Toxotes blythii, the Clouded Archerfish or Zebra Archerfish, is a perciform fish of genus Toxotes. It is found in rivers and estuaries in Myanmar, ranging from the lower Irrawaddy to the Tenasserim Division, including lower Sittaung and Salween. Unlike some other archerfish, it is restricted to freshwater. This species was formerly thought to be identical to Toxotes microlepis (Smallscale Archerfish). However, differences in structure and colouration caused the splitting of Toxotes blythii into a new species. It is sometimes seen in the aquarium trade, but is generally rare.
Toxotes blythii grows to approx. 15 cm in size. In the wild they feed mainly on insects, spiders, crustaceans and small fish. In captivity, they greedily take all sorts of dried and frozen foods including good quality floating pellets.
Toxotes blythii does well in moderately soft to hard water conditions. The species doesn’t need to be kept in brackish water. The recommended water parameters: temperature 25°C – 28°C, pH 6.5 – 8.0.
This archerfish is gregarious in the wild, particularly when young, but becomes more territorial as they mature. Under aquarium conditions, they are best kept in groups of three or more specimens that allow any aggression between individuals to be diffused throughout the group without any serious harm. In pairs, it often happens that the dominant specimen bullies the smaller one to death. Singletons can be maintained successfully, but archers kept this way are sometimes a bit shy and nervous, though much will depend on their tankmates.
Keep them away from boisterous, nippy or aggressive tankmates, as well as anything small enough to swallow (archers can eat prey up to about half their size).
Possible tankmates would include fish like Australian Rainbowfish, Clown Loaches, Loricariid Catfish, Spiny Eels, and peaceful South American Cichlids such as Eartheaters and Festivums.
Like other freshwater archers, Toxotes blythii tolerates salt well, which can be useful to know when treating for white spot and velvet.
Clouded Archerfish are riverine fish that appreciate swimming space and a strong water current. A singleton might be maintained in a 200-litre aquarium with a decent filter, but it a group of three or four in 350 litres would be more impressive. Provide plenty of shade at the surface, either by using floating plants or normal plants with leaves that float up to the surface. All archers will jump out of uncovered tanks.
Toxotes blythii are not sexually dimorphic. Indeed, their breeding biology is a complete mystery! The brackish water species are said to swim to coral reefs and spawn there, but that presumably isn’t the case with freshwater species like Toxotes blythii.