One of the most efficient algae eaters is bristleonose pleco and they are a great addition to a community tank.

Why need a beginner’s guide for bristlenose pleco fish? Bristlenose fish is the ideal fish to be kept in community tanks and it is important to know how to upkeep them. This beginner’s guide has precise information about bristlenose pleco.

Bristlenose Pleco – Overview

Common NameBristlenose, Bushy Nose Pleco, Bristlenose Catfish
Scientific NameAncistrus
Habitat or OriginThey are natives of South America and Panama.
Average SizeMale fish grow up to 5 inches and the female grows up to 4.5 inches, which is slightly smaller than the male
ColorationThey are generally in dark brown and green with white or yellow spots
Life SpanThey are one of the smallest pleco fishes and their life span is between 4 to 5 years
DietThey are omnivorous. In the wild, they feed on algae, and in-home aquarium they can be fed on anything which is almost green(Cucumber, Lettuce) at a home aquarium.
Gender IdentificationMales have tentacles on their forehead and females have smaller tentacles in their snout area.
BehaviorEven though they are carnivorous, they love peace. But keep in mind they are territorial
CompatibilityCompatible with other algae eaters, neon tetras, and any other peaceful fishes. The only pleco fish which can be kept with the king of the aquarium (Discus Fish)
Ideal Tank ConditionsThey are bottom dwellers, even a shallow tank would be absolutely fine for them.Recommended fish tank size is 40 to 50 Gallon
Water ParametersNot very keen on water parameters, they love fast-moving waters. Fast flowing water with a Ph level of 6.5 to 7.8 and the ideal temperature of the water is between 70 to 80 Degree Fahrenheit or 20 to 27 degree centigrade
BreedingIt is pretty easy to bristlenose plecos in a home aquarium, once the male reaches the adult size they would start setting up a territory that is ideal for laying eggs and they would wait for the female to enter the territory to lay eggs. Mostly the territory would be closed spaces(PVC Pipes, Pleco Caves, etc.)As soon as the eggs are laid within 5 days the fries would be out and their first food would be their egg yolks and in a couple of days, they would start eating algae.
Common DiseasesIch and Fish Fungus is the most common disease in bristol nose pleco and this could be avoided by maintaining the right water parameters, using the right medicine
Approximate Cost1-inch Bristlenose would cost around 10 USD and a fully grown adult would be around 70 USD. In Asia, it is available at 1/2 the price of the USA
What to look when buyingCarefully examine for any infections and wounds.
Species in the MarketThe most popular varieties of bristol nose pleco are Albino Bristlenose Pleco, Longfin Bristlenose Pleco, Super Red Bristlenose Pleco, Starlight Bristlenose Pleco, Calico Bristlenose Pleco

Different types of Bristlenose Pleco


Trajano, E. (2001). “Habitat and Population Data of Troglobitic Armored Cave Catfish, Ancistrus cryptophthalmus Reis, 1987, from Central Brazil (Siluriformes: Loricariidae)”. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 62 (1): 195–200. doi:10.1023/A:1011884829498.

Froese, Rainer, and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2016). Species of Ancistrus in FishBase. January 2016 version.

Taphorn, D.C., Armbruster, J.W., Villa-Navarro, F. & Ray, K. (2013): Trans-AndeanAncistrus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae).

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