Hujeta gar Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The hujeta gar is a freshwater fish that is known for being hard to care for. They are native to South America and are often found in the Amazon River.

Hujeta gars are a popular fish to keep in aquariums, but they are not recommended for beginners. This is because they are very sensitive to changes in their environment and need to be in a very specific type of tank in order to thrive.

If you are thinking about getting a hujeta gar, it is important to do your research first. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about hujeta gar care. You will learn about their diet, tank mates, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The Hujeta Gar (scientific name: Atractosteus spatula) is a freshwater fish that’s found in slow-moving rivers and streams in Central and South America.

They have a long and slender body with a small mouth that’s located at the tip of their snout. This design helps them to be successful predators, as they can easily snatch up small fish and other aquatic creatures.

Hujeta Gars are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything they can fit into their mouths. In the wild, their diet consists of fish, crustaceans, and insects.

Due to their unique appearance and voracious appetite, Hujeta Gars are a popular choice for many freshwater aquariums. They’re also popular among fishermen, as they put up a good fight when they’re hooked.


Hujeta gar

The Hujeta gar is an impressive fish that can grow quite large in size. The adults can reach lengths of up to 4 feet, but they are typically between 2-3 feet in captivity.

The body shape of this species is long, slender, and eel-like. They have a pointed head with small eyes that are set far apart from each other.

The dorsal fin of the Hujeta gar is tall and starts about halfway back on the body. This fin runs the length of the fish and blends in with the caudal fin.

The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical. The pectoral fins are small and located just behind the head.

This species is silver in color with a few dark spots dotting their sides. The fins are translucent with a bit of an orange hue.

The Hujeta gar is a predatory fish that is known to be quite aggressive. They are not recommended for beginner aquarists.


Hujeta gar typically have a lifespan of 15 years in the wild. However, in captivity, they typically only live for about 10 years.

The main reason for this difference is the fact that captive Hujeta gar are usually not given the same level of care as their wild counterparts.

In the wild, these fish have to worry about predation, food availability, and water quality. In captivity, these things are much less of a concern.

As a result, captive Hujeta gar tend to live shorter lives than their wild counterparts.


The hujeta gar is a long and slender fish that can grow up to 3 feet in length. It is one of the larger species of garfish, but it is still dwarfed by the alligator gar which can grow up to 10 feet in length.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for Hujeta gar is 120 gallons. If you want to keep more than one fish, you should add at least 60 gallons for each additional fish.

Water Parameters

The Hujeta gar is a tropical freshwater fish that is native to Africa. In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving rivers, lakes, and floodplains.

The water parameters you need to maintain for Hujeta gars are as follows:

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.8 to 7.8
  • Water hardness: 5 to 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the inside of an aquarium for Hujeta Gar you can be as creative as you want. There aren’t any specific things that this species NEEDS to have, which gives you plenty of options.

We recommend some of the standard decorations that you find in a lot of freshwater tanks. There are a ton of great plants you can include (like hornwort or water wisteria). You can even throw in some floating aquarium plants too!

Rocks, driftwood, and caves are all suitable as well. It’s important to avoid going overboard with this since these fish like some room to swim.

Also, if you’re keeping your Hujeta Gar in a smaller tank then it’s going to be difficult to include a lot of this stuff anyway.

A classic gravel substrate is always a good choice, but you can do with something soft and sandy if needed too (use other species you keep as a guide with this).

Common Diseases

The Hujeta gar is a tough little fish that can withstand a lot of abuse. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re immune to disease.

There are a few common diseases that can affect this species. The most common is ich, which presents itself as white spots on the body of the fish.

Other infections and parasites can also affect these fish. The most common are flukes and worms, but there are others that can cause problems too.

The best way to prevent your fish from getting sick is to maintain a clean and stable tank. This will help to keep the water quality high and will make your fish less likely to fall ill.

If you do notice that your fish are sick, the best thing to do is to consult a vet. They will be able to diagnose the problem and prescribe the best course of treatment.

Behavior & Temperament

The Hujeta Gar is a predatory fish, so it’s important to keep that in mind when stocking your tank. These fish are known to be rather aggressive and may attack smaller fish. They’re also known to be nippy, so it’s not recommended to keep them with fish that have long fins.

In their natural habitat, Hujeta Gar are known to be quite shy. They’re not the type of fish that is constantly out and about. They’ll often hide in the shadows, waiting to ambush their prey.

This behavior doesn’t change much in captivity. Hujeta Gar are still relatively shy fish. They’ll stick to the shadows and may not come out much during the day. When they are out, they’re usually just scavenging for food.

Tank Mates

The hujeta gar is a large, predatory fish. As a result, it’s not compatible with most species.

These fish are known to eat smaller fish, and they’re also aggressive towards their own kind. For these reasons, it’s best to keep hujeta gars alone or with other large, aggressive fish.

Some potential tank mates for hujeta gars include:

  • Other hujeta gars (if you have a large enough tank)
  • Arowanas
  • Garfish
  • Snakeheads
  • Pacus
  • Piranhas
  • Tigerfish


Hujeta gar are a mouth-brooding species, which means that the female will carry the eggs in her mouth until they hatch. This species is also live-bearing, which means that the fry will be born alive instead of hatching from eggs.

The first step in breeding Hujeta gar is to identify the males and females. The easiest way to do this is by looking at their tails. Males have much longer and sharper tails than females.

Once you have your pair, it’s time to set up the breeding tank. This species prefers shallower water, so a 20-gallon tank is usually sufficient. The water should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and well-filtered.

Add plenty of hiding places to the tank. Driftwood, rocks, and plants all work well. You’ll also need to add a fine-gauge net to the top of the tank. This is to prevent the fry from getting sucked into the filter.

When the female is ready to breed, she will release her eggs into the water. The male will then fertilize them.

Once the eggs are fertilized, the female will pick them up in her mouth and carry them around until they hatch. This process takes about two weeks.

Once the fry are born, they will be able to fend for themselves. You can feed them live foods or baby brine shrimp.


The Hujeta Gar is a beautiful, unique fish that is sure to turn heads in your aquarium. They’re not the easiest fish to care for, but with a little bit of knowledge and commitment, you can be successful.

These fish need a lot of space and a lot of food, so be prepared for that before you decide to add them to your tank.

Overall, we think the Hujeta Gar is a great fish for experienced aquarium owners who are looking for a challenge. They’re definitely not for everyone, but if you’re up for it, we think you’ll be very happy with them!