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Hypancistrus sp.

L004, L005, L028, L073, Angelicus Pleco


Hypancistrus: from the Greek ὑπό (hypó), meaning ‘below, beneath, under’, and the generic name Ancistrus, in reference to the reduced dentition compared with the latter.


Order: Siluriformes Family: Loricariidae


Native to tributaries of the lower Amazon near its mouth in Pará state, northern Brazil.

The various L-numbers assigned to this species represent distinct populations with L004 (juvenile) and L005 (adult) collected from the rio Tocantins near Cametá, L028 from the rio Guamá at Ourém, and L073 from the rio do Pará in Portel municipality.

Maximum Standard Length

90 – 100 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

An aquarium with base dimensions of 120 ∗ 30 cm or equivalent should be the smallest considered.


Not difficult to maintain under the correct conditions; we strongly recommend keeping it in a tank designed to simulate a flowing stream with a substrate of variably-sized rocks, sand, fine gravel, and some water-worn boulders.

This can be further furnished with driftwood branches, terracotta pipes, plant pots, etc., arranged to form a network of nooks, crannies, and shaded spots, thus providing broken lines of sight.

Like many fishes that naturally inhabit running water it’s intolerant to accumulation of organic pollutants and requires spotless water in order to thrive, therefore weekly water changes of 30-50% tank volume should be considered routine.

Though torrent-like conditions are unnecessary it does best if there is a high proportion of dissolved oxygen and some water movement in the tank meaning power filter(s), additional powerhead(s), or airstone(s) should be employed as necessary.

Water Conditions

Temperature26 – 30 °C

pH5.5 – 7.5

Hardness18 – 357 ppm


Wild specimens are likely omnivorous but with a preference for aquatic invertebrates and suchlike.

In the aquarium it does best when offered a varied diet comprising sinking dried foods, frozen Daphnia, mosquito larvae, chironomid larvae (bloodworm), and prawn/shrimp, for, example, while juveniles will also accept some fresh fruit, parboiled potato, etc.

Home-made foods using a mixture of natural ingredients bound with gelatin are very useful since they can be tailored to contain fresh vegetables, Spirulina or similar plus meatier ingredients.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

A peaceful species which can be maintained in a well-chosen community but is territorial towards conspecifics and other similarly-shaped fishes.

It should not be maintained alongside other Hypancistrus spp. in order to prevent hybridisation.

Sexual Dimorphism

Adult males possess a broader head plus more extensive odontodes on the leading pectoral-fin rays and interopercular region than females.

Males are also more slender than females, a difference which is easily observed when the fish are viewed from above.


Cave-spawner with the male responsible for brood care and has been bred in aquaria on numerous occasions.

NotesTop ↑

This unidentified species is sometimes traded under the false name ‘Peckoltia angelicus’.

The genus Hypancistrus is diagnosed from all other loricariids by a wide separation between the metapterygoid and lateral ethmoid, presence of a sharply angled adductor palatini crest of the hyomandibula, and no lateral wall in the metapterygoid channel.

More useful for aquarists is the fact that in Hypancistrus the dentary teeth are about twice as long as the premaxillary teeth (vs. dentary and premaxillary teeth of approximately equal length).

The genus is otherwise remarkable for the fact that the majority of species have not yet been described to science although many are well known in the aquarium hobby.  As of January 2016, there are eight described species in the genus: the type species H. zebra Isbrücker and Nijssen 1991, H. inspector Armbruster 2002, H. contradens Armbruster et al. 2007, H.debiliterra Armbruster et al. 2007, H. furunculus Armbruster et al. 2007, H. lunaorum Armbruster et al. 2007, H. margaritatus Tan & Armbruster 2016 and H. phantasma Tan & Armbruster 2016.


  1. Armbruster, J. W., 2002 - Copeia 2002(1): 86-92
    Hypancistrus inspector: a new species of suckermouth armored catfish (Loricariidae: Ancistrinae).
  2. Armbruster, J. W., N. K. Lujan and D. C. Taphorn, 2007 - Copeia 2007(1): 62-79
    Four new Hypancistrus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from Amazonas, Venezuela.
  3. Stawikowski, R., A. Werner and I. Seidel, 2004 - DATZ: 1-132
    DATZ Special: L-Numbers.
  4. Tan, M. and J. Armbruster, 2016 - ZooKeys 552: 123-135
    Two new species of spotted Hypancistrus from the Rio Negro drainage (Loricariidae, Hypostominae)
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