freshwater community4


Silver Hatchetfish

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Scientific Name:   Gasteropelecus sternicla      
Min. Tank Size:   30 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   73-81°F      
pH:   6.0-7.0/0-10°dGH      
Size:   2.5"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in groups with 6 or more of their own species; can be kept with Tetras, Characins, Dwarf Cichlids, Loaches and Catfish.

Silver Hatchetfish

Also called the Common Hatchetfish, the Silver Hatchetfish is native to South America. These fish can be found in Peru, Guyana and Venezuela where it tends to inhabit slow-moving waters like swamps, tributaries and forest streams. This species of Hatchetfish is easily identified by the traditional axe-shape of its belly and its bright silver coloration. Some specimens may also exhibit dark spots or a lateral line along the upper portion of the body. These fish are known for being the hardiest species of Hatchetfish, great for beginning aquarium hobbyists.

Tank Set-up

Once they have acclimated to the tank, Silver Hatchetfish make excellent community fish. This species is most likely to thrive when kept in groups with 6 or more of its own species and housed with other peaceful community fish. They can be intimidated by large or boisterous species. In the home aquarium, Silver Hatchetfish prefer plenty of floating plants with minimal water flow. They present very well in heavily planted tanks with a black sand substrate. As with all Hatchetfish, the tank must have a tight-fitting lid because this species tends to jump.


Silver Hatchetfish are primarily carnivorous by nature, feeding on a variety of insects in the wild. In the home aquarium, these fish have a reputation for being greedy eaters - they will eat almost any food offered. Give these fish a staple diet of live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, fruit flies and other insects supplemented with a high-quality flake or pellet food. The Silver Hatchetfish is a surface feeder, so make sure any food given will float.


There is not much information available regarding breeding Silver Hatchetfish but they are believed to follow a similar routine to Marbeled Hatchetfish. Breeding tanks for Silver Hatchetfish should be slightly acidic, having a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. The surface of the breeding tank should be covered with floating plants and, if spawning does occur, the parent fish should be removed from the tank immediately so they do not eat the eggs.

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