Mature males have thicker first pectoral ray, more pronounced odontodes on the first pectoral fin ray and odontodes on the rear of the body, and typically a wider head. Mature females are wider around the middle of the body, and much less noticeable body and fin odontodes.
Unlike the popular opinion of many other loricariids, Hypancistrus are more carnivores than algae eaters. This is backed up by a small and lightly toothed mouth that indicates they are poor algae scrapers. Provide small and frequent supply of mainly meaty foods such as dry discus food, bloodworm and even brineshrimp with the infrequent offering of flake or algae tablets.