The Zebra will tolerate a rather wide range of water parameters, GH should be >5, PH 6 - 7,5 and temperature 26 - 30°C. The fish lives in a fast flowing river with high concentration of dissolved oxygen. A dissolved oxygen level of >8 is ideal, but not easy to achieve as they want such high temperature.
The tank should be decorated with sand as substrate, as they dig and "clean" quite a lot outside of their caves. Coarse gravel will not be gentle on their stomach, which is why I prefer fine sand. They need lots of rocks and caves, slate tile is easy to use if you want to mimic their natural habitat, which has lots of crevices to allow them to hide and form territories. I include plants as part of the decoration, this is not necessary but the fish eat remnants of plants as a vegetable supplement to their mainly carnivorous diet. This fish does not eat algae!
They live on debts of up to 30m, and there aren't many algae down there, so it's quite natural that this fish is not an efficient algae eater. I have personally seen them attack a small snail before grazing algae! Tetra Discus, frozen live food, or - their favorite - frozen home made shrimp and veggie mix, are examples of suitable food. They can also eat pellets and flake food, but I personally don't give them this, not because it's not good enough, but simply because I have better alternatives available. Just bear in mind that the Zebra should be given primarily a protein based diet. Contrary to popular belief, the Zebra occasionally does eat bogwood. The picture shows a piece of bogwood from a species only tank.
They live in a strong current in their natural habitat. A tank turnover of minimum 6 is recommended, but some breeders keep them in as much as 30. I have 6 in my tanks, but use a diffuser to make sure the dissolved oxygen level is kept high. My personal opinion is that the strong current is not as important as the dissolved oxygen level, but opinions will differ on this matter.
They do not need a very large tank, as the maximum length of this fish is around 10 cm. In my experience a 120L tank is suitable for six to eight adult Zebras, as long as plenty of caves and hiding places are provide to enable the fish to form territories. They can be kept together with other fish, this is a peaceful fish that will only have disputes with their own kind, but if breeding is desired a species tank is - if not necessary - recommended. The Zebra Pl*co is not good at competing for food, which should be kept in mind if it's kept together with other bottom dwellers. Other fish will have to like a high temperature and strong current, and preferably not be energetic swimmers that never keep still type fish.
Purchase size: approx 3cm
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