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L129 Hypancistrus debilittera
by Doodles 08-17-09

All assigned numbers: L129

Name: Hypancistrus debilittera

Common Names: L129, chocolate zebra pleco, Colombian Zebra Pleco

Location: South America: Rio Bito, tributary of the Rio Orinoco, upstream of Puerto Careņo, Colombia

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Together with h. furunculus and L-270, this fish makes a up a group of similar looking animals that one might easily mistaken for one another. Most strikingly similar are debiliterra and L-270. A rather yellowish-hued fish, the former is a medium sized hypancistrus with a generic body structure. It has a larger head and stouter body compared to the king tiger hypancistrus, but otherwise very similar body proportions to L-270. 270 often has thicker lines in it's body patterning, but morphologically, the main differences between the two are eye size and location (the larger eyes of debiliterra are found facing somewhat more anteriorly on the face), and the length of the caudal fin (more classically elongated in debiliterra).**
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More info: Identification of Hypancistrus

When cramped for space and without enough hiding places, hostilities can break out, resulting in - sometimes severe - injuries. Despite that, the L129 is best kept in a small group, as it will show more natural behaviour and is more comfortable in when accompanied by a number of others of its own kind.

Sexing and Breeding:
Because of its small maximum size, a relatively small tank is sufficient for a (breeding) group: a tank width a surface area of 80x40cm. (32x16") is enough to house a (breeding) group of 5-6 individuals: the division of sexes is ideal with one male for every 2-3 females. To get these fish to breed, you need a heavily oxygenated tank with a number of spawning caves, a powerhead that runs water along the cave entrances, and a temperature that is raised to 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit (28-30 degrees Celsius).

An Omnivore that leans towards a meatier diet, sothe main diet should consist of meaty foods: frozen foods (tubifex, mosquito larvae, blood worms, artemia), dry foods (freeze-dried foods, flakes, granules), carnivore sinking pellets, and occasionally some small pieces of shrimp, mussels or fish fillet are usually readily accepted. Once acclimatized, it will often also accept vegetable matter such as algae/spirulina disks and fresh vegetables (lettuce, zucchini/courgette, eggplant/aubergine, capsicum, carrot, peas, preboiled spinach).
This species usually does not eat algae (it lacks suitable teeth for that task), so it's not a suitable fish to keep your tank free of algae.

Water parameters:
22-30c PH 5.5-7.5
This small catfish-species prefers a dimly lit tank with a good number of hiding places, either created with plants, drift wood, rocks or artificial (pleco spawning) caves. To keep more than one specimen in the same tank, or together with other bottom dwelling fish, you need at least a 40x16" (100x40cm.) tank: this fish can be quite territorial, and when suitable hiding places are lacking, it can be aggressive towards other bottom dwellers. When kept as only catfish in an aquarium, a tank size of 32x14" (80x35cm.) is sufficient, but it is recommended to keep this species in a group in a species tank.
The Pleco does best in warm, soft, slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.0-7,0), oxygen-rich water and a lot of currents. A powerful filter system is recommended, as this fish produces a lot of waste.

Max Size:
10-11cm. (3.9 - 4.3")

Bred by:
cup, Jozebs, thegeeman

Breeding Log:
See post below. For questions and comments please use original thread hereL129 Log

Additional Comments:

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

** Thank you to cup for permission to use the profile information from the Identification of Hypancistrus article

This species, scientifically described by J.W. Armbruster, N.K. Lujan and D.C. Taphorn in early 2007, shows many similarities with other small Hypancistrus-species found elsewhere in tropical South America, and are often mixed up.
Profile information used with permission from www.piranha-Info.com

Last edited by bigbird; 05-29-11 at 02:52 PM. Reason: size amendment
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Old 08-19-09, 07:21 PM
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size: 20 gallon tall

substrate: a mix of co**** inert sand and pea gravel. I was playing around with different substrate types--some of the other tenets preferred sand

decor: driftwood, rocks, a lot of java moss, frogbit (initially melted in the warmer water--82F, and clogged all the filters with their debris)

caves: square slate caves tapered in the back. Removable tops.

filtration: two fluval 2s.

heating: stealth 150

maintenance: filters and water simultaneously cleansed once every week

tankmates: Ameca splendens, nanobagrus sp., pangio myersii and javanicus. LG6. Akysis sp. for a short while.

These fish are no longer with me, although the tank is now home to a pair of L-309s and several LDA08 and many, many livebearers.

the fish

The tank housed two males, two females. As this tank was housed in a cramped collegial apartment, diet was comprised mostly of dry foods. Hikari brand carnivore pellets and algae wafers were staples, and a tilapia/banana/broad bean mixture was frequently fed as well. Bloodworms were given infrequently, as the frozen stuff is a little too chitiney for my preferences. Blackworms would've been nice, but I never had access to the stuff. I was somewhat unhappy with the moss, as it seemed to collect a lot of debris, but I never did remove it. The fry did browse on it from time to time, I suppose due to the microfauna found there. There was surprisingly little aggression amongst the group. The females were very shy. I had a lot of trouble acclimating them, probably since they were from some aquarist in NY who no doubt had a totally different setup.


Spawning was unintentional. The water here is far softer and less loaded in TDS's than the water back home. Feed and breed. Current was not provided to any large degree. All water changes performed were with very cold tap water, so perhaps that might've spurned them forward. It should be noted that they were very reluctant to breed at first. If I walked by the tank, the female, who was previously trapped, would be out within minutes. Same thing would happen when I fed. So for the first two spawns, I stopped feeding until the male was fanning. Like all hypan fry, raising them was as easy as dropping a half a carni tab every night.



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