The marbled hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata) is a small fish found to have an enormous range throughout Amazonian Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Colombia plus the Río Orinoco system in Venezuela and some coastal drainages in Guyana and Suriname.
The marbled hatchetfish grows to an adult size of up to 1.4 inches long. Like all hatchetfish, they have a keeled body shape and an enlarged, highly developed pectoral fin musculature attached to the sternum that resembles the head of a hatchet, hence the common name. The ventral fins are very small and the back is fairly straight. Their wing like pectoral fins are transparent and often measure up to one half of the overall body length of the fish.
All freshwater hatchetfish are known for their ability to leap from the water and glide several yards to escape predation and catch flying insects close to the surface. For this reason, a secure lid is a must.
The marbled hatchetfish should be maintained in an aquarium of 20 gallons or larger. Lighting should be subdued and water flow should be moderate. The addition of a dark substrate (CS6631) and floating plants, and leaf litter (CS706) is also recommended.
The marbled hatchetfish prefers a water temperature of 68°F to 83°F, a pH of 4.0 to 7.0, and a hardness of 1 to 10°H.
The marbled hatchetfish is a very peaceful fish and an excellent choice for a community aquarium. Keep a group of at least six individuals and choose other peaceful species as tank mates. Good choices include many tetras, smaller plecos, cory cats and smaller rasboras.
Marbled hatchetfish are primarily predators feeding on terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and other zooplankton taken at or near the water surface in the wild. In the aquarium, it will usually accept dry foods, especially flakes (AL165) and micropellets (HIK4641). Vary their diet with plenty of frozen foods. Probiotics (AL169) will also improve overall health and longevity.