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Brown hoplo - Hoplosternum littorale

Brown hoplo - Hoplosternum littorale

Scientific name: Hoplosternum littorale

Common name: Brown hoplo

Family: Callichthyidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 17 - 20 cm (6.69 - 7.87 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.5 - 7.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 6 - 22°N (107.14 - 392.86ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 27 °C (71.6 - 80.6°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


South America; Brown hoplo is found in a wide area ranging from Venezuela down to Argentina.


The expected life span for Hoplosternum littorale is 4 years.

Short description

Hoplosternum littorale is normally found in stagnant swamp areas so low oxygen content in the water will not bother it as it can breathe from the surface. It can be kept with other species of fish in a community set up. Adult specimens can grow up to 10 inches in length so this should be taken into account when purchasing these fish as they will need adequate swimming space in the aquarium. They can be kept in a planted set up but open swimming spaces must be provided so keep the planting to the rear and sides of the aquarium allowing the brown hoplo turning space as well as forward swimming space. They prefer alkaline water that is hard and they can even live in slightly brackish water so make sure their tank mates are comfortable with the same water parameters.

Food and feeding

Brown hoplo will accept most foods but does require meaty foods. Catfish pellets, blood worms and brine shrimp are ideal for this fish. Once settled into the aquarium they should accept food readily, if their appetite is lacking then they may be suffering from digestive problems or other health issues. When purchasing a specimen ask to see the fish being fed and look at the chosen specimen to make sure that it does not have a sunken belly as this is a sure sign of malnutrition.

Floating plants can also be added to the breeding tank to help strengthen the bubble nest once it is completed.


There are no visible differences between the sexes.


The male and female will build a bubble nest so the addition of floating plants will help greatly. The pair will swim parallel to each other and then their barbels will touch as they turn to face each other. They will then commence to build the nest where up to 6000 eggs can be laid. The male will defend the nest and drive the female away. The eggs should hatch within 5 days. 5 days. For a higher success rate you can remove the parent fish and allow the eggs to hatch without disturbance, using an air driven sponge filter will also aid the parent fish as stronger filters can destroy the bubble nest as quick as the male builds it.

If the parent fish are slow to react with the spawning a cold water change can act as a trigger and induce the spawning session a lot quicker.


Bought by from One picture was provided by Janice.

Brown hoplo, picture 1 Brown hoplo, picture 2 Brown hoplo, picture 3 Brown hoplo, picture 4

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