Largescale Archerfish, Toxotes chatareus
The Largescale archerfish is found in bodies of water with a temperature range of 77 – 86 degrees. This fish is mostly located in India, Burma, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Northern Australia. Some have been found in temperatures as low as 68.9 degrees in the Burdekin River region, and temperatures as high as 97 degrees in the Alligator River region.
Brackish (a mix of salt and fresh water) waters are where this species thrives most, but some can be found in fresh water of streams and rivers. It swims where there is a slow current near the waters’ surface and close to the river banks where overhanging vegetation is found, for this is where its main food supply is found.
Adult Largescale archerfish will reach a length of 5.9 to 7.9 inches in an aquarium, but in the wild they can reach lengths of 16 inches. The average adult weight is 1.5 pounds, and they have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years.
The dorsal fin (the top fin) contains 5 or 6 spikes and 12 or 13 soft rays, and the anal fin (the bottom fin close to the tail) contains 3 spikes and 13 to 17 soft rays. The body is covered with 33 to 34 lateral lined scales and its tail is almost square.
The Largescale archerfish has a sooty color, compared to other archerfish that are usually silvery. The dorsal side (top) is a greenish brown, the pectorals, (fins on each side by the gills) are mainly clear, while the pelvic fins (bottom fins behind the pectorals) darker with heavy pigmentation. The body will have 6 or 7 dark vertical lines or blotches alternating in length, and the tail will also have a dark splotch at its base.
Largescale archerfish can spit streams of water up to 59 inches knocking its prey into the water.
They are day feeders consuming insects, crustaceans, water fleas, zooplankton, and plant matter classifying them as omnivores (eat a variety of food). Smaller fish do not feed on vegetative matter, but in larger fish, vegetation will be one fourth of its diet.
Spawning happens once per year during the wet season in shallow, muddy lagoons. Females will lay 20,000 to 150,000 eggs 0.01 inches in diameter. When hatched, the young have no parental protection.
Interesting notes: If Largescale archerfish are kept in an aquarium, it must be covered or the fish will jump out. The fish also must be fed live food. In the wild they can jump out of the water to catch insects on low lying branches.
Image Credit: P. Malkowski/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)