Keeping Your New Archer Fish
Aqualand Info on Toxotes species
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Brackish Water Warning: No
matter how much brackish water fishes may appeal to you, you need to
realize that they are not beginner fish. Ditto that on archer fish.
Origins: Not really sure
of their origin. Supposedly
has the most different species of archer fish, but not much in the way of
live fishes is permitted to come out of Australia -- at least not since our smuggling permit expired.
And since we’re not exactly sure which specie(s) we get, we’ll
just say Southeast Asian estuaries.
Water Conditions: Young archer fish need brackish water. Start them on two teaspoons of salt per gallon. Taper the salt off as they grow. Most brackish water fish motate to varying salinity areas. Adults swim way upstream and need no salt to keep them healthy.
Warning Note: You
do not want to put your new archer fish in brand new aquaria. Cycle
it first with cheaper fishes. Mollies work great. If you
cannot keep mollies, do not even think about archer fish.
pH Level: If you use sea
salt to make your water brackish, you also raise their pH level.
This makes ammonia and nitrites much more lethal Avoid
the temptation to Frankenstein your
pH levels. Adding sulfuric
acid or Drano to your aquarium can present more problems than the original
problem. Use regular aquarium salt and ignore your pH level.
Appeal: You gotta love a fish that shoots insects with a drop of water. You never tire of seeing it happen. Besides that, archer fish have a nice color with dark black bars.
Tank Mates: You can mix your archer fish with most community fishes as long as they’re too large to swallow. You’ll note that archer fish have a honker-size mouth. They do not limit their intake only to bugs. They also enjoy swallowable size fish and worms -- and floating flake foods.
Size: Theoretically, adult archer fish grow to 10 inches. We’ve never seen one grow larger than six inches. Most expire early because their owners feed them only flake foods.
Sexing: Female archer fish probably get a little plumper. But since you will never breed them, sex is really a moot point. The adults swim upstream to less brackish water and probably return to brackish water to breed. End of theory. See what you can do with it.
Security: Most predators
want a cave or cover of some sort to hide behind.
Young archers often go to the top and hang
together in a bunch. They’ll
feel more comfortable with floating watersprite plants.
Larger archer fish will prefer planted aquaria.
Their markings help them blend into plants.
Java lance fern and aponogetons work well.
Or use plastics. Adults
seem to get along okay in bare tanks.
However bare tanks look boring.
Plants: The plants
mentioned above put up with salt in their water.
Anacharis, hornwort, and vallisneria don’t much like brackish
Foods: You better
start your new archer fish on crickets or small feeder fish plus frozen
foods until they adapt to flakes. Put
them with mollies or other eager flake eaters to show them how to eat
flakes. Competition with the
mollies triggers their eating response.
They also think baby mollies make tasty snacks. Most archer fish need time
to adapt to a flake food diet.
Most archer fish need time to adapt to a flake food diet.
Disease: Not much of a problem if you keep their water clean. Brackish water fishes hate dirty water. Do not overfeed your archer fish.
You’ll never tire of watching your archer fish snipe house flies.
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