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Marbled Hatchetfish

Garnegiella strigata


Marbled Hatchetfish Shirlie L Sharpe

Scientific Name: Garnegiella strigata
Common Name: Marbled Hatchetfish
Family: Gasteropelecidae
Origin: Peru, Guyana
Adult Size: 1.5 inches (4 cm)
Social: Peaceful, suitable for community tanks
Lifespan: 5 years
Tank Level: Middle and top dweller
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
Diet: Carnivore, prefers insects
Breeding: Egg scatterer
Care: Intermediate
pH: 5.5 - 7.5
Hardness: up to 15 dGH
Temperature: 75-82 F (24-28 C)


The Marbled Hatchetfish, Carnegiella strigata, is a small, peaceful, schooling fish. Reaching an adult size of no more than an inch and a half, the Marbled Hatchetfish is named for its silvery hatchet shaped body that is marbled with deep brown. A striking gold line runs from tail to eye. In contrast to other Hatchetfish, the Marbled Hatchetfish has no adipose fin.

Like other Hatchetfish, the Marbled Hatchetfish has large wing-like pectoral fins that are so powerful that they can propel the fish out of water for a distance of several yards. For that reason, owners should be careful to keep the tank well covered at all times. Even a small opening may be sufficient for a Hatchetfish to jump out


Marbled Hatchetfish should always be kept in schools of at four or more. They should be provided an open swimming space at the top of the tank, preferably with a current from a powerhead or filter outlet. A few floating plants will provide a comfortable hiding place for the sometimes skittish Marbled Hatchetfish.

Water should be soft and acidic. Use neutral substrate and decorations, and keep lighting low. This is particularly important if you decide to breed them. Water changes and tank maintenance are vital, as Marbled Hatchetfish require clean, well oxygenated water.


Marbled Hatchetfish can be kept with other peaceful fish. However, avoid keeping with other schools of top-dwelling fish, as they will compete for space.


Although generally listed as an omnivore, the Marbled Hatchetish is primarily a meat-eater. In its native habitat it eats insects and insect larvae exclusively. Bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp are ideal, preferably live, but frozen or freeze-dried are suitable as well. They may also be offered a good quality flake food, but observe them closely to ensure they are eating. Be aware that they will only feed at the top of the tank, so foods that sink quickly are not suitable for this fish.


Marbled Hatchetfish are relatively easy to breed. The breeding tank should be set up with low lighting and very soft acidic water that has been darkened with peat. Provide a generous amount of floating plants. Condition the fish with small live foods, such as mosquito larvae.

Eggs will be scattered on the plants, although many will drop to the bottom. The adult fish should be removed once spawning has taken place, as they will eat the fry. Eggs will hatch in approximately one day. The fry should be fed fine foods such as powdered fry food or Paramecia. After five days the fry will be free swimming and should accept either freshly hatched brine shrimp or frozen baby brine.

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