25% Off sword plants thru 10/1! •Free shipping for non-fish orders over $100.


Your Cart is Empty


Red Pencil Fish

The Red Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi) is a popular smaller pencil fish with reddish top half of the fish then a black line, followed by a white underbelly.  The male’s “nose” has a red spot on it. Both have bluish/white colored bottom fins.  They come from Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, plus the eastern Amazon drainage in Amapá and Pará states, Brazil. These are captive raised with emphasis on increased red coloration. They are perfect community fish with other similar sized fish.

They grow to the adult size of less than 1.5 inches.  They make a perfect addition to a 10-gallon tank or larger with like sized calm fish such as small tetras and rasboras.  They enjoy being around live plants, so those are a plus. It is encouraged that they be kept in groups of 10 or more so they feel comfortable in their aquarium. In a group of males and females, the males will have brighter colors as they display to the rest of the group.

Please Note: All fish shipments have a 100% Live Arrival Guarantee when shipping with FedEx Overnight (1 Day) option. All other options void our Live Arrival Guarantee for fish. 

To replicate their natural habitat, the use of rock work, plants, and driftwood should be included in the aquarium. They also enjoy tannins in their water, so the use of Indian Almond or Guava leaves is highly recommended. They enjoy having a shaded aquarium so keeping floating plants is encouraged to cut down the light reaching them. Gentle filtration is encouraged using a sponge filter. We would not recommend keeping this fish with shrimp colonies due to the likeliness of the red pencilfish eating baby shrimp.

The scientific name for the red pencilfish is: Nannostomus beckfordi ‘Red’

They are omnivores by nature. We feed our red pencilfish a mix of frozen foods including daphnia, baby brine, cyclops, and bloodworms.

Our Tank Parameters

  • Ph: 7.2 to 7.5
  • Gh: 6 to 16
  • Kh:  2 to 7
  • TDS: 120 to 200
  • Temp: 70 to 74

Tank Recommendations

  • Leaves: Indian Almond or Guava
  • Wood: Mopani or Malaysian
  • Cones: Alder Cones
  • Other: Buffering substrate to lower pH, not required

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Melissa Wilson
Great first order

All fish/snail (9 pencil fish, 1 mystery snail, 1 assassin) arrived healthy well and packed carefully. Happy to say all have been in the tank for close to a week and they’re happy and no losses so far! Was also predicting weather in the 70s during the delivery so I didn’t order heat/cooling packs and it was fine. Will definitely order again in the future. Thank you!

robyn cole

I ordered six and received seven of these little fish, all in good condition.

I learned a pencilfish life lesson - they are jumpers. As I was preparing them for drip acclimation in a separate container, one jumped right out onto the floor. It happened right in front of me!
The jumper survived and so far continues to do so.
The rest are starting to show off their subtle pretty colors. They are already less shy than my black neon tetras (who are terrified of any sight of me)

buy them now

i try to avoid wild caught at all costs for the same reasons Rob himself has mentioned in livestreams before: it's bad for the environment and yields heavy losses among the livestock (i.e. lots of them die in transit). So when I saw Flip had tank-raised Beckford's pencilfish, I...flipped out ;) I ordered a school of them and man they came in HUGE!!! I think they even spawned in the bag. The quality on these guys is amazing, beautiful color, very healthy, large and clearly well-fed. They look absolutely stunning in a planted setup and they have already added so much joy and interest to my fish room. No regrets :)

George Richards
In great shape

Always get healthy shrimp and fish!

They’re nice fish

Very nice schooling fish of the aquatic variety