- Posts: 14848
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- Location 1: M8
- Location 2: Scotland
- Interests: All things aquatic, Sci-Fi, photography and travel. Oh, and beer.
In 1997 I wrote, "If the Internet has adopted a catfish, then it is Hypancistrus zebra". It's ups and downs have been tracked online now for several decades partially fuelled by my personal fascination with this fish and it's unravelling mysteries. This culminated with the trip to the Rio Xingu in 2015.
In 1998 I translated the text of a lecture given by German aquarist Ingo Seidel (he needs no introduction, but should have one, being the father of much of this) into English and, as internet adoption and connectivity grew exponentially, so did the understanding, certainly in the English speaking world, of how to bred plecos - this led to a new fishkeeping tribe, the l-number keepers and breeders. Key to this were many of the concepts introduced in the lecture married with excellent photography and, at as it's crowning glory, the seminal picture of an adult male Hypancistrus resting next to a single captive-bred offspring. Ingo's message of "just try it" was an inspiration, and species after species or pleco has been bred in captivity with no end in sight.
PlanetCatfish was launched in 1996, with the ability to create an account and interact with others since 2002. As of October 2020, PlanetCatfish.com has 18,441 members who have created over 308,000 posts. Zebrapleco.com, started in 2004, has 3252 users with 40,566 posts all on the subject of this singular species. The site is less frequently added to, but visitors reading data remains fairly constant. Both share a database recording the number of keepers and breeders of this species. All this data is available from the species hub page at https://www.planetcatfish.com/hypancistrus_zebra. There are 50 breeding reports by members and a couple of feature-length articles on the species. At present there are 542 registered keepers of the species (if they don't check in every year, they are removed) and it is commonly reported for sale (because you can't reliably tell, we don't record W/C versus captive-bred) and added to members "wish lists".
It is the most wished for species and has been consistently in this position since records began (2016). On a side note, all 10 most wishes for species are plecos with one exception, the undescribed Corydoras sp. CW111. After the Common Ancistrus, Corydoras aeneus, C. sterbai, P. compta and C.
paleatus it is the most commonly recorded as kept species in the PlanetCatfish community (alluding more to it's status than it's
availability) but it's the third most documented captive reproduction (after the common Ancistrus and C. aeneus). Rather than being the pinnacle of pleco breeding, it appears to be a gateway to those specialists that go on from this species to the captive breeding and distribution of many more, primarily ancistrini, plecos. This data should be viewed as representing those with an interest in aquarium catfishes, more general aquarists possibly with less experience would not be represented by these numbers - what we are seeing here are the longer-term catfish or pleco enthusiasts.
- Posts: 4266
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- Location 1: Tysons
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Oddly, I have never kept this fish.
Winston Churchill, My African Journey
- Posts: 418
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- Location 1: South Africa
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- Interests: Pleco Catfish
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- Interests: Fish and Poker
However, I did not become a serious keeper until, through the good will and help of Barbie, I purchased a proven breeding group of 13 zebras plus 5 fry. One of these kids turned out to be one of the few snub nosed zebras I have seen. I got very lucky with this group and they began to spawn within about 10 days. I began selling the offspring in early 2007.
These zebras soon paid me back for what they cost, then they paid me back for every cent I had put into the hobby since day one. Next they financed my acquisition (on whole or in part) of L173b, L450, L236 (two groups), L173 (two groups) and the final group I will ever add, super white L236. I will admit that some of these also helped to pay for the next group. My plecos pretty much pay all my hobby costs.
Over the years as I lost a few zebras and I replaced them and then added some. My original group plus the replacements/additions is now 18 fish and still spawns now and then. Last spring I decided, for old time sake, to get a new group. I now have another 25 zebras purchased at 2 inches, growing out to spawn. I had planned to let 10 of them go, but somehow that never happened. To this day they are still my second favorite fish. (My clown loaches are still my favorite.)
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”" Daniel Patrick Moynihan
"The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it." Neil DeGrasse Tyson