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Silver Hatchetfish

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Tank Level:

Top (Lid Required)

Minimum Tank Size:

15 Gallons




5.5-7.0 (acidic preferred)

General water hardness:

4-12 dGH


74 F to 83 F                 


Peaceful Community, Schooling


The Silver Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecus levisis a very unique schooling species from South America. They are characterized by their large hatchet-shaped bellies and bright white scales.

Because this fish species tends to be fragile, it is important to always acclimate them into an aquarium that is cycled. They will suffer in newer aquariums, as they cannot handle spikes in ammonia or nitrite like some other fish species may. It is recommended to always drip-acclimate Silver Hatchetfish to ensure they stay healthy.

This species is ideal for smaller aquariums, as they rarely grow larger than 2" in length. These fish live in groups, and it is recommended to keep no less than 6 at a time. Because these fish are timid, a larger group helps them feel confident.

Due to their size and need to live in a group, 15 Gallons is the recommended minimum for these species. They do best in water that is between 74 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit, and prefer water that is mildly acidic (pH between 5.5-7.0). These fish occupy the top layers of the aquarium and can jump if they feel startled, so a lid is recommended.

Silver Hatchetfish prefer meaty foods, and in the wild most of their diet is animal-based. While some specimens will take flaked or pelleted foods, they tend to do better on freeze-dried, frozen, and live foods. Daphnia, blackworms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and flightless fruit flies are all popular options.

While Silver Hatchetfish are very peaceful, they can be a bit timid. They will feel intimidated by species that are very outgoing or energetic, such as danios. Keep them only with other peaceful, calm species to avoid stressing them out.