Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus sp.) is a member of the Loricariidae family of South American suckermouth catfishes

Bristlenose Pleco
photo credit: Aquatic Arts

The Bushynose or Bushymouth Pleco (Ancistrus dolichopterus), also known as the Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus dolichopterus), is a South American suckermouth catfish of the Loricariidae family. Even though it is difficult to breed many suckermouth catfish in aquariums, the Bristlenose pleco is one of the most frequently bred "pleco" species in the hobby, and many popular color morphs have already been developed. When this fish reaches the age of subadulthood, it begins to grow a large number of bristle-like appendages on its face. Males' appendages grow larger and longer than those of the females.

The Bristlenose Pleco is an excellent choice for most aquariums because it is a generally peaceful and hardy species. Bristlenose Plecos are much smaller than the more common Common Plecos (Hypostomus plecostomus) and Trinidad Plecos (Hypostomus punctatus), which can easily reach enormous sizes of 18 to 20 inches (45 to 51 centimeters) (10 to 13 centimeters). Because of its smaller size, the pleco can survive and thrive in an aquarium as small as 30 to 40 gallons with proper care. When it comes to male plecos, territorial disputes can be avoided by providing each fish with a large amount of space and hiding places. The Bristlenose Pleco is not particularly interested in its other tankmates, though it is possible that small shrimp fry will be eaten by it. Bristlenose Plecos, on the other hand, are raised in the same pools where shrimp are.

In an aquarium with a lot of driftwood, rockwork, and other hiding places, the Bristlenose Pleco is more likely to be active during the day. However, while it is not known to consume large amounts of wood like some plecos (Panaque speciosum, etc.), supplemental wood may be beneficial to it in some cases (or bio-film on driftwood). If you have a lot of algae in your aquarium, the Bristlenose Pleco is a good choice for you. Vegetable matter, such as high-quality vegetable flakes, sinking algae wafers and pellets, should be the primary source of food for the Bristlenose Pleco. Shelled peas, spinach, zucchini, and cucumber are just some of the fresh vegetables it will enjoy. When fed in moderation, meaty treats like bloodworms can be beneficial as well. Too much meat/animal protein in this fish's diet can be harmful to both the fish and the aquarium's cleanliness.

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