I ordered 10 "spotted gar" babies (5-6 cm) from a Czech company and I will (hopefully) get them in a few days. I really want them to be true spotted considering their greater hardiness to cold, since I would like to let them in a pond over winter or, at least, fish them out when ice cover starts and hibernate them at 3-7*C. Of course, not from the first year, but they will definitely will go out in next May and harden up during the outdoor season.
I read somewhere about Florida gars sights in... Ontario- they were presented as aquarium releases and as one of the many dangers to the native spotted due to hybridisation. I cannot contest the expert's opinions, but... even hardier than what Florida usually throws on them, with its -15*C events from time to time happening in the north... could the FL gars take such harsh winters, as a regular spotted??
I ask that because It's very probable that my (hypothethical) fish to be FL gar instead of spotted. How hardy do you think FL gars could be? How long under ice cover? Bucharest climate is somehow similar to Cleveland, OH, just drier.
Another question: if they would be true spotted, is there a great hardiness difference between, let's say, a western FL strain compared to an Illinois strain, that would say "not possible outdoor in your climate"? I speculate that the most probable initial source would be fish originating from the Gulf area, not inland.
Probably the fish are bred in Asia, as a big German company said about their Alligator Gars they once sold. No wonder if the same for the "oculatus" sold by the Czechs...
Please chime in with any information on hardiness, I'm totally new to gars and first hand, American experience is priceless for me!