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Maximum size : 3.5 cm

Marbled Hatchetfish - Carnegiella strigata : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata) are truly fascinating creatures that are sure to catch your eye in any aquarium. Their unique shape and behavior make them stand out among other fish. These hatchetfish are known for their ability to jump high distances above the water' s surface, thanks to a large muscle that propels them away from potential predators. They also swim in a strange, sideways manner that resembles a dead leaf floating on the water' s surface, adding to their impressive repertoire of survival tactics. While Marbled Hatchetfish are not the hardiest of species, they can thrive in a home aquarium with proper care. However, they are not recommended for beginner aquarists, as they are shy feeders and susceptible to Ich. It is best to keep them with other peaceful fish of similar sizes, as they are small and somewhat timid. These fascinating fish have an attractive marbled cream and brown pattern on their deep, hatchet-shaped body. A striking golden line extends from their eye to their caudal fin, adding to their aesthetic appeal. Their mouths are located close to the top of their heads, making them well-suited for feeding at the water' s surface.

Marbled Hatchetfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Differentiating between male and female Marbled Hatchetfish is a relatively challenging task. However, when viewed from above, the female appears plumper and larger than the male counterpart. In some cases, you may also notice the presence of eggs inside the female, indicating that she is preparing to spawn.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCarnegiella strigata
Year Described1864
Other NamesRiver Hatchetfish
OriginsVenezuela Brazil Peru Suriname Guyana Colombia Bolivia
Max Size3.5 cm
Aquarium LevelTop
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan2 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.5 - 7.5
GH2 - 20
TDS18 - 179
75 - 82
23.9 - 27.8

Natural habitat

In the lush waters of South America, the Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata) can be found darting through the tributaries and streams of Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Peru, and Brazil, as well as in the Rio Orinoco drainage system in Venezuela. These mesmerizing Hatchetfish are true surface dwellers and can be observed spending virtually all of their time at the water' s surface, often in groups. They feed on insects and crustaceans and can be seen gracefully jumping out of the water to catch their prey. These fish are especially fond of dense surface vegetation, where they find protection from predators and a source of food.
 Orinoco - Venezuela
Venezuela Flag

How to breed the Marbled Hatchetfish

Breeding the Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata) in an aquarium can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right conditions, it can be encouraged to spawn. As these fish thrive in blackwater environments, the addition of peat will darken and soften the water, providing an ideal breeding environment. A separate breeding tank is necessary with a thin layer of gravel substrate. The water should be slightly acidic and soft, and the temperature should be raised slightly. The tank should be dimly lit, and floating plants are a must as they will provide shade and act as a spawning medium. A small, air-powered sponge filter will produce filtration and mild water circulation. The Marbled Hatchetfish will go through a lengthy courting process, during which the female will deposit eggs on roots and plants. It is recommended to breed them in small groups of 4 to 6 specimens and condition them with a diet rich in small flying insects, crustaceans, and bloodworm to encourage spawning. After spawning, it is best to remove the parents as they will consume both the eggs and fry. The eggs will hatch in about 30 to 36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming one to two days later. Infusoria is an ideal food source for the first week, after which they can be fed on brine shrimp or microworms. Around 20 days after hatching, the fry will start to develop the body shape of the adults and swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Diet & feeding

In the domestic aquarium, providing a varied diet is crucial for the health and well-being of the Marbled Hatchetfish. While they are not picky eaters, a diet solely consisting of flake food will not suffice. To ensure adequate nutrition, these fish require regular protein-based meals such as mosquito larvae, bloodworm, fruit flies or brine shrimp. These can be supplied live or frozen, and it is recommended to provide them daily. The food should be given at the water surface, as the Hatchetfish tend to feed exclusively in this area and need the food to stay afloat for a more extended period.

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