Zebra Pleco

I do not fully understand how I have breed these very special catfish
My breeding family of zebras are kept in a tank 55"l x 18"w x 25"h
I think that I have 1 male and 3 females. I also have a breeding pair of guppies to produce food for the zebras and as indicator fish.

Mr Zebby                         Mrs Zebby                       Mistress Zebby

Most of the breeding that has occured with my zebras have been with the pairing of Mr & Mrs Zebby.
I think Mistress has added a few eggs one of the breedings but I am not 100% sure.

Little Miss Zebby

Little Miss Zebby is always ready to breed at the wrong time for my male so she is the odd one out.
The temp is kept in the low 80's degrees F
There is 1 external filter, one internal filter and a power head in the tank ,plus a long air curtain
all of these give the tank a fair amount of turbulence and filtration and oxygen.
ph is 5.5 and a moderate to hard hardness.

They are fed a meat diet with the occasional bit of green food which is ignored
So there diet is mainly frozen blood worms / daphnia , Shrimp pellets , trout pellets (liver) and red flakes. Since I have my tank over filtered I have a habit of overfeeding. This helps to keep all of the plecos in top condition and ready to breed.

They presently breed every 1-2 months.
Most of my breeding have been with only one of the girls but the last time I think one of the smaller girls went in the next day and laid some eggs. This gave me a larger than normal clutch.
The breeding occurs in the males cave in the centre of the tank.
The girls are often seen going for a look in this cave hoping the male may be in but he only goes their when he is ready to breed.
Once the male arrives at his cave he prepares it refusing the girls access until it is clean after his holiday between breeding. After a couple of days the male allows one girl at a time to visit his cave to spawn.
The only way you know they are spawning is that he blocks the front of the cave with his body and that there are two fish in the cave.
Once the eggs are spawned they are bundled into a ball at the end of the cave .The eggs are very large almost twice the size of the ancistrus eggs. They are a clear white colour. Here the male will protect and clean the eggs. He is very good at this he will not leave the cave for any reason.

The eggs hatch after about 10 days .
The male will continue looking after the young.
Normally I remove the young when about 5 days post hatch. I do this to prevent the young escaping into the rest of the tank and to give dad a rest.
Each breeding I have to dismantle the breeding cave to get the young and a very reluctant dad out.
This is done in a small tank that the babies will stay in .
This tank is filtered with a whisper type waterfall filter as the babies also like a lot of flow . In the first week out of the cave I keep the filter flow low then as feeding increases so does the water flow.
At this stage they still have a yolk sac for another  4-5 days.
Once the egg sac has gone I start feeding them Tetramin egg layer baby food 5-6 times daily .
They get at least one water change a day with water from their parents tank the first 2 weeks out of the cave then bi-daily freshwater changes.
As their appetite increases I start to add the foods the adults eat in a fine ground form.

The Zebra babies take a long time to grow presently they take 3 months to get just over 1 inch long.

One of there babies with
others behind it . They are
3 1/2 months old

Shy view of Little Miss Zebby     Master Zebby

Master Zebby was bought on 12-3-99 to become the new mate for little Miss Zebby who is always ready to breed at the wrong time for Mr Zebby.
These two will be set up in a 2ft tank when he has come out of quarintine.
Master Zebby has settled well in his 2ft tank in another week or two I will add Little Miss Zebby to his tank.
I hope they are a good match as I always feel sorry for her being rejected everytime she advanced on Mr Zebbys.

Commonly asked Zebra pleco Questions

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