The Bristlenose Catfish was first described by Valenciennes in 1836. It belongs to the family Loricariidae under order Siluriformes of class Actinopterygii. The genus name Ancistrus is derived from the Greek word agkistron, meaning hook. These fish are in demand for their ease of care, resourcefulness and hardiness. This species is not listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
The Bushy nose pleco is a non-aggressive fish that can be kept in friendly community aquariums. It is not a difficult fish to care for and can be recommended for beginner fish keepers. Juveniles are more sensitive to pH levels than adults, so adult fish are a better choice for beginners. It requires 30 gallons tank with hearty and fast-growing plants. The tank should be decorated with Plants, rocks, large twisted roots and driftwood which can create nooks and caves for hiding places. Ancistrus species prefers well oxygenated water with moderate to strong water flow. The tank should have acidic or at least neutral water (pH: 5.8 to 7.0) with water temperature of 71-80 0 F range. Water changes are important to keep this fish happy and healthy. About 25-50% of the tank water should be replaced every other week. They are not aggressive with other fish except their own kind.
It is herbivorous fish and its natural diet mainly consists of algae and aufwuchs. In captive condition it accepts algae wafers or tablets, flake food, squash, spinach, cucumber, zucchini, green beans and peas. They also accept frozen bloodworms. They are nocturnal and prefer to eat mostly at night.
Bristlenoses are egg layers and can breed in an aquarium. They breed when they attain 6-7 cm in length. In the wild, it tends to breed when the rainy seasons starts after the dry season. Breeding takes place in hollows, caves and mud holes in banks. The female lays 20–200 yellow or orange eggs. The male cleans the eggs and the cavity with its fins and mouth. The male inspects eggs to remove diseased or infertile eggs and aerates the clutch by fanning them with its pectoral and pelvic fins. During this time, a male usually does not leave the cavity to feed. The eggs normally darken and hatch after 5-10 days. The male guards the eggs for 7–10 days after hatching. The fry stay close to the spawning site and are guarded by their father. The fry should be fed with blanched lettuce or canned green beans. Older fry can eat newly hatched brine shrimp and algae wafers. The young fry should be removed and placed in another aquarium using water from the existing aquarium. Ancistrus fry are very sensitive to organic wastes, so frequent water changes are of vital importance.
It is very easy to sex. The male bears more bristles at the center of the head whereas the female bears less number of bristles than male around the edge of the chin. The male also possess well-developed odontodes on the pectoral fins and opercle while the female does not.
This wonderful bottom-dwelling fish is peaceful, unique and it is a great addition to a community freshwater tropical tank. They are usually readily available in both pet stores and online. Prices may vary depending upon specific varieties and rarity.
Want to know where Bristlenose Plecos are for sale? check down below for a recommended vendor to buy your next Pleco!