Friday, June 6, 2008

Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus)

The various types of Pleco fish (AKA sucker mouths, algae eaters) are becoming more popular in the fresh water aquarium hobby. One favorite is the bristlenose (or bushynose) Pleco, part of the genus Ancistrus sp.

They get their common name from the growths that form on the head of mature males. These fish are thought to be the "workers" of the tank, often cleaning a tank full of algae in relatively short time. They are great community fish and don't grow as large as the common pleco, making them perfect for smaller tanks.

They prefer a temperature in the mid to high 70s, which is common of tropical fish. These hardy fish will eat algae, but their diet should be supplemented with algae wafers, sinking pellets, and even fresh lettuce. They'll also eat common flake food, but need to have greens in their diet.

They are peaceful fish, but sometimes can be a bit territorial towards their own kind, or other bottom dwellers. They prefer a PH in the 6.5 - 7.0 range, but are very adaptable to a slightly higher PH. It is also though this species likes to have a bit of wood in their diet, so having a piece of driftwood is beneficial.

No one is exactly sure how many species are in the genus Ancistrus, and even experts have trouble differentiating the species. So most aquarists just stick with the safe name “Ancistrus sp.” when describing the fish that they are keeping.


jan said...

These sound like janitor fish. Good idea.

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