Striped Pike Characin, Striped Gar Boulengerella lateristriga
Synonyms: Xiphostoma lateristriga
Physical description: An elongated, slender fish. The snout and mouth are very long. The tip of the upper jaw hangs over the lower. The back light brown to brown. A white stripe extends along the fish's back, from the tip of the snout through the eye to the base of the tail. A dark brown stripe extends from the tip of the snout through the eye and to the base of the tail. A third stripe, below the first two, runs from the tip of the lower jaw to the tail. It is white in color. The belly is also white. The other fins dull brown with some pale markings.
Size/Length: To 16" (40 cm)
Similar species: Spotted Pike Characin ( B. maculata)
Habitat: In still and slow-moving water with reedy or grassy vegetation and submerged wood. South America; in the Rio Negro and the Rio Urubu.
S: middle, top
Aquarium: 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for young fish up to 6" (15 cm) in length. When full grown, a 60" (152 cm) or 90 gallon (342 L) tank should be used. The water should be well-aerated and have heavy, dense vegetation. The surface should have a cover of floating plants. Plenty of hiding places should be provided, as should open swimming areas. The lighting should be dim and roots and wood should be used for hiding areas. Use peat filtration for best results. 1/4 to 1/3 of the water should be changed bimonthly and a good conditioner should be added.
Water chemistry: pH 5-6.8 (6.5), dH 0-10 (4), 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Social behavior: This active predator can be kept singly or in groups. Do not combine with small or slender fish for they will be eaten. The Striped Pike Characin can be kept with calm, large bodied fish like catfish and medium to large cichlids.
Suggested companions: South American Cichlids (possibly large Angels and Waroo), Loricarids, Pimelodids, large characins, large Knifefish.
FOOD: Live; fish, Tubifex , earthworms, mosquito larvae, caterpillars.
Breeding techniques: Unknown
Breeding potential: 10. Breeding has not been accomplished in aquaria.
Remarks: Before purchasing a Striped Pike Characin, observe it carefully for a period of time. Often imported specimen are injured or sick and will not take foods. This fish is very sensitive to nitrate and nitrite levels. This fish is very shy and timid and will not come out from hiding until it has adjusted to the tank. Do not turn on the light when it is dark or make sudden, loud noises for these fish are easily frightened and may resort to frantic swimming around the tank, throwing itself against the tank lid. After one of these escapades, the fish is injured or mortally wounded.
Difficulty of care: 7. This skittish fish is an aggressive predator that must be fed live foods. This species is sensitive to unfavorable water conditions.