We have already reported about the Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), see https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/lepisosteus-oculatus-2/. Now we have received small gars from Indonesia, which correspond in all characteristics to L. oculatus, but show a very striking silver luster. The smaller ones (6-8 cm) have a quite dark basic coloration, which brightens up clearly with somewhat larger animals (11-14 cm). We don’t know, but we can well imagine that the dark elements in the pattern are covered by silver even more with increasing growth.
Apparently, breeding operations in Indonesia are quite intensively concerned with deviating color forms in gars. Especially desired are platinum colored or reddish animals. Since Lepisosteus oculatus is already very variable by nature (there are six synonyms of the species, which in the past was often equated with L. platostomus, of which another three synonyms exist), the species lends itself to breeding experiments.
For our customers: the animals have code 848231 (6-8 cm) and 848238 (11-14 cm) on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
From Indonesia we have received captive bred specimens of a gar species, which stands out due to its reddish brown (normally blackish, gray or silver) basic coloration with partly brick-red coloration parts. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to name the species correctly, because the reliable identification of gar is only possible on the basis of characteristics that are not visible on living specimens, and we have never had any losses with these fish so far. In addition, it cannot be ruled out that these fish are cross-bred (hybrids), which could only be “unmasked” with elaborate genetic examinations.
To us it seems most likely that the fish are a breeding form of Lepisosteus oculatus – or a cross.
One must assume with these animals that they can become over one meter long. From this it is obvious that the red gars are only suitable for specialists, zoos and show aquariums. However, for them the fish is a beautiful attraction.
The care is not difficult, except for the size. The fish become tame and can be easily fed with frozen fish, which they take from a forceps. In nature, gars often inhabit oxygen-deficient waters and therefore have an air-breathing habit. Strong currents are not liked by gars. They are completely peaceful against conspecifics and non-species fish that do not serve as food.
For our customers: the animals have code 848023 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply only wholesale.
The Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) is a living fossil. Gars live on earth since about 145 million years. Nowadays 7 species still exist, all native to North- and Central America. Gars are predators. They can survive in oxygen-poor waters due a primitive lung that enables them to breath air additionally to the gill breathing. So Gars are often found in swamps and other oxygen-poor environments.
Some species of Gar are bred regulary in Indonesia. We obtain our fish from there. The most attractive species in respect of coloration is Lepisosteus oculatus. Usually this species becomes 60-90 cm long; the largest specimen known so far was 1.2 m long. The photographed specimens are 10-12 cm long. As Gars become quite tame in ponds or aquaria they can be fed after some time of settlement usually with dead fish from a forceps.
The Spotted Gar originates from the Mississippi and other rivers that flow to the Golf of Mexico. So it is a rather subtropical species and only contingently winter hardy in a garden pond; this should one keep in mind in case it is planned to keep the fish in outdoor ponds. Despite the Spotted Gar is a freshwater fish it is known to enter brackish waters occasionally.
Against conspecifics and other fish too large to feed Gars are usually peaceful. This makes them perfect subjects for public aquaria where they have lived as long as 70 years. In the wild, L. oculatus is said to live about 18 years.
For our customers: the fish have code 848013 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer