Photo: Mark Sabaj Perez
HYPANCISTRUS DEBILITTERA L129
L129 is one of the more common Hypancistrus species in the hobby. This is certainly due to it’s fairly low price compared to many of the Brazilian forms, as well as it’s availability from Colombian exporters. It’s very often confused with L340, which it’s usually exported together with. As an aquarium fish, H.debilittera is easy to care for if given clean water. They will usually do well even in community tanks, as long as normal proper care is taken. Their markings can vary a lot both in pattern and contrast, but especially juveniles can show a very appealing striped pattern. L129 has the most northern distribution in South America of the genus.
Name: Hypancistrus debilittera (Armbruster, Lujan & Taphorn, 2007)
Trade names: L129
Origin: Rio Bita, Rio Meta, Colombia.
Maximum size: 10 cm / 4”
L129 is very similar to L340. They can be told apart by the number of teeth in the lower jaw; L340 has the lowest number of teeth in the lower jaw of any Hypancistrus species (2-6 on each side). L340 is also usually more rust-red or orange in it’s base colour compared to the more yellow/grey H.debilittera. There’s also a slight difference in body shape; L340 is a little more compressed and has a slightly wider head than the more elongate H.debilittera. In pattern the two forms can’t be separated.
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. 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. Males develop longer odontodes on their pectoral fins and on their cheeks, and have broader heads. Hypancistrus are mostly carnivorous, so a selection of crustaceans, insect larvae and fish meat should be offered along with high quality dried foods that also contain some vegetable matter.