Maintaining Archerfish in a Specialized Aquarium. Archerfish are fascinating to watch because they use jets of water to wash insects into their home. Some believe that they are difficult to maintain but this is not necessarily true. There are five or six species of archerfish growing in size to up to half a meter. They are usually vertically striped.
The most easily available of the archerfish are the Toxotes jaculator and the T. chatareus. Both come from Asia but do not live in the same waters. The T. jaculator is found only in the brackish regions of the river while the T. chatareus is found in fresh water. The chatareus is most suitable for aquariums and can be easily identified by the small spot between the two front body bars.
These fish DO NOT get along with each other, so you have to choose whether you want a large aquarium with roots that can be easily set up in several different territories or do you want one fish species in a specialized or community tank. If they are in a community tank, it is not wise to use smaller fish as companions. As they feed they grow quite large with huge mouths. While not normally fish eaters, they should not be combined with smaller fish.
Archerfish are constantly on the move and love to swim. So, their aquarium should have a large area that is plant-free near the top of the tank to allow for their need to swim. Archerfish are not very demanding where their food is concerned; but, it must be of adequate size to tempt them.
Once the fish has become established you can feed it many different things. Archerfish like to eat fish, shrimp, raw beef, grasshoppers, and even boiled ham. When their food is placed on the water, they shoot towards it and snap for it and it is fun to watch them feed. DO NOT overfeed, especially when feeding meat! Archerfish can live for several years and will eventually become tame enough to take and eat food straight from your hand.
A Community Aquarium
The most frequently seen tanks are community aquariums. They are beautifully planted and decorated with rocks, roots, plants, and a variety of fish. To maintain water stability, a community aquarium should contain at least 70 liters of water or more, if possible. Remember, a larger aquarium is actually easier to maintain than a smaller one since the water in a smaller aquarium become murky much faster.
When preparing a community aquarium, you must remember that plants and fish have certain needs. You must plan for and meet those needs. Make sure to use fish and plants that have the same light and temperature requirements. While it is much easier to combine plants by this method, it is a different story altogether with fish. Some fish species have different requirements and cannot be put together!
It is very difficult to put too many plants into an aquarium in the beginning; but, it is quite easy to put in too many fish. Water quality will deteriorate very quickly in you overwhelm the tanks biological and filtering capacity, so add one or two fish a month and let the tank bacteria adjust to handle this new load. You must always avoid the temptation to purchase more fish than your aquarium can sustain.
There are no hard and fast rules about combining fish in a tank; however, there are a few basics that need to be observed. Schooling fish should never be kept alone or with only a few others of their variety. They thrive best when tank conditions replicate their ocean environment.
There are some fish that fight viciously with others of the species, especially males when it is spawning time. These fish should be kept singly or in pairs. Since they are normally quite accepting of other breeds it is suitable to put these fish together.
When stocking your aquarium for the first time, it is advisable to obtain a book from your local pet store that has a section on stocking. These books will not only provide you with information on how many fish can be put into a specific-sized aquarium, they will also give you information on the types of fish that can be safely combined.
Use of Aquarium Plants
Ecosystems like lakes, rivers, and forests are naturally balanced due to self-regulation. Because of natural cycles, they are basically self-sufficient. A predominant position is held by the green plants which capture and store energy from the sun in the form of sugar, fats, and proteins that serve as food for the animal and vegetable life they support.
In your aquarium, plants hold the same valuable importance and should be treated with great care. Only plants can use lighting to transform inorganic elements into nutrients. Plants need small organisms like bacteria and fungi (which break down dead organic substances into their basic elements) in order to continue to produce these nutrients. Between these two there is a natural balance that allows the plants to do the job they were designed to perform.
Looking at our aquarium along these lines we see that without constant interference from us this balance would be in great danger. We must add food, fertilizer, remove dead plants and animals, remove waste products with protein skimmers and partial water changes, and siphon off excess debris from within the aquarium.
Because of the various appliances available to create oxygen and carbon dioxide gas exchanges in the tank, plants can be completely eliminated from an aquarium. However, if you wish to maintain a more natural and healthy system to provide fish with oxygen and hold down the nitrogen levels, plants are the simplest and most efficient means.
Plants also help maintain the level of algae growth. A healthy planting is a great preventative measure against algae that can overrun your tank. Planting an aquarium with a large variety of plants can be very expensive, so it is best to start with small bunches of the less expensive plants.
After the aquarium is established, you can replace these with the more decorative and attractive plants that you prefer.