Hypancistrus sp. L333

Photo: Daniel Konn-Vetterlein


Another one of the more popular l-numbers is L333. This Hypancistrus is another representative from the Rio Xingu, Brazil, and it also shares the typical wormline pattern that is so common among most of the other Hypancistrus forms in this river. Because of the similarity with L66, crossbreeds are unfortunately not uncommon, so be careful when you purchase tank bred individuals. Currently L333 is one of a few Hypancisrus species allowed for export from Brazil, and because of it’s distribution range, it may not face extinction because of the Belo Monte dam.


Name: Hypancistrus sp.L333

Trade names: L333

Origin: Rio Xingu, Brazil.

Maximum size: 15 cm / 6”

Rio Xingu is home to many similar looking Hypancistrus forms. They are all closely related, and may even be variations (morphs) of the same species. Still, keeping the forms separated in captivity should be the rule, to avoid a blurry captive strain in the future.

L333 is possible to recognize with it’s large adult size, not very forked tail and a body that is stockier and slightly higher than it’s close relative L66. L333 is usually more yellowish/cream coloured than the more grey/white L66, but even strains of L333 with a white base colour are known. Compared to similar forms like L399/400, L333 usually shows a more consistent line-pattern that is not broken up into dots. Separating L333 from L401, a form from the Nhamunda/Alenquer area, is close to impossible.

In young fish, the pattern of L333 can be very striking, with just a few, broad, black lines aginst a very light, golden body. Such specimens were initially thought to be a different form (such as L236), but we have since learned that this pattern is a mutation that sometimes occur in most of the wormlined forms of Hypancistrus in Rio Xingu. Adult specimens, males in particular, can become very grey and dull coloured with their body almost covered in odontodes.

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.

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