Marble Hatchet Fish Care Guide

Carnegiella strigata

Minimum Tank Size20 Gallons
Water Parameters75-81 F, pH 5.5-7.5

Marble Hatchet fish are one of my favorite freshwater fish. They are well known jumpers who can jump out of the water and move in the air using their fins to catch insects in the wild. Combine this with their unique body shape and you have one of the most interesting freshwater fish.

The Marble Hatchet fish stays quite small, yet its colorful tall body makes them stand out in the tank. They will generally keep to the top of the tank, looking up for food and passing insects. Combine them with light backgrounds and good lighting to bring out their rich dark colors as they hang out near the tanks lighting. They do best with at least four of their kind in the tank, so be sure you have enough space left before adding the Marble Hatchet to you tank.

The Marble Hatchet is one of the easier hatchet fish to care for, as their tolerance for different water parameters is much wider. They are less prone to becoming sick and are quite hardy fish. They can jump out of the tank if given any small holes, which are often created to fit in aquarium heaters, filters and other wires. Cover these to ensure your hatchet fish’s safety.

Marble Hatchet Fish Behavior & Aggression

The Marble Hatchet fish shows no signs of aggression in the tank unless their is little space near the top. They like to sit near the top of the tank and search for food, so if other hatchet fish are doing the same too close to them they may chase the other away. This will not happen in most tanks, but it can happen if you have a lot of things near the surface or have it partially covered for amphibious creatures.

Being one of the smaller hatchet fish, the Marble Hatchet is very prone to jumping when scared. Their thin bodies and amazing jumping heights mean that all holes must be sealed so that they do not jump out of the tank.

Additionally keeping too many fish or semi aggressive fish can make the hatchet fish stressed out and jump more frequently. This can hurt the fish as they will try to jump very high only to strike a hard aquarium surface. Try to make their tank as comfortable as possible.

To make a tank well suited for hatchet fish you will need to leave plenty of open space at the top. The do enjoy floating plants in the tank, but do not have too many as they need to easily see the water surface.

Hatchet fish enjoy moderate currents, so a decent amount of flow in the tank is required. This can be done with strong filters or through the use of powerheads.

Diet & Feeding

The Marble Hatchet fish feeds on insects and other small organisms that come to or close to the waters surface. They will constantly scan the surface in search of these things. This means all foods must be floating foods. Flakes and frozen foods do this well when placed on the waters surface. For frozen foods you may need to thaw them before placing them into the tank, as the cubes have a tendency to sink before separating into individual pieces.

The Marble Hatchet fish does not look downwards, so any food that falls beneath it will often be ignored. Their mouths are at the very top of their bodies, making them bad at eating any sort of sinking foods. Because of this, cory catfish and other bottom feeders who will feed off of any missed foods make excellent tank mates.

Hatchet fish need a diet of more foods other than just flake foods. It may be due to their large body, but hatchet fish will never reach their long life time of 5+ years when fed only flake foods, Be sure to supplement their diets with frozen foods or even mosquito larva if possible.

Breeding & Sex Differences

The only notable difference between males and females is their width. The females will be slightly wider than the males. Their markings and fins are identical. If you want to try and find a difference between the two fish you should view them from above. Still I wouldn’t say you can be 100% sure on their gender.

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