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Marble Hatchet Fish consideration
I was going to increase the barbs and/or the catfish but my daughter has a real interest in getting some hatchet fish for the home tank and I have put off even considering it until now, they aren't really my favourite type of fish. Catfish are established, barbs have been there for months now, filter is setup for a much calmer surface (still water now) my nitrates are zero so the system is handling measurable toxins and whatnot very well. So one more shoal of small fish would finish off the tank loading.
Marble hatchetfish actually are suitable for my water parameters, which I didn't really think they would be, and they are smallish, max is about 1.5". The barbs hang out in the bottom half to middle mostly, catfish on the bottom so a small group of surface dwellers would be great.
I was figuring on a minimum of 8, perhaps more if they are small... up to 12.
I am still dealing with having a betta in the tank which is my only real concern. So far there has been no indication of aggression toward any of the other fish, the marbles are not going to be an overly active fish and certainly not brightly coloured so I don't anticipate any problems. I can't see these guys ever being nippers either.
Jeff, if this is the 37g tank in your log, with the "barbs" being cherry barbs, the hatchetfish would be OK--except with a Betta. This is risky. The Betta is a surface fish, and depending upon the individual fish may not appreciate the intrusion of hatchets. And hatchetfish in the Carnegiella genus (as Marbles are, being Carnegiella strigata) are very sedate, quiet fish, rarely moving except when they feed, "play," or spawn. I have had this fish for more than 20 years, all my time in the hobby; it is one of my favourites, so I've had plenty of time to observe its behaviours with many different individual fish. I would not subject it to possible harassment from a Betta.
I had to separate my marble hatchets from pygmy sparkling gourami one time; the gourami nipped them unbelievably, at least the males did when guarding an egg nest. The marbles are easy targets, being so quiet and sedate.
The profile explains their needs, be careful of surface water disturbance, they do not like this (neither do Betta for that matter), notwithstanding some sources still say they do. They don't. Mine are in a 4-foot and for several months a 5-foot tank, and they always congregate as far away from the filter outflow spraybar as they can, and even in my slow-flow tanks.
Yes, the betta is the only possible issue. The surface is still now. I figure if I stock these soon and there is a problem, I will re home them to the office tank or the store will take them back.,Oscar has ignored everything in the tank so far so I may try them and see what happens.
Jeff, hatchet fish aren't one of my favorites either. Barely move and are fragile...doesn't fit any tank I've ever had. Hopefully, Oscar will continue to be his laid back self; however, I wouldn't be surprised if he was a little agitated with all these new things in his domain.
The store brings these in and they sell quickly so I'm not dealing with store conditions so much as transport and multiple changes in water for them.
Thanks for the advise. My daughter really wants these and I think there is a good chance they will work out but she understands that they may not. I'll let her decide based on all the possible issues mentioned. She might decide its not worth the risk on her own.
I just added a school of these to my 37gal. :) I love them already... I got 7 so far. I may pick up another two. I'll second that they like the least amount of surface disturbance.. They are now always at the opposite end of the small sponge filter I have running.
Question - does the surface movement stress or bother them? Like, should I remove the sponge filter? I've got in running so that I can move it to a QT if I need to set one up..
The sponge is for a 5gal tank, only like 2 inches tall, so I've also got like the smallest air pump I could find. The floating plants are pushed to the opposite side, but they're not like swirling around or anything.
I could probably put the sponge in my canister so there would be no bubbles at all, and I can move the spray bar so there's no surface agitation. I feel like my tank will develop a film on it if there's no surface agitation though. It did that before.
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