Zebra Pleco fish guide

Sometimes it can be really difficult to choose the right species of fish for your tank. In this article we will discuss one of the fish species, which is Zebra Pleco. If you are looking for some information about Zebra Pleco then you are in the right place. We are going to discuss catfish Zebra Pleco, which is also known as The Zebra Plecostomus and its scientific name is Hypancistrus zebra. So continue reading for all the facts.

zebra pleco

General Information

This catfish is found in river Xingu in Brazil. These species are a little bit hard to get hold of but still you can find some for your tank. Zebra Pleco has a long body and as it name hints it is colored like a zebra with black and white stripes. It has 4 whiskers around the mouth and has a little bit large eyes. These are a small fish species which grow up to a size of 10 cm. Zebra Pleco has a lifespan of 15 years, if you would take a good care.

Tank requirements for Zebra Pleco

For these fish you need to have at least a tank of 20 gallon but larger tanks are preferred as well. For the aquarium substrate you should get some good sand or gravel. Also the tank should have many hiding spots. You should always change the water to keep it fresh and full of oxygen. The pH level in the tank for Zebra Pleco should be around 6,5-7,5.

Feeding of Zebra Pleco

To be healthy Zebra Pleco should eat protein rich food. If you are looking for an algae eater fish than these are not the fish you are looking for as Zebra Pleco do not eat algae. Also when you first get Zebra Pleco you should pay attention to their food intake as they are shy and will avoid eating food. So you should take care of that. These fish are omnivores. You can feed them with frozen and live food such as, blood worms and brine shrimp. Though it is better to feed them with live food. As for vegetables you can feed them with crushed peas with the skin removed zucchini. Although they are not much algae eaters you can give them algae wafers as well. It is recommended to feed Zebra Pleco about 2-3 times per day.

Breeding of Zebra Pleco

It is a little bit hard to differentiate male Zebra Pleco from a female one. The only way to distinguish them is because the males Zebra Pleco have a bigger head than the female one. During the breeding female Zebra Pleco bears eggs in its belly. Usually these species breed during rain season this can be form July to September when in nature. But if kept in aquarium they can breed any time. When breeding the fish should have many hiding places in the tank. And you should often change the tank water. For better breeding the temperature in the tank should be 28C degrees and you should use good air pumps to increase oxygen level in the tank.

Zebra Pleco lay around 15 eggs in a cave like are and the male watch and fry the eggs. In 3-7 days the eggs start to hatch.


You should keep them in groups of at least one male and several females. And the environment should be like in river Xingu. They can be kept with other species as well as they are not aggressive at all. But if they will be kept with only the same species as they are they will start to have some territorial and aggressive issues.

Diseases that Zebra Pleco can have

These are pretty healthy fish species, but sometimes they might get bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections. In order to keep your fish healthy you should do anti-bacterial treatments. Also to keep the fish in good health you need to change 20% of the water every few weeks. From time to time the infections may happen because of warts. In this case warts should be removed during a surgery. So, in general these fish do not have any health issues, but you need to pay attention to their behavior. And remember to give them all kinds of medications if needed.

Zebra pleco guide

Buying Zebra Pleco

Zebra Pleco are relatively an expensive fish species. And it can be a little difficult to buy them as they are not always present in all the stores. But still it is possible to get them from fish stores and in online shops as well. It might take some time to find these fish but it is completely possible. When buying these species of fish be careful to choose healthy ones. As they are rare to find, sometimes in shops there can be some not active and bad tempered fish.

Overall specifications of Zebra Pleco

Its scientific name: Hypancistrus Zebra

Often known as:  Zebra Pleco, Imperial Pleco, L46, L48

Lifespan: 10 – 15 years or longer

Size: 3 – 4 inches

Feeding: Omnivorous, will take a variety of foods, but prefer frozen/live foods. Supplement their diet with zucchini slices and similar veggies.

Behavior: Can be aggressive if kept only with their own species, but are usually peaceful with other species.

Care Level: easy to medium

pH level should be: 6.5 – 7.0

Water Temperature: 78 – 86 °F (26 – 30 °C)

Tank Size: A minimum of 20 gallon aquarium

Habitat: South America: Xingu River basin

Tank Mates: Needs peaceful tank mates.

Breeding / Mating / Reproduction: Lays eggs

So, Zebra Pleco can be a unique and a beautiful addition to all aquariums. Even though they might be a little expensive than some other aquarium fish, but they are definitely worth all the money. You need to take care of them during breeding and be careful to keep the right conditions in the tanks so they will not get any infections. And remember to do the right treatments. Hopefully this article was informative enough about aquarium fish Zebra Pleco.

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