Max Size: 10cm

Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra)

Zebra Plecos are rarely available, so they carry a high price tag. However, their stunning colours and patterning make these fish worth it. Zebra Plecos are peaceful, shy, and nocturnal fish that require warm temperatures, high oxygen levels, fast-flowing currents and pristine water. Therefore these Plecos are not ideal for the beginner aquarist and are not recommended for the general community aquarium. It would be better to keep these Plecos either on their own or in pairs; however, some people have managed to keep these fish in an aquarium with other temperate species.

If you decide to keep these Plecos with tankmates, you must make sure there are plenty of hiding places and visual barriers, and it would be best to choose species that appreciate similar conditions and don’t feed on the bottom. Possible tankmates could include Tetras, Micro Rasboras, and some Dwarf Barbs. You could also consider smaller Catfish such as Otocinclus and Neocaridina Shrimp. However, it would help to avoid similar-looking species as they can become territorial as well as more boisterous species as they will outcompete them for food.

Zebra Plecos will flourish in a biotope setup mimicking their natural environment. Sandy substrate scattered with smooth pebbles and differently sized rocks would be ideal. You can also add a few driftwood branches as these fish enjoy places to shelter. It would be best to add a powerhead or two at one end of the aquarium to provide oxygenation and water movement. You can have plants in the aquarium; however, they will need to be hardy plants such as Anubias or Java Fern, as other plants will not do well in these water conditions.

Zebra Plecos have a black and white lateral striped pattern which is how they got their name. Their stripes really pop and shine with ideal lighting, bringing vibrance to your community aquarium. Besides their stunning patterning, the Zebra Pleco has a large, bulging eye and a triangular dorsal fin, which can be laid down when necessary. On the sides of their bodies, they also have two sets of pectoral fins and a set of rayed fins, which are pretty significant.

Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra) Video

Zebra Pleco Hypancistrus Zebra (Freshwater Plecostomus Aquarium Fish Profile & Care Guide)


Zebra Pleco - L046
Zebra Pleco - L046
Zebra Pleco - L046
Zebra Pleco - L046
Zebra Pleco - L046
Zebra Pleco - L046
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHypancistrus zebra
Year Described1991
Other NamesL046 Pleco, L098 Pleco, L046 Pleco, L173 Pleco
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespanup to 15 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH6 - 12
TDS100 - 300
78 - 86℉
25.6 - 30℃

Natural Habitat

Xingu River


In the home aquarium, the Zebra Pleco will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Tank Mates

1 interesting tank mate ideas for the Zebra Pleco could include:

Coral Red Pencilfish(Nannostomus mortenthaleri)

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be quite challenging to differentiate between male and female Zebra Plecos as they look very similar; however, mature males are usually bigger, have larger heads and have a straight line from the base of the pectoral fin spine to the caudal peduncle. In contrast, females are smaller, have slimmer heads and have a convex, curved outline from the bottom of their pectoral fin spine to their caudal peduncle.

Other Plecostomus of interest

Bristlenose Pleco(Ancistrus Cirrhosus)
Butterfly Plecostomus L168(Dekeyseria Brachyura)
Flash Plecostomus(Panaqolus albivermis)
Galaxy Plecostomus L029(Leporacanthicus galaxias)
Gold Nugget Plecostomus(Baryancistrus xanthellus)
Gold Stripe Tiger Panaque(Panaqolus sp)
View all Plecostomus
Date Added: 15/06/2020 - Updated: 06/09/2022 14:57:49