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Age : 67
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Registration date : 2007-12-12

PostSubject: BRISTLENOSE PLECS   Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:16 pm

Written by Diana

Young male without bristles

Diana's Bristlenose plecs enjoying some cucumber. Note bristles growing on larger plec's head.

Type: Tropical Freshwater

Scientific Name: Ancistrus sp.
Maximum Size: 15cm
Minimum Tank Volume: 130L
Minimum Tank Width: 90cm
Water pH: 5.5 - 8.5
Water Temperature: 22-28C

Care Rating: Easy to Moderate

The Bristlenose plec is either cute or just plain ugly - some find it difficult to make up their mind!!

They are shaped rather like an elongated triangle, with their eyes on the top if their heads and the mouth underneath.The mouth is really a flat sucker, and can be clearly seen when this fish attaches itself to the side of your aquarium.

The bristles, which gives the fish its name are noticeable on all males, but less so on the females. The fish develop distinct personalities which make them a very interesting addition to the community aquarium.

Most bristlenoses are brown or black in colour, with a variety of lighter coloured spots in many species. Sometimes it is possible to see a pattern of blotches on a bristlenose which may appear and disappear, but this does not appear to be related to stress.

There are also gold marble ancistrus as well as albino and colour mutation varieties. An attractive long tailed manmade variety is the veiltail bristlenose plec.

The Bristlenose lives mostly on the bottom of the tank and so has certain needs to keep it happy. Firstly the substrate needs to be smooth edged or it will suffer damage to its 'skin' as it shuffles around the bottom of your tank.

They like a cave or cranny and will adopt it as their home. They will not take kindly to their home being moved or invaded by other fish, and will fight with other males if their territory is invaded.

They need a piece of bogwood in the tank, which they will chew on to get the lignin from it which they need to aid their digestion. This is an essential requirement as bristlenose plecs kept in tanks without bogwood have a shorter lifespan.

They do not like bright lighting, and are mostly nocturnal, although some do remain active during the day. The bristlenose likes a tank where there is some water movement and oxygenation.

**They can happily be kept as a single fish but if keeping a pair, they should be kept in a tank no less than 90cm wide if possible**

They are compatible with most fish, but may not be suitable tankmates for bettas which prefer less water movement.

Bristlenose plecs are algae eaters and will eat the algae on your tank surfaces and plants etc. Despite this, their diet does need to be supplemented with other foods to keep them healthy.

They will eat sinking wafers, but also a variety of fresh vegetables which have been blanched and cooled prior to feeding. Peas (need to have the skins removed), cucumber, boiled potato, lettuce, courgette will all be popular additions to their diet, as will the occasional bloodworm.

Remember these fish live on the bottom of your tank, and any food provided for them will have to be weighted down to make sure it reaches the substrate.
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