The Banded Archerfish Toxotes jaculatrix are brackish water fish. They are a very common coastal species in many parts of tropical Asia and northern Australia. They live mainly in salty mangrove swamps where they spend their time cruising the shallows looking for food. They will also move into rivers and streams. The more solitary adults may swim out to coral reefs. This fish is also known as Archer Fish or Spinner Fish.
The Archer Fish have developed the ability to "shoot" their food by forcing a stream of water through a groove in the roof of their mouths. This jet of water is strong enough to knock insects and spiders out of low lying branches into the water where they are quickly gobbled up. They seem to have an uncanny knowledge of exactly where the food will land, and are headed to retrieve it before the stream of water has even hits its mark. These fish can also leap out of the water, similar to salmon fish, to grab insects out of the air. They will generally only leap, however, if the prey is a body length or more above the surface of the water. They will also feed on small fish and crustaceans.
The Banded Archerfish will generally reach only about 6 inches (15 cm) in the aquarium, though they can get about twice that size in the wild. They are typically a bright silvery or white color with five to six (sometimes seven) black vertical bands. Juveniles will have a some irregular yellow patches, mostly on top between the bands. Their body is flattened and rather elongated, with a pointed head. There is also a very pretty yellow color morph (see below). It is extremely rare, but a real treasure if you can find one.
The Banded Archers are a good community as long they are kept with fish too big for them to eat. They basically have no concerns with other fish as long as the tank mates are not overly aggressive and don't dwell in the upper portions of the tank. Though getting them to feed can be difficult, once they get accustomed to the aquarium they are quite hardy, and can even be trained to spit. This is fun, but just be careful to not overfeed.
Their distinctive looks along with their interesting behaviors make Banded Archers fascinating fish to keep. Yet even without their unusual ability to shoot prey, they would still be a popular aquarium fish. They are not quite as flashy as some of the other brackish water perches, like Mono fish and Scats, but they have a very interesting behaviors, body shape, and banded patterning.