The South American catfish Hpancistrus zebra
or Zebra Pleco is a dwarf species of catfish which can reach 4 inches in length. This is a beautifully colored fish and is easily identifiably by its zebra pattern. These fish are not cheap but well worth the expense.
They have a life span of up to 15 years and are omnivorous feeders. Indigenous to the Rio Xingu of Brazil, this species enjoys warm water which is well oxygenated which includes a sandy substrate with rocks to create caves and crevices. Driftwood is a nice addition to the tank as well. Imperial plecos are very peaceful and will benefit from a community tank environment with the right mix of fish like Apistogrammas
, nothing aggressive.
L046 or L-46 has been breed in the aquarium and so available fry will either be from captive bred hobbyists or imported from the wild. Spawning has been recorded as not too difficult to achieve and their requirements are very reasonable compared to other fish from South America which are exacting constraints.
H.zebra has not been evaluated by IUCN Red List
; however, they may be threatened relative to the construction of the Belo Monte Dam in the Xingu River
. This could cause a significant reduction of the water flow for the entire known distribution range for this species. This will also drive the prices of these fish up not to mention disturb natives and the ecosystem.
Overall all this is an awesome catfish
, the coloration is gorgeous, they’re not large and can be kept in tanks as small as 20 gallons and with a little work you can encourage them to spawn.
List of Common Names
- Zebra Pleco
- Imperial Pleco
Scientific Name(s): Hypancistrus zebra
Common Name(s): Zebra Pleco, L46, l-046, Zebra Plecostomus, Imperial pleco
Species Type: Plecostomus
Maximum Size: 3.5 - 4 inches
Life Span: 15 years
Natural Habitat: tributaries of Rio Xingu Brazil
Minimum Tank Size: 20-30 gallons
Temperature Range: 79°F - 86°F
Tank Region: Bottom
Possible Tank Mates: Any community fish not aggressive
Water chemistry: between soft and hard, pH 6.5-7.4
Feeding: Omnivorous, meaty foods, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, crushed peas, small invertebrates, Tetra Prima, prawn (Hypancistrus zebra is not a herbivore)
Sexing: The first ray of the pectoral fin is thicker in males and they display tiny spines or odontodes which are visible below the gill plate or operculum. Mature males have larger heads and longer interopercular spines than females.
Breeding: Maintain higher temperature range. Spawning occurs in small caves. Afterward fertilization males guard the eggs. Recommended to hatch eggs artificially, newly hatched fry may be eaten by parents. Fry are free swimming after 7 days and absorb yolk sacs over two weeks. Fry will take newly hatched brine shrimp. Partial water changes and good oxygenation are required.