Bristlenose Pleco “Ancistrus”
- Maximum size 12–15 centimetres
- Temperature range 23–27 °C
- Tolerant to a wide range of water conditions.
- Lifespan up to 12 years
These fish originate from the rivers of the Amazon Basin in South America.
They tend to be mottled brown in colour as in the picture above but many different colour variations exist today ranging from albino which is pale yellow and white to rarer red and black variations.
They tend to hide or be fairly inactive in the aquarium unless feeding.
Males are competitive and territorial and I don’t recommend keeping more than one male in an aquarium. They are however quite peaceful in nature and will cohabit happily with most other tropical fish.
They are omnivores enjoying a wide range of foods but usually kept for their algae eating abilities. They will however eat any food that falls to the bottom of the aquarium. They appreciate bogwood in their habitat as it aids their digestion of high protein foods.
If they develop a sunken abdomen it is usually a sign of poor nutrition, their diet can be supplemented with blanched cucumber, lettuce, spinach, green beans or peas but they will happily eat algae wafers, flake food and bloodworm.
Males will grow slightly larger than females and have bristles up the centre of the head whereas females only have them around the edge of their chin. The bristles grow longer as they reach maturity around 9 to 12 months. The bristles are quite difficult to detect when they are young.
Breeding is known to be fairly easy in the home aquarium. A male will attract a female into a cave or hollow where she will produce between 20 and 200 adhesive eggs. She will then play no further role in parenting as the male will guard and fan the eggs. The eggs may hatch from a few days to over a week later and the fry will remain in their cave absorbing their yolk sac until they become free swimming. The Male will continue to protect and guard the fry for just over a week and may not even leave the cave to feed during this time.