• Source: Copyright www.jjphoto.dk

  • Source: Copyright www.jjphoto.dk

Atractosteus spatula(Alligator Gar)

A huge fish that resembles a spotted gar when young, having a brassy body covered with irregular brown spots. As the fish matures the spots become proportionally smaller, resulting in a speckled green-brown fish. The distinguishing feature of Atractosteus compared to Lepisosteus is the presence of two rows (rather than one row) of teeth in the upper jaw.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Alligator gar are large, comparatively aggressive members of the gar family that are not viable in home aquaria. They can be kept either singly or in groups in public aquaria though, and have proven to be hardy and long-lived, living for many decades.

Wild fish are distinctly opportunistic predators, and besides small fish will also take insects, crustaceans, particularly crabs, and other small animals. In the aquarium they are easily satisfied with frozen foods including lancefish, squid, prawns and mussels. Good quality carnivore pellets are also accepted. There is no reason to use feeder fish with any gar species: they will all accept other foods, and will be much healthier on a varied diet based on pellets, frozen foods, and occasional live invertebrate treats such as earthworms and river shrimps.

Water chemistry is not critical, but water quality should be excellent. Because of their large size, gar need a big tank with generous filtration. They find it difficult to turn around in confined spaces because of their armoured body, so the tank should be reasonably wide as well as long; aim for a tank not less than twice as wide as the gar is long.

Family Group: Temperate
Distribution United States and Mexico
Temperature 15-25 C
Size Over 300 cm (expect 120-150 cm in captivity)
Water Parameters Adaptable: mostly a freshwater fish, but sometimes found in the sea
Water PH 6.5-8.0
Water Chemistry Adaptable
Diet Adaptable
Sociability Aggressive
Care Level Expert only
Schooling Fish No

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