Marbled Hatchetfish
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(Carnegiella strigata) Moderate Peaceful 2" 20 gallons 75-82° F, KH 10-18, pH 5.0-7.5 Omnivore Colombia, Guyana, Peru and Brazil Gasteropelecidae Hatchets Community Marbled Hatchetfish are found living in the streams and tributaries of South America. They prefer to live in areas of dense surface vegetation, where they can feed on small insect larvae and plant matter and stay safe from larger predatory fish species by hiding amongst the dense vegetation. The Marble Hatchetfish is specially designed for life at the waters surface, with powerful pectoral fins mounted high a top their body combined with a deep thin torso they are well suited to take flight from the water at a moments notice. Their ability to fly or jump from the water benefits them both in feeding and in escaping predators. Marbled Hatchetfish will leap from the waters surface to catch small flying insects and to escape the gaping jaws of larger predatory fish species lurking beneath them. It is important to provide the proper aquarium setup in order to successfully house Marbled Hatchetfish and allow them to thrive. Like most fish species, replicating their natural environment is the best way to create a habitat that the fish will adapt quickly to and thrive within. In terms of the Marble Hatchetfish the aquarium needs to have plenty of plants and floating vegetation, along with moderate to high water flow. Marbled Hatchetfish should also be kept in groups of at least 6 or more individuals as they live in good sized groups in the wild and will often do poorly or perish when kept singularly. Another equally important factor in keeping Marbled Hatchetfish within the aquarium environment is to keep the tank fully covered as this species is highly prone to jumping from the water when startled or during aggressive feeding. Tank mates should include other peaceful to semi-aggressive South American tropical community species. Being a top water to upper middle water species, the Marbled Hatchetfish tends no to compete with too many species for swimming space within the aquarium. Marbled Hatchetfish are an omnivorous species that will consume insect, meaty and vegetable based foods. The bulk of their diet should consist of high quality frozen, freeze-dried or flake commercial foods. They should also be fed live, frozen or freeze-dried blood worms, daphnia or tubifex worms. They can initially be a little reluctant to feed, but in time will become very active feeders that will compete with the most boisterous tank mates for each morsel of food. While they are not easily bred within the aquarium environment, Marbled Hatchetfish have been bred in captivity. For any real chance at breeding this species, they will need to be kept in a separate aquarium that is specifically setup for this purpose. A small group of 4 to 6 individuals should be added to a 20 to 30 gallon aquarium filled with aged acidic water pH of 5.5 to 6.5, temperature of 76 to 79 °, plenty of floating vegetation, dim lighting and a thin layer of gravel substrate mixed with peat to help maintain water conditions. The breeding group should be fed a quality diet of live insects and worms like fruit fly and blood worms or other highly nutritious small insects. Successful breeding will produce eggs that will be scattered both in the plant material and on the substrate of the aquarium. The parents need to be removed after successfully breeding as they will consume both the eggs and young fry. The fry will hatch within 36 hours and will become free swimming a day or two later. They should be fed micro foods like infusoria for the first 2 weeks, after which they will be large enough to accept baby brine shrimp or similar fare.
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Silver Hatchet
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(Gasteropelecus sternicla) Moderate Peaceful 3" 20 gallons 74-80° F, KH 8-12, pH 6.0-7.0 Carnivore Brazil, Amazon River Gasteropelecidae Hatchets Community Silver Hatchet are found throughout the Amazon river and its many tributaries, where it typically is found near well vegetated areas near shore. However, very large schools of Silver Hatchet will often move out into deeper water as they feel more protected in large groups. Their upturn mouths clearly show that they spend most of their time near the waters surface as their bodies are designed for feeding from the surface of the water. In the aquarium this species makes an excellent addition to any community aquarium where they will happily form schools and actively swim at or near the surface of the aquarium. When startled the Silver Hatchet is known for being a jumper, thus aquariums housing this species should have covers to prevent them from jumping out. Silver Hatchets do best in community aquariums that contain plenty of live plants or artificial plants and medium to low water currents along the waters surface. Ideally they should be kept in groups of 6 or more individuals depending on the size of the aquarium. They are a very peaceful species that will get along well with others of their own kind and other community species of any size. In the wild they use their wing like pectoral fins and streamlined body to leap into the air to avoid predators, so they should be kept in well covered aquariums to avoid them jumping out of the tank if startled. Lastly, the Silver Hatchet comes from areas of the Amazon that have immense water volume and are used to very high quality water and stable water conditions. Therefore, it is best to keep this species in an established aquarium with strong biological and chemical filtration. Silver Hatchet consist of a diet that is primarily made up of small insects and insect larvae in the wild. They feed almost exclusively off the surface of the water, thus are well suited for accepting flake foods in the aquarium environment. They will readily take to a variety of meaty flake and freeze-dried foods in the aquarium like staple flake foods and freeze-dried tubifex and blood worms.