Albino Bristlenose Pleco
The albino Bristlenose pleco is not a species of fish, it is only an albino version of the common Bristlenose pleco. Albinism is a naturally occurring phenomenon in the wild, but since albino fish lack protective camouflage they are normally eaten by predators at a young age. In an aquarium without any predators, the albino Bristlenose pleco can become just as old as the non-albino Bristlenose pleco. A lot of aquarists appreciate albino versions of fish and the albino Bristlenose pleco is therefore highly sought after in the aquarium trade.
Albinism is not only found in fishes, it affects mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds as well. In an albino Bristlenose pleco, the body cannot produce the normal amounts of the pigment melanin.
Geographical distribution, habitat and care
The geographical distribution of albino Bristlenose pleco is the same as for the normal Bristlenose pleco. Finding albino specimens in the wild is very difficult since they are so rare since it is hard for albino specimens to avoid predators. Albino Bristlenose pleco wants the same conditions and care as the normal Bristlenose pleco, i.e. a water temperature of 22-27 degrees C (71-80 degrees F) and a pH-value between 5.8 and 7.0.
The albino Bristlenose pleco should be given the same type of food as your other Bristlenose plecos - algae based foods combined with fresh vegetables and small occasional treats in the form of live or frozen meaty foods. Natural algae growth in the aquarium is also beneficial. Always include bogwood in the set up, since it is important for the intestines.
Aquarium set up and tank mates
As mentioned above, bogwood should always be included in the set up. Good hiding spots are also important. You can for instance combine bogwood with stones and caves. Your albino Bristlenose pleco will not uproot or eat live plants; it will only remove the algae from their leaves and stems.
The albino Bristlenose pleco is a non-aggressive fish that should not be combined with aggressive fish species. Also keep in mind that it is hard for this fish to stay hidden in the aquarium since it lacks camouflaging colouration.
Breeding albino Bristlenose pleco
Albino Bristlenose plecos spawn just like normal Bristlenose plecos. The male fish cares for the eggs by guarding them and fanning fresh water over them. The eggs normally hatch after five days. When fry have consumed their yolk sacs, start feeding them blanched lettuce. Larger fry can be given newly hatched brine shrimp and algae wafers.
According to researchers Marcelo de Brito and Érica Caramaschi, the incidence of albinism can increase when fish eggs are exposed to heavy metals. (Departamento de Ecologica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro .)
What's in a name?
The term albinism comes from the Latin word albus/alba, which means white.
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