Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Lepisosteus platyrhincus

Florida gar

Florida gar, Lepisosteus platyrhincusFlorida gar, Lepisosteus platyrhincus
Photos by Andy Rapson


Lepisosteus: Greek, lepis = scale + Greek, osteon = bone; bony sacled

General Notes:

Generally peaceful with fish which are to big to eat whole. Quite shy and will probably thrive better in a species aquarium.  Although Lepisosteus platyrhincus averages at 60cm (24 inches) they can reach 132 cm (52 inches), this is the reason that such a large aquarium has been suggested as a minimum size. Trying to house one of these fish in a 100gall or even a 150 gall aquarium really isn't feasible. This is worth considering before trying to keep one of these fish because trying to pass on a fish in excess of 24 inches will be very difficult and it is your responsibility alone to make sure that it is properly housed. If you are in any doubt about housing the fish as an adult then don't try it. Lepisosteus platyrhincus can breathe atmospheric oxygen which allows them to live in water with reduced dissolved oxygen, this doesn't mean they can tolerate polluted water - they can't. Lepisosteus platyrhincus has no more tolerance of ammonia or nitrite than any other fish.


Adult Lepisosteus platyrhincus prey on other fish, amphibians and crustaceans, juveniles prey on small fish, insects, crustaceans and worms. In captivity they need a high protein diet which replicate to some degree their wild diet. Small whole fish such as whitebait, lancefish, sardines. Not live fish, it is illegal to use live vertebrate's as food in the UK it is also pointless because dead food is just as acceptable to this fish. Crickets or locusts, worms are all accepted dried food is likely to be ignored.


There is little or no external differences between the sexes.


Florida gars have been bred in captivity but not in an aquarium. In the wild they breed in late winter to early spring. The eggs are poisonous to humans and many other creatures. Neither parent protects the brood after spawning.

Wild status

The health of wild populations hasn't been evaluated and so the health of the wild population is unknown.

Information at a glance

pH: 7 - 7.5
dGH: 5 - 12
Temperature: 22 - 26°C (72 - 80°F)
Diet: Piscivore
Size: 60cm (24in)
Min tank size: 3,000 litres
Difficulty level: Difficult
Aquarium type: Species
Swimming level: All levels

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Florida gar, Lepisosteus platyrhincus

Origin: North America: USA from Savannah River drainage, Georgia to Ocklockonee River drainage, Florida and Georgia; throughout the peninsular Florida

Habitat: Adults occur in sluggish mud or sand-bottomed pools of quiet lowland streams and lakes. Usually found near vegetation


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lepisosteiformes
Family: Lepisosteidae
Genus: Lepisosteus
Species: L. platyrhincus, DeKay, 1842

Common name:
Florida gar

Synonyms: Cylindrosteus megalops.