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L046 Hypancistrus zebra
by Doodles 08-16-09

All assigned numbers:

Hypancistrus zebra

Common Names: Zebra pleco, Imperial Zebra pleco, L046, L098

Location Rio Xingu, Brazil

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Appearance: A truly stunning pleco with clean straight black and pure white stripes, L098 variation shows less uniformed stripes and the pattern becomes more broken

Compatibility: Unsuitable for community tanks as H. Zebra will not compete for food, therefore they are best kept in a species only tank, a few small dither fish such as small tetras or guppies may be tolerated as do a few small corydoras if desired.

Sexing and Breeding: Mature males will have fairly noticable odontodal growth on their cheeks and pectoral fins, males also have a slightly wider head than females, the back of the head being the widest part of the male and they taper to a point when seen from above, where females tend to be widest at the point of the ventral fins and have a more "pear" shaped appearence from above.
H.Zebra been successfully bred by many hobbyists, typical cave spawners.

Diet: Although an omnivore, the zebra is predominantly carnivorous, so should be offered plenty of meaty foods such as bloodworm, artemia, tubifex, dry foods such as freeze dried foods, flake and sinking carnivore pellets. Meat products such as prawn or mussel can also be offered occassionally, as should some vegetable matter or vegetable/ algae based wafers

Water parameters Water parameters dont seem to be a huge factor when keeping H. Zebra, so long as the water is clean, stable, well oxygenated and warm. temperatures between 26c and 30c should be maintained for this species, ph anywhere from 6.4 to 7.8 so long as it is stable

Max size Around 3", females tend to be slightly smaller

Bred by: Smithrc, Windy, Darkstar, Jozebs, st24rsap, Irene0100

Breeding Log: See post below, for all comments please use original thread here http://www.plecoplanet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6936

Additional comments

Hypancistrus youngsters may require a more vegetable based diet according to Back to Nature Lnumbers book.

H. Zebra is probably the most famous and sought after of all plecos, due to its attractive appearence and the hype that seems to surround it. Although these are probably the most commonly bred pleco species now, there is still a huge demand for them and prices tend to show this. Most hobbyists that own H. Zebra keep them in a colony and keep them to breed from.
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Old 09-16-10, 02:28 PM
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Irene0100 Irene0100 is offline
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L046 Hypancistrus zebra

Hi, despite only having limited success with my zeb breeding, I thought I would give some details of what I have done in case it is useful to others.


I bought a group of 8 young f1 zebs (about 6 months old) in 2007, of mixed parentage. I also bought 3 more of Scatz a year or so later and his were slightly larger than mine.
I raised them all in one tank, with a few cories etc and over the next year 2 died of unknown causes. towards the end of 2009 i noticed a few or them were scratched from fighting so realised the time had come to break up the group as I had waring males in there. So I moved them around, discovering thet most of them looked like males, and set up 6 in one tank and three in another so that the two largest males were not in the same tank. there was no significant fighting after that. I had no idea if i had any females.

Breeding tank:

The group of 6 are set up in a jewel 90 tank (guess that is 90 Litres) with a mix of different sized slate caves, a homemade clay, wood and a few plants.
the lid with light unit is removed and a sheet of perspex is over the top to help keep heat in. the tank is in a room with lots of daylight.
it is hard to get good photos because of poor light in the tank and reflections off the glass.
here is the tank from left and right.

it has an inbuilt jewel filter and an internal aquel UV filter, and a smart heater 300w.
temp is 30 C.
tds approx 200
ph approx 6.5
for water i sometimes used part treated tap and part RO, or i use RO with added minerals.


the alpha male chose the home made cave (which the hardest to see in as the sides aren't straight) it has a covered area next to it that the female often hides under.
(well I think its the female)

the tank is not really bare bottomed as there is a thin layer of sand.
but as i direct the outflow from the jewel pump down the fron of the tank it blows sand away from the middle.

anyway early this year they finally mated. I was not sure that the fanning was for eggs or just to attract teh female or show territory as he has tricked me on this lots of times. i finally realised he had eggs when he kicked out a group of wrigglers.
I put these in a fry saver, only one matured and he died later at about 5 weeks old.
Then I saw he had the female trapped, and more eggs were laid. he only managed to get two big enough to leave the cave. they were not all infertile but somehow they die -or he kills them , once they start to move about the cave.
Then sometimes i see dead ones kicked out, but I guess there are others I dont notice.
I can tell by his fanning that he is much more agitated once ther young can move a bit.

once the young leave the cave to eat and explore they often visit dad from time to time.

here you can see he has new eggs (look under his right side for pale yellow) and he also has youngster showing his tail on his left!

I have managed to catch a few of the young and move them into another tank with Bn fry
they hide a lot but come out to eat when i put food in.

other notes:

tank mates - some panda cory and sterbai cory

food - mainly tetra prima, brineshrimp pellets, algae wafers, flakes and peas
for the fry I also add micro worms and ZX100 fry food.

I have a couple of short videos too

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