The beginning of the journey, Hypancistrus..

June FOTM Photo Contest Starts Now!
FishForums.net Fish of the Month
🏆 Click to enter! 🏆

Ceez

Fish Crazy
Joined
Nov 20, 2023
Messages
224
Reaction score
256
Location
California
Well it's time

Think most of us are here gathered together in one way or another because we all have a peaked curiosity about fish. Some of us started our journeys at and tender young age and others found tropical fish interest later on down the road. My start came at 8 years old. My Dad had a planted tank with wild discus in his room that I rarely caught a glimpse of from time to time in the early 80's. His bedroom was invite only when I was growing up and quite honestly because I wasn't allowed to just waltz in whenever I wanted those fish called to me all the more.

Feeding time was great theater and I always asked if I could watch. My eyes were glued to that tank and my focus was so intense that I couldn't even hear his voice when he would speak to me during those times. The colors were so vivid, movements were graceful and full of purpose. I had to have my own. As a child I knew nothing of cycling a tank or the inherent responsibilities of the upkeep. All I knew was how cool, how beautiful and awesome those fish were in that glass box.

My first tank was 20 gallons. Pops scooped me up from school one day as an unaware and whisked me off to the pet store. When we arrived I had no clue the day was about me, I figured we were there to pick up some supplies for his tank or possibly another discus or 3. I was lost in my own world, thinking about which fish I would love to keep in my very own glass box while he was taking care of his business. So oblivious I didn't even see him grabbing everything needed for a new tank.

We got back to the house and he told me to bring the bags of fishy stuff into the house still oblivious. My bed had a headboard with shelf on it and cupboards. My father walked in with that 20 gallon and set it right smack in the middle of the shelf above my bed, I was over the moon!

Over the next 2 months he schooled me on exactly what we needed to do to get the tank set up and ready to keep fish. I don't know how many times in that 2 month period I asked him if we could go and get some fish to put in my tank and was shot down with zero remorse. "It's not ready yet you have to be patient"...yea fine thing to tell an 8 year old. I watched that tank eagerly day after day, would fall asleep listening to my private babling brook and day dream about all the fish I was gonna have. It seemed like an eternity.

My first fish were a redtail shark, common pleco, tiger barb and a kuhli loach. It was tremendous. My own underwater fish habitat with a shark! What 8 year old boy doesn't want his very own shark and I made sure I told all my friends in school about him too. Dog? What dog? Hey boy, go feed the damn dog and stop overfeeding those fish! I was hooked.

Well almost 40 years later and im still that excited little boy. Now I'm armed with my own capital and able to begin a different journey. A journey that I have always admired others for from afar. Some people like discus, some enjoy reef tanks but my eyes have always been on plecos and more specifically hypancistrus. I can remember seeing a zebra pleco for the 1st time in the pet store. Oh boy, hey I want that one. My old man asked how much and I knew it was never gonna happen. I was crushed. Fast forward to present day and im finally at a point where I can have that zebra I always wanted, or 20!

So here is where we begin. Armed with a solid background in fish keeping, armed with everything I could read or watch on youtube, armed with the means to finally grab hypancistrus! Over the last few years I've delved into what it takes to keep hypancistrus plecos. Talked to everyone that was willing to give me 5 minutes or hours upon hours. Reading and talking about L046 led me to another, the L236 Super White. Now I was in a state of confusion, which one I want?! All these years it's been 046's and now you throw a 236 into my view? This isn't right, what kind of sorcery is this?!

Welp...I found a source that happened to have both. They had adult breeding pairs and I went way over what I had originally planned to spend. We've all been there right, I mean correct me if I'm wrong. So I purchased 8 fish, 4 of each genus, 4 total breeding pairs. Hell why not just jump in with both feet? That kick started my already heated obsession and today I had 10 more 046's flown air cargo to my local airport.

I would like to thank @TwoTankAmin . You sir have been an inspiration and great resource with your wealth of knowledge. Its great people like yourself that help to propel many of us to places we didn't think we were capable of. Your joy of fish keeping and willingness to spill the beans have kick started that 8 year old boy that I thought I left behind. He's back! You sir are a gem.





20231222_131411.jpg
20231207_231429.jpg
20231207_204146.jpg
 
@Ceez

TY for your kinds words. There is one more Hypan from the Big bend of the Xingu you should consider, L173. Also, the females take about 2 weeks between being ready to produce eggs. However, from spawning to kicking out the free swimming fry, the male needs about a month. So if one is not working with a group, the ideal mix is a reverse trio, 2m/1fm.

From the first time I saw a picture of a zebra pleco in the Baensch Aquarium Atlas, zebras were at the top of my wish list. And then I discovered the rest of the world of the B&W Hypans and I just could not stop. It sounds to me like you have caught the same bug. It took me a few more years to reach the point of I can afford what I want (within reason). But to buy my initial proven breeding group of zebras I had to break into my IRA.

If you need help down the road, feel free to contact me. The more people who are breeding these fish, the better.
 
20240301_220506.jpg
20240301_220432.jpg



These guys are starting to color up and a few look really amazing. I know not all of them are gonna make it to market lol. They're ravenous too, eating 3 to 4Xs a day. As soon as the food hits the deck it gets destroyed. Their journey is really cool to watch day in and day out.
 
Nice work. 236 are prolific and start spawning pretty early on. I have about 100 SW offspring from recently free swimming to about 3 inches. I have 3 x 33L tanks and just had to set up a 20 to hold them all. I am negotiating to sell the breeders and all the kids, except those under an inch. My journey is ending but yours is just starting. You need more tanks ;)

I have 3 very old zebras, 2 are over 20 years old and the 3rd is not far behind, I am sending them to an online friend in CA who is going to be their retirement home, I am sending them and a few caves and maybe some wood her way at no charge. She has been in the hobby longer than I have and she will ggive them a good home to live out the final years. The fish deserve it as they were the start of a great journey.

I knew when I finally got into zebras that there was no chance I would ever get to see them in the wild. I was a lifelong smoker and took too long to quit, so I would drown trying to dive in the Xingu. So I took every opportuniy I got to listen and then to talk tp people who have done so. I also did the same with some of the best Hypan breeders out there. Keep your eyes open for weekend fish events within your travelling range. If you see people like Ingo Seidel, Hans-Georg Evers, Barbie Fiorentino, Jools from PlanetCatfish, Eric Bodrock, Dale Ernst, Shane Linder, Leandro Sousa, Eric Thomas, Haakon Haagensen and a few I know I am forgetting, speaking at an event. Go. Then seek them out and talk plecos, especially Hypans. Barbie Fiorentino set me up with my original zebra breeding group.

If you can afford the trip across the country to VT, try for the AllAquarium catfish Convention this fall. The names above I underline are all speaking there. I am hoping I will have sold most of my plecos before then and wont be going. Otherwise, I may have to do room sales it there is still an opening,
https://tfcb.org/catcon-2024/

I have been doing this for 18 years. I still get excited when I spot a dad on eggs or wigglers or I see a trapping in progress. I still do the happy fish dance, just a bit less spryly. My bet is you will find it never gets old.
 
Nice work. 236 are prolific and start spawning pretty early on. I have about 100 SW offspring from recently free swimming to about 3 inches. I have 3 x 33L tanks and just had to set up a 20 to hold them all. I am negotiating to sell the breeders and all the kids, except those under an inch. My journey is ending but yours is just starting. You need more tanks ;)

I have 3 very old zebras, 2 are over 20 years old and the 3rd is not far behind, I am sending them to an online friend in CA who is going to be their retirement home, I am sending them and a few caves and maybe some wood her way at no charge. She has been in the hobby longer than I have and she will ggive them a good home to live out the final years. The fish deserve it as they were the start of a great journey.

I knew when I finally got into zebras that there was no chance I would ever get to see them in the wild. I was a lifelong smoker and took too long to quit, so I would drown trying to dive in the Xingu. So I took every opportuniy I got to listen and then to talk tp people who have done so. I also did the same with some of the best Hypan breeders out there. Keep your eyes open for weekend fish events within your travelling range. If you see people like Ingo Seidel, Hans-Georg Evers, Barbie Fiorentino, Jools from PlanetCatfish, Eric Bodrock, Dale Ernst, Shane Linder, Leandro Sousa, Eric Thomas, Haakon Haagensen and a few I know I am forgetting, speaking at an event. Go. Then seek them out and talk plecos, especially Hypans. Barbie Fiorentino set me up with my original zebra breeding group.

If you can afford the trip across the country to VT, try for the AllAquarium catfish Convention this fall. The names above I underline are all speaking there. I am hoping I will have sold most of my plecos before then and wont be going. Otherwise, I may have to do room sales it there is still an opening,
https://tfcb.org/catcon-2024/

I have been doing this for 18 years. I still get excited when I spot a dad on eggs or wigglers or I see a trapping in progress. I still do the happy fish dance, just a bit less spryly. My bet is you will find it never gets old.



I'm definitely going to attend. That's far enough out I can make it work. Airfare is around $600 round trip, not bad. Probably find an airbnb fairly cheap near the event.

I'm hungry for the knowledge. It'll be exciting to get it first hand from the experts and to let me know how much I really don't know! Honestly I have a tremendous amount of questions that I'm sure I can find answers to there. Plus it'll be nice to meet some like minded folks that have the bug even worse than I do.

One of the key areas I'd like to know more about is identifying fish sickness early on and forms of treatment with these hypancistrus. I want to be able to care for them and keep them as healthy as possible to produce quality offspring. Feeding, habitat, water etc etc etc...

Thanks Twotankamin, appreciate the heads up
 
Here is the really nice thing About the CatCons. They only happen every other year (in even number years). This will be the 10th one. I have made 3- 2014, 2016 and 2022. I get to see folks there who travel a long way to come. They come from all over the states but also from Europe, South America and other distant shores. For many of the attendees it is the only chance we get to see each other in person.

I would love to be there once again, but it just isn't in the cards.
 




I'm using the ziss breeder boxes BL-2 and BL-3 and they both have pros and cons.

The 3 lets the waste go through the bottom somewhat and leaves me less work to do as far as cleaning up. The drawback is the waste tends to accumulate between the screen and the hard plastic bottom so you have to take it completely out of the tank to get it thoroughly cleaned. Also when you do a water change I set the box on the bottom of the tank and cover the hole in the lid otherwise these guys escape into the main tank and sometimes you can't retrieve all of them.

The 2 has the hard bottom design. It's nice because dur8ng water changes you can leave it mounted on the side of the tank (at the top obviously) and it leaves about 3/4" of water in it. It's easy to use the turkey baster to clean the bottom but you have to be on it at least once if not a few times a day depending on how many fry and how much you feed. I over feed the fry lol, not a ton but they don't starve. The drawback is more time spent cleaning.


So as you can see the 3 has a wire mesh bottom with hard plastic open holed bottom:

20240311_193954.jpg



The 2 has a hard bottom with no mesh:

20240311_194009.jpg



Theyre both great and work well. I can't say I prefer one over the other but the 2 takes more of my time in the long run.
 
Last edited:
Here is the really nice thing About the CatCons. They only happen every other year (in even number years). This will be the 10th one. I have made 3- 2014, 2016 and 2022. I get to see folks there who travel a long way to come. They come from all over the states but also from Europe, South America and other distant shores. For many of the attendees it is the only chance we get to see each other in person.

I would love to be there once again, but it just isn't in the cards.
This is practically my back yard and Linda and I will attend. There is also a show, not cats, this weekend in Burlington. It will be our first. Guess that sounds like a virgin on first date :)
 

Most reactions

Back
Top