Bushy Nose Pleco - Raising Tips, Diet, Behaviour and other details & Forum
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This page explains how to care for Bushy Nose Pleco properly; With description of all aspects including diet, sexing and breeding. You're welcome to submit questions or experiences at the bottom of this page!
The Bushy Nose Pleco is a peaceful species that is popular among hobby aquarists. The common name “Bushy Nose” was developed because of the fleshy bristles that stick out of the male’s nose like branches from a tree. Females tend to have virtually no bristles at all. At times a male’s bristles can be small and barely noticeable but there are certain times of the year when the same fish’s nose bristles will be very long and bushy. The reason for the periodic change is yet to be explained but there are theories that it has something to do with their reproductive season. Other common names for this fish are Bushy Nose Catfish, Bristle Nose Catfish, and Bristle Nose Pleco.
Bushy Nose Plecos are members of the Loricariidae family of the Ancistrus genus. There are many different varieties of this species but it is hard to tell the difference between them all.
As mentioned, this pleco gets its common name because of the fleshy bristles that extend out from the males’ noses. These algae suckers have flat undersides and disc shaped mouths that are perfect for suction feeding while their teeth are used for scraping.
An adult Bushy nose may grow to be no longer than 5 inches in length which is perfect for an aquarium that is 20 gallons or more. A pleco’s fins are designed to be able to lock at an extended position as a defense mechanism. Extended fins cause them to get stuck in the predator’s throat making it very hard to swallow. Predators can choke to death if they are unfortunate enough to get one of these plecos lodged in its throat. Thick, armor like scales are also used as a defense mechanism, making it hard for predators to eat them.
The Bushy Nose Pleco is typically grayish-brown or dark black in color with lighter gray splotches here and there. An Ancistrus species may or may not have spots or wavy lines or both exhibited on their bodies and fins. These markings usually fade; if not completely disappear with age. It varies for each individual fish.
There are an albino and leucistic (semi-albino) variety of the Bushy Nose Pleco which occurs in both wild and captive breeding. These are extremely light in color; virtually white Bushy Nose Plecos and they are easily spotted by predators making them easier targets in the wild compared to the brown variety.
Ancistrus plecos are very peaceful fish. They can exist with species of both an aggressive and non-aggressive nature. The exception is that mature plecos do not tolerate other mature plecos in their territory. They tend not to get along with anything that looks like them no matter what variety of pleco it is. A male and a female will get along peacefully as long as they are in the courting and breeding phase but otherwise they show aggression toward one another.
Bushy Nose Plecos are considered to be omnivorous due to the fact that they are far from picky eaters. Even still, they tend to lean more toward herbivorous tendencies, eating things such as algae, wood, and other veggies. This species will clean scraps of food from the bottom of the fish tank whether it is green or meaty which is why they are classified as omnivorous. When keeping a pleco in your aquarium, be sure to include a decorative log for both a place to hide as well as a source of food. Wood makes up a very important part of their diet because it aids in digestion. Plecos shave little bits of wood to ingest only when they need it so you will not need worry about a whole log disappearing overnight. Provide a variety of different vegetables including peas, lettuce and zucchini. Algae wafers and spirulina tablets will also provide a good source of nutrition for a Bushy Nose Pleco. Too much protein can be harmful to the digestive health of a pleco.
Another trait that makes Bushy Nose Plecos so great for community aquariums is they are not all that particular about the water conditions. They can survive in a wide range of conditions to suit the needs of their tank mates. The water temperature can be as low as 69°F and as high as 82°F. The optimal water hardness range lies somewhere between 4.0 and 18.0 dGH, while the proper pH levels lie between 6.0 and 7.3. It is a good idea to use good filtration, plenty of oxygen, and fresh flowing water to provide an environment that mimics their natural habitat. Plecos are not super sensitive to saline so low levels may be added to the aquarium water if it is appropriate for the rest of the tank community. If you are planning to breed a pair of Bushy Nose Plecos it is very important to pay attention to water levels because poor water conditions may hold back their tendency to spawn.
The Bushy Nose Catfish comes from South America. They are endemic to the Amazon River Basin of Guiana, Suriname and Peru. Because they are highly adaptable to different water conditions they have been found to live in a large spread area of waters.
Bushy Nose Plecos are bottom feeders that live among caves in rocky or muddy river banks. They can live among planted areas without disturbing the vegetation if there are sufficient amounts of algae present. Rocks and driftwood are often found in their natural environment. They cling to both if strong currents are present.
It is fairly easy to tell the difference between males and females when a male’s bristles are large and full. However, at different times of the year when the males have small and fewer bristles, it is hard to tell if they are male or female because some females may possess a few tiny, fleshy growths as well. If a mature Bushy Nose has no growths it would be pretty safe to say it is female. As previously mentioned, there is no conclusive information on the reason why a male’s bristles will fluctuate in thickness and size.
This family of plecos is popular among aquarists who are looking to breed plecos. They are one of the few plecos that have been successfully bred in captivity. In order for breeding to take place the water conditions have to be within optimal parameters. Breeding is often initiated just after a water change which is associated with the natural rainy season. Anywhere from 40 to 150 eggs are produced by the female who plays no further role in parenting from here on. The eggs are usually laid on the inside of a cave or flower pot, depending on what is available. The male will fertilize the eggs and protect them while fanning them with his caudal fin. It takes 4 to 5 days for the eggs to hatch and an additional 5 days for their yolk sacs to be absorbed. At this time the fry can be a fed a combination of newly hatched brine shrimp and veggie based fry foods. This will provide plenty of nutrients for rapid growth.
- Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine
- Aquarium Fishes of the World by Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod, Dr. Warren E. Burgess, Neal Pronek, Glen S. Axelrod, David E. Boruchowitz
- Focus on Freshwater Aquarium Fish by Geoff Rogers and Nick Fletcher