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Australian Native Archer Fish now in store

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Australian Native Archer fish - Now in all Petforce stores!

Limited Availability

Photo credit: by A&J Visage, Alamy                                       Andrew Laoulech Petforce Fish Expert

This amazing and unique Australian Native has arrived in all our Petforce stores. Our fish expert Andrew Laoulech is going to explain to you why this fish is so popular. 


The attraction for the Archer fish is most definitely the ability to shoot water at their prey, it’s very cool. In their natural habitat, Archer fish will rest in the banks of creek systems just watching for insects, spiders basically anything that moves or crawls. Once they have their sights set on the prey, remarkably they shoot them down with a stream of water through their mouth. Archer fish have extremely accurate shooting, adult fish will almost always hit the target on the first shot.

They can shoot down prey up to 3m above the water’s surface! This is in part due to their good eyesight, but also their ability to compensate for the refraction of light as it passes through the air-water interface when aiming for their prey. Archer fish create a gun barrel in their mouth by pressing their tongue in a special groove of their mouth and then close their gills to shoot the water pistol.

The shooting ability is not something they are born with, they get better with experience. I have a few Archer fish in my set up at home, and at first, they just shot water anywhere and everywhere. By using live prey and strategically placing them above the tank they are getting better with practice, it can be a little tricky getting crickets to stay still though.

Young Archer fish start shooting when they are about 2.5cm long, while they are learning to shoot they prefer to hunt in small schools. This increases the chance that at least one jet will hit its target. With this is mind, I have had Archer fish in the past that did not ever learn to shoot and from what I can tell was due to being the sole Archer fish in the tank. When I set up a tank with a few Archer fish, they started to learn to shoot straight away.

The Archer fish can grow up to 20cm which would require around a 4 ft tank to house up to 3. Because they are a surface dweller ideally, they need a large tank with space between top and bottom to allow a void preferably around 15-20cm from water level to top of tank. They would best suit an Australian Native tank as they are a predatory fish and will eat anything that is smaller than them.

Feeding time with the Archer fish can be anything from live crickets, feeder fish, floating pellets or flake. Setting up a branch across the tank and planting live insects for them to hunt can replicate their natural habitat and encourage the shooting ability.

One of our customers here at the Strathpine store recently shared a story with me about his Archer fish being able to shoot water at him from the tank to where he sits on the couch, this is how he knows the fish is hungry and wants to be fed. That’s one very cool fish!

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