Max Size: up to 10 cm

Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra)

The zebra pleco is a beautiful and unusual species of catfish. It gets the name from its black and white diagonal stripes, as it resembles the colour of a zebra.

This species is quite demanding when it comes to tank conditions so are not recommended for beginner aquarists.

Zebra Plecos are not aggressive and have a peaceful temperament; they are shy, nocturnal fish and can live happily in a community tank with other peaceful species.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameHypancistrus zebra
Other NamesImperial pleco
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespanup to 15 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature78 - 86 ℉ (25.6 - 30 ℃)
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH6 - 12
TDS100 - 300
Zebra Pleco
Zebra Pleco
Zebra Pleco - L046
L046 Zebra Pleco


The zebra pleco is a species of catfish from brazil where it lives in the big area of the fast-flowing Xingu River of the Amazon.

Their natural environment consists of small rounded rocks, pebbles, smooth gravel and sandy substrate with cracks, caves and tunnels on the river bottom so your aquarium will need to mimic this.

Other Plecostomus of interest

Bristlenose Pleco(Ancistrus Cirrhosus)
Gold Nugget Plecostomus(Baryancistrus xanthellus)
Golden Bristlenose Plecostomus(Ancistrus sp)
Green Phantom Plecostomus(Hemiancistrus Subviridis)
Leopard Sailfin Plecostomus(Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps)
Queen Arabesque Plecostomus L260(Hypancistrus sp)
View All Plecostomus

Diet & Feeding

Zebra Plecos are not fussy and will accept a wide range of foods from frozen and live foods like bloodworm and brine shrimp to dry food like pellets, flakes and algae wafers.

Some varieties of pleco require driftwood to grate on, and they will need vegetables for their protein.

Bear in mind this species is nocturnal so best to feed them when the aquarium light is turned off.

Sexual Dimorphism

Male and female Zebra plecos are very similar, which can confuse people.

Females tend to have more curved pectoral fins with fewer spines and are smaller in size with a more rounded body whereas the males are more streamline and have a larger and broader head, and their fins and gill covers are more pronounced.


The Zebra pleco becomes reproductive from the age of 2-4 years old, and proper shelters are a crucial part of the breeding process.

The male will entice the female into his cave and then trap her sometimes biting the female to retain her in the cave; this is a natural behaviour.

She will then lay her eggs for the male to fertilise; she usually lays up to 15 eggs. Once this is done the female will then leave the male, and he will guard the eggs until they hatch 3 - 7 days later.

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Date Added: 15/06/2020 - Updated: 16/06/2021 11:21:08