Bushy Nose Pleco
 Bushy Nose Pleco

Bushy Nose Pleco

If you are offered a bushy nose pleco, it is most likely a species from the genus Ancistrus. Many different common names are used for the popular Ancistrus, which of course can cause quite a lot of confusion. You might for instance see the names Bushy nose catfish, Bristlenose catfish, Bristlenose plec and Bushynose pleco. Ancistrus is a genus in the family Loricariidae and the biggest genus within the tribe Ancistrini. It currently contains roughly 60 described species.

Members of the genus Ancistrus have been extensively bred in captivity for the aquarium trade and it is today often difficult to identify exact species since many breeders lack information about the original locality from which the wild ancestors of their fish where taken. The aquarium hobby has also produced quite a lot of hybrids and man-made varieties such as veiltails and piebalds. Albino varieties of Ancistrus catfish is a naturally occurring phenomenon in the wild, but albinos are much more common in aquariums since they tend to fall prey to predators at an early age in the wild due to the lack of camouflaging colors.

In the genus Ancistrus, mature males develop bushy fleshy growths on the snout and this is why Ancitrus sp. are commonly referred to as Bushy nose plecos. Sometimes this form of soft tentacles can be seen on the females as well. Ancistrus catfish can reach a length of 12.5 cm (almost 4 inches).

Geographical distribution, habitat and care

Ancistrus is one of the most widespread genera of the family Loricariidae and you can find ancistrus catfish in large parts of South America . A majority of the species lives in rivers and floodplains in the Amazon region, but some species have adapted to a life in caves. The water should be acidic or at least neutral in the aquarium when you keep Bushy nose pleco, from pH 5.8 to 7.0. The water temperature should be kept in the 22-27 degrees C (71-80 degrees F) range.

The Bushy nose pleco is an omnivore species, but the bulk of its diet should always consist of vegetable matter. If kept on a diet high in protein and low in fibers, the Bushy nose pleco can fall ill since its intestines and metabolism are not adapted to such a diet. Only give your Bushy nose pleco occasional treats in the form of live or frozen meaty foods. Always include bogwood in the set up since the Bushy nose pleco needs bogwood to chew on, and supplement with plenty of fresh vegetables and algae based prepared foods.

Aquarium set up and tank mates

Bushy Nose Pleco
Bushy Nose Pleco
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The Bushy nose pleco is known to appreciate aquariums with a strong current and high levels of oxygen. Create a lot of suitable hiding spots, e.g. by using bogwood and stones. Unlike many other catfish species, the Bushy nose pleco is actually a good addition to a planted aquarium because it will not uproot or eat the plants; only gently rid them of algae.

The Bushy nose pleco is a non-aggressive fish that can be kept in friendly community aquariums.

Breeding Bushy nose pleco

Females sometimes develop head tentacles just like the males, but the head tentacles are normally much more pronounced in the males and most females lack head tentacles altogether.

If you want to try breeding catfish, the genus Ancistrus is a good place to start since breeding Ancistrus is comparatively easy. In the wild, Bushy nose plecos tend to breed when the rainy seasons starts after the dry season, since this is beneficial for the offspring. If your Bushy nose plecos are reluctant to spawn you can therefore try to mimic a dry season and the onset of the rainy season in the aquarium.

The Bushy nose pleco produces yellow or orange eggs that are guarded and cared for by the male. The male will prevent fungi attacks by fanning fresh water over the eggs and should therefore never be removed from the eggs. The eggs normally darken and hatch after roughly five days. The young fry stay close to the spawning site and are guarded by their father. When the yolk sac has been consumed, start feeding with blanched lettuce. Older fry can eat newly hatched brine shrimp and algae wafers. Ancistrus fry are sensitive to organic waste, so frequent water changes are of vital importance.

What's in a name?

Ancistrus catfish have hooked interopercular odontodes and have therefore been given the name Ancistrus. The name Ancistrus is derived from the Greek word agkistron , which means hook.

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