Zebra plecos jumping

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Ijustlikefish

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Mar 14, 2021
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I’m planning to keep zebra plecos and I would like to have a tank with no lid. I can not find any information about zebra plecos jumping out their tank, and I’ve mixed stuff about other plecos. What do you think?
 
Apr 2, 2002
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Over the years I have kept 100s of zebras, none ever jumped. I have never even found them inside a hang on filter. They will swim into tubes with flow if they fit, however.

I have lids on all of my tanks. They keep out stuff I do not want in and they keep in what I do not want out. If nothing else this is evaporated water. I almost never have to top up tanks. If I accidentally live a lid open I may have to compensate for that error......

Most folks who keep zebras do so to breed them. Therefore, an open top presents an added risk many opt not take. Some folks will keep them with other fish which are not a threat to breeding or baby zebras. Others, myself included, keep them in a species tank.



The bigger risk with zebras is that you remove some decor, especially driftwood, or a cave which appears to be devoid of any zebras.....
 
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Wyomingite

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I have lids on all of my tanks. They keep out stuff I do not want in and they keep in what I do not want out. If nothing else this is evaporated water. I almost never have to top up tanks. If I accidentally live a lid open I may have to compensate for that error......
This statement alone is justification to avoid an open-top tank, IMO.

Unless you're building a riparium that tries to recreate a shoreline with aquatic, transitional and terrestrial plants, where the open top allows for plant growth above the top of the tank, I'd advise against an open-top tank. Seriously, why risk a prized fish jumping (even if they aren't prone to jump in general) or a tank being contaminated for aesthetics? Just my two cents.

WYite
 

Ijustlikefish

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Mar 14, 2021
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Thank you, I will keep this into consideration. The reason why I may be doing a lidless tank is I’m planning to do a simple aquascape with the zebra. I know that they do not live in that in the wild but as far as I read they can do good in it.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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I just watched a 48 minute Youtube vid featuring Leandro Sousa and mainly about zebras. It is in Portuguese with sub-titles. It is pretty fascinating and does contain vids of zebras in the wild.

If you are interested in this fish and its habitat, the Big bend (Volta grande) of the Rio Xingu, have at it. I suggest you opt to "Watch on YouTube" so you can get a larger screen and also take advantage of the HD.

 

Lalo J.

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Over the years I have kept 100s of zebras, none ever jumped. I have never even found them inside a hang on filter. They will swim into tubes with flow if they fit, however.

I have lids on all of my tanks. They keep out stuff I do not want in and they keep in what I do not want out. If nothing else this is evaporated water. I almost never have to top up tanks. If I accidentally live a lid open I may have to compensate for that error......

Most folks who keep zebras do so to breed them. Therefore, an open top presents an added risk many opt not take. Some folks will keep them with other fish which are not a threat to breeding or baby zebras. Others, myself included, keep them in a species tank.



The bigger risk with zebras is that you remove some decor, especially driftwood, or a cave which appears to be devoid of any zebras.....
Are you saying that zebra plecos do not work well in tanks with plants and wood? For example a fully planted aquarium?
 
Apr 2, 2002
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As for wood, no I am not saying that. In fact I am saying to opposite. I keep 14 tanks for breeding and growing out Hypancistrus from the Xingu. There are no plants in any of them. there are lots of rocks, slatm wood and assorted caves. There are no plants. The tank lights are on only for workng in the tanks. Otherwise room lighting, including sunlight, id the only source of tank lighting.

It depends what you mean by work. Some of my zebras which were proven spawners (and likely 3-5 years old) when I acquired them in April 2006. That will be 15 years next month that I have had them plus at least 3 to 5 more, so some are approaching 20 years old. They still spawn now and then. I know a master breeder who has male that spawned at age 22.

Next, fish are hard wired for certain things. The flight response is a perfect example which we all see in our tanks. Startle a fish and it bolts for cover. In the wild there is no time to identify movement which may be hostile. That hesitation can be the difference between living and being lunch. So many fish are hard wired to bolt for cover.

Zebras in the wild hide a lot. They do the same in tanks. They need lots of cover to feel secure. If they do not have this, they are stressed and stress will lead to more serious issues.

Yes you can put zebras into a planted tank. But you will rarely see them. Many bottom dwellers rely on the presence of dither fish to signal it is safe to come out of hiding. No dithers in site, stay hidden. However, where the zebras live, there are no small dithers. So, this will not matter to them.

Finally, zebras are not great at competing for food. You will need to feed them after lights out. I have a reverse trio of L236 and some fry from them that I had to park somewhere. I set up a 29 gal. for them because I also had excess plants that needed some place to go. The problem is that plecos need sinking food. A lot of this winds up in the plants and not on the bottom.

The interesting thing about zebras is that they are not really fussy about water parameters. I know people who have them spawn in harder water and higher pH (think in the 8 range). What they do need is warm water that is well oxygenated. Another very experienced breeder I know uses only air powered Poret foam cubes in his pleco spawning tanks.

As long as you can keep the water temps in the low 80s, and any other fish in the tank are not perceived as a threat and will not eat the zebras food, it should be OK. I am assuming that you have no intention of spawning them.

One last comment here. I now keep my Hypans bare bottom and sand bottom. In the past I have also used a small size gravel.

I will leave you with two sayings common among zebra keepers.

1. A happy zebra is a hiding zebra. (If you see a zebra out in the open a lot, it is likely sick.)
2. That is a lot of money to pay for a fish you almost never see.
 
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Ijustlikefish

AC Members
Mar 14, 2021
41
7
8
29
As for wood, no I am not saying that. In fact I am saying to opposite. I keep 14 tanks for breeding and growing out Hypancistrus from the Xingu. There are no plants in any of them. there are lots of rocks, slatm wood and assorted caves. There are no plants. The tank lights are on only for workng in the tanks. Otherwise room lighting, including sunlight, id the only source of tank lighting.

It depends what you mean by work. Some of my zebras which were proven spawners (and likely 3-5 years old) when I acquired them in April 2006. That will be 15 years next month that I have had them plus at least 3 to 5 more, so some are approaching 20 years old. They still spawn now and then. I know a master breeder who has male that spawned at age 22.

Next, fish are hard wired for certain things. The flight response is a perfect example which we all see in our tanks. Startle a fish and it bolts for cover. In the wild there is no time to identify movement which may be hostile. That hesitation can be the difference between living and being lunch. So many fish are hard wired to bolt for cover.

Zebras in the wild hide a lot. They do the same in tanks. They need lots of cover to feel secure. If they do not have this, they are stressed and stress will lead to more serious issues.

Yes you can put zebras into a planted tank. But you will rarely see them. Many bottom dwellers rely on the presence of dither fish to signal it is safe to come out of hiding. No dithers in site, stay hidden. However, where the zebras live, there are no small dithers. So, this will not matter to them.

Finally, zebras are not great at competing for food. You will need to feed them after lights out. I have a reverse trio of L236 and some fry from them that I had to park somewhere. I set up a 29 gal. for them because I also had excess plants that needed some place to go. The problem is that plecos need sinking food. A lot of this winds up in the plants and not on the bottom.

The interesting thing about zebras is that they are not really fussy about water parameters. I know people who have them spawn in harder water and higher pH (think in the 8 range). What they do need is warm water that is well oxygenated. Another very experienced breeder I know uses only air powered Poret foam cubes in his pleco spawning tanks.

As long as you can keep the water temps in the low 80s, and any other fish in the tank are not perceived as a threat and will not eat the zebras food, it should be OK. I am assuming that you have no intention of spawning them.

One last comment here. I now keep my Hypans bare bottom and sand bottom. In the past I have also used a small size gravel.

I will leave you with two sayings common among zebra keepers.

1. A happy zebra is a hiding zebra. (If you see a zebra out in the open a lot, it is likely sick.)
2. That is a lot of money to pay for a fish you almost never see.
I’m planning on keeping them in a ph of 7.8 to 8.0 (we have a high ph) which from what I’ve seen is ok as long as they are captive bred. The temperature is going to be 80 degrees, and the tank size is 17 gallons because I’m only gonna keep one. I may have Blue dream shrimp with them and the tank will have medium high flow.
 
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