Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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spike0544 07-26-2011 12:42 PM

Urgent Question
I should probably be putting this thread in the catfish section, but I need to get as many opinions as possible in a short period of time. My LFS has five plecos they claim to be Zebra Plecos for only $33. They are the only ones I have ever seen in person but they look just like the pictures. I thought they normally sold for $250-$500. Are there any lookalikes out there that I am unaware of? If these are real I am going to buy all of them, but I don't think they will last long at this price.

Christople 07-26-2011 12:45 PM

i don't know of any look alikes, get the latin name and check in with us to see if its right

Byron 07-26-2011 06:03 PM

It rather depends upon how "look-a-like" they are. There are several species with black and white striping, but the true Hypancistrus zebra is (so far) the most brilliant in the darkness of the black and the whiteness of the white, if that makes sense. The other very-similar species are often less well defined in the clarity of the striping, or the white is more cream, the black very dark gray, etc. And some of them grow larger.

Recently one of my local importers had some "Colombian" Zebra Pleco, which in the photo are remarkably similar. As collection in South America is usually seasonal, finding this fish in Vancouver from someone who imports directly from Colombia likely means it is going to be available in other areas around North America too.

Christople is quite correct, the only sure way to know what it is will be the scientific name. If your LFS is reputable, they will be able to tell you what name the supplier gives it. Some suppliers make errors too, nothing is a guarantee.

Now, having said all that: this species is no longer legally collected in Brazil. The fish is endangered due to over-collection (it only occurs in the Rio Zingu) and has been prohibited for years now. However, it is not difficult to breed, and many aquarists have been successful. Any fish you do find in stores will almost certainly be tank-raised. However, they still command a high price, usually; but it could be that your store acquired these from a local breeder.


spike0544 07-26-2011 06:51 PM

I went back to the LFS and upon further inspection, I don't think they are zebra plecos. The black lines are wavy rather than straight and the white has more of a cream color. I picked one up though just because I have never seen anything like it.

SeaHorse 07-26-2011 06:59 PM

We would love to see a picture of it! (Well I sure would!)
Very interesting thread. Have never seen one in person either!

Christople 07-26-2011 07:06 PM

Latin name? if you didn't get it check the reciept

Romad 07-26-2011 08:32 PM

We need a picture!! It sounds like a great looking fish even if it isn't the true zebra.

Calmwaters 07-27-2011 09:41 PM

I agree a picture would be nice.

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