Snow Alligator Gar

Snow Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a freshwater fish species that is native to North America. It is known for its unique appearance and predatory behavior. This species is popular among aquarium enthusiasts due to its striking appearance and interesting behavior. Nonetheless, not many people can keep them as they grow to humongous sizes earning them the title monster fish.


Snow Alligator Gar has an elongated body covered with heavy, diamond-shaped scales. Its coloration is generally pale white or silver, with some black or gray spots or stripes. It has a long snout with sharp teeth that it uses to catch prey. This species can grow up to 3 meters (9,84 ft) in length and can weigh up to 130 kilograms (286 pounds). Although in captivity they usually stay smaller than these record sizes but will still outgrow most conventional tanks. Therefore these fish are best kept in zoos or private persons with a large indoor tropical pond.

Natural habitat

Although the Snow Alligator Gar is a specially bred captive species for the aquarium trade, the original gar is native to the freshwater rivers and lakes of North America, from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. It prefers slow-moving or stagnant water with a lot of vegetation, where it can hide and ambush prey.

Reproduction & lifespan

Snow Alligator Gar reaches sexual maturity at around 10 years of age. Spawning occurs in the spring and summer, and females can lay up to 138.000 eggs. The eggs hatch within a few days, and the larvae are about 1 cm (0.4 inches) in length. Snow Alligator Gar can live up to 50 years in the wild.


Snow Alligator Gar is a carnivorous species that feeds on fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic animals. In captivity, they can be fed a diet of fish, shrimp, and other meaty foods. It is important to ensure that the food is appropriately sized for the fish, as they have large mouths and can easily swallow small tankmates.

Tank requirements

Snow Alligator Gar requires a large aquarium with plenty of swimming space. The tank should be at least 500 liters (132 gallons) in size for juveniles and should have a sandy substrate with some rocks and driftwood for hiding places. The water temperature should be kept between 23-28 °C (73-82 °F), with a pH of 6.5-7.5. It is important to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated, as Snow Alligator Gar requires good water quality to thrive. Snow Alligator Gars grow fast in their first year up to 22,5 cm – 27,5 cm (9 to 11 inches) but this rapid growth slows with age thereafter. On average after the first year they grow 25 cm (10 inches) per doubling of age, meaning a 75 cm (30 inches) gar is typically 3 years old and a 100 cm (40 inches) gar 6 years old. Needless to say they will end up needing a huge aquarium to thrive and be comfortable in.

Scientific nameAtractosteus spatula
Type of aquariumFreshwater
SizeUp to 3 meters (9,84 ft) in length and up to 130 kilograms (286 pounds) in weight
RegionNorth America
Ideal tank sizeAt least 500 liters (132 gallons) for juveniles and large tanks/indoor tropical ponds for adults.
Ideal water temperature23-28 °C / 73-82 °F
DietCarnivorous, feeds on fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic animals
SchoolingSolitary fish species

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