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In aquariums gars are quite demanding and require a lot of space and clean water. I recommend you to use as big a tank as you can for your gar, and I wouldn't recommend keeping gars in an aquarium smaller than 200 Gallon/720 L. And that should be considered a minimum; a 400 gallon/1400 L tank is preferable.
The tank should be decorated in accordance with gar behaviour. Gars are ambush predators, and as such they appreciate hiding places from where they can stalk their prey. This is however not essential. They are very friendly towards fish that are too big to be eaten. In wild gars often live in loose schools and if you have space you may successfully keep several gars together, in fact I would recommend this.
Gars can be kept with most fishes that are too big to be considered food and not too aggressive. However, gars should never live with plecos. Plecos sometimes suck on gars and cause infections, and since gars are very sensitive to most medicines these infections may be very hard to treat.
Regarding water, most important thing is keeping water clean and well circulated. Gars accept most pH or hardness levels. Temperature can range from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (16 - 30 degrees Celsius). Gars breathe air and should be left with a few inches of space at top of tank to allow them to breathe atmospheric air.
Gars usually accept most kinds of living prey that are large enough. Feeders such as goldfish provide a good base for their diet but should never be only thing they are fed, since this would not provide gars with all necessary nutrition. Their diet should be diverse, and this can be achieved by also feeding minnows, shrimps etc. It is also possible to train gars to accept frozen foods and pellets.
Gars cannot be sexed externally. They have occasionally been breed in aquariums but are more frequently bred in ponds or are wild caught.
Article is written for aquaticcommunity.com by William Berg. William Berg has 20 years of aquarium experience and is the admin at http://www.aquaticcommunity.com