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  1. #1
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    Gar Species Profiles






  2. #2
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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Lepisosteus



  3. #3
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    Author(s): Wiggles92 (Ryan Bing), Xander (Alexander Eng)
    Photos by: Xander
    Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Wiggles92
    & Xander

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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Lepisosteus osseus - Longnose gar



    Species Information

    Scientific Name:
    Lepisosteus osseus

    Common Name(s):
    Longnose gar, Needlenose gar

    Distribution:
    North America and Central America: along the coasts and inland from Quebec to Northern Mexico (Encyclopedia of Life)

    Captive Care Guide

    Average Captive Max Size:
    24” – 36”

    Average Captive Growth Rate:
    Age: YOY
    You can expect very rapid growth rates during the gar’s first few months of life (2” per month or more) after which growth slows down considerably. Expect your longnose gar to attain a length of at least 12” during the first year with a length in excess of 16” being possible, too.

    Age: Two years
    Growth is much slower during the second year. Expect your longnose gar to be at least 18” after the second year.

    Age: Three years and up
    Growth slows greatly from this point forward.

    Suggested Husbandry:

    Tank Size:
    For an adult (over 20") specimen, nothing under 3’ wide or 5’ (or 6’, depending on the size of the fish in question) long is advisable.

    Comments:
    Longnose gars are especially susceptible to broken backs (not so much as shortnose gars but still considerably more often when compared to other gars), so it is especially important to carefully monitor young gar and house them in appropriatly sized tanks ie; follow the step up rule carefully. This also implies that one would do well to make the extra effort to avoid aggressive or boisterous tankmates if you wish to successfully keep L.osseus.


    References:

    Encyclopedia of Life



    Fishbase.org:




    Lepisosteidae.net:




    ODNR Division of Wildlife:





  4. #4
    Garmy xander's Avatar
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    Author(s): Wiggles92 (Ryan Bing), Xander (Alexander Eng)
    Photos by: Conner (Conner Means)
    Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Wiggles92
    & Xander

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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Lepisosteus platostomus - Shortnose gar



    Species Information

    Scientific Name:
    Lepisosteus platostomus

    Common Name(s):
    Shortnose gar

    Distribution:
    North America: USA in Mississippi River basin from south central Ohio, north Indiana, and Wisconsin to Montana and south to north Alabama and Louisiana; Lake Michigan drainage, Wisconsin; Calcasieu and Mermentau rivers on Louisiana Gulf Coast (NatureServe 2011).


    Captive Care Guide

    Average Captive Max Size:
    24”

    Average Captive Growth Rate:
    Age: YOY
    Shortnose gars have been noted to have the greatest yoy growth rates; 6"ers put on 2-3" per month. You can expect your shortnose gar to hit 12” - 15" during the first year. It is not unheard of for shortnose gars to reach 17” - 18" during their first year either.

    Age: Two years
    Growth is much slower during the second year. Expect your shortnose gar to be at least 20” after the second year.

    Age: Three years and up
    Growth slows greatly from this point forward.

    Suggested Husbandry:

    Tank Size: For an adult (20" and above) specimen, nothing under 30" wide and 5’ (or 6’, depending on the size of the fish in question) long is advisable.

    Comments:
    These gars are extremely skittish (perhaps the most skittish among the 7 species of gar) and are known to break their backs and/or jump out of uncovered aquariums. Mortality rates of captive specimens seem to be relatively high compared to other species'.

    Therefore, it is especially important to carefully monitor young gar and house them in appropriatly sized tanks ie; follow the step up rule carefully. This also implies that one would do well to make the extra effort to avoid aggressive or boisterous tankmates if you wish to successfully keep L.platostomus.

    A good platostomus tank needs to be tailored to its needs. It is not unheard to add sponge or soft rubber paddings on the sides of the tank to absorb the impact and reduce the chance of death when these fish spook out and ram into tank walls.

    References:

    Fishbase.org:




    Lepisosteidae.net:




    NatureServe 2011:




    ODNR Division of Wildlife:





  5. #5
    Garmy xander's Avatar
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    Author(s): Mrwinkle (Rodney Terrell), Xander (Alexander Eng)
    Photos by: Azroy (Azroy Tan)
    Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Mrwinkle & Xander

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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Lepisosteus platyrinchus - Florida gar



    Species Information

    Scientific Name:
    Lepisosteus platyrhincus

    Common Name(s):
    Florida Gar

    Distribution:
    North America: USA from Savannah River drainage, Georgia to Ocklockonee River drainage, Florida and Georgia; throughout the peninsular Florida (Fishbase.org)

    Description:
    Lepisosteus Platyrinchus has a shorter, broader snout and stockier body when compared to Lepisosteus Oculatus. L.Platyrinchus also lacks the bony scales on the throat that are present on L.Oculatus.

    Comments:
    The Florida gar is the most aqua-cultured gar in all the species of gar; therefore, making it the most common and most widely available gar; and, best suited for beginner gar keepers. However, because of this extensive aqua-culturing; genetic abnormalities, tumors and other side effects are seen more often in Florida Gar. However, this depends greatly on location because wild caught specimens are quite common in the trade also.


    Captive Care Guide

    Average Captive Max Size:
    Approximately 18” – 22”

    Average Captive Growth Rate:
    Age: YOY
    Expect YOY (young of the year) specimens to grow quickly to 9-12” and then plateau.

    Age: Two years
    Growth is much slower during the second year. 2 year old specimens tend to reach 16" and above

    Age: Three years and up
    After several years growth rate will be drastically slower the closer the gar gets to its ~ max size.

    Suggested Husbandry:

    Tank Size: For an adult specimen, nothing under 2’ wide and 5’ long is advisable. A 30" wide tank would be even better. While the footprint of the tank is what really matters, adult, captive Florida gars will generally need at least a 180g > aquarium.

    Comments: These fish are hardy, relatively docile, easily accessible and look incredible. Definitely the "first gar" if you are only just venturing into gar husbandry.

    References:

    Fishbase.org:

    Florida Museum of Natural History:

    Lepisosteidae.net:



  6. #6
    Garmy xander's Avatar
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    Author(s): Wiggles92 (Ryan Bing)
    Photos by: N/A
    Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Wiggles92

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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Lepisosteus oculatus - Spotted gar

    Species Information

    Scientific Name:
    Lepisosteus occulatus

    Common Name(s)
    :
    Spotted Gar

    Distribution:
    North America: Lake Erie and south Lake Michigan drainages south through Mississippi River basin to Gulf Slope drainages from lower Apalachicola River in Florida to Nueces River in Texas, USA.

    Captive Care Guide

    Average Captive Max Size:
    18” – 24”

    Average Captive Growth Rate:
    Age: YOY
    You can expect very rapid growth rates during the gar’s first few months of after which growth slows down considerably. Expect your spotted gar to attain a length of at least 9” during the first year with a length in excess of 12” being possible, too.

    Age: Two years

    Growth is much slower during the second year. Expect your spotted gar to be at least 16” after the second year.

    Age: Three years and up
    Growth slows greatly from this point forward.

    Suggested Husbandry:

    Tank Size:
    Follow the step up rule of thumb for a growing fish. For an adult specimen, nothing under 2’ wide or 5’ (or 6’, depending on the size of the fish in question) long is advisable.

    The rule of thumb for minimum tank size when it comes to these fishes is for one to gauge what amount of space is comfortable for the fish using good sense, and ask questions when in doubt.

    Comments:
    These fish are probably the most misidentified gars of the seven species of gar in the pet trade. In fact, Florida gars are often sold as spotted gars. It is also noteworthy that the northern fringe population of spotted gars displays a faster growth rate than that of the main southern population.

    References:

    Fishbase.org:


    Lepisosteidae.net:


    ODNR Division of Wildlife:



  7. #7
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    Author(s): Pejelagarto (Richard Kik IV), E_americanus (Solomon David), Xander (Alexander Eng)
    Photos by: Xander, Msjinkzd (Rachael Oleary)
    Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Xander


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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Atractosteus



    Species:

    Atractosteus tropicus – Tropical Gar
    Atractosteus tristoechus – Cuban Gar
    Atractosteus spatula – Alligator Gar

    History:
    The Atractosteus genus is thought to have branched off the Lepisosteus gars, making them the "newer" genus of Lepisosteids.

    Biology:

    Atractosteus is noted to have shorter, more numerous and ornate gill rakers, whereas Lepisosteus has thinner more elongate gill rakers.

    Description:
    An key difference between both genus of Lepisosteids is that Atractosteus gars have broader snouts and are stockier when compared to Lepisosteus gars. Another important trait to note is that while ALL gars have two rows of teeth in the upper jaw, the second row is only prominent in Atractosteus gars.

    A stritation pattern is also more commonly present in Atractosteus gars then Lepisosteus.

    Just based on morphology one can see that the Atractosteus species are more closely related to each other than to the Lepisosteus genus.

    Comments:
    There is much interest in the aquaculture of Atractosteus gars, largely because of their rapid growth rate and large adult size.

    Captive Care Guide

    Suggested Husbantry:
    All Atractosteus gars are very sensitive to quickly fluctuating water parameters. It is not just the Cuban but the whole genus. Atractosteus gar thrive in static conditions and quick change in Temp, pH, hardness, Ammonia, Nitrite level can be hazardous to their health. In general Atractosteus gars are resilient but they do not appreciate quick changes in anything.

    Atractosteus gars are known to be more aggressive than Lepisosteus gars.

    References:

    Florida Museum of Natural History


    Monsterfishkeepers.com


    Mendoza Alfaro, R., C. Aguilera Gonzalez, and A. M. Ferrara. 2008. Gar biology and culture: status and prospects. Aquaculture Research 39:748-763.



  8. #8
    Garmy xander's Avatar
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    Author(s): Madding (Michael Morgan) , Xander (Alexander Eng)
    Photos by: Msjinkzd (Rachael Oleary)
    Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Madding & Xander

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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Atractosteus tropicus - Tropical gar



    Species Information

    Scientific Name:
    Atractosteus tropicus

    Common Name(s):
    Tropical gar, Mexican gar, Pejelagarto

    Distribution:
    Central America: Caribbean and Pacific drainages of Southern Mexico to Costa Rica (lepisosteidae.net)

    Comments:
    Tropical gar are aquacultured in Mexico and other areas of Central America. Atractosteus tropical is generally considered to be the second rarest of the 7 species of gar behind the scarcely-obtained Cuban gar. Certain farms in Mexico breed leucistic (white or platinum) Tropical gar – these color morphs are very rare in the fish keeping hobby, usually costing between 3,000 and 5,000 US dollars apiece to purchase.

    Captive Care Guide

    Average Captive Max Size:
    Roughly 20” – 24”

    Average Captive Growth Rate:
    Age: YOY
    Expect YOY (young of the year) specimens to grow quickly to 11-13” and then plateau.

    Age: Two years
    Growth is much slower during the second year. 2 year old specimens tend to reach 16" and above

    Age: Three years and up
    After several years growth rate will be drastically slower the closer the gar gets to its ~ max size.

    Suggested Husbandry:

    Tank Size: For an adult specimen, nothing under 30" wide or 5’ (or 6’, depending on the size of the fish in question) long is advisable. While tank dimensions are what really matters, adult Tropical gars will generally need a tank of at least 180gallons.

    Comments: Tropical gars are likely the third most aggressive species of gar (behind the other two Atractosteus species), so avoid tank mates that can be eaten or bullied. When adding new fish/gars to the tank, be aware that Tropical gars often target new tank mates to integrate them into the hierarchy. Larger numbers of gar and a dedicated, daily feeding schedule will help reduce (but not eliminate) aggression. Opinions vary on specific examples of recommended tank mates, but Australian lungfish and African arowana are noted as being compatible with Tropical gar in many (but not all!) captive cases. Avoid silvery fish like characins or they will be killed. Also avoid slime-sucking fish such as plecos and flagtails. Using myself as a real-life example, keeping five Tropical gar in a five hundred gallon aquarium, I have witnessed the killing or severe injury of stingrays, arowana, catfish and smaller gar for no apparent reason. In summary, be careful of which tank mates you choose.

    Notes:
    Tropical gars spend a lot of time at all levels of the tank. Jumping is common, so make sure your lid is weighed down and cover up any holes.

    References:

    Lepisosteidae.net

    • http://lepisosteidae.net/index_files/Page796.htm

    Other Useful Links on Tropical gars:

    MonsterFishKeepers.com




  9. #9
    Garmy xander's Avatar
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    Author(s): Xander (Alexander Eng)
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    Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Xander

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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Atractosteus tristoechus - Cuban gar


    Species Information

    Scientific Name:
    Atractosteus Tristoechus

    Common Name(s):
    Cuban Gar, Manjuari, Manfari

    Distribution:
    Central America: Western Cuba and Isla de la Juventud (lepisosteidae.net)

    Comments:
    Currently, these fish are sparse in the wild. Fisheries are making efforts to restock wild populations. A.Tristoechus is the rarest of the 7 species of gar.

    Captive Care Guide

    Average Captive Max Size:
    22” – 30”, although it is mostly females that get to the larger end of the spectrum.

    Average Captive Growth Rate:

    Age: yoy
    You can expect very rapid growth rates from 4” to about 10" to 12” (3” per month or more). Often, it doesn’t take much longer than 3 months for A.Tristoechus to get from 4-5” to 12”. Growth is seen to slow after hitting this point.

    Age: 2 years
    Fish are believed to plateau between 14” – 18” in their second year.

    Age: 3 years and up
    Growth rate slows greatly from this point forward

    Suggested Husbandry:

    Tank Size:
    Follow the step up rule of thumb for a growing fish. For an adult specimen, nothing under 3’ wide or 5’ (or 6’, depending on the size of the fish in question) long is advisable.

    Comments:
    pH
    A.Tristoechus is very sensitive and require very clean, stable water parameters. These fish are especially sensitive to pH; any sudden fluctuations in pH (especially downwards) will cause severe stress and may result in death. Stress is easily detectable in adult/large cuban gar specimens; they turn a dark brown colour whenever water parameters are off. A pH of 7 – 7.7 is known to work well for cubans.

    Water hardness
    Cubans are also sensitive to water hardness. try and maintain your water constant between 30 - 60ppm KH (carbonate hardness) and 120ppm GH (general hardness). It is advisable to use aragonite or crushed coral substrate to increase the hardness of the water and allow more buffer space to keep your cuban gar healthy.

    To reiterate, it is essential to maintain a stable environment for these fishes and to avoid sudden fluctuations in water parameters.

    Aggression

    Cuban gars are also reportedly the second most aggressive species of gar (after the alligator gar), so avoid tankmates that can be eaten. When adding new fish/gars to the tank, be aware that Cubans gars often shred new tankmates to establish the hierarchy.

    References:

    Aquaticpredators.com



    Lepisosteidae.net



    MonsterFishKeepers.com




  10. #10
    Garmy xander's Avatar
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    Author(s): Xander (Alexander Eng)
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    Species Specific Information on Gars : Atractosteus spatula - Alligator gar



    Species Information

    Scientific Name:
    Atractosteus spatula

    Common Name(s):
    Alligator gar, Gator gar, Catan

    Distribution:
    North America: ranges from Mississippi River basin from southwestern Ohio and southern Illinois in USA south to Gulf of Mexico; Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain from Enconfina River in Florida, USA to Veracruz, Mexico (Fishbase.org).

    Comments:
    "Very young specimens have a dorso-medial white stripe, which is lost when the fish reaches approximately 10-15cm" (lepisosteidae.net). Juveniles to sub-adult gator gars can be identified by their large eyes (even when compared to other Atractosteus species) and "dashed" pattern along the lateral side of the fishes. They range from a bronze to dark colouration.

    Gator gars usually have a blotched or stritationed patterned fins, and are the largest (both in length and girth) of the 7 extant species of gars.

    Captive Care Guide

    Average Captive Max Size:
    36” – 48"

    Average Captive Growth Rate:

    Age: yoy
    Expect rapid growth from this fish. They can easily reach 18" long (sometimes even more) within their first year.

    Gator gars tend to put on length very quickly and it is normal for them to seem "lengthy" until they plateau at roughly 18". Following this, they start gaining mass and grow somewhat more exponentially.

    Age: 2 years
    Fish are believed get between 18” – 30” in their second year.

    Age: 3 years and up
    Growth rate slows from this point onward, but do not expect negligable growth from your gator gar from this point on.

    Suggested Husbandry:

    Tank Size:
    For an adult specimen, nothing less than 1.5 times the fishes length for the width of the enclosure and tripple it's length for the length of the enclosure.

    Atractosteus spatula is requires a large amounts of space and an incredible amount of dedication to be successfully kept. Even when compared to other gars. Ensure you are able to provide the space and necessary dedication BEFORE acquiring one.

    Comments:
    Alligator gar are the most aggressive species of gar and their track record amongst aquarists is testiment to that. They are extremely unpredictable with tankmates and tend to attack/shred tankmates even if YOU think the tankmate is too large to be swallowed. To quote Richard "do not house anything you'd mind losing with a gator gar".

    If one insists on having tankmates with gator gars, some that seem to work fairly well are - other gator gars, large cats & other primitive fishes - of a similiar size. Bear in mind that many of these fishes have very different growth-rates from gator gars, and might be cause for an unsuccessful mix if attempted early on in life. It might be better to grow the gator gar and the intended tankmate seperately and only mix when they are of large sizes, relatively stable sizes.

    However, gators are still gars and much larger and/or active tankmates do tend to harass to them (especially during the younger stages of the gar's life).

    References

    Fishbase.org

    Lepisosteidae.net




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