Platinum Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Platinum Alligator Gar is a freshwater fish that is only suitable for big aquariums with powerful filtration system as they produce a lot of waste. However, it is a modest and very adaptable fish for various water parameters.
The Platinum Alligator Gar is a prehistoric-looking fish and is regularly referred to as "primitive fishes," or "living fossils" because it has maintained characteristics of their earliest ancestors, such as the ability to breathe water and air. There should be left with a few inches of space at the top of the tank to allow them to breathe atmospheric air.
Platinum Alligator Gars are not territorial or aggressive in the aquarium if they grow together with other fish species, then gars do not consider other fish as food.
These Gars live in closely-knit schools consisting of groups of 3 to 6 individuals.
Its platinum variety was bred in Asia for aquarium keepers. It is unfortunately rare and expensive fish, it is very demanded in Japan and China, resulting in the subsequent price increase.
Platinum Alligator Gars have long, slender, torpedo-shaped bodies and small eyes. They have a heterocercal tail, and their swim bladder can function as a lung. They also have a broad, short snout and they do not have scales like other fish; instead, they have hardened, white enamel-like, jagged diamond-shaped ganoid scales.
The crown of the head and the gill covers are woven patterned, their body is creamy-white with green tinges on the top, and their tails can have black blotches on them. Mature Alligator Gars have a dual row of large sharp teeth in the upper jaw used for impaling and holding its prey.
|Scientific Name||Atractosteus spatula|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Trios|
|Lifespan||up to 50 years|
|Temperature||59 - 89 ℉ (15 - 31.7 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 8.0|
|GH||3 - 5|
|TDS||90 - 450|
Natural Habitat of the Platinum Alligator Gar
Platinum Alligator Gars can be found in the Ohio River in southwestern Ohio and the Mississippi River south to Mexico's Gulf as well as in drainages throughout the southeastern coastal United States.
You can also find these Gars in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. They inhabit slow-moving, rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, marshes, streams and swamps and are typically found in freshwater and brackish waters. These fish rarely enter marine waters. You will often find them hiding in caves and crevices.
Other Oddballs of interest
In the wild Platinum Alligator Gars are opportunistic night predators and are primarily carnivores. Still, they also ambush and eat turtles, waterfowl, and small mammals that may be floating on the surface.
Their ambush method is to float a few feet below the water's surface and wait for unsuspecting prey to swim within reach. They then lunge forward, and with a sweeping motion, grab their prey, piercing it on their double rows of sharp teeth.
Platinum Alligator Gars will accept live and frozen foods such as prawns, shrimps, fish, and suchlike in the home aquarium. Some individuals may take pellets.
It would be best if you do not feed Gars with the meat of mammals such as chicken or beef like some other species. The organic compounds in these meats cannot be adequately metabolised by fish, causing excess fat displacement and even organ degeneration over a long period.
Sexing the Platinum Alligator Gar
It is practically impossible to visually differentiate males from female Gars, although recent studies suggest that determining the head length, snout length, and anal fin base length is helpful. It is also said that females grow larger than males and males will reach sexual maturity in half the time that females do.
Breeding the Platinum Alligator Gar
Reports of successful breeding of the Platinum Alligator Gar are scarce, and there is little information on how to breed them.
The conditions must be precise for successful spawning to occur. In the wild, gars need flooding to trigger this event. Once flooding has happened, the Gars will swim into the reedy shallows to spawn. A female Platinum Alligator Gar can produce anything up to 150,000 red eggs per spawn. However, these eggs are poisonous to humans and birds if ingested.
Platinum Alligator Gars do not reach sexual maturity and cannot spawn until they are about ten years old. Spawning typically takes place in shallow areas of flooded vegetation.
Spawning occurs when males gather around gravid females and begin twisting, bumping into, and sliding over females' tops, an activity that triggers the release of eggs. Males will then release milt clouds to fertilise the eggs as they are released into the water column. The adhesive eggs then attach to submerged vegetation, and development starts.
Only a few days are needed for the eggs to hatch into larval fish, and an additional ten days or so for the larval fish to detach from the vegetation and start moving about as young fry.