Caring for Your New Gar 
A pictorial overview of the "Gars" available today

 
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LA
Today's tip:  Most gar are not good mixers -- especially alligator gars.

LA
Longnose gar -- cute at four inches.

LA
Not real cute to small goldfishes.

LA
Longnose gar at five inches.  Loves rosy reds.  Tail a bit torn.

LA
His tank mate  -- just a smidge larger.

LA
Three-foot longnose gar.

LA
Four-foot longnose gar.

Longnose Gar.  You find these guys in the muddy Mississip and its tributaries.  Fishermen hate them because they dont stop fighting after you haul them into your boat.  They thrash around and try to bite you until you whack them.  Better use a steel leader if fishing for these guys.  Fishermen and our Iowa Department of Natural Resources both consider these a trash fish.  They taste nasty and eat the better tasting species.  Archers like to shoot them.  Their tough ganoid scales make them hard to penetrate without a direct hit.  Arrows often bounce right off.  Young specimens look impressive in an aquarium.

LA
Young (5-inch) shortnose gars.  Upside-down one is a reflection.  An in-your-face fish.

LA
5-inch shortnose gar snackng on a rosy red.

LA
Foot-long shortnose gar on display at Centerville Dam Visitor Center.

LA
Three-foot shortnose gar at Iowa Staste Fair exhibit..  Much prettier.

Shortnose Gar.  Gars lurk below spillways and dams waiting for stunned prey to drift past.  Most consider them great fighters, but no one wants to eat them.  Some fishermen break off their beaks and throw them back to die.   They make great (large) aquarium fish for those fish keepers that like predators.


LA
Skinny needle-nose "gar" from Asia.
  Not a real gar.

LA
Four-inch needle-nose "gar" capturing prey.

LA
Same needle-nose "gar" after swallowing.

LA
Neat looking "gar."

LA
Neat looking dentures.  Small callous on bottom beak.

LA
Different Asian "gar."  Same dentures.

LA
Nine-inch needle-nose "gar" with bonked beak.

LA
At a foot long they're much heftier.  Note broken bottom beak.

LA
Expired needle-nose "gar."

LA
They can swallow prey larger than their heads.

LA
They squinch it around till it fits.

LA
Their lower jaw drops down to admit their prey.

LA
And it's pretty much over for the rosy red.


Needle-Nose "Gars."  These relatively small "gars" from S.E. Asia make good long-term tank residents.  They rarely exceed a foot in length and stay fairly light weight.  They lack the hard shell of our U.S. real gars.  As the pix show, they too are dedicated predators.  Keep your Asian "gars" warmer than our American gars.  Ours winter over in our rivers.

LA
Sorry.  Can't remember what kind of gars these guys are.
David Summa says these are South American gars.  We'll put him on our Board of Correctors.
 

Dylan Huang , December 6, 2006
My Comment Concerns About The Picture 26 On Gars
I Don't Think Those 2 Fishes Are Really Gars. They Look More Like Pikeheads.  Here's The URL About The Information About The Fish http://habitatnews.nus.edu.sg/guidebooks/freshfish/text/233.htm
A:  Thanks for the info.  I'll add it to my webpage.  LA

LA

LA
Baby rocket "gar" about 2."

LA
Young rocket "gar" about three inches.

LA
More younguns.

LA
A school of two inchers.

LA
Four more at three inches.

LA
Working parts of a six-incher with a bonked beak.

Rocket Gars.  From South America, these "gars" also stay small -- usually under a foot.  Not hard-shelled like our gars, these guys seem to like salt in their water.  Give them a teaspoon or two per gallon.

LA
Three-inch South American "gar'"

South American Gar.  Little "gars" are cute -- except to other fishes.  This one has bonked his beak enough times to grow a callous.  Put some plastic plants at each end of his tank.  Not really sure how large these guys grow.  Their markings make them an attractive fish.

LA
Another South American "gar"
 

Cory Wentland, Rochester, MN, July 1, 2013
Hi, I noticed on your Gar factsheet on your website you have a picture of two fish which are labeled as South American Gar, and then there is a comment stating that they are Pikeheads (Luciocephalus pulcher).  The fish you have pictured are actually Boulengerella lateristriga or the Striped Pike Characin.  Pikeheads have a much more blotchy pattern while Striped Pike Characins have very straight lines compared to jagged ones.  The mouth of a Pikehead also is more like the mouth of a largemouth bass the way it opens compared to the mouth of a striped pike characin which has a mouth much more like a gars.  I hope this information helps.
Thank you for such wonderful information on your website! 
Striped Pike Characin Boulengerella lateristriga-
  http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/boulengerella-lateristriga/
 
Video of Pikehead eating Luciocephalus pulcher-
http://youtu.be/N4qtk9c8R68

 

LA
Foot-long Florida gar -- fairly harmless looking.  Really a short-nose gar (from Florida).

LA
10-inch Florida gar.

LA
Two 10-inchers.  One in back is actually the same size.

Florida Gars.  Pretty and graceful in the water, in a smaller tank they spend a great deal of time loafing on the bottom.  They have no place to swim.  They look too stiff to maneuver but can really snake around when chasing their food.  They get along with each other, but we prefer not to mix them with other fish.  They just have too many teeth.

LA
Same Florida gar grabbing a three-inch goldfish sideways.  Count the teeth.

Hungry Eaters.  Gars (and most other predators) snag their food any way they can.  They prefer to swallow them head first. 

LA
Same Florida gar trying to swallow the same goldfish tail first.  No way.

So they flip them around until they get them lined up correctly for ingestion.  Fish fins make fish hard to swallow tail first.  Try it some time.

LA
Way.  Same Florida gar finally getting the job done.

Once the head goes in, its lights out for the food fish.

LA
Young (10-inch) alligator gar

LA
Even younger (four-inch) alligator gar.

Alligator Gar.  Teeth on an adult alligator gar look like the teeth on an alligator. They also grow to ten feet long -- way too big to keep in an aquarium.  Where's those northern snakeheads the feds were so afraid of?  These guys would eat several of them for breakfast.  Up to about three feet they make an entertaining Hey, watch this guy eat type of fish.  We really cant recommend these fish for anyone -- especially if they have children around.  

Hardy Brothers.  When the alligator gar below jumped out overnight, we just put him back in the water and watched him swim off.  Since he absorbs oxygen thru his weird guts, he can survive long periods out of water.

LA
Examine the teeth on this foot-long alligator gar.  Formidable.

LA

LA

LA

Last Word:  Gars make intriguing fish to keep in a large tank.  Full-grown gars get way too big for most people.  Happily, they stunt down to fit in smaller tanks.  Give them at least a 55.  LA.

Dylan Shearier, April 23, 2006
Sorry if I'm sending too many things but there's one more thing I need to point out on your gar page.
It concerns the needlenose gar, rocket gar, and the south american gar. If you don't already know they are not gars at all. The needlenose FISH is actually a member of the family belonidae, or needlefish, they are commonly mislabeled as gars as to their likeness. The rocket gar (commonly labeled hijueta gar) and south American gar are actually characins. The needlenose fish usually stops growing at 9-10 inches, but there are reports of some 13-14 inch individuals out there. The same with the hijuetas, but in the wild supposedly they get about 20 inches+, the south Americans are said to stop at about 5 inches. I've never kept the south Americans, so couldn't tell you much about them. I have a profile on needlenoses and coming soon hijuetas, so I can give you the link to it if you like.
Personally hijuetas and needlenoses (more so needlenoses) are my favorite fish and I have kept them numerous times and soon plan to see if I can breed some NNs. There is little to no info on these two fish on the internet and anywhere else, so I try to help out whenever I can with them. lol.

A:  Good to know, Dylan.  I'm adding your comments to our gar page.  Send me your profile address, and I'll add it also.  LA

© 2003, © 2004, © 2005, © 2006, © 2013  LA Productions

why ppl sed it wasent a gar
Because it isn't a gar there are no gars found naturally occuring in south america.Heres a list of the true gar species
Gars
Atractosteus spatula- alligator gar 6-10 '
Atractosteus tropicus- tropical gar 4'
Atractosteus tristoechus- cuban gar 6'
Lepisosteus osseus- longnose gar 6'
Lepisosteus platostomus- shortnose gar 2 1/2'-
Lepisosteus oculatus- spotted gar 4'
Lepisosteus platyrhincus- florida gar 4'
hybrid gars
Lepisosteus platostomus x Atractosteus spatula- Crocodile gar type I
Lepisosteus platyrhincus or oculatus x Atractosteus spatula-Crocidile gar type 2
Four known types exist both in wild and cultivated varieties:

Atractosteus spatula X Lepisosteus platostomus (Croc gar type I)
A. spatula X L. platyrhinchus (Croc gar type II)
A. spatula X L. oculatus
A. spatula X L. osseus

There is a strong possiability of A.spatula X A. tropicus from mexican aquacultured fish

the following is a list of fish called gars that aren't really true gars--
rocket gar-Ctenolucius'' hujeta Gar'' characin (Ctenolucius hujeta)south americaSyn.Freshwater Barracuda, Xiphostoma hujeta, Luciocharax insculptus
needle nose gar-Xenocara dolichopterus -
marbled gar-(Boulengerella maculata)still looking but its not a true gar
maculata gar-Boulengerella maculata (Spotted Pike Characin, Peruvian Gar )
hujeta gar-Ctenolucius'' hujeta Gar'' characin (Ctenolucius hujeta)south america
South American gar-Xenentodon canaila _(ASIA)
gar characin--Ctenolucius'' hujeta Gar'' characin (Ctenolucius hujeta)south america
slant-nosed gar--Ctenolucius'' hujeta Gar'' characin (Ctenolucius hujeta)south america
silver gar -Xenentodon cancila. -(ASIA)
the above is a fine example of common or local names V scientific names
note three fish all have different common names but in fact are the same species
                                                 Anne, Chicago, From Monster Fish Keepers

LA
Just a cool gar pic.

LA
13-inch spotted gar.

LA
4-inch long nose gar, 2013.

LA
14-inch Florida gar, 2015.

LA
12-inch alligator gar, 2015.

LA
Rest of the story, 2015.

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