here has been a lot written
about this wonderful looking fish from the Loricariidae
family in the last couple of years in the aquatic
publications, and on the Internet, owing to the drop
in price of these individuals culminating in the purchase
of more of them, and the subsequent study in the home
L173 looks similar but is a
completely different fish. However, it is not uncommon
for some 173s to go through a developmental stage
where they do look like zebras to the untrained eye.
But if one knows and works with both fish, it is clear
there is a difference between the two. L173 all have
gold rimed eyes whereas zebras never have this and
L173 also gets much bigger than zebra.
I remember my
first contact with this species in the late 80s, early
90s and the stomach churning price of £300 each
in a small outlet in the North of England, that was
over a weeks wages and definitely a road I was not
about to go down if I was planning to stay married!.
The price as I write this factsheet (Feb.2001) is
around the £30 mark now and definitely more
Before it was
described in 1991 by Isbrücker & Nijssen
it was assigned the L- number 46. This trait was started
by the German aquatic publication DATZ
to number each of the Loricariids which were coming
into the country from South America it seemed in droves,
before they were studied and described to science.
Another magazine Das Aquarium also started
the same trend with their number systems beginning
with LDA (example LDA20). It has not been a foolproof
method with mistakes being made along the way but
it is the best as we know it today, and as we are
human, nothing indeed is perfect.
are quite tolerant of water conditions as long as
the water is kept clean and warm and you keep the
water changes up. A good tip when first buying them
is to acclimatise them in a smaller tank before transferring
them to your main aquarium, this way you can make
sure that they are feeding well and are also happy
in the water conditions. You can decorate this tank
with cave like structures akin to the home where it
will eventually reside.
Since December 2004 the export of H. zebra
has been forbidden.
Pleco, L 046
stream of the Volta Grande (Big Bend) of the Xingu.
26-28ºC ( 79-83°f)
The head markings are quite
distinctive, when viewed from above, the forehead
marking resembles that of an inverted capital 'E'.
Behind this there is a broad band that is slightly
posterior of the eyes which narrows below the orbit
and transverses forward at approximately 45 degrees.
Another broad band is situated midway between the
eyes and the base of the dorsal fin. It transverses
each side of the body and extends into the first few
soft rays of the pectoral fin just behind the spine
and almost reaches the outer edges. There may be a
fainter stripe visible running parallel. From this
transverse stripe there are two oblique evenly spaced
stripes that run parallel to these two in the upper
dorsal and four in the anterior half of the body and
caudal fin. There is a further stripe in the ventral
fin like that in the pectoral that runs parallel and
just rear of the spine. Four deeply forked teeth per
side in the lower jaw and seven to eight long, bent
and only at the ends, forked teeth in each side of
the upper jaw.
Ground colour including all
fins and belly is whitish; the body markings are
Care & Compatibility
Keeping the 'Zebra Pleco'
in the aquarium is not too much of a problem as long
as you give them plenty of hiding places, caves, rounded
boulders, plant pots and pipework. They also like
the water to be well oxygenated owing to the higher
temperatures that is best given to them. You could
also add some wood to their tank but according to
some aquarists, who have kept this species, it isn't
Males posses a broader and
longer head and odontodes on the posterior part of the
body, behind the gill covers and on the pectoral fin
spines. The latter two are a lot shorter in the females.
The temperature would probably
need to be between 83°F-85°F (28°C-29°C)
for a successful spawning. To sex them the males usually
have a broader head looking down upon them and sexually
mature males have prominent bristles on their pectoral
fins. To read a breeding report in ScotCat
head along to the breeding section of the ScotCat
articles to find an in-depth report on the breeding
Not a true vegetarian so more
meaty type foods would need to be fed. This includes
live bloodworm, frozen foods such as muscle, tubifex
and bloodworm and the usual tablet food offerings.
hypo = under + Greek, agkistron = hook. zebra:Referring to the stripes.
Study Group (UK)
Information Sheet No.1 Schraml, E;Import News,
1999-2002 CD: E.Schraml, Augsburg. twotankamin: pers comm.