View Full Version : Breeding of Plecos (esp. bristlenose and rubber lip)

03-27-2016, 04:37 PM
Greetings. It's been a long time since I've come to this forum as I haven't really kept fish in a few years. I had a 29 and 55 gallon, but then downsized to a smaller place in addition to inheriting a turtle that's now been in the family for about 27-28 years. So I haven't had the room for another tank. However I've recently had a renewed interest as my turtle has now had feeder guppies breeding in his tank for over two years and it got me thinking maybe he'd get along with a pleco. When we first introduced him to the guppies he feasted on about half of them. Since then he hasn't eaten a single one (that I know of) I do know for a fact that the fry have survived to adulthood however, so I doubt he's been eating any of them.

My question here is two fold. First and most importantly, are either the bristlenose or rubber lip Plecos bred here in the US or are they all wild caught? I don't wish to support the export/import wild caught fish. If I remember correctly bristlenose are relatively easy to breed but back 6 years ago when I had a rubber lip I thought they were difficult to breed due to their different habitat requirements. Maybe I'm mistaken? Second, do either fish or both lack spines, or other nasty appendages that could harm a turtle if eaten? If the turtle is too aggressive I'll obviously remove the pleco to another home, but just in case I don't catch it in the act I'd like to make sure my elderly turtle doesn't bite the dust from anything other than old age.

Oh, an important piece of information might be the type of turtle, it's a very small male northeastern painted turtle. His growth must have been stunted because he's pitifully small. And he's in one of those 40 gallon breeder tanks with the cutout side for a hang on back filter. The current filter situation is an external fluval 205, hob AC 70 and a fully submerged fluval filter. So I'm not too worried about filtering, but turtle are insanity Dirty creatures.

My other thought if it doesn't work out is to custom build a tank specifically for rubber lip Plecos that imitates there fast flowing stream environment. Maybe building a long relatively narrow, fast flowing tank that can fit in my small place.

Thoughts? Or am I crazy? [emoji4]

03-27-2016, 04:52 PM
Most common bristlenose plecos and rubber lip plecos are bred. This is why they are so cheap.

There's a common misconception that all wild caught fish are bad because we are removing fish from the wild and ruining the environment. This is not entirely true. Each species is different. For instance, wild caught cardinals die by the thousands during the dry season. Using responsible fishing, which is what is being done in South America, does very little to impact the population of cardinals. The people who live there recognize that they cannot overfish a resource if they hope to make a living for the rest of their lives. So catching wild caught cardinals has very little impact to the environment, since a large portion of them will just die. The people who fish for cardinals can only fish for them during the dry season anyway when the tide is low.

I would not mix any reptilian with fish. The reptiles just poop way too much that you would need to do water changes everyday, especially in a tank as small as a 40b.

03-27-2016, 05:38 PM
Thanks for the advice. I may be making plans for another tank then.

While I recognize that not all wild caught animals are collected in an irresponsible/unsustainable manner I'm just personally against doing so for the pet trade. Without getting into a lengthy reply, my stance is it's clearly a problem with certain species (there's no denying that some highly sought after animals are also endangered or threatened) so I prefer not to support it at all. Like the "a few bad apples will spoil the bunch" proverb. I know I'm hypocritical about some things (nobodies perfect), but I do my best not to be, and that's one topic I try to take seriously.

That being said I'm fully aware there are sustainable fisheries in the world and it's more sustainable than farm raising fish. Just as there is sustainable forestry. I just feel it's easier to regulate those things than the import/export of wild animals (easier in the US anyway, certainly not globally). Just my personal feelings/opinion on the matter.

03-27-2016, 06:19 PM
I doubt rubberlips are often bred in captivity.

03-27-2016, 06:52 PM
That's what I thought. I remember reading back in '09-'10, when my tank was set up that captive breeding hadn't been successful. But I couldn't find any newer info. on whether or not things had changed.

03-27-2016, 11:09 PM
Actually, it depends on the species of BN that you're talking about. There are dozens of different Ancistrus, some of which are very seldom bred in captivity. The most commonly available and lowest priced variety have been bred in aquariums for decades, and no one is even sure where they originated. The common brown, albino, calico, green dragon, and super red (as well as the various long fin strains of each) are all selectively bred from the common aquarium BN. The so-called blue eyed albino are a different species but also tank-bred stock through multiple generations now. Rubber lips have been bred in aquariums, but not in any quantity. You may be able to find tank-raised stock online, but the typical lfs stock is imported.

03-28-2016, 07:55 AM

My blue eyed BN Alison.
Labeled as L144, which in fact not what they are (different strain) They aren't albino as well btw.