Long story short, these guys are awesome! When we received this species for the first time, we not 100% sure on the identification. These were actually shipped in as Clouded Archers, Toxotes blythii. There are photos online that suggest the juvenile of T. blythii might look like these, but following several diagnostic keys, it seems we can safely rule out these being “juveniles” of the Clouded Archer. Having grown them out, I can confidently say these were, in fact, the Golden or Smallscale Archerfish, T. microlepis.
Here’s the story before the identification was settled:
A couple separate people have proposed these are actually Toxotes microlepis, with one friend noting that it is found in the same river system as T. blythii and thus it would “make sense” that it was being collected as the former. That said, T. chatareus was the most commonly returned ID for these fish, and it sounds like this species is one of the “more common” in the trade. Lateral line scale counts seem to support the ID of T. chatareus, but I am not an expert on counting lateral line scales. It’s even possible that we actually have multiple species mixed together. Please see the photos; I welcome additional input on the species ID.
Regardless of the species ID, these fish are very colorful..a lot of golden yellow which isn’t a color I normally think of when I think of Archerfish. Depending on the actual species the wind-up being, they have varying levels of salt requirement from none to brackish. For holding purposes, I’m keeping them at 1 tablespoon of reef aquarium salt (Reef Crystals) per gallon of tank water; this may be “low” for T. chatareus. If this is in fact T. chatareus, it is possibly the largest recorded Archerfish species. While it supposedly can reach 16 inches (WOW), it sounds like captive specimens don’t get remotely that large. And, if our ID is incorrect, and this is T. microlepis, this might actually be a very small species.
Archers have a reputation for being somewhat aggressive with each other. Universally, the advice seems to be that keeping 2 or 3 in an aquarium is a long-term recipe for keeping only one. That said, most experience keepers and references report that keeping a single Archerfish by itself usually winds up in a stressed out, skittish fish. Watching this group of Archers in my care, I can easily say that they are very gregarious. They definitely seem more comfortable with more of their own kind. For this reason, it makes sense to sell the remaining fish I have in a group, as this is the way you should be keeping them.
These Archers greedily feed on freeze-dried bloodworms, frozen adult brine shrimp, and most are taking small mysis with gusto too. They currently refuse pellet foods. Given time I suspect they can settle in and learn to eat just about anything.