Hypancistrus contradens

Photo: Enrico Richter


Surely the Hypancistrus species from Brazil’s Rio Xingu can be confusing and hard to identify, but that can also be said for the spotted Hypancistrus forms from Orinoco and it’s tributaries in Colombia and Venezuela. Hypancistrus contradens is exported from Colombia together with other similar representatives of the genus, so it’s usually up to the fishkeepers to pick out the correct individuals from the mix that arrives at their retailer. Hypancistrus contradens is a beautiful fish; pitch black with large white spots which makes them very popular.


Name: Hypancistrus contradens (Armbruster, Lujan & Taphorn, 2007)

Trade names:

Origin: Rio Ventuari, Venezuela

Maximum size: 14 cm / 6”

Contrary to beliefs of many, Hypancistrus contradens has no l-number. It’s very often confused with L201, which it’s also exported together with. Compared to L201 Hypancistrus contradens grow bigger, has a higher more bulky body, and usually bigger spots. L102, H.inspector from Rio Negro, Brazil is alos often confused with Hypancistrus contradens, but can easily be told apart by it’s black rim in the fins.

They need an aquarium set up consisting of lots of hiding places in the form of rocks, wood and of course specially made caves that suit their measurements. In these the males will eventually guard their offspring. They prefer water that is fairly warm (27-30 C), soft and slightly acidic. Most of all it should be well oxygenated and clean, so a good filtration system and frequent water changes are essential. It’s a slightly timid and withdrawn species that doesn’t really compete too well for food and territories, so it shouldn’t be placed in a tank with much competition for resources. Among themselves they are fairly peaceful, although males may quarrel for caves and females can sometimes be badly injured or even killed during the breeding-trapping in the male’s cave.

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