Marbled Hatchet-Bellied Fish

In many aquariums, the uppermost water area is largely devoid of fish, with the exception of feeding time. With pure surface fish such as the marbled hatchet-bellied fish, there are also well-suited aquarium fish that spend their entire lives in this region.


  • Name: Marbled hatchet-bellied fish, Carnegiella strigata
  • System: hatchet-bellied fish
  • Size: 5 cm
  • Origin: northern South America
  • Posture: medium
  • Aquarium size: from 70 liters (60 cm)
  • pH value: 5.5-6.5
  • Water temperature: 24-28 ° C

Interesting facts about the Marbled Hatchet-Bellied Fish

Scientific name

Carnegiella strigata

Other names

Marbled hatchet-bellied tetra, striped hatchet-bellied fish


  • Class: Actinopterygii (ray fins)
  • Order: Characiformes (tetras)
  • Family: Gasteropelecidae (hatchet-bellied tetra)
  • Genus: Carnegiella
  • Species: Carnegiella strigata, marbled hatchet-bellied fish


As one of the smallest representatives of the hatchet-bellied fish, this species only reaches a total length of around 4 to 4.5 cm.


Two longitudinal bands run from the head to the base of the caudal fin, one silver, and one dark gray. The back is dark gray. The body is gray-silver, on which there are four diagonal bands, the first under the eye, the two ends in the pectoral fins, the third is very wide and runs from the belly to the adipose fin and the fourth optically separates the body from the anal fin.


Very widespread in slow-flowing or stagnant waters (often black water) almost throughout the Amazon.

Gender differences

Very difficult to distinguish. In adult fish, the females, which is easiest to observe from above, are fuller in the abdominal region.


Very difficult in the aquarium. Well-fed fish have already spawned in the darkened aquarium. They are free spawners who simply eject their eggs. Details are not known.

Life expectancy

The marbled hatchet-bellied fish can reach a maximum age of about four years.

Interesting facts


As a surface fish, it only takes its food from the surface of the water. Flake food and granules can form the basis; live or frozen food should be served at least twice a week. Fruit flies (Drosophila) are also particularly popular, the wingless variant is easy to breed and best suited to it.

Group size

Marbled hatchet fish are shy and sensitive if they are kept in too few numbers. At least six, better eight to ten fish should be kept.

Aquarium size

The aquarium should hold at least 70 L (from 60 cm edge length, but higher than the standard size). For these excellent jumpers, a perfectly tight cover and a distance of 10 cm between the water surface and the cover is important. Not suitable for open aquariums.

Pool equipment

Slightly subdued lighting with a surface partially (about a third) equipped with plants (floating plants) is ideal. The rest of the surface should be free of plants. Wood can lead to a slight (desirable) brown coloration of the water.

Marbled hatchet-bellied fish socialize

Hatchet-bellied fish can be socialized well with all other peaceful, not too large, soft- and blackwater fish that avoid the surface area. This includes many tetras, but also armored and armored catfish.

Required water values

The marbled hatchet tetras feel at home in the softer, slightly acidic water. The pH value should be between 5.5 and 6.5, the carbonate hardness below 3 ° dKH and the temperature at 24-28 ° C. Due to the low carbonate hardness and the associated lower buffer capacity of the water, the pH value should be checked regularly to be on the safe side.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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