How to Keep Bristlenose Plecostomids
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LA Male bristlenose plecos sport more bristles.
Originally these little rascals came from the Amazon
Appeal: Bristlenose plecos eat algae assiduously. The commoner plecos grow so large, they turn into destructive behemoths. Bristlenosers stay small -- way small – all under six inches. The albinos stay under four inches. And their albino color adds to their appeal.
Size: In a retail tank, you see them at maybe 1.5 inches -- sometimes up to three inches. Theoretically, bristlenosers grow to a massive five inches. Most albinos top out at just over three inches.
Cichlid Tank Mates.
Feel free to mix these little guys with North, Central, and South
American cichlids. Because of
their set of frog stabbers that poke out their cheeks (see preceding
picture) and their tendency to hide during the day, you can probably mix
them with African cichlids also. Watch
carefully. African cichlids
love to eat the eyeballs out of the common plecos.
Foods: Bristlenosers love algae, of course. They also like blanched zucchini and other vegetables. One breeder recommends French-cut green beans. We found a close version of these on special at HyVee three for $1. Another insists that green peas with skins removed are better. Since these little devils can chew into wood, you probably don’t need to peel their peas. We like the frozen ones because 97% of them sink as soon as they thaw. The African cichlids eat the floaters. Most of our plecos ignored the peas. Joe Meade feeds hers spirulina tablets. Bristlenosers also eat sinking pellets, algae wafers, and frozen bloodworms. Go easy on the meaty foods. They do also graze on driftwood.
Planted tanks work great. These
little guys rarely eat or tear up plants.
They love exploring your aquascaping and looking for small bits of
algae in the greenery. However,
I would not trust any plecos with Amazon sword plants.
Once your bristlenose runs out of algae he will start scraping the top
layer off plant leaves.
Once your bristlenose runs out of algae he will start scraping the top layer off plant leaves.
Avoid bright lights.
Add Wood: Add bogwood or driftwood to their aquarium. It drops the pH, darkens their tank, and gives them something to chew with their raspy dental work. If you put several young bristlenose plecos in a tank you’ll notice them accumulating on and chewing up the wood.
Won’t happen on the babies. Both
sexes grow bristles. Males
grow a larger and occasionally forked crop of bristles.
Females grow smaller and fewer bristles.
Males also grow a double row of bristles down the middle of their
Like the shoemaker’s assistants, adults do their main work at
night. Young ones also work
during the day. You can
observe them in action at night with a dim flashlight.
A bright flashlight sends them scurrying into hiding places.
Tank Mates: Bristlenose plecos mix very well with all small and medium fishes except their own kind or near relatives. Male bristlenosers like to argue over territories. If you have several, make sure you provide more than one hiding place. They get along fine in a typical community tank as long as they have a hiding place.
The bristly male takes over the tube he prefers. The
female moves in during a brief romantic interlude.
After she deposits her orange eggs (on top of the tube’s roof),
he takes over and cares for the eggs.
Give the eggs five to six days to hatch.
Give the larvae another five or six days to absorb their yolk sacs
and emerge as small bristle-less versions of their parents.
Fry Care: Once they start free-swimming, feed them microworms and/or newly hatched brine shrimp. As they grow, they seem to like green beans, zucchini, and algae wafers just fine.
Recently Appearing: Fairly new on the scene, you can now see a long-finned version of the albino bristlenose occasionally. These were a lagniappe to Aqualand from Segrest Farms. Of course, they accompanied a $1,200 order. Thanks, Segrest.
A long-finned bristlenose has started showing up recently. Robert
Leonard bred these also. LA.
Ethan Olson, November 22, 2010
was reading on your section for Bristlenose plecos and wanted to give a few hints if anyone is interested in breeding them. The easiest thing to do is get like six small ones and wait for them to mature. I have had best luck with multiple pairs in the same tank and have best luck with more females than males ratio. otherwise males argue too much. The best foods i have found for the babies is i blend up peas and algae sheets with some kind of squash and bake on a flat sheet in the oven until dry and store in the freezer. To feed just break off a piece and rubberband to a heavy object to sink it to the babies. you get best success with babies if you put them in a bare bottom tank so you can do a water change daily. if not you usually notice a sharp decrease in babies over the next month.The best things to breed them in that i have found so far are clay pipes less than 2 inches in diameter and bigger than 1.5 inches if u can find any. PVC and hollow logs are also great.One more thing is that you must have some form of wood in the tank as it is a necessary part of their diet and aids in their digestion. Any other questions just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A: Yep. Those clay pots work the best but are not absolutely necessary. You can't always find them on dealers' shelves. They're a handmade product you can order from plecocaves.com. I'll add your info to my bristlenose page. LA
A: Good info. I'll add it to my bristlenose page.. LA
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