Gasteropelecus sternicla, Linnaeus, 1758
Origin:Brazil; Southern tributaries to the Amazonas river, Guayana, Surinam; Compagnieskreek.
Etymology: Gasteropelecus L. : With an axe shaped belly.
Synonyms: Clupea sternicla,Linneaus, 1758, Gasteropelecus coronatus, Salmo gasteropelecus, Pterodiscus levis, Eigenmann, 1909, Gasteropelecus levis.
First European import: Germany, 1912, By J.S. Kropac.
Description: See pictures.
Care: Keep the fish in schools of 6 or more animals in a 80 cm tank or larger, which should be covered. The water should be well filtered, rich in oxygen, and frequently changed. Neutral to slightly acidic, soft to medium hard water is required. Gasteropelecus sternicla requires floating plants or similar to hide under, if no protection is available the fish will soon die of stress. Shaded areas and a lowered waterlevel, since the fish jump a lot, are beneficial, as well as a dark soil. There is no need to have plants or driftwood below the surface, the fish only require protection from above, unlike Carnegiella strigata. In it's natural habitat Gasteropelecus sternicla inhabits the more open water, and can frequently be found on the sides of lakes and rivers at the border between plants and open water.
Temperature: 23-27 degrees,
Feeding: Live food, especially insects, although flake and freeze dried food is also accepted.
Size: 6.5 cm
Breeding: Has not been bred in aquaria. Probably similar to carnegiella strigata.
Sexual dimorphism: Check from above, the males are thinner.
Additional: The fish can jump over distances of 10 meter and more. To do this they will swim really fast, lifting the body out of the water. The opercular fins are moved really fast until they actuall "walk" on the fins over the water. With a last jump the lift out of the water, and float over the water hunting insects.
When trying to catch Gasteropelecus sternicla in a tank, take extreme caution. To escape the net the fish will resort to it's natural defence against predators, and jump out of the tank.
Picture references: All pictures: E. Naus
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