Scientific Name: Carnegiella strigata

Breeding Strategy: Egg layer

Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Introduction: These unusually-shaped fish are the smallest members of the hatchetfish family, and the easiest to keep and breed in captivity. They are peaceful but are most comfortable in groups of their own species. They can be spawned in a breeding tank or a species tank.

Sex Differences: Difficult to distinguish, although females are often a bit larger than males and plumper when viewed from above. Consider buying a group of juveniles and allowing them to pair off natural­ly as they mature.

Water Conditions: Although these fish can be maintained in a wide range of water con­ditions, they are fussy when it comes to spawning, preferring a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5, and a dH of about 5. Keep the lighting subdued, and add peat or blackwater extract to darken the water. Temperature should be between 75° and 84°.

Equipment: These fish can be spawned in a small group in a tank of at least 20 gallons, and preferably larger, placed in a quiet location where it will get filtered sunlight. Add heater and sponge filter. Plant densely around the edges, and add floating plants, which will give fish both a sense of security and potential spawning sites. Make sure the tank is covered, as these fish love to jump.

Conditioning and Triggers: These fish love insects, so condition with plenty of mos­quito larvae and fruit flies as well as daphnia, blood worms, and brine shrimp. Raising the temperature a few degrees may trigger spawning.

Spawning: During courtship, the male circles and dashes past the female; they may also make numerous leaps out of the water. The actual spawning takes place in the upper region of the tank, with the pair in a side-by-side, head-to-tail position. The fertil­ized eggs are released into the floating plants but are not adhesive and will immediate­ly fall to the substrate. Remove the parents after spawning, as they will eat the eggs.

Brood Size: Varies Drastically Depending on PH and water quality among other variables.

Fry Care: The fry hatch in two to three days, and become free swimming five days after that. Feed infusoria or commercial fry food, adding baby brine shrimp a few days later.