This is the most variable of the three hoplos, so much so that some of the naturally occurring morphs may eventually turn out to be valid species in their own right. The one easily discernible feature that they all possess (and that distinguishes them from the other hoplos) is the sharply truncated caudal fin. Port Hoplo males can also be distinguished from their H. littorale counterparts in that Port Hoplo’s main pectoral fin spine does not turn up at the tip with advancing age (as it does in H. littorale). In addition, during the breeding season this ray turns orange in Port Hoplo and deep red to maroon in H. littorale.
- Hoplostemum thoracatum
- Widely distributed in northern South America.
- Up to 7in (18cm).
- Generally peaceful except at spawning time.
- Wide range of foods accepted.
- Roomy, well covered, with plenty of resting and hiding places and subdued lighting. Water chemistry not critical. Temperature range: 64-82 F (18-28 C); slightly higher for breeding.
- Male builds bubble nest at the water surface. Eggs are deposited among the bubbles and are guarded by male. Hatching takes 3 4 days. Port Hoplo is perhaps the easiest of the three hoplos to breed in aquaria.