Home | Brackish Aquariums

Category Archives: Brackish Aquariums

Feed Subscription

Keeping Brackish Water Fish – the Silver Mono or Malayan Angelfish

Large, flashy, uniquely-shaped and active, Silver Monos, Monodactylus argenteus, always draw attention when seen for the first time.  But there are many misconceptions concerning their proper care, and new owners often become frustrated with them and move on to other interests.  However, when their unique needs are met, Monos are quite hardy and make for spectacular exhibits.  A group I cared for at the Bronx Zoo, housed with Mudskippers, Fiddler Crabs and Banded Archerfish, proved so interesting that they rivaled neighboring Leaf Insects, Hornbills and Tapirs for visitors’ attentions.

Mono School

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Brocken Inaglory


The Mono’s silvery coloration shimmers under light, and is nicely offset by yellow or black fin tips and the jet-black stripe that runs along the edges of the dorsal and anal fins.  The body is flattened and disc-shaped, and the sturdy dorsal and anal fins are much-elongated.  Silver Monos are powerful swimmers, well-able to buck the strong currents common to the tidal rivers and coastal mangroves that they frequent.  If given enough space and a proper diet, they can reach 9- 10 inches in length, but most in the pet trade top out at half that. Read More »

Archerfish Care – Incredible Brackish Water Insect Snipers

Banded ArcherfishHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In the early 1980’s, I had the good fortune of being chosen to help set up the exhibits in Jungle World, a new Bronx Zoo building highlighting Southeast Asian wildlife. Leaf Insects, Sunbirds, Marsh Crocodiles, Giant Soft-shell Turtles, Proboscis Monkeys, Tapirs…all came under my care, but it was a mangrove marsh exhibit that became my favorite. It housed a variety of unique animals, including Mudskippers, Fiddler Crabs and Monos, but the real stars were a school of Banded Archerfish (Toxotes  jaculatrix).  Visitors especially enjoyed watching me service the exhibit…the Archerfishes would invariably squirt water at the movement of my eyes as I looked down at them, and they never missed!

Natural History

Seven archerfish species have been described. They range from India to Malaysia and Australia, ofrten in association with brackish water mangrove swamps, but most also enter freshwater and the ocean. Archers and other species that move between salt and fresh water for other than breeding purposes are known as amphidromous fishes. 

At least 1 species, the 5 inch-long Smallscale Archerfish (Toxotes microlepis), spends most of its time in the freshwater. The giant of the genus is the 16 inch-long Largescale or Spotted Archerfish (T. chatareus). Both occasionally appear in the pet trade, where they are often confused with the Banded Archerfish (please see below). Read More »

US Natives for the Marine Aquarium – Mummichogs, Striped Killifishes, and Sheepshead Minnows – Part 1

Mummichog” width=Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In common with most aquarists, I’m enthralled by brilliantly-colored reef fishes.  However, I find that little can compare to the thrill of catching, keeping and breeding native fishes.  Today I’d like to look at three hardy species that are among the most beautiful and interesting I’ve yet to keep.  I’ve collected all by seine net and minnow trap within NYC limits and off nearby Long Island.

Note: Please check your state’s regulations before collecting native fishes. Read More »

A Brackish Water Oddity – the Four-eyed Fish or Large-scale Foureye

AnablepsHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  It takes some doing to stand out among brackish water fishes, in whose ranks we find the tree-climbing Mudskipper and the insect-shooting Archerfish.  However, in both appearance and behavior, the Four-eyed Fish (Anableps anableps) manages to so quite easily.  Less often kept than other brackish water species, it is well worth considering if you favor unusual, responsive fishes.

Natural History

Four-eyed Fishes are found along coastlines and associated tidal streams and marshes from Oaxaca in southern Mexico to Brazil.  Although sometimes encountered well inland and in the ocean, they spend the majority of their time in brackish water.  Three species have been described, with Anableps anableps being most commonly available in the trade. Read More »

The Dragon Goby – Not Quite What You Would Expect

Hello everyone, Craig back again with another odd and interesting fish species to highlight! In this entry, I want to talk about an old favorite among fish enthusiasts, the Dragon Fish, Gobioides broussonetti. It has a long, slender eel-like body and a huge, gaping basket-like mouth. Coloration ranges from silver to grey to purple depending on health and environment. The Dragon Fish has tiny eyes and can hang vertical on your glass with its suction cup-like ventral fins. Want to know more? Well, let’s get into some specifics! Read More »