10 Archer Fish Tank Mates – List of Compatible Species
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Archerfish are fascinating creatures. They have a weird body shape, with an almost perfectly straight back. They can shoot powerful jets of water with their mouths. And they’re very adaptable to different water conditions. But they also have particular needs. Unlike other fish species, Archerfish require a diet largely based on live foods.
Most Archerfish species also prefer brackish water, so they aren’t a perfect match for freshwater and saltwater aquariums. You must first keep these factors in mind when choosing the ideal tank mates.
The fish you choose must be able to tolerate low-end brackish water with a salinity level of at least 1.002 SG. That is unless you choose a freshwater Archer species like the Small Scale (Microlepis) Archerfish.
Then, you should also think about the tank mates’ size, behavior, diet, and water parameters. Archerfish are generally medium-sized. Most are between 4-8 inches long, depending on the species.
Considering this, you should choose tank mates that are similar in size, or at least not much smaller. Archerfish are calm and peaceful, but they’re also big hunters.
They might accidentally eat some of the smaller fish, which they mistake for live prey. The ideal tank mates should be peaceful, ideally schooling species. Fish with similar dietary requirements would be best.
But if your fish prefer different foods, that’s no deal-breaker. Just feed them different foods, or during different times of the day. However, water parameters are non-negotiable.
The tank mates you choose must be able to tolerate warm (68-84°F) and moderately hard to hard water (9-18 dGH or 160-320 ppm). Also, keep in mind that Archers prefer neutral to alkaline water (7.0-8.0 pH).
If this sounds like a lot to think about, don’t worry! I’ve put together a list of the perfect Archerfish tank mates in this article. If you don’t have a lot of time to research, just consider some of the following species.
Mollies are a diverse species. You can find these fish in all sorts of patterns and colors, including red, orange, purple, golden, blue, white, and black. For this reason alone, they make a very nice addition to any community tank. But apart from that, they’re also cheap, easy to find in most stores, and easy to keep.
Mollies grow up to 4.5 inches in length, which makes them the same size as the average Archerfish. Not only that, but they’re also extremely peaceful, maybe even shy. They stick to their own group and don’t interact with other fish. When faced with bullies, Mollies flee for safety to the nearest hiding spot.
They need to live in groups of at least 4 fish. However, they don’t need a lot of space. Just an additional 10 gallons for 4 Mollies. What about water parameters? Well, Mollies are like a perfect match for Archers. The ideal water temperature for Molly fish is 72–78 °F.
Mollies also love alkaline water (7.5-8.5 pH) with a hardness level of around 15-30 dGH. You might see this species described as “freshwater”, and that’s true. But luckily, Mollies are also highly adaptable to different levels of salinity. Many people succeed at acclimating Molly fish to brackish water.
Their diet is a little different than that of Archers. Mollies don’t require live foods per se, but they do go crazy over the occasional treat. In general, they need a balance of flakes, plant foods, and live foods. Bloodworms and brine shrimp are a great addition to their diet, and Archers also enjoy these foods from time to time.
Colorful? Check! Cool pointy tail? Check! Widely accessible and easy to keep? Check! Like Mollies, Swordtails make great potential tank mates for your Archerfish. These fish grow up to 5.5 inches in length, so they’re a great size match for Archers. They’re also very mellow and peaceful. You don’t need to keep them in a big school.
They do just fine in small, loose groups. But don’t keep them alone. Swordtails are very active and sociable, so they still need company from their own species. Their water parameters are similar to those of Archerfish. Swordtails require water that’s warm (64–82 °F), neutral to alkaline (7.0–8.4 pH), and moderately hard to very hard (12–30 dGH).
As you can see, this is a very hardy species. While Swordtails thrive in freshwater, they can also adapt in a low-end brackish aquarium. As long as the salinity stays around 1.005 SG, Swordtails and Archerfish can happily live together! When it comes to diet, this species enjoys a wide variety of foods.
Live or freeze-dried worms, insects, and crustaceans are all great sources of protein. Swordtails also love eating fish flakes, pellets, vegetables, and algae. It won’t mind sharing the goodies with its carnivorous Archerfish friends. On the flip side, Archerfish won’t disturb Swordfish while they’re eating their greens.
3. Tiger Barbs
Already have a freshwater Archerfish or want to buy one? In this case, the Tiger Barb can make a suitable tank mate. Tiger Barbs are exclusively freshwater fish. They cannot adapt to brackish water. But they’re hardy enough to live in a freshwater Archer tank. They not only tolerate but thrive in high water temperatures around 77-82 °F.
They can live in mildly acidic to alkaline water (6.0-8.0 pH). The most impressive is their wide range of tolerated water hardness (5-19dGH or 87-330 ppm). Tiger Barbs are on the smaller side, growing up to 2-3 inches. That’s not too bad if your Archerfish are 4 inches long. But keep your Barbs away from Archers that are 6 inches and above.
When it comes to their behavior, Barbs are mostly docile around other species. They can even become shy when kept in small groups. When in the company of other Barbs, they become bold and playful. They might sometimes act dominant. But their “aggressive” behavior is just a tough act. They aren’t actually harming their tank mates.
If you give them enough space, this will reduce bullying to a minimum. I recommend at least 20 gallons for a small group of 5 Barbs. Like the other fish on this list, Barbs are omnivorous. They enjoy meaty foods like worms and crustaceans, but you should also add some greens to their diet. Things like algae wafers, lettuce, cucumber, or peas are a good start.
4. Clown Loach
Clown Loaches are a freshwater species. But there are some reports of brackish water specimens in the wild. It might be the case that Clown Loaches can adapt to low-end brackish water. But I suggest only pairing them with freshwater Archerfish. Despite their dislike for salt, I still had to include this species on the list.
They really make a good tank mate for freshwater Archerfish. There are many reasons why. First, Clown Loaches are extremely playful, friendly, and peaceful. Their fun personalities make them perfect for any community aquarium. You’ll often see loaches swimming in schools of 5. They love having company and playing with other fish.
The second reason is that they’re bottom dwellers. While Archerfish occupy to top layers, Loaches spend most of their time chilling on the bottom. There, they burrow around, rearranging the substrate and foraging for food. These two species might rarely interact in the aquarium. This is great because Loaches grow up to 12 inches long.
There’s a considerable size difference. Luckily, Loaches don’t hunt for live food and get most of their food from scavenging. This brings me to the third reason. Clown Loaches keep the aquarium clean by scarfing down all food leftovers at the bottom.
They contribute a lot to the health of the tank. Loaches will eat anything from worms, insects, crustaceans, larvae, and even small aquatic snails.
They won’t mind the carnivorous diet of Archerfish. Additionally, they will also eat algae and decaying plant matter in the aquarium. You can also feed them algae wafers and vegetables.
Finally, Clown Loaches and Archerfish have very similar water parameters. Your Loaches will thrive in water temperatures around 75-85 °F and a pH ranging from 6-7.5. The water can be soft to hard (5-15 dGH or 87-260 ppm).
There are two types of Angelfish— freshwater and saltwater Angelfish. When I say “Angelfish” in this article, know that I’m referring to freshwater fish. Saltwater Angelfish require a very high salinity, around 1.023 SG. Because of this, they won’t do well with brackish fish like Archers.
However, both freshwater Angelfish and Archerfish can acclimate to a salinity level of around 1.002 SG. Angelfish grow up to 4 inches in length, and they reach 6 inches in height. Considering their size, they’re going to be safe in an Archerfish tank. They’re quite territorial when kept in crammed conditions.
But with enough space in the tank, they won’t go out of their way to interact with other fish. Angelfish are usually peaceful around other similar-sized species. Angelfish tend to keep to themselves and rarely venture out of the middle portion of the aquarium. They don’t need to live in large groups. But they’re quite active, so they need plenty of swimming space. Around 20 gallons is best.
Angelfish are a hardy, tropical species, so they enjoy warm (75–82 °F), neutral water (6.8-7.0 pH) that’s soft to moderately hard (4-12dGH or 70-210 ppm). In the wild, this species consumes a mostly carnivorous diet consisting of small live prey.
So, they’re going to enjoy the same foods as your Archerfish. Besides insects, larvae, and crustaceans, you can also include some algae, veggies, and pellets in their diet.
6. Rummy Nose Tetras
Rummy Nose Tetras are peaceful, shoaling fish. They prefer living in large groups and rarely interact with other fish species. They occupy the middle level of the tank and only swim to the top or bottom when feeding. When kept in crammed conditions or with domineering tank mates, Tetras spend most of their time hiding.
They’ll need plenty of swimming space— around 20 gallons. They grow up to 2.5 inches long. I’d advise you to keep them with smaller Archerfish. Choose tank mates that are 4-5 inches long at most. Also, include lots of vegetation and hiding spots in the tank. If the Archerfish ever feel like chasing other fish, the Tetras will need a place to retreat to.
Rummy Nose Tetras require mostly the same water parameters as Archers. The water temperature should be 72-84°F, with a pH around 5.5-7.0. The water hardness should fall below 10dGH or 175 ppm.
It’s easy to find a middle ground between the two species. When it comes to salinity, Tetras might sometimes adapt to a low-end brackish tank, but they generally need less than 1.002 SG.
In theory, you could keep them together with most Archerfish species. But they might fare best in a freshwater tank next to other freshwater Archerfish. Tetras are omnivorous and will eat virtually anything small enough to fit in their mouth.
You can feed them a variety of foods, including small insects, larvae, bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, flakes, and so on. Vegetable foods are also important for the fish’s digestion and vitamin intake.
7. Blood Parrot Cichlid
Blood Parrot Cichlids are medium to large fish. They grow up to 8 inches long. They’re the perfect size to live in an Archerfish tank. Unlike many other cichlids, and despite their badass name, Blood Parrots are mostly peaceful. They can live alone, in small groups, or community tanks and there won’t be any issues.
They might get a little touchy sometimes, but only when there’s not enough space in the aquarium. As long as your BP has at least 30 gallons worth of swimming space, it won’t disturb other fish. They spend most of their time swimming in the middle level and hiding behind plants and decorations. Sometimes, you might see them at the bottom of the tank.
They sometimes enjoy digging and scavenging for food. This omnivorous fish will eat anything from cooked veggies to live bloodworms and brine shrimp. However, keep in mind that BPs don’t come up to the surface. This is good because they won’t compete with your Archers for food. But you’ll have to feed them pre-soaked foods or sinking foods like pellets.
The ideal water parameters are what you’d expect from a cichlid. You’ll need warm water, around 76-80°F. The pH can range from 6.5-7.4. Water hardness is also highly important. BPs require soft to hard water (6-18dGH or 105-320 ppm).
As with other fish on the list, you can find a happy medium when it comes to salinity. Both BPs and Archerfish can adapt to freshwater or low-end brackish water aquariums.
8. Denison Barb
Denison Barbs are hardy and easy to keep. You can house them in freshwater or low salinity brackish water. Both Denison Barbs and Archerfish can acclimate to a SG of around 1.003. These two species have lots in common, from their personality to their ideal water parameters. But you’ll need plenty of space for these barbs.
This fish grows up to 6 inches long and it likes swimming in schools of at least 6 fish. A 55-gallon tank should be the minimum for a group of Barbs. Providing enough space is important to keep the stress and aggression levels low. When housed properly, Denison Barbs are peaceful and get along with similar-sized fish.
They’re very active and quick swimmers. They spend most of their time darting around the aquarium. They rarely leave the middle levels, which makes feeding easy. Barbs and top-feeding Archers won’t have to compete for food. With regards to diet, Barbs aren’t picky at all. They love all the common foods you already have on hand.
Live and frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia are particular favorites. But pellets and veggies are also a good addition to a balanced diet. This species’ water parameters include warm temperature (60-77°F) and 6.6-7.8 pH. The water hardness can range from 5-25dGH (87-437 ppm).
9. Bristlenose Pleco
This fish species is very different from your typical Archerfish. Apart from body size and water parameters, Bristlenose Plecos and Archers don’t have a lot in common. And this makes them a great match, believe it or not. Bristlenose Plecos are medium-sized fish that grow up to 4-5 inches. They occupy the bottom level of the tank and rarely venture higher than that.
Besides, they’re mostly active at night. During the day, they lay around and seem quite unexciting. But when the lights go out, they start digging and exploring. For these reasons alone, these Plecos are unlikely to disturb the Archerfish in the tank. Even if the two species interact, Bristlenose Plecos are very mellow and peaceful.
They don’t mind the presence of other species. These Plecos are also solitary, so they can be kept alone too. This is good news because you need at least 30 gallons worth of aquarium space for this fish. Thank God you don’t have to keep 6 of them! In the wild, Bristlenose Plecos are herbivorous, subsisting off algae and other plant matter.
You should closely mimic their natural diet. Feed them sinking plant foods such as algae wafers and pellets. They will also eat any leftovers that make it to the bottom. They don’t shy away from protein-rich foods like bloodworms or fish flakes either. Like Clown Loaches, they do a great job to keep the aquarium clean.
Their water parameters include a 73–81°F temperature, 5.7–7.8 pH, and 2–20dGH (35-350 ppm) hardness. Although they’re typically included in freshwater aquariums, these Plecos can also adapt to low-end brackish water. There have even been specimens discovered in brackish water in the wild.
10. Black Skirt Tetras
If you don’t have a lot of space to spare, why not choose Black Skirt Tetras? These fish grow up to 2.5 inches, and you need just 15 gallons for a school of 6. Their body size makes them a suitable tank mate for Archerfish that are up to 4 inches long. These Tetras would work best together with the Small Scale Archerfish.
Black Skirt Tetras are docile around other fish species. The only exception is when they see fish with flowing fins. They’re infamous fin-nippers and long, flowing fins just set them off for some reason. Other than that, they’re cool with other tank mates. Luckily, Archerfish don’t have any fancy fins that could upset Tetras.
They spend most of their time shoaling and swimming around. They don’t go out of their way to interact with other species. In fact, when approached by other fish, they might flee to hide. They enjoy the same foods as Archerfish.
In the wild, this Tetra’s diet is largely based on insects and plants. They’ll also eat pellets and flakes. As for water parameters, this species prefers a water temperature around 70-85°F. The pH should fall between 6.0-7.5, and the hardness below 15dGH. Black Skirt Tetras can adapt to a salinity level around 1.002 SG.
Archerfish are a bit difficult to keep in a community tank. They’re very hardy. They prefer low-end brackish water and a hardness level of at least 160 ppm. They’re also active swimmers and need a fairly large aquarium. You’ll need at least 55 gallons worth of tank space for them. Luckily, I’ve included a few species for any setup.
If you don’t have lots of room to spare, stick to fish like Mollies, Tiger Barbs, and Black Skirt Tetras. If you have a huge aquarium, you can also opt for Blood Parrot Cichlids, Denison Barbs, or Bristlenose Plecos.
Most of the fish on this list can tolerate low-end brackish water. I’ve also included some options for a freshwater Archerfish tank. Hopefully, this article helped you find the perfect tank mates for your Archerfish. If you have other suggestions, make sure to drop them down in the comments!