Bristlenose Catfish – Size | Eggs | Breeding | Food | Care

bristlenose catfish
(Last Updated On: April 14, 2021)

Bristlenose catfish belong to the genus Ancistrus which is a nocturnal freshwater fish within the family Loricariidae of order Siluriformes, native to freshwater habitats in South America and Panama.

This article will give a description of Bristlenose catfish size, eggs, breeding, for sale, food, lifespan, tank size, care, babies, and fighting

Bristlenose catfish features

Fish of this genus are frequent within the aquarium commerce the place they’re often called bushy nose or bristlenose catfish.

Within the aquarium interest, they’re sometimes called bushynose or bristlenose plecos instead, however, this will likely result in confusion as “pleco” normally is used for Hypostomus plecostomus and its allies and is usually used as a catchall time period for any loricariids remotely resembling that species.

Bristlenose catfish Description

Ancistrus species present all the standard options of the Loricariidae. This features a physique coated in bony plates and a ventral suckermouth.

The function mostly related to the genus is the fleshy tentacles discovered on the top in grownup males; females might possess tentacles alongside the snout margin however they’re smaller and so they lack tentacles on the top.

Tentacules, tentacles instantly related to odontodes, develop on the pectoral fin backbone of the males of some species.

Males even have eversible cheek odontodes that are much less developed or absent in females. In addition, they lack odontodes alongside the snout.

As compared with a typical loricariid (pleco), a bristlenose is usually shorter (4–6 inches or 15 cm or much less), extra flattened, and fatter with a relatively wider head. Coloration is usually mottled brown, gray, or black. Small white or yellow spots are frequent.

In distinction to many different loricariid ‘plecos’ (lots of which usually exceed a foot in captivity), the bristlenose plecos don’t normally exceed six inches in size; they’ll thus be saved in comparatively small tanks, contributing to their recognition within the aquarium interest.

Ancistrus species are uncommon amongst vertebrates in possessing an X0 sex-determination system, which is the prevailing technique in lots of lineages of arthropod however may be very uncommon elsewhere within the animal kingdom.

Bristlenose catfish

Bristlenose catfish Distribution and habitat

Ancistrus is likely one of the widest-ranging Loricariid genera, and representatives are present in most areas the place the household basically is current.

Many species are discovered within the rivers and floodplain areas of the Amazon basin, however, there are additional species elsewhere in tropical South America, in addition to two species, A. centrolepis and A. chagresi in Panama.

Three species are true cavefish (troglobites): A. cryptophthalmus, A. galani and A. formoso. These are the recognized loricariids that possess adaptions for a subterranean lifestyle, comparable to lowered pigmentation (showing general whitish) and eyes.

Bristlenose Catfish Ancistrus cirrhosus (beforehand Hypostomus cirrhosus) was first described by Valenciennes in 1836. They’re present in tributaries of the Amazon River in South America, particularly the Paraná River basin.

Different frequent names they’re recognized by embrace Bristlenose Pleco, Bushynose Catfish, Jumbie teta, Bristle-nose Catfish, Bristle Nostril Pleco, Bristle Nosed Pleco, Bristle Nostril Plecostomus, and Bushy Nostril Catfish.

What’s the Finest Aquarium dimension to your Bristlenose Catfish?

Due to their dimension, Bristlenose’s want a minimal aquarium dimension of 20-30 gallons.

Be warned, they’re recognized to supply a considerable amount of waste as a result of the number of meals they devour.

Preserve this in thoughts when selecting your tank dimension. If it’s in a group tank, you’ll be higher off going with a bigger tank, not solely to make the sure area, however, so that you don’t threaten to have an excessive amount of extra waste.

The Ancistrus is the biggest genus inside the tribe Ancistrini and it at present has 64 acknowledged species.

Different frequent names shared with all of the species of this genus are Armor-Plated Catfish, Armor Catfish, Ancistrus Catfish, and Sucker-mouth Catfish.

This species isn’t listed on the IUCN Purple Checklist of Endangered Species. With this and another catfish take nice warning to not enable them to flee into the wild apart from their native habitat.

Although they’re small and seemingly innocent they’ll severely disrupt international ecosystems.

The setting they inhabit ranges from quick-flowing waters with a gravel substrate to very turbid standing waters with clay on the underside.

Throughout the moist season, they are often present in flooded forests. Their pure weight-reduction plan consists of algae and aufwuchs (microscopic meals).

When they don’t seem to be feeding these fish usually disguise and don’t college as some catfish do.

The adults take pleasure in deeper darker areas and the younger are normally present in shallow vibrant areas.

Bristlenose catfish Reproduction

Most males of the ancistrus species have extra and longer tentacles than the females, which is very true of the A. hoplygenys. On the A. cirrhosis the male has an antler-like bump on its brow whereas the feminine has a row of quick tentacles.

The A. hoplygenys male is bigger with barbs, whereas the feminine is smaller however without barbs.

Bristlenose catfish


The Bristlenose Catfish is comparatively simple to breed. However, the breeding of this species does happen principally within the winter months.

That is Amazon’s wet season when there may be an inflow of cooler water. They’ll breed of their regular tank or you possibly can arrange a breeding tank in the identical method as their regular habitat.

To set off the breeding habits, within the late fall carry out a 75% water change with cool water, simulating the inflow of colder water the wet season brings in nature.

One aquarist reportedly bred this catfish in water as chilly as 64.4° F (18° C), although he stated they did not actually like water that chilly.

A breeding tank could be 10 to 20 gallons or extra with loads of caves and driftwood. A mature male must have loads of room to assert a territory that’s most fitted for spawning. The beneficial water situations are barely acidic with a 6.5 – pH and 5 – 10° dGH.

The male normally cleans his chosen spawn website after which will draw the feminine over to examine the realm.

The courtship show includes the male extending his dorsal and caudal fins. He’ll try to entice the feminine to his nest after which preserve in shut contact. The feminine can lay between 20 – 200 adhesive eggs.

The eggs will normally be deposited in clusters within the hollows of a chunk of driftwood or roots. As soon as the eggs are laid, the feminine takes no half in caring for both the eggs or the younger.

The male nevertheless, may be very devoted and can guard the nest for in regards to the subsequent 7 to 10 days.

He’ll clear the nest and the eggs, take away any unhealthy eggs, and aerate the eggs by fanning them together with his fins. He normally will not even go away to the nest to feed, or if he does it is a very fast journey.

The eggs will hatch in 4 – 10 days, at which era the younger will connect themselves to flat surfaces like the edges of the aquarium till their yolk sacs are absorbed, taking about 2 – Four extra days. After that, the free-swimming will start to feed on algae if accessible.

At the moment you possibly can feed them pulverized inexperienced flake meals, mashed and peeled peas, or different child meals.

bristlenose catfish

Bristlenose catfish Ecology

Albino bristlenose catfish are frequent within the aquarium commerce and shouldn’t be confused with the superficially comparable cave-dwelling species within the genus

The weight-reduction plan of this genus is typical for a Loricariid – algae, and aufwuchs. Bristlenoses don’t college, however, disguise when not feeding, juveniles nevertheless are sometimes present in brightly lit shallows on the water margin making them vulnerable to predation by birds.

Ancistrus species have the aptitude of acquiring oxygen via their modified abdomen. This enables them to outlive in situations with low oxygen ranges.

Breeding takes place in hollows, caves, and dirt holes in banks. Males might clear the within of the cavity with their suckermouth earlier than permitting the feminine to strategy and examine the nest.

Courtship consists of increasing the dorsal and caudal fins and makes an attempt by the male to escort the feminine to the nest.

Whereas the feminine inspects the nest, the male retains shut contact. The feminine might lay 20–200 adhesive eggs, normally to the ceiling of the cavity.

The feminine performs no function in parental care; the male takes care of his younger. Males will clear the eggs and the cavity with their fins and mouth.

Males examine eggs to take away diseased or infertile eggs and aerates the clutch by fanning them with its pectoral and pelvic fins.

Throughout this time, a male normally won’t go away from the cavity to feed or will go away solely sometimes and rapidly return.

The eggs hatch in 4–10 days over an interval of two–6 hours; the male guards the eggs for 7–10 days after hatching.

The fry stays within the cave, attaching to the partitions and ceiling with their mouths, absorbing their yolk sac in 2–Four days, and changing into free-swimming.

Males of those species are aggressive and territorial. Males show to one another by positioning themselves parallel to one another, head to tail, with dorsal and caudal fins erect and cheek odontode spines everted.

If this escalates to fight, the males will circle one another and direct assaults on the head.

If an intruding male manages to evict one other male from the nest, it might cannibalize the opposite male’s younger.

A male bristlenose might guard a number of clutches of eggs concurrently. Females favor males which are already defending eggs and will favor males which are defending larvae; it has been steered that the tentacles might act as a fry mimic to draw females, which might enable males without eggs of their nest to compete with males guarding eggs.

A number of clutches in varied states of growth from eggs to free-swimming larvae could be present in one nest.


It’s nearly alien with the bristles on the snout, however, at a similar time, this weird look makes them fascinating to many.

They’re recognized by a number of different frequent names together with Bristlenose Pleco, Bushynose Catfish, Jumbie teta.

Not solely are they a fascinating sight to behold, however, this catfish will also be used efficiently to assist rid the aquarium of drawback algae.

As herbivores, they eat algae from all surfaces within the aquarium by rasping it with their mouth.

Preserving some wooden within the tank, like bogwood, mopani, or driftwood, not solely mimics their pure habitat but in addition, gives an ideal place for this catfish to feed. Wooden decorations are a good way of sustaining a relentless pure meal supply for the fish.

The Ancistrus is the biggest group inside the tribe Ancistrini and it at present has 64 acknowledged species.

This fish, in addition to its shut cousin the Temminck’s Bristlenose A. temminckii are the 2 mostly seen within the interest.

Nonetheless, others just like the Bushymouth Catfish A. dolichopterus, Snowflake Bristlenose or Pearl Sucker A. hopolgenys, and the Medusa Pleco A. ranunclus have gotten extra accessible.

They’re much smaller than their cousin the Pleco or Plecostomus Hypostomus plecostomus which has been the mainstay of algae consuming aquarium fish for many years.

As a result of they’re smaller, the Bristlenose are higher suited to smaller aquariums. Lately, most of these catfish have grown to be extra fashionable particularly since they’re simple to breed.

This catfish reaches solely about three half inches (8.9 cm) in size, so it could be saved in an aquarium of 10 gallons or extra.

Coming from quick-flowing tributaries of the Amazon river, Ancistrus species favor nicely oxygenated water with gradual to average water circulate. Sometimes this fish will dart to the floor to swallow air.

In the event that they do that continuously nevertheless, it is a sign that there’s not sufficient oxygen or the presence of ammonia/nitrite within the water.

The Ancistrus Catfish favor a darker aquarium with items of wood or roots to kind caves and hiding locations.

It additionally helps present some pure algae progress for these fish to feed upon. They’re nocturnal and so favor feeding in the evening. Add some Moonlight LEDs for the finest evening viewing.

Bristlenose catfish Aquarium Care

These are hardy fish offered the tank is maintained. Aquariums are closed techniques and regardless of a dimension all want some upkeep.

Over time decomposing natural matter, nitrates, and phosphate construct up and the water hardness will increase attributable to evaporation.

Water modifications are vital to maintaining this fish comfortably, about 25% of the tank water must be changed each different week.

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Bristlenose catfish Breed Overview

Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Suitable for Nano Tanks: Yes
Substrate Type: Any
Lighting Needs: Natural Day & Night
Temperature: 73.0 to 81.0° F (22.8 to 27.2° C)
pH Range: 5.8-7.5
Water Hardness Range: 2 – 20 dGH
Brackish: No
Water Movement: Moderate to strong water movement
Tank Region: Bottom

Take care when doing water modifications as these fish do have inflexible cheek spines (odontodes) which they’ll stiffen once they grow to be anxious or aggressive.

Additionally, take care when netting as each the cheek spines and the ‘hooked’ tentacles on their heads and mouths can grow to be entangled.

Water Adjustments: Bi-weekly – Water modifications of 25% each different week are beneficial.

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