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Hypancistrus inspector - Snowball PlecoMagyarul / Hungarian
Hypancistrus inspector - Snowball PlecoHypancistrus inspector - Snowball PlecoHypancistrus inspector - Snowball Pleco
  • Scientific name: Hypancistrus inspector
  • Synonyms: L-102 catfish
  • Common name: Snowball Pleco
  • Group: Catfishes
  • Habitat: South America; Venezuela
  • Size: 12,5-16 cm
  • Biotope: Inhabits in shallow, fast flowing waters, among the rocky substrate.
  • Social behavior: A generally peaceful catfish. Can be kept in a biotope setup with characins with similar conditions. Each male should have his own hiding cave.
  • Diet: Omnivorous; they prefer a meaty diet: live and frozen foods such as bloodworm or prawn, occasionally some vegetable matter such as cucumber. However juveniles require algae and other green foods such as courgette.
  • Breeding: Hard
  • Tank: Minimum 70 litres
  • Population: 5-6 fish for 120 litres
  • Decoration: Use gravel or sand substrate with some larger rocks. They require well-oxygenated water with a current to mimic their natural habitat. Lots of hiding places from rocks or driftwoods.
  • Temperature: 22-30 °C
  • pH: 5,4-7,6
  • Hardness: 1-15 NK°
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years

Description: The base color of the Snowball Pleco can vary from brown to black with white spots all over the body. These spots can differ in size, distribution and color on each fish. There is a black ribbon along the margin of its caudal and dorsal fins. Also there is a prominent dichotomy between body spot size in the head and the flank regions: in the head being far smaller and usually more dense. There are other similar looking catfish, such as Baryancistrus sp. LDA33. The best way to distinguish them is Hypancistrus have 2 rows of very small teeth in the lower jaw, which is unique to the genus. The latin name „inspector” is derived from the large eyes of the fish. When buying this kind of catfish, always check the fish has a rounded belly and that its eyes are not sunken, as these are classic signs of emaciation in newly imported specimens. To get a breeding pair, it is best to buy a group of 5-6 fish and grow them on together.

Mature males have broader and longer head, has a lot more reddish tones in their colors, and develop odontotes on the pectoral fin rays, while the females have almost none of these odontotes and are a lot fuller and rounder in body shape. Breeding of Snowball Pleco is not common, but can be bred in aquarium. It's best to set up a separate spawning tank with plenty of caves and hiding places from rock piles, bogwood or ceramic pipes. The most important, is that the entrances of these caves must be only slightly larger than the fish. Substrate is not necessary in the breeding tank. Provide well-oxygenated, slightly acid (6.0-6.5 pH) water with a temperature of 24-27 °C. The males will choose caves and defend them vigorously against other males, while trying to entice females inside. The male spend several days inside the cave with a female before the eggs are laid and fertilised. After spawning the male defends the cave and fans the eggs with his fins. The eggs hatch after a few days, and the fry will need heavy feedings of vegetables and algae wafers. The fry can be left in the spawning tank as the adults will not harm them. The spawning can be initiated with a large (50%) water change with cool and soft water, simulating the rainy season in their natural habitat. This can be repeated in 2 or 3 days.

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