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Pygmy Hatchetfish

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Scientific Name:   Carnegiella myersi      
Min. Tank Size:   20 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   73-78°F      
pH:   5.5-6.5/2-6°dGH      
Size:   1"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in groups with 6 or more of its own species; can also be kept with small Characins, Rasboras, Catfish, Loaches and Dwarf Cichlids.

Pygmy Hatchetfish

This species originates from the Amazon River basin in Peru, though some specimens have also been found in Bolivia. These fish tend to inhabit small woodland streams where the water is shallow and shaded. Pygmy Hatchetfish are the smallest type of Hatchetfish - which is how they got their name. This species has a more shallow rounded keel than other Hatchetfish which gives it a longer profile than other species. Pygmy Hatchetfish have powerful pectoral fins used to propel the fish through the water and through the air when jumping to catch insects.

Tank Set-up

The Pygmy Hatchetfish is the smallest of all the Hatchetfish species. These fish are extremely peaceful and tend to thrive in shoals with at least six of their own species. Pygmy Hatchetfish are recommended for community tanks but are best kept with other peaceful species rather than particularly active fish. The Pygmy Hatchetfish does best in mature aquariums with dim lighting and minimal water flow, decorated with floating plants. The top of a Hatchetfish tank must be covered because these fish tend to jump when given the opportunity. Because these fish tend to inhabit the upper levels of the tank, they require adequate clear surface space for swimming. It's important to note that surface area is a more important consideration than tank volume.


Pygmy Hatchetfish are insectivorous by nature, typically feeding on insects and insect larvae on the surface of the water. In the home aquarium, however, these fish may accept a variety of foods. Offer these Hatchetfish a staple diet of high-quality flakes or pellets, supplemented with small live and frozen foods such as bloodworms and fruit flies. Floating foods are best since Hatchetfish typically feed from the surface of the water and will not dive very deep to retrieve food.


Little information is available regarding breeding Pygmy Hatchetfish. In successful cases of breeding, however, the water was soft and acidic. Breeding pairs should be conditioned on small insects and the parents must be removed from the tank following spawning because they are likely to eat their own eggs and fry.

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