The Hemirhamphidae or Half-beak family belong to the order Beloniformes, and the sub-order Exocoetoidei, which includes, among others marine flying fish and needlefish. Half-beaks inhabit marine, brackish, and freshwater habitats throughout the world. Half-beaks have a distinctive lower jaw which is much longer than the upper jaw. Hemirphamphidae includes fish that are egg-layers and a few that are livebearers. Among the live bearing Half-beaks are the genera Dermogenys, Hemirhamphodon , and Nomorhamphus . Fertilization is accomplished through the modified anal of males known as the andropodium.
Halfbeak, Malayan Halfbeak, Wrestling Halfbeak [
SYN : Hemirhamphuspusillus
PD : An elongated fish with moderate lateral compression. The dorsal fin is set far back on the body, near the caudal fin. It possess a long immovable lower jaw. The upper jaw which can be moved up and down is smaller and shorter. The coloration varies, depending on where the specimen is found. Usually the upper parts are silvery-green to silvery-brown and the belly is silver to yellow. The fins for the most part are transparent although the dorsal and anal fins are both red at the base. The iris may be bright green in color. A red and green line extends across the lower jaw.
SIZE : Females to 2.8" (7 cm), males to 2.2" (5.5 cm)
SS : D. pusillus sumatranus
HAB : Shallow areas of fresh and brackish water rainforest rivers in coastal regions of Southeast Asia; Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra
S : top
TANK : A tank measuring 28" (71 cm) with a capacity of 20 gallons (76 L) is sufficient. The tank should have a cover of floating plants to provide protection for fry and a hiding place for the adults. Use a tight-fitting cover for these fish are excellent jumpers. Allow the growth of algae, for it serves to calm and comfort this nervous fish. The filter should create a slight current and a large open swimming area should be left open. Half-beaks prefer large, shallow tank having a lot of surface area.
WATER : pH 7-8.5 (7.2), 6-18 dH (10), 70-86°F (21-30°C). A 1-1.5% addition of salt is recommended. This can be accomplished by adding 7.5-11 TSP. of salt to every 10 gallons (10-15 g/10 L)
SB : A good community fish to combine with other live bearing species that can tolerate the addition of salt. Fish are best kept in a ratio of 2-3 females to one male, which helps eliminate male harassment of females. When first introduced, Halfbeaks are nervous fish that tend to be timid. However, once acclimate, Halfbeaks become lively fish. Males may often battle harmlessly with each other.
SC : Xiphophorus sp. (Platies and Swordtails), and Poecilia sp. (Guppies and Mollies), Celebes Rainbowfish
FOOD : Live; insects, mosquito larvae, small crustaceans, worms; flakes. Halfbeaks are surface-feeders.
SEX : Male is slimmer with red patch on dorsal fin. Males possess an andropodium, an anal fin which appears folded.
B : Although the Halfbeak is a livebearer, it is not easy to breed. A water temperature between 75-82°F(24-28°C) is recommended. During spawning, male touches female's belly with his snout. Pregnancy lasts anywhere from 5 to 8 weeks. Often the fry are still-born, but this problem can be solved by feeding the parents vitamin food and a varied diet. From 10 to 70 young are born, each measuring about 1 cm (0.4"). The young or parents should be removed, for the parents will eat brood. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii and powdered dry foods.
BP : 7. Breeding is difficult for a livebearer.
R : The Halfbeak is easily frightened, and may swim frantically around the tank and into tank glass, possibly causing injury, and often death. This nervousness will dissipate as later generations develop. Halfbeak scan be kept in water with a temperature slightly lower than 64°F (18°C), but it is not recommended because their activities slow.
DC : 6. This fish is sensitive to unfavorable water conditions and requires frequent partial water changes. Live foods should be included in its diet.
Celebes Halfbeak, Beakless Halfbeak [
Nomorhamphus liemi liemi
SYN : None
PD : An elongated species with moderate lateral compression. The dorsal fin is set far back on the body, near the caudal fin. The Celebes Halfbeak possess an immovable lower jaw that curls around, so that the tip faces towards the rear of the fish. The upper jaw, which can be moved up and down, is smaller and shorter. The coloration varies, depending on where the specimen is found. Usually the body is silvery-green to silvery-brown. The fins are red with a black fringe around them. The iris may be bright green in color. A red and green line extends across the lower jaw back through the body.
SIZE : Females to 4" (10 cm), males to 2.7" (7 cm)
SS : N. liemi snijdersi
HAB : Shallow areas of fast-flowing fresh water streams with elevations from 2,000 to 4,000 feet (615-1230 m) in Southeast Asia; Celebes (Sulawesi) in Indonesia.
S : top
TANK : A tank measuring 36" (91 cm) with a volume of 35-40 gallons (132-151 L) is recommended. Follow suggestions for D. pusillu s.
WATER : pH 6.5-8 (7.3), 4-12 (8), 75-81°F (24-27°C)
SB : A fairly good community fish to be combined with peaceful fish of the lower swimming levels. Combine one male with two or three females. Keep in groups of five or more.
SC : Colisa , Corydoras , Celebes Rainbowfish ( T. ladigesi ), other livebearers.
FOOD : Live; insects, mosquito larvae, small crustaceans, worms; flakes.
SEX : Male is slimmer, smaller, and more colorful with an andropodium
B : Condition the fish with Artemia, Drosophila , and mosquito larvae. A water temperature of 75-79°F (24-26°C), a water hardness of 4-6 dH, and a pH of 6.5 is recommended. Pregnancy lasts anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. From 9 to 15 young are born, each measuring about 1.5 cm (0.6"). Theyoung or parents should be removed, for the parents will eat brood. Start feeding with Artemia and powdered foods.
BP : 6. Breeding is easiest in soft water.
R : A sub-species, Nomorhamphus liemi snijdersi, has been identified. It is found in central Celebes and differs from Nomorhamphus liemi liemi in that it has more black on all flanks and less red on its body.
DC : 6. This species requires well maintained water and a diet of live foods.