Bristlenose catfish - Ancistrus cirrhosus
Scientific name: Ancistrus cirrhosus
Common name: Bristlenose catfish
Usual size in fish tanks: 11 - 15 cm (4.33 - 5.91 inch)
Recommended pH range for the species: 5.8 - 7.6
Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 18°N (71.43 - 321.43ppm)
0°C 32°F30°C 86°F
Recommended temperature: 22 - 26 °C (71.6 - 78.8°F)
The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning
Where the species comes from: South America
Temperament to its own species: peaceful
Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful
Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels
Unlike their common and sailfin cousins, Bristlenose plecos stay relatively small and will do well in a normal home aquarium. Although some sources note tanks of 15 gallons (54L) as suitable for a bristlenose, most aquarists will agree it’s best to go for at least 20 gallons (75L). The aquarium should always be cycled before the pleco is introduced, and to mimic the natural fast-flowing environment an air stone may be added for extra oxygenation. Plenty of dark places are definitely appreciated by these catfish, as they are nocturnal and spend a portion of the day hiding. Be sure to use a soft gravel or sand substrate: Bristlenoses tend to rest on or dig into the substrate, which makes sharper stones a less than ideal choice.
Bristlenose plecos are a peaceful catfish variety and they should do well in a community aquarium with similarly peaceful fish that also prefer softer, more acidic water. Corydoras catfish, peaceful cichlid species and schooling fish such as tetras make a good choice.
Although bristlenose plecos are often sold as algae eaters, they’re not always fantastic at their job and most of the algae cleaning is still up to you. Like all other “algae eaters”, these fish can’t live exclusively off algae and you have to provide them with additional foods.
Feed your bristlenose catfish once or twice a day, this can be done when you feed the rest of your community tank. Just keep an eye on the fish to make sure the bristlenose gets enough food; they are bottom feeders so if all food is gone before it reaches the substrate they may not manage to eat anything. Foods like sinking algae/spirulina pellets, bloodworms, mosquito larvae and fresh blanched vegetables (zucchini, cucumber) are much appreciated and form a good diet for your pleco. Properly fed fish are coloured nicely.
To prevent leftover foods polluting the water and your catfish becoming obese, avoid overfeeding. Fat fish have big bellies and tend to move more slowly.
Adult males have whiskers and are larger than females. They will sometimes fight other males, but these fights are not fatal and shouldn’t cause much harm.
Quite easy. Bristlenose plecos spawn in caves, so you’ll need a few of these as well as stable water; neutral or slightly alkaline/harder. Males will claim their caves and defend them until a female approaches to lay eggs. After this, they will continue to guard the eggs until they hatch. Once the fry start swimming they will eat algae and any food that reaches the bottom of the tank.
About 4 - 6 years. Old Bristlenose catfish get slip and hide often.
Video and Credit
Download our video of Bristlenose catfish here! (approximately 7.3 MB, mpeg format, MPEG-1 mpeg type, 640x480px)
This page was updated on 10th January 2016 thanks to Aquariadise.com.