Cookies seem to be disabled in your browser, therefore this website will NOT work properly! Please, consider enabling Cookies in order to maximise your user experience while browsing.
Recent discussions at Aqua-Fish+
  1. PondSealer at Maintainging a garden fish pond tasks on
  2. TheFishWorks at A guide on growing aquarium plants with FAQ, forum and species on …display more of the recent discussions
  3. Salviashaman at A guide on caring for Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus) on
  4. Salviashaman at A guide on setting a South American blackwater stream biotope aquarium on
  5. Figureguy at Chemistry of Aquarium Water with FAQ on
  6. Jackson20 at A guide on feeding aquarium fish frozen foods on
  7. Senator Wisdom at Bloodfin tetra (Aphyocharax alburnus) on
  8. CayceR at A page and forum devoted to keeping Blood parrot cichlids on
  9. Ness at A guide on raising African Dwarf Frogs with pictures and forum on
  10. Terry Mitchell at A guide on breeding, feeding and caring for L333 Pleco on
Bristlenose catfish - Ancistrus cirrhosus

Bristlenose catfish - Ancistrus cirrhosus

Scientific name: Ancistrus cirrhosus

Common name: Bristlenose catfish

Family: Loricariidae

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

Tank requirements

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.

Tank mates

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

Did you know?

Please, verify whether your login and password are valid. If you don't have an account here, register one free of charge, please. Click here to close this box.

You have been logged out successfully! This box will close automatically!

Something went wrong during processing your message, please try again!

Your message has been sent, thanks a lot!

Page has been saved, refresh it now, please!

The page has been created, you will now be redirected!

URL already exists!

Path to the photo is not unique!

Really delete this page from the database?

The page has been removed successfully, you will be redirected now!

The page couldn't be deleted!!

Unfortunately this page doesn't allow discussion. Please, find any other page that fits your area of interest as over 99% of our pages allow discussion. The reason why no discussion is allowed here is this page is too general. Thanks a lot for understanding! Click here to search, please!

Really delete this comment from the site?

Really delete this image from the site?

Really delete this image from the site?

Selected comment has been removed successfully!

Selected image has been removed successfully!

Either login or email address is required

Account has been recovered, please check your email for further instructions