Genus name: Toxotes Jaculator
Distribution: Southeast Asia to Polynesia, and northeastern Australia
Length: up to 10″ (25cm)
Minimum Tank Length: 36″ (90cm)
Water Temperature: 77-83F (25-28C)
Diet: Worms, insects
Water: fairly and neutral to alkaline
Breeding: unknown in home aquariums
The Archerfish is a moderately elongated, laterally compressed fish with a pointed head. The eyes of the fish are strikingly large, and the deeply cleft mouth faces slightly downward.
The Archerfish has a yellow-green or brownish back, and the flanks are pale grey to silvery, and marked with four to six broad black transverse bars. The first bar runs across the eye of the Archerfish, and the last one is on the caudal peduncle.
There are no obvious differences between the male and female, and they are not known to have bred in captivity.
Small Archerfish tend to be sold as freshwater fish, but they do prefer brackish water, and will thrive better in this as they increase in age, so it is advisable to add one teaspoonful of sea salt for every gallon (four litres) of water.
Archerfish are best kept in an aquarium with rocks and shallow water, and with plants that grow up above the surface.
Archerfish are well known for their ability to shoot drops of water to dislodge insects above the water surface. The tongue and roof of the mouth of the Archerfish form a tube. When the mouth is filled with water, the sudden closure of the gill covers forces the water along the tube and out of the mouth.
A young Archerfish learns how to shoot when it is only 1″ (2.5cm) long, and the range of the shot will vary depending on the size of the fish. An old Archerfish which is fully grown can bring a fly down at a range of five feet (1.5 meters).
Archerfish can be aggressive towards each other, so it may be advisable to keep one on its own, or with a fish of a different breed, but of a similar size.