L471 Dwarf Snowball Pleco
Scientific Name: L471 Hypancistrus hvidplettet ventuari-sugemalle.
Origin: Rio Orinoco and Lower Rio Ventuari.
Size: 1 & 1/2″ (3.8 cm)
PH/Hardness/Temp: 6.5 to 7.5, 50-250 tds, 72f-82f
Temperment: Peaceful, community.
L471 The Dwarf Snowball Pleco is a beautiful small Hypancistrus pleco catfish species. Originally collected in Venezuela, this diminutive species is now occasionally found tank bred in the hobby. Dwarf snowball plecos grow to a maximum size of 1 & 1/2 inches long (3.8 cm). They prefer warm tank water conditions with neutral to slightly acidic water. Tank bred specimens can generally handle up to slightly alkaline water.
Hypancistrus plecos have very small mouths and prefer to eat a more protein based diet. They will occasionally rasp on wood and algae but vegetation is not their primary food. They prefer a diet of small crustaceans (crushed snails, shrimp), worms and insects (mosquito larvae, blackworms, whiteworms, etc.). Captive bred fish will accept frozen and prepared high protein sinking foods such as frozen bloodworms, Repashy conditioning and Fluval bug bites sticks for bottom feeders.
Sexing L471 is easier with dwarf snowballs than some plecos. Males have a wider head and a more pronounced front ray on their pectoral fin. Little tooth-like growths on that fin and along their backsides (called odontodes) are larger and more pronounced in males. Females have a narrower head shape, a rounder belly when gravid with eggs and smaller, less pronounced odontodes. L471 Dwarf Snowball Plecos are cave spawners and do best if given a selection of small pleco breeding caves. Males are territorial so offering more than one breeding location in the tank for multiple males can be more productive. Consider creating tank separations with live plants, stones, slate, wood and other decor to create different breeding territories. Males court females into the caves and then trap them in the cave until spawning occurs. After spawning, the female is let go and the male will guard the nest and the young until they are free swimming. Males will not eat during guard duty and will be weak and hungry afterward. Therefore, if you set up a breeding program for these fish, you might do better with a reverse trio of two males to each female.