Common Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecus sternicla) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Common Hatchetfish is a schooling species best kept in groups of five or more and spend most of the time swimming on the top-level of the aquarium where it hunts for food. These fish are peaceful towards other fish species but often bicker among themselves. This Hatchetfish can be nervous and shy and are not recommended for the beginner aquarist as they are susceptible to ich so will need fish keepers with experience with this sort of thing.
These fish get their name from its relatively sizeable protruding belly which resembles a hatchet.
The Common Hatchetfish is a deep-bodied fish with white or silvery bodies. This Hatchetfish has a pronounced, black horizontal line running through the centre of the body. They have a mouth situated close to the top of the head for feeding at the surface.
Hatchetfish will frequently jump out of the water when startled, launched by their large, winglike pectoral fins. They also jump to catch small flying insects, so it is advisable to keep a tight-fitting lid on the aquarium.
|Scientific Name||Gasteropelecus sternicla|
|Other Names||River Hatchetfish|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||2 - 5 years|
|Temperature||73 - 81 ℉ (22.8 - 27.2 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 7.0|
|GH||2 - 15|
Natural Habitat of the Common Hatchetfish
You can find Common Hatchetfish in Guyana and Surinam in the southern tributaries of the Amazon as well as the middle Amazon basin in Peru, Venezuela and the Rio Paraguay basin in Brazil in South America. These fish inhabit slow-moving small streams, rivers and swamps with an abundance of surface vegetation.
Other Hatchetfish of interest
Common Hatchetfish are primarily carnivores in the wild, and their diet is mainly composed of worms, insects and crustaceans.
Most will readily take to eating prepared foods in the aquarium, and one of the best foods to offer them is micro pellets, which will provide them with all of their nutritional requirements. However, if at first, they refuse to take prepared foods, you can mix it in with feedings of frozen or live foods until they are more likely to accept it. This may take time, but they should eventually take to the prepared foods.
Because of their carnivorous nature, their diet should contain regular feedings of live or frozen foods. The best live foods are mosquito larvae, blackworms, wingless fruit flies and daphnia. Their tastes remain similar in frozen foods, and blood worms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and blackworms are all excellent foods to give them.
Breeding the Common Hatchetfish
The Common Hatchetfish are egg layers, but unfortunately, they have not been successfully bred in captivity, so there are no records or information on how to reproduce this species.