Care Level: Advanced
Live Plant Safe: Yes
General Description: The Zebra Plecostomus or Pleco for short, also known as the L046 Pleco, is native to highly oxygenated waters of the Rio Xingu basin in Brazil. This species was banned from exportation by the Brazilian government in 2004 pending the status of wild populations, inherently increasing the price of captive-bred specimens that are only available today. Perhaps one of the most striking catfish, the Zebra pleco appears as its name describes: a body decorated in a pattern of white and dark stripes that resemble our African hooved friends. Contrary to popular belief, the Zebra pleco has little interest in algae or anything of the sort, requiring a diet that is heavily protein based. This pleco will almost entirely ignore all other fish in the aquarium, with the exception of other bottom-dwelling plecos or catfish species that it will act aggressively toward. Only one Zebra pleco should be kept per aquarium, unless the aquarium is very large and ample hiding places are provided. An adult Zebra pleco can reach a size of approximately 3″.
Diet Requirements: Zebra plecostomus are carnivores, with the exception of juveniles that will accept more vegetable based foods. A diet made up of various high quality frozen foods such as bloodworms, mussels, and chopped prawns are ideal in addition to sinking dried foods. Offering blanched pieces of zucchini occasionally can be attempted, but may not be accepted. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 55 gallon aquarium is ideal for a single Zebra pleco. This species is very difficult to care for as it requires exceptionally clean water, rigorous water flow and can thrive at only very tropical temperatures that most other fish do not tolerate (80-86° F). A Zebra pleco should not be introduced into a biologically immature aquarium, as they are sensitive to nitrite and ammonia. Weekly water changes are needed to keep water parameters pristine (Nitrates < 15 ppm). As they obtain size, plecostomus add quite a significant amount of bioload (or biological load, in terms of waste) in your aquarium. Do not become complacent on water changes for this very reason. The aquarium should have a fine to sandy substrate and aquascaped with rocks and driftwood for coverage and places to hide. It is not uncommon for your Zebra plecostomus to spend a lot of its time hanging on driftwood during the daytime or in hiding. Most live plants will not survive in the water conditions a Zebra pleco prefers, but the fish itself will cause no harm. A shy species, tank mates that will outcompete the Zebra pleco in food resources should be avoided. Recommended water conditions, 80-86° F, KH 2-15, pH 6.0-7.5.
Purchase Size: Medium: 2” to 2-1/4”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.