Scientific Name:
Ancistrus sp. (3)


Range:
South America: the exact range in the wild is impossible to determine, because this species was first imported many decades ago, and the vast majority of Bristlenose Pleco's available nowadays are captive-bred. New wild-caught imports are extremely rare.
Given this species' rather poor tolerance towards higher water temperatures (28-30 °C and up), which allows us to rule out the Amazon river and its southern tributaries, it can be assumed that the Common Bristlenose Pleco is native to more southern region, such as Argentina and south-eastern Brazil.


Maximum size:
15cm. (6").


Aquarium:
An aquarium of 24" (60cm.) in length is sufficient to provide this bottom-dwelling fish enough space. A densely planted and decorated tank with dimmed lights is preferred, so the fish can hide and establish territories. The Bristlenose Pleco an be kept in groups without problems, but then a larger tank is needed (40"/100cm. for 3-4 adults).
Optimal conditions are soft, slightly acidic water, achievable by filtering over peat or by the use of Black Water Extract, altough this strong and adaptable catfish usually does fine and may even reproduce in harder, more alkaline water as well (although it has to be kept in mind that these conditions are far for ideal!)


Temperature:
15°C 22-28°C 35°C


pH:
5.0 6.0-8.0 9.0
 Ideal conditions
 Suitable conditions
 Unsuitable conditions


Diet:
The Common Bristlenose Pleco will accept all sorts of food items, ranging from vegetable matter (lettuce, cucumber, courgette/zucchini, aubergine/eggplant, carrots, paprika/capsicum/sweet peppers, peas, yams, potatoes), to dry foods (algae wafers, sinking pellets, granules), as well as more meaty foods such as frozen blood worms, mosquito larvae, artemia, krill, tubifex etc., and fresh foods like prawns and shrimp. Additionally, this species is an excellent algae-remover and 'thrash can' (cleaning up food leftovers of other fish), but unfortunately it will occasionally also feast on aquatic plants.


Temperament:
When cramped for space and without enough hiding places, hostilities can break out, resulting in - sometimes severe - injuries. Despite that, the Bristlenose Pleco can be kept in a small group as well as solitarily. Because of its relatively small maximum size, a small tank is sufficient for a small group of these fish: a tank with a surface area of 100x40cm. (40x16") is enough to house a (breeding) group of 3-4 adult specimen, if aquascaped properly (ie. at least one suitable hiding place for each fish). The division of sexes is ideal with one male for every 2-3 females, as males tend to be more territorial and aggressive than females.
These fish prefer warm, fast-flowing water that is very oxygen-rich. This can be accomplished with a powerhead or filter with diffusor unit, or a filter outlet positioned in such a way that it keeps the water surface in motion (which enhances the gas exhance at the surface).




Common Bristlenose Pleco
Adult female
Picture taken in AmeriCasa Amazon exhibit,
Dierenpark Emmen zoo, Emmen, The Netherlands




Common Bristlenose Pleco
Subadult male




Common Bristlenose Pleco
Subadult male




Common Bristlenose Pleco
Subadult male




Common Bristlenose Pleco
Juvenile




Common Bristlenose Pleco
Juvenile




Common Bristlenose Pleco
Juvenile




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