They Just Eat Feeders!
I have 2 needle nose gars and a hujeta gar and all they will eat is feeder fish. I feed them rosy red minnows and I would like to be able to feed them smething else. I have tried many different foods but they wont take too anything else they would rather starve then eat the fish! Any ideas on how to get them to eat something different.
Try to find frozen fish (silversides or sand eel are the most common) and try to habituate them to eat that. It'll take some time though and there are no garantees that it'll work. For many predatory fish it can be very hard to get them to eat anything but living food.
One trick to get around potential nutritional deficiencies that can happen when feeding live food is to feed the feeder fish some pellets just before (1-2 hours) you feed them to the predators. That way they take in the pelletized food at the same time they eat the fish.
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Unfortunately needlenose gar are one of very few fish I have never gotten on prepared foods. I have heard of it happening though and you have few options. Try Hikari Food Sticks, they are designed specifically for top dwelling predatory fish that are hard to get on prepared foods. New Life Spectrum is another great option because of the garlic. Getting them on frozen food will probably be your best first step.
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Offer fewer feeders and more frozen over a long period of time then start cutting back a little on the frozen and add in pelleted food. Or you could try adding in the pelleted food initially as well. No matter how you do it it's going to take months, if not a year or more to get them switched. There's also the chance that it'll never happen. Some fish just won't take anything but live. I agree with the Garlic food or Garlic soaked food use. Garlic's a great appetite stimulant. NLS is wonderful food, I use it for all my fish.
Maybe try using a garlic soak on the frozen and add a few NLS pellets as well as the scent in the water will help a great deal I believe.
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Firstly....Hujeta's and Needlefish are not Gars. I hate to sound like a stickler, but it's just a pet peeve of mine. True gars are under the order Lepisosteiformes, while Hujeta's are under the order Characiformes and Needlefish are under the order Beloniformes.
Secondly...I have kept both fish in question and have gotten both eating pellets in less than a month. A method I often times use for top water predators is to drop a few small live Crickets on the waters surface. As the fish begins eating the Crickets, you drop small pellets, f/d krill, etc near their next prey item. Eventually they will take a pellet in place or along with the Cricket. After a while you begin using less Crickets and more pellets until they are on a pellet diet. That being said...The Hujeta was much easier to convert than the Needlefish for me. This can be very trying, but is well worth it in the end.
If this doesn't work, I have a few other tricks that I use for my predators. Let us know how things progress! Hope this helps!
Last edited by Demjor19; 12-03-2010 at 01:04 PM.
20" Tropical Gar, 18" Florida Gar, 20" Longnose Gar,
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I have tried all these methods except for crickets and garlic so I will be sure to try these and I will start today! thanks everyone for the great tips and i will keep you updated.
I'm not sure if this applies to fish but it probably does for most animals. Unless they're really sick, they usually won't starve themselves to death. One of the main problems if probably getting him to realize the pellets ARE food. Perhaps you could attach it to a string and wiggle it around in the tank and see if he notices it? Make sure its loose though so he doesn't end up swallowing it :P Just putting some ideas out there. Some tweezers may work as well.
moar tanks plz
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My Rocket gar eats hikari floating pellets and raw table shrimp.