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Silver Hatchetfish – Gasteropelecus sternicla

Sil­ver Hatch­et­fish – Gas­tero­p­ele­cus ster­n­i­cla is a peace­ful, school­ing, com­mu­ni­ty fish. It is a top dwelling fish and also eats from the sur­face of the water. Gas­tero­p­ele­cus ster­n­i­cla is very unique­ly shaped and has an upturned mouth for con­sum­ing those sur­face foods. We high­ly rec­om­mend a secure fit­ting aquar­i­um cov­er as they can glide and when they jump are capa­ble of clear­ing sev­er­al metres if giv­en the chance, not as preva­lent in a home aquar­i­um, how­ev­er it is still rec­om­mend­ed to take prop­er action in secur­ing the tank cov­er. Pro­vid­ing their envi­ron­ment with float­ing live aquat­ic plants will deter the fish from mak­ing an escape. An extreme­ly fast fish with tal­ent­ed maneu­ver­ing capa­bil­i­ty.

Com­mon Name: Sil­ver Hatch­et­fish, Com­mon Hatch­et

Sci­en­tif­ic Name: Gas­tero­p­ele­cus ster­n­i­cla

Size: 2.5 inch­es / 6 cm

Nat­ur­al Habi­tat: Ama­zon Riv­er Basin, Guiana and Venezuela. In the wild they thrive in slow mov­ing swamps, trib­u­taries and for­est streams. This specie are often found in habi­tats with an abun­dance of sur­face veg­e­ta­tion.

Ide­al Tank: Rec­om­mend­ed for reg­u­lar aquar­i­ums and plant­ed tanks. They do not require a lot of decor as they are top dwelling. Incor­po­rat­ing pieces of drift­wood branch­es, sand sub­strate and leaf lit­ter will enable your Sil­ver Hatch­et­fish to thrive. Adding live plants to any aquar­i­um is rec­om­mend­ed as it helps fil­ter the water as well as cre­at­ing a beau­ti­ful look.

Aquar­i­um Size: 20 gal­lon / 80 litre

Tank Mates: Sil­ver Hatch­et­fish is a per­fect addi­tion to peace­ful, com­mu­ni­ty fish aquar­i­ums. They are a school­ing fish and thrive in groups of 6 or more. Plac­ing these fish in larg­er  groups will low­er stress lev­els, there­fore pre­vent­ing unwant­ed dis­ease.

Care Lev­el: Inter­me­di­ate+

Aquar­i­um Water Tem­per­a­ture: 74 – 81°F / 24 – 27°C

Aquar­i­um Water pH: Range 6.0 – 7.0

Feed­ing: Sil­ver Hatch­et­fish – Gas­tero­p­ele­cus ster­n­i­cla are top feed­ers. They will need float­ing foods such as insects, mos­qui­to lar­vae, fruit flies, flakes, pel­lets.

Sex­ing: Females tend to be slight­ly rounder in shape, espe­cial­ly when car­ry­ing eggs, than the male. It is quite dif­fi­cult to sex sil­ver hatch­et­fish.


Oth­er Con­sid­er­a­tions: Gas­tero­p­ele­cus ster­n­i­cla are a more of an unusu­al fresh­wa­ter fish, Much resem­bling a hatch­et or an axe.  They fea­ture thin, deep bod­ies with mouths which are upturned in shape and high pec­toral fins. This species of fish is the sole­ly a true ‘fly­ing fish’. In the wild Gas­tero­p­ele­cus ster­n­i­cla will spring up into the air, manip­u­lat­ing their pec­toral fins to enable them to ‘fly’ and addi­tion­al­ly, to catch fly­ing insects for food con­sump­tion.


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