Clouded Archerfish (Toxotes blythii)

The Clouded Archerfish (Toxotes blythii) is a beautiful, seldom seen, and quite rare species that in the aquarium hobby is also known as the Zebra Archerfish by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

Clouded Archerfish are found only in the rivers and estuaries of Myanmar from the lower Ayeyarwaddy to the Tenasserim Division, including the lower Sittaung and Salween rivers extending into Tenasserim Province, Myanmar. They may be present in Thailand (Ranong) but this has not been confirmed.

Clouded Archerfish School (Toxotes blythii)

Clouded Archerfish School (Toxotes blythii)

For years Toxotes blythii was known only by a few photos and drawings, but in 2011 they appeared on some Southeast Asian fish trading lists.

Because they come from an extremely restricted area of Burma that is difficult to enter, collecting trips are rare and the species continues to be difficult to obtain.

The Clouded Archerfish was originally believed to be identical to the Smallscale Archerfish (Toxotes microlepis), but because of structure and color differences, it was split into a new species.

Clouded Archerfish are a true freshwater species that do not need to be kept in brackish water. Like other archerfish, they are gregarious in the wild, particularly as juveniles, but become more territorial as they mature.

In an aquarium environment Toxotes blythii is presumably no different and should be kept in groups of three or more specimens (if they are available) to minimize aggression between individuals.

When housed in pairs, the dominant fish will usually bully the smaller one to death. Single specimens can be successfully housed but become shy and nervous.   Keep them away from aggressive tank mates, nippy species and other fish small enough for them to swallow.   Keep in mind that Archerfish can swallow prey up to half their size.

Good tank mates include Clown Loaches, Loricariid catfish, Australian rainbowfish, Festiums, Spiny Eels, and peaceful South American Cichlids.

Clouded Archerfish do best in at least a 55 gallon aquarium with a sand or fine gravel substrate that is densely planted with plants whose leaves float to the surface.   They should have some floating plants added to provide shade, good water filtration, a moderate current, adequate swimming space, and a tightly covered tank top to prevent them from jumping out.

Breeding the Clouded Archerfish is a complete mystery.   Archerfish are not sexually dimorphic.   We suspect that some brackish water species swim to coral reefs and spawn there, but that is certainly not the case with a freshwater species like Toxotes blythii.

Like other freshwater archer fish, the Clouded Archerfish is hardy and tolerates salt well.   This can be a boon when treating diseases like velvet or white spot.

In the wild, like other archerfish species, Toxotes blythii feed mainly on insects and spiders (that they “shoot down”), small fish, and crustaceans. In an aquarium environment they greedily accept all sorts of dried and frozen foods as well as high quality floating pellets.

When and if Clouded Archerfish are available for purchase, they will command a high price and will probably be around 4″ in length.

Clouded Archerfish (Toxotes blythii)

Clouded Archerfish (Toxotes blythii)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Hardy
Water Conditions: 77-82 °F°, KH 9-19, pH 6.5-8.0
Max. Size: 6″
Color Form: Black, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Freshwater single or multiple tank
Origin: Burma
Family: Toxotidae
Life Span: Unknown
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

2 Responses to “Clouded Archerfish (Toxotes blythii)”

  1. Rob says:

    Just got one of these guys a few weeks ago, love em. Willing to sell any of yours?

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