Scientific Name: Nannostomus eques

Breeding Strategy: Plant chooser

Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Introduction: These peaceful schooling fish are named for their long, thin bodies and pointed noses as well as their unusual behavior: They often swim at a 45 degree angle.

Sex Differences: Males are more brightly colored; females tend to be plumper. Start with a group of six or eight and let them pair off naturally.

Water Conditions: Soft and acidic, with pH of 6.5 or lower and dH of about 5. Temperature should be between 77° and 86°, with the upper end of that range being preferable. Breeders disagree as to whether to add substrate: The fish will be more relaxed with a dark substrate—a covering of waterlogged peat will accomplish this, and has the added benefits of softening the water and staining it a dark color. Alternatively, use blackwater extract to darken and soften the water.

Equipment: Breeding tank of at least 10 gallons, equipped with heater, sponge filter, spawning grate, and broad-leaved plants such as Amazon swordplants or Cryptocoryne. Since this will also serve as the rearing tank, do not use substrate; instead, put the plants in pots or weight them to the substrate. Set the tank in a quiet, dimly lit location.

Conditioning and Triggers: Condition males and females separately on mosquito larvae, daphnia, blood worms, and other live foods for one to two weeks prior to spawning.

Spawning: Move the breeding pair to the tank in the late afternoon or early evening. Within a day or two, the male should begin displaying to the female, flaring his fins, and chasing her around the tank; usually this takes place first thing in the morning. Eventually, they will maneuver beneath one of the leaves, where the female will deposit a few eggs at a time and the male will fertilize them. This will be repeated a number of times over the course of one or two hours; some of the eggs will stick to the leaf, but most will drift to the bottom of the tank. Once spawning is complete, the adults should be removed, as they will eat their eggs.

Brood Size: About 30 to 40 on average.

Fry Care: Fry will hatch in 24 to 36 hours and become free swimming five to six days after that. Feed infusoria and green water, introducing baby brine shrimp and microworms as the fry grow. Do daily water changes of 10 to 25 percent to ensure that conditions are top notch, and use a sponge filter. Fry grow slowly, taking nearly a year to reach sexual maturity.