Quantcast

CHARACINS

By Rhett Butler


GASTEROPELECIDAE FAMILY

The Gasteropelecidae or freshwater Hatchetfish family is found exclusively in South Americaand includes the genera Carnegiella,Gasteropelecus, and Thoracocharax. These fish have the unique abilityto glide over the water surface by rapidly beating its pectoral fins.
SIZE : The Gasteropelecidae family includes small to medium-sized fish, most ranging insize from 1" (2.5 cm) to 3.5" (9 cm).
S : The fish of this family swim in the upper water levels.
TANK :For most Hatchetfish, the tank should be at least 28" (70 cm) long or 20-25 gallons(75-95 l). It should be arranged in dark colors and have floating plants to diffuse the light. A tight-fittingcover is needed for Hatchetfish are excellent jumpers. It is recommended to leave a 4-6" (10-15 cm) gap between the watersurface and the cover.
WATER : These fish can tolerate a pH from 5.8-7.1, but prefer slightly acidic water around6.7. Theylike soft water ranging from 4-15 dH (8), and require a temperature of 75-86 F (24-30 C).
SB : Hatchetfish are small, peaceful, surface-dwelling fish. They are skittish and should only becombined with peaceful fish of lower swimming levels. Hatchetfish are schooling fish that should be kept in groups.
SC : Apistogramma ,Corydoras, Angelfish, Discus, Waroo, tetras, Loricarids, smallDoradids, Killifish, African tetras (Alestids)
FOOD : Hatchetfish feed from the surface. In nature, they feed on small flying insects,such as gnats and Drosophila (fruit flies). In captivity they can also be fed mosquito larvae, bloodworms, glassworms, Daphnia , Brine Shrimp , and flake foods
B : Several species have been successfully bred, including Carnegiella marthae marthae , C. strigata strigata , C.strigata fasciata , Gasteropelecus maculatus , and G. sternicla . In almost all cases the water used has been acidic and very soft. The pair was conditioned with smallflying insects. Spawning takes place among floating plants. The parents should be removed afterspawning. Start feeding the fry with roftiers and paramecia.
BP : Breeding Hatchetfish is difficult.
R :Most Hatchetfish are wild-caught and thus susceptible to disease, especially "Ich"when first introduced to the aquarium. It is wise to quarantine fish before adding them to the main tank.
DC : Hatchetfish are, for the most part, fairly delicate fish which should only be keptby experienced aquariasts.

Black-winged Hatchetfish
[
Carnegiella marthae
SYN : None
PD : Has a convex body. The ventral fins are very small and the back is fairly straight. The wing-like pectoral fins are transparent and often measure up to one-half the fish's overall body length. Thecoloration is usually silver with black patches and stripes. Depending on the angle of light, the colors can changefrom iridescent green to iridescent violet. A horizontal stripe extends from the gill cover to the base of thetail. It is usually gold in color.
SIZE : To 1.5" (4 cm)
SS : Carnegiellamarthae schereri of the Peru vian Amazon and C. myersi of the Rio Ucayali.
HAB : South America; Slow flowing, heavily wooded, rainforest streams and pools of the RioNegro and the Rio Orinoco .
S : Top
TANK : 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The tank should be set-up in a mannersuch as that of other Hatchetfish. See genus description. Peat filtration is beneficial.
WATER : pH 5.5-7.0 (6.7), 1-8 dH (4), 75-84°F (24-29°C)
SB : A small, peaceful community fish. Should only be combined with other small, peacefulfish of lower swimming levels. Like all Hatchetfish, the Black-winged Hatchet may jump when pursued.
SC : See genus description.
FOOD : Live; mosquito larvae, Daphnia , Drosophila , small flying insects; flakefoods.
SEX : Only distinguishable during spawning, when white eggs can be seen in female's body
B : Very difficult. Use soft, peat filtered water with a water hardness of 1-4 dH. Thepair should be keep separately for two or three weeks and conditioned on Drosophila and black mosquito larvae. Afterthat amount of time, the fish should be combined in a 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L) tank, that is heavilyplanted with floating, bushy plants. The females lays 2-5 eggs at a time on the floating plants near thesurface. Remove the parents after spawning. The fry hatch in 30-36 hours and are free-swimming after 5 days. Startfeeding with paramecia and roftiers. After a week the young can be fed on Brine Shrimp nauplii and Daphnia . Thefry become "hatchet-shaped" after 20 days.
BP : 9. Captive spawning of this fish are rare and unusual.
R : This Hatchetfish can leave the water and "fly" for up to 5 feet (1.52 m).
DC : 6. A delicate fish recommended for only experienced aquariasts.

Marbled Hatchetfish
[
Carnegiella strigata strigata
SYN : Carnegiellastrigatus, Gasteropelecus strigata, G. fasciata, G. vesca
PD : Has a convex body. The ventral fins are very small and the back is fairly straight. Thewing-like pectoral fins are transparent and often measure up to one-half the fish's overall body length. Thecoloration is usually silver with black patches. Depending on the angle of light, the colors can change from iridescentgreen to iridescent violet. A horizontal stripe, yellow in color, extends along the top of the fish.
SIZE : To 2" (5 cm)
SS : Carnegiellastrigata fasciata is a commonly seen sub-species of C. strigata, that comes from small bodies of water in the Guyanas.
HAB : South America; shaded, still or slow-moving water near Iquitos, Peru
S : Top
TANK : 24" (60 cm) or 10-20 gallons (38-75 L) is sufficient, although larger tanksare preferred. The tank should be set-up like other Hatchetfish. See the Hatchetfish family introduction.
WATER : pH 5.0-7.5 (6.5); 5-18 dH (8); 75-84°F (24-29°C)
SB : A peaceful fish, recommended for community tanks with other calm fish, that swim inthe lower water levels.
SC : See family description.
FOOD : Live; mosquito larvae, bloodworms, glassworms, Drosophila , Daphnia , Brine Shrimp , Tubifex ;flake foods
SEX : Only distinguishable during spawning, when white eggs can be seen in the female'sbody
B : The fish will spawn frequently if fed the proper diet of small flying insects. Thewater should be peat filtered to darken it and to make the water soft. The fish will spawn after lengthy courtshipand the eggs will be laid on floating plants. The eggs will fall to the bottom, at which time the parents shouldbe removed. The fry hatch after 30 hours and will be free swimming after five days. After seven days, the fry can be fedParamecium and Brine Shrimp nauplii. The young begin to take adults shape after 20 days, and swim at alltank levels.
BP : 7. Breeding is not difficult under the right conditions.
R : The Marbled Hatchetfish can leave the water and "fly" for up to 10 feet (3.05m).
DC : 5. The Marbled Hatchetfish is the best suited Hatchetfish to life in aquaria. Eventhough the Marbled Hatchet is the hardiest Hatchetfish, it is still not recommended for beginning aquariasts. C. strigata fasciata is slightly hardier.

Spotted Hatchetfish
[
Gasteropelecus maculatus
SYN : Thoracocharaxmaculatus
PD : Has a convex body. The ventral fins are very small and the back is fairly straight. Thewing-like pectoral fins are transparent and often measure up to one-half the fish's overall body length. Thecoloration is silver and the back is olive brown. The mouth is small and upturned. Depending on the angle of light, thecolors can change from iridescent green to iridescent blue. Small black spots dot the body.
SIZE : To 3.5" (9 cm)
SS : None
HAB : Central and South America; stagnant lakes, ponds, and swamps from Southern Panama ,through Columbia, Venezuela , and Guyana, to Surinam
S : Top
TANK : 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L). See Hatchetfish description.
WATER : pH 6-7 (6.7); 6-15 dH (9); 73-82°F (23-28°C)
SB : See the Hatchetfish family Introduction.
SC : See the Hatchetfish family introduction
FOOD : Live; mosquito larvae, bloodworms, glassworms, Drosophila , Daphnia , Brine Shrimp , Tubifex ;flake foods
SEX : Females are plumper during spawning season.
B : Spawning is very similar to C. strigata strigata .
BP : 8. Spawning is more difficult than C. strigata strigata .
R : This Hatchetfish can leave the water and "fly" for up to 12 feet (3.66 m). Thisfish is prone to "Ich".
DC : 5. This Hatchetfish has difficulty adjusting to a new tank. However, once established the SpottedHatchet is fairly hardy.

Common Hatchetfish
[
Gasteropelecus sternicla
SYN : Clupeasternicla, Thoracocharax sternicla
PD : Has a convex body. The ventral fins are very small and the back is fairly straight. Thewing-like pectoral fins are transparent and often measure up to one-half the fish's overall body length. Thecoloration is silver and the back is olive brown. The mouth is small and upturned. Depending on the angle of light, thecolors can change from iridescent green to iridescent blue. A black vertical stripe extends from the gillcover to the base of the tail.
SIZE : To 2.5" (6.4 cm)
SS : Silver Hatchetfish ( G. levis ), Silver Hatchetfish ( Thoracocharax securis ). The Common Hatchetfish is often confusedwith these two species.
HAB : In small streams with heavy vegetation. South America; in Surinam, Peru , Guyana
S : Top
TANK : 28" (70 cm) or 20-25 gallons (75-95 L). See Hatchetfish family introduction.
WATER : pH 5.8-7.5 (6.8); 4-15 dH (8); 72-81°F (22-27°C)
SB : See Hatchetfish description.
SC : See the Hatchetfish family introduction
FOOD : Live; mosquito larvae, Tubifex , crustaceans, Drosophila; flake
SEX : Only distinguishable during spawning when white eggs can be seen in females body
B : As for C.strigata strigata .
BP : 9. The Common Hatchetfish has been bred only on a few occasions in captivity.
R : This Hatchetfish can leave the water and "fly" for up to 10 feet (3.05 m).
DC : 5. Among the hardiest of Hatchetfish, although not as hardy as C. strigata strigata


Silver Hatchetfish

[
Thoracocharax securis
SYN : Gasteropelecussecuris, G. stellatus, Thoracocharax pectorosus, T. stellatus
PD : Has a convex body. The ventral fins are very small and the back is fairly straight. The wing-like pectoral fins are transparent and often measure up to one-half the fish's overall body length. Thecoloration is silver to white and the back is olive brown. The mouth is small and upturned. Depending on the angleof light, the colors can change from iridescent green to iridescent blue. A green to yellow vertical stripe extendsfrom the gill cover to the base of the tail.
SIZE : To 3.5" (9 cm)
SS : Silver Hatchetfish ( Gasteropelecus levis ), Common Hatchetfish ( Gasteropelecus sternicla )
HAB : South America; lakes, swamps, and ponds with heavy vegetation in the Lower AmazonBasin. This species is also said to inhabit shallow, fast flowing streams.
S : Top
TANK : 28" (71 cm) or 20 gallons (75 L). This Hatchetfish requires the usualHatchetfish set-up, but it also needs a good air supply.
WATER : pH 5.8-7.5 (6.7); 4-15 dH (8); 73-86°F (23-30°C)
SB : A peaceful community fish. Combine with fish of lower swimming levels.
SC : See the Hatchetfish family introduction
FOOD : Live; mosquito larvae, bloodworms, glassworms, Drosophila , Daphnia , Brine Shrimp , Tubifex ;flake foods
SEX : Unknown
B : Unsuccessful
BP : 10. No reports of this Hatchetfish spawning in captivity have been made public.
R : This Hatchetfish can leave the water and fly for up to 9 feet (2.74 m).
DC : 5. A somewhat sensitive fish. Once it is acclimated, it is fairly hardy.