Photo: Haakon Haagensen
HYPANCISTRUS sp. L340
Back in the 90’s when this form was only known as LDA19 and “Mega Clown Pleco”, it was a real sought after species because of the striking looks of the fish that represented the form in the original picture by Erwin Schraml. Later it became known as L340 as it was imported from Colombia in greater numbers, but simultaneously it was revealed that even this striped Hypancistrus form is highly variable. Only few individuals show a “reversed” pattern of fewer/thinner black stripes. Nowadays it’s among the cheapest and most readily available hypancistrus species in the trade, and with it’s nice looks and small size it’s suitable for a wide range of set-ups.
Name: Hypancistrus sp.L340
Trade names: Mega Clown Pleco, LDA19, L340
Origin: Rio Tomo, Colombia.
Maximum size: 10 cm / 4”
L340 is very similar to H.debilittera (L129). 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. 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.