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Trying to come up with a "shooting range" for my archerfish


Gannon
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I have a fully filled 125 gallon tank so when I put pellets on the glass lid they just jump for it and cant knock them down off the glass with spit anyway from what I've seen. What would be a good way to rig up some kind of target i can occasionally put above the tank and take off the lid for. Additionally what surface would be a good one to stick pellets too? I usually use the glass lid and with a little water the big pellets stick but they scarcely get knocked off. 

I've also been thinking about ways to create an above tank addition where I can put crickets and things for the archers to naturally hunt. I thought about using a mesh box that opens on the bottom that I can put above a portion of the aquarium, with sticks and branches hanging from the top of this box. Would this work? I would have to do something with the lights that normally just sit on top of the aquarium. 

Does anyone have any creative ideas to make something fun and enriching for the fish? Thanks for any suggestions!

Below is an old picture, the archers are now pretty large 4-5 inches, its just the only pic I had on my computer.

125.jpg.fcdac279f4facb7966aaf9f39ac6fd62.jpg

Edited by Gannon
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On 9/26/2022 at 10:21 AM, TheSwissAquarist said:

First: Beautiful Aquarium!!! Check out my fish pic competition thread if you have any other great pics like that.

Secondly, maybe if you catch a spider, (assuming you're not also petrified of them) and rig up a branch-like structure for it to hold onto...

This could also work with crickets and such.

Good Luck and keep us posted!

My tanks don't look this good these days haha. Just some plant die off like. I ALWAYS get with tanks after a year, trying my best to figure it out. Stuff like anubias just getting holes and dying fast, same with the amazon sword which used to be gargantuan. 

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On 9/26/2022 at 11:23 AM, Gannon said:

My tanks don't look this good these days haha. Just some plant die off like. I ALWAYS get with tanks after a year, trying my best to figure it out. Stuff like anubias just getting holes and dying fast, same with the amazon sword which used to be gargantuan. 

I don’t have any archer fish experience so can’t speak to your original question but you may want to consider posting your plant issue in the plants section of the forum. Folks there helped me solve my similar plant issue.

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I've always liked the idea of a string/thread strung across the top of the tank with a small bottle of wingless fruit flies at one end of the string. The fruit flies could climb out of the bottle and across the string making themselves into perfect targets for an archerfish. A pole on either end of the tank to support the string/thread with a guard of some sort on either end to prevent fruit flies from wandering off. (A sticky trap perhaps?) Then let the flies wander out and along the string as targets. If you happen to have houseflies in your home (hey, it happens) then putting an attractant near the tank to lure the flies towards it could make the tank self-feeding. (And yes, there are house fly attractants.) Lure the gullible flies into the range of the archerfish and let them do the rest. If you have a very, very forgiving/understanding spouse, you could even raise your own flies and let them fly around and feed the archerfish when they got in range. Things could get out of hand though as flies are pretty prolific. You might need more archerfish.

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On 9/27/2022 at 8:22 AM, gardenman said:

I've always liked the idea of a string/thread strung across the top of the tank with a small bottle of wingless fruit flies at one end of the string. The fruit flies could climb out of the bottle and across the string making themselves into perfect targets for an archerfish. A pole on either end of the tank to support the string/thread with a guard of some sort on either end to prevent fruit flies from wandering off. (A sticky trap perhaps?) Then let the flies wander out and along the string as targets. If you happen to have houseflies in your home (hey, it happens) then putting an attractant near the tank to lure the flies towards it could make the tank self-feeding. (And yes, there are house fly attractants.) Lure the gullible flies into the range of the archerfish and let them do the rest. If you have a very, very forgiving/understanding spouse, you could even raise your own flies and let them fly around and feed the archerfish when they got in range. Things could get out of hand though as flies are pretty prolific. You might need more archerfish.

I do raise dubia roaches for my gecko that would probably work for my archers too!

I do like the idea of the string setup and stuff, I worry a little about bugs being knocked away from the tank and running free in the basement haha. I want to look to see if anyone has done that box idea I mentioned in the original post, seems like a nice compromise for not having a paludarium setup. 

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On 9/27/2022 at 8:59 AM, AnotherHumanPerson said:

I don’t have any experience in archerfish, but I imagine that you could possibly target train them like snakes, or maybe just hold an insect in some tongs and drop the insect in when they hit it. 

This sounds like a great compromise for the mean time, though I definitely do really want to see them shoot down live insects sometime. 

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At one point I rescued a veiled chameleon and it was in rehab for poor diet issues and lousy bone density.  I had a Critter Keeper, you know, those clear, hard plastic bins with the colored plastic ventilated tops.  This one had been dropped at some point and the corner was cracked and had a small hole in it.  I used my handy, dandy, rotary tool and enlarged the hole enough to let crickets crawl out.  I put all the cricket necessities into the Critter Keeper (gut loading diet, water, hiding places) and placed it into the tank in such a way that the hole lead onto a branch.  Crickets being crickets, there was always one coming out the hole every 2-30 minutes or so if there were enough crickets in the Keeper.  The chameleon started parking himself by the branch and picking them off as they came out.

I imagine you could do something similar for archerfish but there is always the risk of the crickets getting knocked out of the tank instead of into the water.  If you are very careful with your branch (or string) placement, you could minimize this risk.  It could still be a fairly artsy thing with the right branch.  I painted the Keeper in greens and browns in a sort of camo pattern to make it not quite so obnoxious visually.  If you were to lift the lights up and grow some pothos or other emergent plants, you could potentially surround the Keeper enough to mostly hide it.  Plus the plants could be your “branches” for the crickets to use and for the archer fish to “hunt” through.  Peace lilies would make decent camouflage and access to water for the crickets.  Maybe skip putting water into the Keeper so the crickets will come out to search for water?  Be drawn down towards the water’s surface and blammo!  Archer fish blast!

I imagine this to be messy, wet, and high risk for cricket escape.  😆   Maybe you need to lower your water level and get or make a screen top?

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On 9/28/2022 at 7:42 AM, Odd Duck said:

At one point I rescued a veiled chameleon and it was in rehab for poor diet issues and lousy bone density.  I had a Critter Keeper, you know, those clear, hard plastic bins with the colored plastic ventilated tops.  This one had been dropped at some point and the corner was cracked and had a small hole in it.  I used my handy, dandy, rotary tool and enlarged the hole enough to let crickets crawl out.  I put all the cricket necessities into the Critter Keeper (gut loading diet, water, hiding places) and placed it into the tank in such a way that the hole lead onto a branch.  Crickets being crickets, there was always one coming out the hole every 2-30 minutes or so if there were enough crickets in the Keeper.  The chameleon started parking himself by the branch and picking them off as they came out.

I imagine you could do something similar for archerfish but there is always the risk of the crickets getting knocked out of the tank instead of into the water.  If you are very careful with your branch (or string) placement, you could minimize this risk.  It could still be a fairly artsy thing with the right branch.  I painted the Keeper in greens and browns in a sort of camo pattern to make it not quite so obnoxious visually.  If you were to lift the lights up and grow some pothos or other emergent plants, you could potentially surround the Keeper enough to mostly hide it.  Plus the plants could be your “branches” for the crickets to use and for the archer fish to “hunt” through.  Peace lilies would make decent camouflage and access to water for the crickets.  Maybe skip putting water into the Keeper so the crickets will come out to search for water?  Be drawn down towards the water’s surface and blammo!  Archer fish blast!

I imagine this to be messy, wet, and high risk for cricket escape.  😆   Maybe you need to lower your water level and get or make a screen top?

I use RODI water and thus don't like to do a lot of water changes so i probably won't lower the waterline to make sure the volume of the tank is high. But definitely I'm going to consider my options with this. I just really want to see these guys behave like the hunters they are and have to come up with a clever solution with the setup I currently have.

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On 9/28/2022 at 8:52 AM, Odd Duck said:

Maybe you could make a screen top that has some volume vs just flat.  Kind of like a light hood but sides made from screen on a frame.  My hubby is very tolerant of my fish stuff, but even he might draw the line at crickets loose in the house, “singing the song of their people”.  🤣 

Thats exactly what my original idea was, with some branches of stuff ties to the top and hanging. Don't they make boxes like this for turtle enclosures?

 

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On 9/28/2022 at 9:53 AM, Gannon said:

Don't they make boxes like this for turtle enclosures?

I don’t know.  I once made a big, stand up “cage” to go around a plant stand to keep cats out of my seedling starts for my garden.  Mine was made out of 2” x 2” painted black and 1/2” hail screen.  I would use actual screen to keep crickets inside and you could use lighter wood to frame it as long as there’s no risk of cats jumping on top of it.

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On 9/28/2022 at 4:05 PM, Odd Duck said:

I don’t know.  I once made a big, stand up “cage” to go around a plant stand to keep cats out of my seedling starts for my garden.  Mine was made out of 2” x 2” painted black and 1/2” hail screen.  I would use actual screen to keep crickets inside and you could use lighter wood to frame it as long as there’s no risk of cats jumping on top of it.

I have no cats! So I'm sure anything can work, but I'll probably make one pretty strong anyways as I would probably drop it at some point haha. 

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