Spotted Pike Characin | Boulengerella maculata
Characins / Ctenoluciidae / Spotted Pike Characin
Profile: Spotted Pike Characin, Peruvian Gar
Boulengerella maculata Synonyms: Hydrocynus malculatus, Xiphostoma maculatum
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 is gray to brown. A silver stripe extends from the tip of the snout through the eye to the base of the tail. Another stripe, with the same color as the back, also 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 the same color. The other fins are striped with black and white stripes, except for the pectoral which is transparent.
Size/Length: To 13" (33 cm)
Similar species: Striped Pike Characin ( B. lateristriga)
Habitat: South America; lives in slow-moving parts with grassy reeds in the Peruvian Amazon.
Aquarium: 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) is sufficient for fish to 8" (20 cm), although larger tanks are preferred. Adult specimen require a 60" (152 cm) tank with a capacity exceeding 90 gallons (342 L). Use a tight-fitting tank hood, and a thick cover of floating plants. The tank should be heavily planted with small open swimming areas in the mid and lower water levels. This fish like all of the family is very skittish and is easily frightened. The cover of floating plants is needed for the protection of the fish from jumping against the tank lid. The tank should be well-aerated.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.5 (6.8), 2-18 dH (6), 73-81°F (23-27°C)
Social behavior: A predator that can only be combined with other large fish of the lower swimming levels. Keep in pairs or in groups.
Suggested companions: As for B. lateristriga.
FOOD: Live; fish, earthworms, large insects; pellets; large flakes
Breeding techniques: Unknown
Breeding potential: 10. Spawning has not been accomplished in captivity.
Remarks: Hunts at night and during the day. This fish is skittish and timid. If frightened it may swim frantically around the tank, crashing into the glass and throwing itself against the lid, causing injury and even death. Avoid making sudden movement when performing water changes and loud noises. Usually a short-lived fish in captivity.
Difficulty of care: 6. The Spotted Pike is sensitive to water pollutants and requires live foods. It reaches a large size, and is predatory.