Zebra Pleco – L46 Hypancistrus zebra

Zebra Pleco - L46 Hypancistrus zebra

  • pH: 6-7.5
  • gH: 2-12 dGh
  • Temperature: 26-30C
  • Maximum Size: 8cm
  • Minimum Tank Size: 60 litres, 60x30x30cm

The zebra pleco inhabits fast flowing, highly oxygenated waters in the Rio Xingu, Brazil. Along with several other species unique to this area, its natural habitat is under threat from dam-building projects.


This is a peaceful species other than aggression between males in too small a tank in the breeding season. Tankmates must be able to cope with the high temperature, high flow and lack of plants that entails. Hypancistrus zebra does not compete well for food so, with those points in mind, they are best kept in a species’ tank . Some peaceful species that aren’t aggressive feeders and live in the mid to upper levels of the aquarium can be accommodated with them if tankmates are desired. Hypancistrus zebra shouldn’t be mixed with others of its genus due to the potential for hybridisation.

Housing and Feeding

Provide a sandy substrate, smooth rocks, and pebbles, bogwood and caves in a tank with a high level of flow and/or additional oxygenation. Large weekly water changes are recommended as this fish does not tolerate nitrates well.

The zebra pleco is more carnivore than omnivore as most of its diet should be meaty foods such as bloodworm, brine shrimps, lobster eggs and so on, with a sinking carnivore tablet or granular food as a staple. Young juveniles will take some vegetable matter such as courgette.


L046 breeds in the same manner as other Hypancistrus species’, with the male choosing a cave and encouraging a female to enter. He will follow here in and keep her trapped while they spawn for anything up to 2-3 days. When spawning is complete, he will allow the female to leave the cave and then will take care of the eggs, fanning them with his pectoral and anal fins to keep them clean and oxygenated and removing any infertile eggs that could cause problems with fungus. The male will remain in the cave until the young have used up their very substantial yolk sacs and are free-swimming and ready to start feeding.





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