Marbled Hatchetfish Is the Magical Flying Blackwater Fish

flying marbled hatchetfish a blackwater wonder

The Marbled Hatchetfish, also known as the magical flying blackwater fish, has captivated the attention of aquarium enthusiasts with its unique abilities and striking appearance. This small species, native to South America, boasts a triangular shape and vibrant coloration that make it a visually appealing addition to any tank.

However, what truly sets the Marbled Hatchetfish apart is its remarkable ability to fly in water, surpassing even the muscle development of most birds. In this discussion, we will delve into the fascinating world of the Marbled Hatchetfish, exploring its flight capabilities, care requirements, and the optimal habitat needed to unlock its full potential.

Prepare to be amazed by the extraordinary nature of this magical blackwater fish.

Key Takeaways

  • Marbled hatchetfish have a lifespan of only two years, so enjoy their presence while they are around.
  • They have a triangular shape from one side and a rounded shape from the bottom, with a base coloration of brown and gold.
  • Marbled hatchetfish are known for their jumping abilities and make excellent community fish.
  • They thrive in groups of at least six and prefer to be kept with tank mates that have a similar temperament and water parameters.

Marbled Hatchetfish Facts

facts about marbled hatchetfish

Marbled hatchetfish, scientifically known as Carnegiella marthae, are fascinating aquatic creatures with unique flying abilities and mesmerizing coloration. These small fish are native to South America and have specific habitat preferences. They are commonly found in marshes, brooks, flooded regions, and small rivers. Marbled hatchetfish prefer to swim in the middle layer of the water and hide in the roots of plants when they sense danger. Their natural habitat consists of dimly lit tanks, mimicking the forest canopy.

When it comes to breeding, marbled hatchetfish require specific conditions. They are known to be egg scatterers, meaning that they release their eggs into the water where they will be fertilized. To encourage breeding, the tank should have proper lighting, and dimmed LED lights can be installed to simulate natural conditions. It is important to note that keeping marbled hatchetfish confined in tanks may prevent them from exhibiting their natural jumping behavior, which is a key aspect of their unique flying abilities.

Appearance and Size

With a triangular shape from one side and a rounded shape from the bottom, the Marbled Hatchetfish showcases a unique and distinctive appearance. This small fish, measuring around one and a half inches on average, exhibits a variety of colors that make it visually striking. Its base coloration is a combination of brown and gold, with a silver sheen on top. The back is dark green with black dots, while the flank displays spots of pink, brown, and light hues.

Two dark stripes run along both sides, and a silver line extends from the gills to the caudal fin. The Marbled Hatchetfish's unique triangular shape, coupled with its vibrant colors, adds to its overall allure, making it a captivating addition to any aquarium.

Lifespan and Hatchetfish Species

longevity of hatchetfish species

After exploring the unique appearance and size of the Marbled Hatchetfish, it is essential to delve into their lifespan and the different species of hatchetfish.

The Marbled hatchetfish has a relatively short lifespan of only two years, even with proper care. However, during that time, they bring beauty and charm to any aquarium they inhabit.

In addition to the Marbled hatchetfish, there are other fascinating species within the hatchetfish genus. The Blackwing Hatchetfish, the smallest species, can be found in the blackwaters of Colombia and Venezuela.

The Common Hatchetfish, also known as the silver hatchetfish, is found in the Amazon River Basin, West Peru, and Venezuela. Lastly, the Silver Hatchetfish, a shy species smaller than the common hatchetfish, is found in various regions of South America.

Understanding the lifespan and diversity of hatchetfish species contributes to the appreciation and conservation of these magical flying blackwater fish.

Tank Requirements and Care

To provide optimal care for Marbled Hatchetfish, it is important to meet their specific tank requirements.

These unique fish prefer dimly lit tanks that mimic their natural habitat under the forest canopy.

Tank decoration plays a crucial role in creating a suitable environment for these fish. Rocks, driftwood, and plant roots can be used to create hiding spots, while disinfecting caves before adding them to the tank is essential.

Floating plants provide shade and security for the hatchetfish. Lighting requirements should be met with dimmed LED lights, which not only promote breeding and spawning behavior but also create a visually appealing tank environment.

Marbled Hatchetfish Diet

carnivorous diet of hatchetfish

The diet of Marbled Hatchetfish consists primarily of insects, larvae, zooplankton, and other aquatic invertebrates, making them true omnivores. Their feeding habits are well-suited to their natural habitat, as they are found in marshes, brooks, flooded regions, and small rivers in South America.

To meet their nutritional requirements and feeding schedule, it is recommended to provide them with a diverse diet that includes the following:

  1. Insects: These fish actively hunt and feed on various insects such as flies, mosquitoes, and small insects that fall into the water.
  2. Larvae: Marbled Hatchetfish also consume larvae of insects like mosquito larvae, which are a rich source of protein.
  3. Zooplankton: They feed on tiny aquatic organisms such as daphnia and copepods, which are abundant in their natural habitat.
  4. Aquatic Invertebrates: Marbled Hatchetfish will also eat small crustaceans, worms, and other invertebrates that they come across in their environment.

Providing a varied and optimal diet for Marbled Hatchetfish is important to ensure their overall health and well-being. It is recommended to offer live or frozen food options to mimic their natural feeding behavior. Additionally, fish flakes and green vegetables can be given as alternatives. It is crucial to prevent overfeeding and to feed them for less than three minutes to avoid any potential health issues.

Behavior and Tank Mates

Marbled Hatchetfish demonstrate unique behavior and have specific tank mate requirements that contribute to their overall well-being in a captive environment. Known for their impressive jumping abilities, these fish make excellent community members when kept in schools of at least six individuals. In captivity, their jumping abilities may diminish, but they are still more active and comfortable when raised in a good-sized school.

When choosing tank mates for marbled hatchetfish, it is important to avoid aggressive species and select companions with similar temperament and water parameters. Tank mates should also not be larger than the marbled hatchetfish to prevent any potential harm. Suitable tank mates include Corydoras, crabs, tetras, dwarf cichlids, shrimp, and loricariids.

Additional Information

detailed additional information provided

Dimmed LED lights can be purchased and installed in the tank to create a visually appealing environment and promote breeding and spawning behavior in marbled hatchetfish.

Here are four additional pieces of information about the marbled hatchetfish and its care:

  1. Proper lighting: Dimmed LED lights not only enhance the aesthetics of the tank but also mimic the natural habitat of the marbled hatchetfish. These fish are typically found in the dimly lit areas under the forest canopy, so providing similar lighting conditions in the tank can help them feel more at home.
  2. Feeding sessions: It is important to ensure that feeding sessions last less than three minutes. This helps ensure that the fish consume all the food provided and prevents overfeeding, which can lead to water quality issues.
  3. Natural behavior: Keeping marbled hatchetfish in confined tanks may prevent them from exhibiting their natural jumping behavior. Providing a spacious tank with plenty of open swimming space can help them feel more comfortable and allow them to display their unique abilities.
  4. Breeding behavior: Dimmed LED lights can also play a role in promoting breeding and spawning behavior in marbled hatchetfish. Creating the right lighting conditions can mimic the natural cues that trigger their reproductive instincts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Marbled Hatchetfish Really Have the Ability to Fly in Water?

Marbled hatchetfish possess remarkable abilities in water, including the unique adaptation of flying. With powerful muscles dedicated to flight, they navigate the middle layer of water by gliding, showcasing their extraordinary agility and captivating observers.

Can Marbled Hatchetfish Be Kept Alone or Do They Need to Be in a Group?

Marbled hatchetfish thrive in groups of at least six, as they are social creatures. They should not be kept alone. The ideal tank size for a group of marbled hatchetfish is at least 15 gallons.

What Is the Ideal Tank Size for a School of Marbled Hatchetfish?

The ideal tank size for a school of marbled hatchetfish is at least 15 gallons. To create the perfect habitat, provide dimly lit tanks with hiding spots like rocks, driftwood, and plant roots, along with floating plants for shade and security.

Are Marbled Hatchetfish Compatible With Aggressive Fish Species?

Marbled hatchetfish are not compatible with aggressive fish species. They thrive in schools of at least six and prefer tank mates with similar temperament and water parameters, such as Corydoras, tetras, and shrimp.

How Can I Encourage Breeding and Spawning Behavior in Marbled Hatchetfish?

To encourage breeding and spawning behavior in marbled hatchetfish, create an optimal tank environment by providing dimmed LED lighting, suitable hiding spots, and a balanced diet. Maintain water parameters and temperature consistency to trigger natural reproductive instincts.


In conclusion, the Marbled Hatchetfish is a captivating species with its unique triangular shape, stunning coloration, and remarkable ability to fly in water.

With the right care and tank requirements, this fish can thrive and showcase its unique abilities in a well-maintained aquarium environment.

By providing a suitable diet, creating an optimal habitat that mimics their natural surroundings, and carefully selecting compatible tank mates, aquarists can ensure a healthy and fulfilling life for these extraordinary creatures.