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Hypancistrus inspector (Snowball Plec, L102)

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At least two different species, Hypancistrus contradens (L201) and Hypancistrus inspector (L102), have been traded as the "snowball plec".

They are very similar in appearance and commonly misidentified. Both species are covered with off-white spots on the fins and body. However, true Hypancistrus inspector are mottled grey to black with a distinctive dark band along the distal edges of the dorsal and tail fins. Hypancistrus contradens is similar in colour but lacks the bands on the fins.

The fish in the Aqualog index for example is Hypancistrus contradens not Hypancistrus inspector, despite labelling to the contrary.

Sex differences are slight, but mature males tend to have more strongly developed spines (odontodes) on the cheeks and pectoral fins.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Peaceful though territorial catfish suitable for quiet community tanks. Naturally inhabits the soft and acidic waters of the Rio Negro and appreciates similar conditions in the aquarium. With care can be acclimated to harder and more alkaline water conditions but this is not recommended.

One of the more carnivorous plecs, this species eats little algae and has no interest in vegetable foods. Prefers bloodworms, chopped seafood, small pieces of white fish, algae wafers and catfish pellets.

Hypancistrus inspector has been bred in aquaria, albeit infrequently. Similar to Hypancistrus zebra, spawning taking place inside a cave, with the male guarding the eggs and fry until the fry are free swimming. Hypancistrus contradens presumably spawns in a similar manner, but has not yet been reported.

Family Group: L Numbers
Distribution South America: Brazil, Rio Negro and elsewhere
Temperature 24-28 C
Size 16 cm
Water Parameters Soft and acidic water preferred
Water PH 6.0-7.0
Diet Adaptable
Care Level Easy
Water Chemistry less than pH 7 - acidic
Schooling Fish No
Sociability Peaceful