Nannostomus beckfordi - Guenther 1872

by David Snell

My three trios of N beckfordi came from the Aquarium Center in September 2000. Nannostomus beckfordi are found in the central Amazon. There bodies can reach up to 2 1/2" in length. Although they are referred to as Golden, they are redder in color than golden. Similar to other Characins, the male of the species is more slender than the female. In addition to the red in their body, the males also have white tips on their fins. The females are more round in the mid section, especially the they start filling with eggs.

Once home the pairs were placed into my tetra conditioning tanks. These conditioning tanks are bare bottom 10-gallon tanks with a temperature set at about 75°F. The males were placed into one tank, the females into the other. All my tetras are fed the same foods, mostly frozen bloodworms, newly hatched brine shrimp, blackworms, Golden Pearls, and fruit flies.

In late September I noticed a few of the females being much more round in the mid-section. I decided to set up my typical 5.5-gallon spawning tank to try and spawn them. My spawning tank is a thoroughly cleaned tank. I typically clean my spawning tank, glass hood, and spawning grate with a high concentration of salt water. After the cleaning with salt water, I rinsed everything with tap water.

I placed a pair into my spawning tank. The 5.5-gallon tank was filled about 2/3 full of RO water with a double dosage of a blackwater extract. The water temp was started at 72°F then slowly raised to about 78-80°F. On the bottom of the tank, I put a homemade spawning grate. I attached a lettuce clip at the water line to the backside of the tank. Attached to the lettuce clip was a piece of java moss that reached down to the bottom of the tank. As with my spawning of the Glowlight tetras, I covered the tank with a dark towel to reduce the amount light in the tank.

While the adults were in the spawning tank, I didn’t feed the fish. I didn’t want any uneaten food to contribute to bacteria in the tank that would lead to fungus on any eggs that may be present.

I checked the tank daily to see if the pair had spawned by looking at the bottom of the tank for visible eggs. Over the course of several days, I did not see any eggs.

After a week in the spawning tank, I decided to remove the adults, change the water, and set the tank up for another spawning attempt. After siphoning out half the water into a bucket, I noticed that there was a young fry that had darted off the bottom of the tank and settled back down. Upon closer examination, I noticed that there were about 18 fry. About half in my bucket and the other half in the spawning tank.

I spent the next hour trying to remove the fry from the bucket by sucking them out with a large syringe. Although the fry were just a few days old, they were fast. It was extremely difficult to remove the fry from the bucket and get them back into the spawning tank. After an hour, and only being able to remove about half the fry, I gave up and slowly dumped the water from the bucket back into the spawning tank.

As with the Glowlight tetras, I fed the fry heavily on paramecium for the first week or so, and then I started supplementing with newly hatched brine shrimp. I also started to feed microworms. After 4 weeks, I fed the fry mostly on newly hatched brine shrimp. At about 8 weeks I started to introduce the fry to frozen bloodworms, which only the larger fry seemed to eat. During this 8-week time, I did water changes about once a week, changing about a third of the water with RO water. I kept the temperature at 78-80°F.

At the 8-week point, and just before the PVAS holiday party, I had 12 of the original 18 fry remaining. Their size ranged from 1/2" to 3/4". I was able to get the 60-day BAP check done just in time to earn the points for 2000 and make the Intermediate Breeders Award level.

This article first appeared in PVAS’s Delta Tale, Vol 32, # 3.