In 1998 I bought my first 3 juvenile zebra plecos. At that time they cost about 300 Schilling (€ 15) each. Gradually my small group grew to 10 animals. In 2004 for the first time I had young zebra plecos in my breeding tank (which was equipped with 10 clay pipes and slate slabs). From September to March I keep my animals at 30 °C, the rest of the time at 27 °C. I carry out a 40% water change once a week, using normal tap water. For some time I have been using osmosis water, blended with tap water, which also passes a filter with JBL silicate remover. When the weather forecast is bad I change 30 % of the aquarium water several times a day. Then the temperature is lowered about 3-4 degrees. I clean the filter every four months with aquarium water only, to prevent all the filter bacteria from being washed out. I regularly add JBL Clynol and JBL Denitrol . Conductance is 140 µS/cm.
I feed the grown up L046 with frozen Artemia, JBL PlanktonPur , JBL GranaDiscus , JBL Tabis premium food tablets. Until they are two months old the juveniles in the breeding tank are fed 2 x per day with home-grown Artemia nauplii, JBL NovoTom Artemia powdered food and a bit of JBL PlanktonPur. I clean the bottom of the breeding tank every day with a brush and siphon it. When they are two months old I move them into a larger aquarium along with my Sturisoma aureum and L201 juveniles. Here they get the same food as the adult L046. I don’t use substrate for the large breeding tank, but have 3 Sturisoma aureum in it which clean the bottom and side panes for me. The lighting is a very weak LED light. Adding JBL PlanktonPur means the juveniles grow significantly quicker and, within a year, they can reach a size of about 6 cm.
I hope that my breeding success will be a small contribution to the preservation of these endangered plecos in our aquariums.
Picture and text: Werner Schmied, Austria