Bristlenose Pleco Care Sheet

Bristlenose PlecoAquarium Care
SizeUp to 6 inches or 15 cm
Fish HardinessEasy to keep
Water Temperature72 - 84 ºF or 22 - 29 ºC
Water pH5.5 - 8.0 pH
Water Hardness5 - 25 dH
Peaceful or AggressivePeaceful
Number of same species in tankOne if you don't want to breed with them, two or more if you want to breed with them
Community FishYes
SexesMales are larger and wider than females with more and longer bristles
StrataThe bottom and sides of the Fish Tank
FoodAlgae in the tank, supplement with sinking tablets
BreedingRelatively easy to breed
Breeding temperature72 - 84°F or 22 - 29°C
Other namesBristlenose Catfish, Bushy Nose Pleco
Scientific nameThis fish is from the genus Ancistrus which includes more than sixty subspecies
Lifespan12 years

Ideal Bristlenose Pleco Conditions


The Bristlenose Pleco looks very similar to the Common Pleco but with two distinct differences. The one is the bristles or tentacles that it has on its head and the other is that it does not get as large as the Common Pleco.

They do not have the usual fish shape but are flat on the underside from head to tail. On their top side they are sharply rounded from the front tapering down less sharply to the tail. Their main colors are a mix of light and dark brown spots and stripes.


They are peaceful fish in general. Older males may show some aggression towards other Plecos but this should not be a problem providing that there is enough space and hiding place for everyone.

Community Species

They are ideal for a community fish tank and for most species aquariums. What makes them even more ideal is the fact that they will keep algae growth inside your Fish Tank to a absolute minimum.


They tend to swim mainly near the bottom of the tank but when eating algae off of the glass or from plats they can cover the whole tank. They prefer well planted tanks with ornaments and caves to have enough hiding place during daytime.

They will also choose a darker area of the fish tank where they will suck onto the vertical wall of the tank and remain there for long periods of time.


When setting up a new tank it is best to wait until there is visible algae in your tank before you put Plecos in your tank.

This is a nocturnal fish but they do come out during daytime, especially when feeding them bottom feeding pellets or frozen or freeze dried bloodworms they will come after the smell of the food.


To get this Pleco to breed is relatively easy. Supply them with a cave of some sort. You can construct a cave by using rocks and plants. This will give a more natural appearance.

You can also use a plastic pipe that is blanked of at the one end. A flower pot that is turned on its side will also work well. The diameter of the can be in the region of 4 -8 inches or 10 - 20 centimeter.

When you use a cave with a larger diameter, try to conceal the entrance somewhat by using plants or ornaments.

Having one male and one female will be sufficient. Conditioning them is not really neccessary though it might help.

The female will lay the eggs in the cave after which the male will fertilize them. The male will then remain in the cave to guard the eggs and to keep them well aerated by fanning them with his fins.

The eggs will hatch in about five days and the fry will become free swimming after another five to ten days.


They can become ten to twelve years old. 
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