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Toxotes jaculatrix (Pallas 1767)

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Banded archerfish

Toxotes jaculatrix is a fresh and brackish water fish native to Asia and Oceania, in India, eastward to the Philippines and south to Indonesia, in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and northern Australia.

It mainly occurs in brackish mangrove estuaries, but also in rivers, small streams, and near overhanging vegetation on reefs. Toxotes jaculatrix is usually found in small shoals.

The name archer fish reflects its ability to take down prey both underwater and above the water by spitting an “arch” of water at it.

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Natasha Khardina
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Geographical region
Drainage Basin
East Alligator River
River catchment
Alligator River
Water body type
Water body name
East Alligator River
Water body part
Water body course
Upper course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Alligator River
Type locality
Raffes Marina at Tuas, (western entrance of Johor Straights), Singapore
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Least Concern (LC)

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Brackish water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
25-30 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
15 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
500 l
Social behaviour
Shoaling fish
Behaviour description

Toxotes jaculatrix are usually found in small shoals. Generally, they are peaceful, although they might eat smaller fish and be aggressive to conspecifics (which can be solved by keeping them in groups of 4 or 5 specimens). This species can be kept with other larger-sized brackish fish, such as scats, monos and green chromides.

Archer fish have more developed eyes than most fish. The binocular vision allows them to focus forward and judge longer distances to aid their hunting technique. While archer fish mouths go above the surface to shoot down prey, the rest of the body remains submerged. Their eyesight does not account for refraction of light against the water, so they must learn to aim for accuracy. Small fry quickly learn the best place to see a prey item is directly underneath it.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism
Nutrition in Nature

This species feeds at the surface on floating debris, including insects and vegetable matter. It is also renowned for its ability to “shoot down” insect prey by expelling beads of water from its mouth with considerable force and for its remarkable ability to compensate for visual refraction when aiming its shoots.


Breeding tank set-up

Toxotes jaculatrix can be included in different aquarium setups. The first would be the common brackish aquarium setup containing mangrove roots and brackish-tolerant plants, with a slow waterflow. On the other hand, a biotope setup can be created, using a tall tank half-filled with water and an area of dry land and plants in the upper area of the tank. Water temperature shold be between 25 and 30°C and pH should be kept neutral.

Nutrition parents

In a biotope aquarium as the one described above, it is possible to replicate the natural feeding behaviour of Toxotes jaculatrix by introducing crickets or fruitflies into the planted area in the upper part of the tank, which will eventually be picked off by the fish. This species can also be fed with floating food, such as flake and pellets, and  also frozen food, such as bloodworm and brineshrimp.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

Reproductive habits of Toxotes jaculatrix have not been formally studied at this time. There are no reports of breeding in the hobby.

Archerfish become mature at one to two years. They are believed to swim from their brackish water habitats out to coral reefs and coral rocks to spawn. Broadcast spawning is triggered by the rains that end the tropical dry spells (females appear to spawn from November to December.). The female lays about 20 000 to 150 000 eggs.

Relat600 to 1100

Breeding habits
Free spawning
Hatching period
Eggs can hatch within 12 hours after spawning.
Number of eggs in average
20 000 to 150 000
Parental care
Fry number
about 700
Nutrition fry
Notes on reproduction

Toxotes jaculatrix (Archerfish) are best kept in schools, if you want to breed them.