feeder fish) etc? <Well, I've never heard of them eating feeder fish, but they do eat live foods, such as black worms, daphnia, and brine shrimp. They will also nibble on live plants, so think about "tougher" species if you're gonna go with live plants> You guys are the best, Thanks, Lonnie     <Thanks for the kind words, Lonnie! I'm glad that we can help you!>

Freshwater Fish problems...and questions Thanks for all of the info, I think I have the tank, and the Ick, under control for now. Its been about a week or two since I first contacted you and I took your advice and took the 3 Bala sharks back, which leaves me with 1 rainbow shark, 1 clown loach, 1 Pleco, and 2 Leporinus (Leporinus fasciatus), and that frog.  All seems to be well and the fish seem to get along decently enough. I'm thinking about getting a larger tank (55 gallon) and transferring these fish over to the tank after a while and using the smaller tank as a community fish tank or something. <Good idea> My question is the Leporinus seem to be very aggressive and the top dogs of the tank, (they also seem to be growing very fast), do you have any recommendations of good tank mates for them once I switch them over to the 55 gallon tank? <Many choices possible... have to be fast, aware fishes... like some of the larger barbs, Danios...> Also will the Leporinus eat live food (feeder fish) etc? <Not a good idea to offer live fish... these fish can/do eat their tankmates quite often. Other live foods like crustaceans, worms, insect larvae are taken with gusto. Bob Fenner> You guys are the best,

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