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Retired Staff
Apr 8, 2009
All assigned numbers: L270, L307, LDA76


Common Names: Chocolate zebra pleco, tapajos pleco

Location: Brazil: Pará, Rio Curuá Una


this fish is commonly mistaken (provided no catching locality is given) with h. debiliterra. The main points of body structure are shared by the two (somewhat large head, compact features), although, it's eyes are placed very highly on the top of the fish's head. Also, the caudal peduncle region has a bit more girth in L-270 than the reasonably slender tail of h. debiliterra. An confusing point of interest is that the fish designated with the Das Aquarium label "LDA-76", while listed as a synonym of L-270, may be, in fact, to be a different fish. It bears a similar color scheme, although often bearing a more complex and more frequent vermiculate pattern, but tends to grow larger and has a huge head with its eyes positioned even deeper along the back end and higher than those of L-270. However, they are very morphologically similar, and by an ametuerish standpoint, are not different enough to constitute speciation.**
More info: Identification of Hypancistrus

A fairly peaceful pleco but can be territorial if there is lack of space or insufficient caves/hiding places

Sexing and Breeding:
A fairly 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 such as 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. Once acclimatized, it will often also accept accepts 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:
Temp 26-30c PH 5.5-7.5
The L270 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: 10-12cm.

Bred by:
cup, Irene0100, lealea

Breeding Logs:
See below. For comments and questions, please see original threads- L270 Log
L270 chocolate zebra

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

Some info used from www.piranha-info.com


Retired Staff
May 6, 2009
Berkeley, CA

size: 20 gallon long

substrate: fine pea gravel--in my opinion, to beneficial optimize microbial growth, this is by and far the best tank liner)

decor: driftwood, anubias barteri, java moss

caves: made both from polished marble shingles with spacers attached to slate as a back cover, and standard slate rectangles

filtration: two self repaired filters from garage sales and the like. I couldn't tell you what brand, although both are HOBs and quite large

heating: initially a marineland 150 watt--have since switched to visitherm stealth

maintenance: filters and water simultaneously cleansed once every two weeks

tankmates: several, depending on the circumstance...usually, I'd toss in whatever I have at hand...these have included aspidoras spp., corydoras adolfoi, various pencilfish, assorted danios, inlecypris, etc. I feel it is important to have some sort of small, active bottom strata feeding fish to clean up after rather messy hypancistrus. Young fry work well for this, so once my colony started producing sufficient numbers of fry, I took out the callichthyids.

This tank was taken down and replaced with a simpler setup. This is not to say this particular setup did not work--quite the contrary. I have had more spawns in this particular layout than I did with my current version.

the fish

The tank housed two males, three females. They were fed a variety of things, but their dietary staple was a 50/50 high quality tetramin flake/ hikari carnivore pellet mixture. It is important to have some sort of commercially prepared foodstuff as the mainstay of the diet, as it is easy on the GI tract and provides complete nutrition. Homemade tropheus shrimp mix and blanched frozen broad beans were fed twice a week to provide a steady source of vegetable fiber. Siprulina tablets and vegetable flake were also administered on occasion, as well as commercially available frozen foods (mysis, carnivore mix, bbs, etc.) put through a food processor for easier digestibility for fry.


females in hospital tank


There was little in the way of triggering. They appeared to respond well to several days of large water changes. Eggs were laid two weeks following. Since then, they spawned once every two months or so--sometimes back to back. However, if this happened, I'd strip the male after the fry began to lose their egg sacs. I have experimented with temperature, and have found optimal fry development to occur at 82 F. This may be influenced by water conditions as well. I had a lot of problems with premature hatching leading to mass fry mortality at higher temps--however, this does not appear to be the norm, so I would take this analysis with many pinches of salt. Trapping is long with my pairs--about 3 days, give or take. Fry are fed peas mixed with spirulina and carnivore pellets--I have tried other foods and growth rate does not seem particularly affected. Any sort of mashed, easily digestible foodstuff should be fine.


fanning eggs



UK Support Team
May 14, 2009
Norfolk, UK
Just to add my experience to the other excellent L270 log from Cup.


size: 4ft long x 1 ft x 1 ft

substrate: some gravel and some sand, very thin (less than .5 cm)

decor: driftwood, mopani wood, java fern and moss and a few other plants.
various caves, rocks and bits of slate.

caves: made both porcelain clay, hand made by me and fired in local shop, and some standard slate caves joined with silicon.

filtration: 2 small internal filters with reasonable water movement
- fluval 2 and aquael small one with UV lights built in (I like uv for desease prevention), plus one external eheim echo with netting over intake.

heating: one 200w heater, old stuck thermostat so cant change temp!
but as fish are happy as it is I am not going to change it. It keeps the tank about 27 degrees.
the tank will get hotter sometimes in the summer as the room gets hot for July -aug heat waves,
but never seen it over 30, also struggles to stay at 27 in the winter as the room has no extra heating.

maintenance: filters and water tended to every few days. only one filter ever cleaned at a time, and a couple of buckets of water changed and intake net on eheim checked for blocking.

tankmates: Main mates are 3 adult Ancictrus Claro (marbled BNs -LDA08) who are also breeding plus some of their young and Choc zeb young.
Also a few panda cories and endler guppies.

the fish:
heres dad on the left and mum on the right

heres dad - you can see how hairy he is - and a youngster a couple of months old to the left.

and mum -with less hair


I had had the fish for a few years and no idea even if I had a female
-then sometimes I saw a few broken eggs but I had given up on them working out how to breed -
then one day I spotted a baby in the tank.
the male chose the deepest tank such that when he is inside and fanning you cant really see him at all.

here are some young only a few weeks old and already nibbling algae wafer.

they seem to manage about 10 young on average,
and it was only after severl broods that I had the courage to try and photo young in the cave..

you can see these are about ready to leave the cave and have quite a lot of pattern in them.

they young seem to like a wide range of food, I put in micro worms most days when they are just out as well as flakes,
Brineshrimp pellet, and tetra prima.
I put veggies in for the BNs too and the young like this,
here is some on cucumber
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