The Technique of Keeping Common Hatchetfish in the Aquarium - fish-hobbyist

The Technique of Keeping Common Hatchetfish in the Aquarium

Description: You need to prepare a few things if you plan to put common hatchetfish on your aquarium. Here are five techniques to keep common hatchetfish in aquariums.

Common hatchetfish may not be the most difficult fish to take care of, but it’s not that easy either. It can fly out of water’s surface, and it is prone to ich when it interacts with a new environment. For that reason, this hatchet-shaped fish is mostly recommended for the intermediate-level aquarist who knows what to prepare.

However, don’t worry! Even as a beginner, you can also do it because we will tell you the five techniques to keep common hatchetfish in aquariums.

1. Choosing an aquarium for common hatchetfish 

When you prepare for common hatchetfish’ habitat, you need to remember that hatchetfish is a schooling fish. It means common hatchetfish will live longer if you keep it in groups of the same species.

To house at least eight common hatchetfish in aquariums, you need a fish tank that can contain at least 75 liters (20 gallons) of water. The aquarium also needs to be sealed tightly because common hatchetfish likes to jump out of water. In fact, it can jump 3 meters high, so if you do not want to put glass seal on top of your aquarium, you should at least put a net over it. 

2. Preparing common hatchetfish’ living conditions 

Common hatchetfish is a tropical fish that originated from South America areas, such as Brazil, Amazon, and Argentina. As a freshwater fish, it cannot live in harder water and water with more alkaline. Thus, while preparing the water used to house common hatchetfish in aquariums, keep the water’s hardness around 18 to 216 ppm. Make sure that the water is acidic at pH 6 to 7.5.

If possible, ask the seller where the fish came from. The origin matters because hatchetfish from Argentina are more accustomed to a cooler temperature than the fish from Amazon. However, as a rule of thumb, keep the temperature around 22-27 °C (72-81 °F). 

3. Quarantining common hatchetfish 

While nowadays fish retailers have good facilities for quarantining new fish, it is better to be safe than sorry. Newly-caught fish can have parasites or organism that can cause disease. It brings unwanted risks if you plan to put common hatchetfish in aquariums with other fish.

Quarantining new fish gives it time to get used to its new surroundings and the food. It also provides the fish with a break from the stress it might have from transport. You should quarantine the fish for at least 2 – 4 weeks and change 10-15% of the water every day.  

4. Putting common hatchetfish with tankmates

Common hatchetfish is good in a group. Even though it likes to fight each other, it is a shy fish that does not fight with other fish. Therefore, do not put hostile fish at the same place with common hatchetfish.

The recommended tankmates are non-hostile small fish, such as tetras, loricariids, corydoras catfish, or dwarf cichilds. It’s okay to put characins together with common hatchetfish in aquariums. However, you need to monitor them since characiformes can beat them in food-hunting. 

5. Giving common hatchetfish food

In their natural habitat, hatchetfish eats insects above the water surface, such as mosquito larvae and small flies. As common hatchetfish in aquariums, you can feed it several times a day with flake food, pellet, or live foods such as worms and crustaceans.

Common hatchetfish might refuse dried foods at first. Thus, to get around this, you can mix the dried food with live foods. They will be accustomed to it over time.

With proper preparation, keeping common hatchetfish in aquariums is something that even beginners aquarist can do. All you need to do is to follow the five techniques mentioned here. That is not as difficult as people might imagine, isn’t it?


Common Hatchetfish, Silver Hatchetfish, Gasteropelecus sternicla, River Hatchetfish (
Common hatchetfish - Wikipedia
Common Hatchetfish - The Care, Breeding and Feeding of Common Hatchetfish - Aquarium Tidings
Freshwater Hatchetfish: Species and Breeding | The Aquarium Adviser
The Importance of a Quarantine Tank (
Gasteropelecus sternicla – Common Hatchetfish, Silver Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecus argenteus, Gasteropelecus coronatus) — Seriously Fish

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