Hatchetfish are egg scatterers that do not tend their eggs or fry and so a separate spawning/fry tank is needed. Spawning occurs between pairs. However, in most species breeding is very difficult to achieve.
Sexes are difficult to distinguish, but females may be plumper when ready to breed. To bring the adults into breeding condition, plenty of frozen foods should be included in the diet, and the water should be kept soft, slightly acid and with blackwater extract added.
The breeding tank should be well planted and extra blackwater extract should be added so that the water is noticeably colored. The temperature should be 26°C. Fine leaved and floating plants should be used to collect the eggs. A bare bottom is recommended so that the tank can be kept very clean. After spawning the parents should be removed.
The eggs hatch after about 30 hours. Very fine live foods, e.g. infusoria, are usually needed to raise the fry. Frequent feeding is important, as are daily water changes to keep water quality high.
Hatchet fish are a little more demanding than some fish, but not overly difficult to keep. Frozen foods must be offered and the tank must be covered.