Hisonotus leucofrenatus

I came across this inconspicuous but interesting fish about 6 months back at a local fish store (LFS) which gets in some interesting fish once in a while. The first time you see this fish you will probably pass it up as a baby common pleco (Hypostomus Sp.). But I assure you the similarity ends right there. Hisonotus belong to family Loricariid and are more closely related to the Otocinclus Sp. than the Hypostomus Sp.

When I first saw these little buggers I was not really sure if I wanted them. They were labeled as Otocinclus “Niger”. Talking to a knowledgeable LFS employee reveled that these were wild caught and did not come in quiet often. I decided to get the last 3 they had. After having them for a while now I regret that I could not get any more. I haven’t seen them offered for sale around the town for a while now.

Coming back to my purchase, I came home and added them to my then newly set-up 10 G tank “Boraras Dream”. The tank was already thickly planted and all three of them quickly disappered in the thicket of Hemianthus Micranthemoides and Microsorium pteropus “Needle”. I saw them again after a couple of days grazing away on the diatoms and green spot algae on the back wall of the tank. From my experience I can now say they are herbivorous and excellent algae eaters. They are a perfect addition to a planted tank.

From what I have read about their biotope and my own observations of their behavior I would say that they love well oxygenated water with decent flow. In my tank they love to hang around the filter outlet right under the leaves of Microsorium pteropus “Needle”.

This portion of the tank has the maximum flow. Another thing which I have observed is they don’t like to be photographed. You have to be really careful in approaching the tank if you want to get a good picture.

The temperature in my tank varies from 75-78°F, but a lot of references point out that these catfishes can withstand far lesser temperatures. I haven’t seen any breeding behavior from my trio yet, but it would be really hard to tell as these fish are egg-scatterers and do a really good job of hiding their eggs in a well planted tank. I am hoping I will find some babies when I take down the tank.

Finally I would say don’t miss an opportunity to keep this very interesting fish if you happen to come across some and always get at least a group of three.



2 Responses to “Hisonotus leucofrenatus”

  1. I bought some as “Niger Otocinclus” as well. I never had the time to find out what they really were. Great article and pictures for such a overlooked fish!

  2. bhushandalvi Says:

    Hey Tim good to see you on my blog. Thanks a lot for the compliments and I wish my blog would help to attract more people in our rewarding hobby.

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