The Silver Hatchetfish is a surface-hugging species native to sluggish softwater environments in South America. They thrive in areas with abundant thick overhanging vegetation, fallen branches, roots, and leaf litter. To keep them in a home aquarium, certain conditions are essential.
The aquarium should be biologically mature and well-filtered, with gentle water movement. Soft and acidic water is preferable, which can be achieved by adding peat to the aquarium filter. Creating a dark and secure environment is important, with plenty of bogwood, caves, and plants, including floating species. Due to their jumping ability, tight-fitting coverslides and blocking escape holes are necessary.
Silver Hatchetfish are timid shoaling fish that feel more secure in groups of 6 or more (preferably 10+). They naturally congregate in large numbers in the wild, so keeping them in groups is crucial for their well-being. Tankmates should be small and peaceful to avoid intimidating the Silver Hatchetfish. Suitable companions include small tetras, pencilfish, Corydoras catfish, dwarf cichlids like Apistogramma or Mikrogeophagus, and smaller Loricariidae (suckermouth catfish). Maintaining excellent water quality is vital, as they can be sensitive to elevated nitrates and fluctuations in water chemistry.
Feeding the Silver Hatchetfish is relatively easy. They accept flake and micropellets, as well as small frozen foods such as bloodworms, white mosquito larvae, black mosquito larvae, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp (Artemia nauplii). Fruit flies (Drosophila sp.) can also be offered.
Regarding breeding, there are no widespread reports of successful breeding in home aquariums. However, it could be an excellent project for experienced hobbyists. Reproduction is likely to be similar to the Marbled Hatchetfish, which has been bred successfully. Soft, acidic water and peat filtration are essential for breeding. The fish should be well-conditioned with small fruit flies and black mosquito larvae. After a courtship ritual, eggs will be laid on floating or near-surface plants. Since the parents may predate on the eggs/fry, a separate breeding aquarium is recommended. Once hatched, the fry can be fed infusoria and paramecium initially, then progressing to baby brine shrimp (Artemia nauplii) as they grow.