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Medusa pleco - Ancistrus ranunculus

Medusa pleco - Ancistrus ranunculus

Scientific name: Ancistrus ranunculus

Common name: Medusa pleco

Family: Loricariidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 11 - 14 cm (4.33 - 5.51 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.5 - 7.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 7 - 22°N (125 - 392.86ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 24 - 28 °C (75.2 - 82.4°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


South America; Medusa pleco’s are to be found in the Rio Xingu and Tocantins.


The expected life span for Ancistrus ranunculus is 5-8 years.

Short description

Always add bogwood to the tank as they will gnaw on this to aid their digestion. Ancistrus ranunculus are classed as a peaceful species but can be territorial with other bottom dwellers. Add rocks or wood to the tank to create hiding places.

In the wild they inhabit flowing waterways so this should be replicated in the aquarium by providing a current, this can be provided by careful placement of the outlet nozzles from the filter or even some small powerheads. They also require well oxygenated water so if the outlet nozzle is pointed towards the water surface this will increase the rate of gaseous exchange.

As mentioned they are classed as a peaceful species but make sure that they have room to create their own territories, if too large a group is housed in the same aquarium, squabbles may occur. It is best to keep a couple of specimens in the display tank to ensure that harmony remains.

Food and feeding

Medusa pleco will accept all foods offered but tend to indulge in a lot more meaty foods than other Ancistrus species. Use a quality flake or sinking pellets for the staple diet. These pleco’s will enjoy treats of blood worms and brine shrimp offered twice a week.


Both sexes will have the customary head bristles but these will be much more pronounced in the male.


At one time there were very few reports with regards to breeding these fish but nowadays successful broods are quite common. The secret is to use a breeding tank that contains slightly acidic water and keep the lighting well dimmed. The use of floating plants will help with this. Add some pcv piping that is only slightly larger in diameter than the parent fish, the male will spread his fins inside the piping to make him secure. The female will lay her eggs in the piping which in turn the male will fertilise. At this point the female plays no further role in parental care as the male will assume all the duties. The eggs will hatch after approximately 5 days but the fry will not emerge from the piping until they are ready and at this stage they can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp.


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Medusa pleco, picture 1 Medusa pleco, picture 2 Medusa pleco, picture 3

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