Aqua Journey Documents Nannostomus sp. ‘Super Red Cenepa’ in Hong Kong

31 Mar, 2022

Aquarists Aqua Journey gives us our next look at this amazing new variety of pencilfish that has been introduced to the aquarium trade as Nannostomus sp. 'Super Red Cenepa'.
Aquarists Aqua Journey gives us our next look at this amazing new variety of pencilfish that has been introduced to the aquarium trade as Nannostomus sp. ‘Super Red Cenepa’.

Furious speculation surrounds the amazing new Nannostomus pencilfish variety that has entered the aquarium trade under the name ‘Super Red Cenepa’. As previously covered this week, a single specimen was photographed at Peruvian exporter Aquarium Shaly Exotic Fish Ltd. Showing only one fish raised eyebrows. Where was the group? Where were the females? Was it just an aberrant fish in a larger batch? Is it perhaps just an odd form of Nannostomus rubrocuadatus. While somewhat disproven by the numerous photos and videos, some were insistent that this was simply great “Photoshop” work.

Today, a private Hong-Kong aquarist who goes by “Aqua Journey” shared multiple photos of his recently acquired Nannostomus sp. ‘Super Red Cenepa’, which are starting to lend support to the hypothesis that this is potentially a new species of Nannostomus. As reported earlier, the first cohort of fishes was exported to Hong Kong, and it’s clear that they’ve arrived and are being noticed by aquarists.

More than one specimen of Nannostomus sp. 'Super Red Cenepa', showing subtle variations in color patterning.
More than one specimen of Nannostomus sp. ‘Super Red Cenepa’, showing subtle variations in color patterning.

The images were captured just hours after being purchased from an aquarium retailer in Hong Kong.The photos clearly depict multiple specimens showing distinctive coloration and uniform patterning with only minimal variation that you might expect between individuals of a population. More telling is the uniform differences that separate these fish from N. rubrocaudatus, including the lack of any red pigmentation in the dorsal fin, and a decided absent lateral stripe that is seen in similar species.

Three Nannostomus sp. 'Super Red Cenepa' in the frame, plus a fourth barely visible at the lower left edge of the image. Amazing photos, Aqua Journey!
Three Nannostomus sp. ‘Super Red Cenepa’ in the frame, plus a fourth barely visible at the lower left edge of the image. Amazing photos, Aqua Journey!

12 hours post-arrival, interesting changes had already occurred. “I thought the fins should be colorless. However, as the fish continue to settle in, I found that their dorsal fins are showing white coloration,” wrote Aqua Journey. Pencilfishes are known for their ability to rapidly change coloration, which can further cause confusion or interest at times.

First, black pigmentation appeared in the dorsal fin.
First, black pigmentation appeared in the dorsal fin.
This individual has started to sport white highlights in all its fins except its pectorals.
This individual has started to sport white highlights in all its fins except its pectorals.

Where are the females, you ask? To paraphrase Aqua Journey’s explanation, “I didn’t look for females as I was in a rush; I just picked the red guys!”

Our thanks goes to Aqua Journey for generously allowing us to republish these important photos which add credibility to the idea that we may be looking at a new species of Nannostomus pencilfish. Be sure to like and follow Aqua Journey on Facebook!

Related Posts

About the author

Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is a Sr. Editor and Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC & CORAL Magazines, and is a Sr. Editor and Publishing Partner with Aquatic Media Press, LLC & AMAZONAS Magazine. Matt has kept aquariums for 38 years, has worked in most facets of the aquarium trade, is an active aquarist and fish breeder (both marine and freshwater), and was recognized with the 2009 MASNA Award as the MASNA Aquarist of the Year.

1 Comment

Leave a reply

Receive FREE e-Newsletters from the editors of AMAZONAS Magazine.

Sign up to get interesting news and updates delivered to your inbox.

Thank you! You have successfully subscribed to the AMAZONAS Magazine email newsletter.