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Characins / Gasteropelecidae / Marbled Hatchetfish

Marbled Hatchetfish
Carnegiella strigata strigata

Synonyms: Carnegiella strigatus, Gasteropelecus strigata, G. fasciata, G. vesca
Physical description: 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. The coloration is usually silver with black patches. Depending on the angle of light, the colors can change from iridescent green to iridescent violet. A horizontal stripe, yellow in color, extends along the top of the fish.
Size/Length: To 2" (5 cm)
Similar species: Carnegiella strigata fasciata is a commonly seen sub-species of C. strigata, that comes from small bodies of water in the Guyanas.
Habitat: South America; shaded, still or slow-moving water near Iquitos, Peru
S: Top
Aquarium: 24" (60 cm) or 10-20 gallons (38-75 L) is sufficient, although larger tanks are preferred. The tank should be set-up like other Hatchetfish. See the Hatchetfish family introduction.
Water chemistry: pH 5.0-7.5 (6.5); 5-18 dH (8); 75-84°F (24-29°C)
Social behavior: A peaceful fish, recommended for community tanks with other calm fish, that swim in the lower water levels.
Suggested companions: See family description.
FOOD: Live; mosquito larvae, bloodworms, glassworms, Drosophila , Daphnia , Brine Shrimp, Tubifex ; flake foods
Sexual differences: Only distinguishable during spawning, when white eggs can be seen in the female's body
Breeding techniques: The fish will spawn frequently if fed the proper diet of small flying insects. The water should be peat filtered to darken it and to make the water soft. The fish will spawn after lengthy courtship and the eggs will be laid on floating plants. The eggs will fall to the bottom, at which time the parents should be removed. The fry hatch after 30 hours and will be free swimming after five days. After seven days, the fry can be fed Paramecium and Brine Shrimp nauplii. The young begin to take adults shape after 20 days, and swim at all tank levels.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is not difficult under the right conditions.
Remarks: The Marbled Hatchetfish can leave the water and "fly" for up to 10 feet (3.05 m).
Difficulty of care: 5. The Marbled Hatchetfish is the best suited Hatchetfish to life in aquaria. Even though the Marbled Hatchet is the hardiest Hatchetfish, it is still not recommended for beginning aquariasts. C. strigata fasciata is slightly hardier.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com