Keeping King Tiger Loricariid catfish (L333) in the aquarium – this is how it works

King Tiger Loricariid catfish The king tiger catfish, lat. Hypancistrus spec., captivates already at first sight by its strikingly mackerel pattern, which also gave it its name. The stripes can vary in colour from white to orange and from brown to black. The pattern is also slightly different for each ornamental fish, which ensures a high degree of diversity within a group.

Since the L333, which originates from Brazil, is a peaceful contemporary with low requirements, it is ideal for tanks with other peaceful species and is also suitable for beginners in aquaristics.

Nevertheless, there are a few things to keep in mind when keeping King Tiger Loricariid Catfish, so that you will enjoy your animals for a long time. Everything concerning the suitable tank, water values, furnishing possibilities, stocking examples and breeding you can find out in the following aquaristic guide.

Everything important about King Tiger Loricariid (L333) in short

  • Hypancistrus spec. is considered in aquaristics as an easy to keep fish and is therefore also suitable for beginners
  • King tiger loricariid catfish can be kept in pairs and in groups
  • The mackerel coloration of L333 varies from white to orange and brown to black
  • Each fish has a unique stripe pattern, so that individual animals can be distinguished from each other
  • Males as well as females reach a maximum body length of 15cm, whereas females can be shorter than males
  • Male Hypancistrus spec. have a broader head, females a broader waist
  • The L333 prefers shady aquariums with sufficient stones and roots as hiding places
  • Hypancistrus spec. is a very peaceful species that can easily be kept together with other similarly peaceful fish
  • The L333 feeds omnivorously, whereby vegetable food is less easily absorbed by them
  • Under suitable conditions, L333s breeding in caves can be easily stimulated to breed

Where do King Tiger Catfish (L333) occur?

The Hypancistrus spec. originally comes from South America, more precisely from Brazil, where it can still be found today in the Rio Xingu.

As the most famous tributary of the Amazon, the Rio Xingu is a rather wild river, full of rapids and interrupted by several waterfalls, that runs through the jungle. Due to this occurrence, free-living King Tiger Catfish prefer warm and shady waters with currents that are interspersed with stones and roots.

How many King Tiger Loricariid Catfish (L333) keep in the aquarium?

The L333 can be held in pairs or in groups. For a pair a tank with an edge length of 100 cm is sufficient (i.e. a standard 180 litre aquarium), whereas for groups a tank size of 160 cm and larger should be preferred, so that the quite large catfish find enough space.

If the Hypancistrus spec. is to be socialized with other species, a tank size of 160 cm upwards is recommended, so that all species find enough space and can live together in a species-appropriate way.

How to keep King Tiger Loricariid Catfish (L333) in an aquarium?

In addition to a sufficiently large basin, the interior design is also crucial to ensure that the L333 feels at home in its new home. Basically the keeping of the King Tiger Loricariid catfish is very easy, so it is also very suitable for beginners.

The bottom of the aquarium should preferably consist of sand, whose color is secondary. However, the colour of the catfish can adapt to the ground, so you should choose the sand according to your own preference.

Important, however, are sufficient caves and retreats for the L333. A mixture of caves, stone slabs and roots is ideal to provide sufficient hiding places for the King Tiger Loricariid.

A planting of the aquarium is quite possible, however, one should note that young animals of the L333 like to feed on softer plant species. A blanket of floating plants is especially recommended for the catfish, especially as they are very sensitive to light and clearly prefer a shady aquarium. Correspondingly little lighting should be chosen for the aquarium so that the fish feel comfortable and do not only come out under the cover of the night.

The L333 does not require additional flow in the pool through a flow pump.

Which water values does a King Tiger Loricariid catfish (L333) prefer?

In order to imitate the natural habitat of Hypancistrus spec. as closely as possible, the following water values are recommended for an aquarium suitable for the species.

  • Aquarium: min. 100 L (for couples), min. 160 L (for groups)
  • Water temperature: 27 °C – 30 °C
  • pH value: 5.5 – 7.5
  • Total hardness: 0 – 20 dGH

According to their natural habitat in Brazil, L333 prefer warm and rather acidic water. The degree of hardness in which the Hypancistrus spec. feels comfortable ranges from soft to medium hard and can be easily achieved with conventional tap water. Accordingly, the water does not need any special treatment by adding certain additives, which again speaks for the beginner suitability of L333.

In order to achieve a constantly high water quality, it is nevertheless important to change the water regularly to keep nitrite and nitrate levels as low as possible. In addition, a high oxygen saturation of the water is optimal for the L333, which should also be maintained continuously at all times of the day.

socialization of king tiger catfish (L333)

The Hypancistrus spec. is by nature a peace-loving fish species and can therefore be easily socialized with other fish. However, a few criteria should be observed to ensure that the socialization really works and remains species-appropriate for all fish species involved.

The decisive factor is to look for fish with similar basic needs to those of the King Tiger Loricariid Catfish. These should therefore prefer similar temperatures, degrees of hardness and pH values of the water.

Many aquarists select fish according to the habitats in which they can be found in the wild, which is why other Amazonian species are popular for the socialization of the L333. However, this is not a must, but remains a preference of the keeper.

However, one should pay attention to socialize the King Tiger Loricariid with rather calm and not too aggressive fish, so that the even very calm fish gets enough to eat. In addition, aggressive species can frighten it so that it is reluctant to show itself.

Since it is very peaceful itself, it can also be socialized with smaller characins such as the red neon or the Ember tetra without any problems. In the aquarium, the combination of the schooling fish swimming on top and the catfish at the bottom of the bottom creates a particularly beautiful overall picture.

In addition, they are also suitable for socializing shrimps and snails, which brings additional variety to the aquarium.

What does a Bengal tiger catfish (L333) eat?

The L333 belongs to the omnivores and is therefore an omnivore.

Dried food of all kinds is very popular with the King Tiger Loricariid Catfish, but they also seem to enjoy shellfish meat, mosquito larvae and frozen fish. By the way, we show you more about the different types of fish food in our aquarium fish food comparison. A varied mixture is accordingly appropriate and is also gladly accepted by the fish.

Since the catfish are mainly on the ground, sinking food is preferable. Especially if there are other species living in the aquarium you should make sure that the L333 gets enough food.

Young animals also like to eat raw food and sometimes attack the plants in the aquarium, whereas this behavior is no longer observed in adult animals. Some aquarists have even reported that L333 destroys algae in the aquarium.

How are King Tiger Catfish (L333) bred?

Since the L333 belongs to the cave breeders, just such caves are crucial for a successful breeding of these animals. Up to now, mainly one-sided open tubes, which can be made of clay or slate, have proven to be successful. Of course they should be adapted to the respective size of the animals, so that they feel comfortable in their retreat.

In order to encourage the L333 to spawn, no great effort is usually required as long as the tank is regularly maintained. If it should take longer with the offspring, you can effectively help by changing the water or by changing the temperature, conductance and current.

The clutch size varies according to the size and vitality of the parent animals, with the male looking after the eggs until the larvae have hatched.

In feeding, the young catfish of the L333 are quite undemanding and will eat any crushed dry food that is offered to them. To keep the stress for the young King Tiger Loricariid Catfish as low as possible and to achieve a fast and good breeding, there should be enough hiding places for the young catfish. That no predators should be in the same tank should also be self-evident. So nothing stands in the way of a successful breeding.

Conclusion: keeping King Tiger Loricariid catfish (L333) is not difficult

If kept in a rather dark aquarium, with sufficient retreat possibilities and suitable water values, the South American King Tiger Loricariid is a frugal and undemanding catfish, which is best suited for beginners in aquaristics and on top of that has a great coloration and a beautiful pattern.

The omnivorous animals are quite simple in both keeping and feeding and can easily be socialized with other fish species, as well as snails and shrimps, as long as the same water values are preferred.

The breeding and rearing of the L333 is also quite simple and even a beginner in a community aquarium can manage it without any problems.   

Keeping King Tiger Loricariid catfish (L333) in the aquarium – this is how it works

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