The Bristlenose Pleco | All You Need To Know

A Bristlenose pleco

The Bristlenose Pleco may not be the most colourful fish to add to your aquarium, but it is well worth considering having one. A Bristlenose is an asset to most aquariums for several different reasons that we shall look at in this article. It may come across as a tad weird looking but don’t be put off by their strange looks. There’s more to them than meets the eye.

What Is A Bristlenose Pleco?

A Bristlenose Pleco is a type of freshwater Catfish. On average a Bristlenose will grow up to about 5 inches long. This is quite a small size for your average catfish. This in turn is one of the reasons they are good for a beginner tank. The body is usually a dark olive or brown colour with little fleck-like spots all over it. This makes for extremely good camouflage in their natural surroundings. It also makes them look pretty cool when they are foraging around your tank. They may not be colourful but they really are stunning to look at.

They get their name from the large number of bristles that protrude from their head when they reach maturity. This really does make them stand out amongst all other fish.

Though these fish look prehistoric they really do have a chilled-out personality. This is another reason why they make a very good fish for a beginner’s tank. Saying that, it is advised that a Bristlenose should preferably be added to a mature tank.

Best Water Parameters For Bristlenose

Because these little beasties are fairly hardy they aren’t too fussy when it comes to their tanks water parameters. The PH can be anything between 5.5 – 8.0 for them to thrive. When it comes to temperature it is best to have it around 73 – 81F. A Bristlenose pleco ideally likes a strong current with plenty of bubbles. This will create plenty of Oxygen which they love.

Do Bristlenose Plecos eat Algae?

In a nutshell YES, they absolutely love the stuff. This is one of the top things that aquarists love about them. Let’s face it we all want fish that will help to keep our tanks nice and clean. Although Bristlenose absolutely love eating algae it is important to keep a varied diet. food such as flakes, granular food, and bloodworms will all be happily eaten. Just be sure to make their diet largely vegetable-based. Every now and then it is worth adding a bit of cucumber, or romaine lettuce as a treat. Just be sure not to overfeed them. This will cause problems in your tank if leftover food is left to rot.

How Often Should A Bristlenose Pleco Be Fed?

This really depends on what else they are feeding on. If your pleco is in a communal tank, it may be eating food that is meant for others. If this is the case try feeding them every other day with algae wafers or specific pleco food. On top of this, you can then add your veg treats maybe once or twice a week. Like I mentioned earlier just be sure to keep an eye on leftover food. If there is quite a lot getting wasted, then feed them less.

Do Bristlenose Plecos Need Wood?

These fish really do benefit from having wood placed in their tank. Driftwood and bogwood are both favoured by the Bristlenose. Not only will they use it to hide amongst, it is also a good source of food. As well as munching on the algae that will grow upon the wood, they will eat the actual wood itself as well. Don’t panic though you won’t be getting big bite marks in your wood overnight. The chances are you won’t even see where they have been having a small nibble of it.

Will Bristlenose Plecos Fight Each other?

Generally speaking, the Bristlenose is a very peaceful type of guy. They will happily chill out with almost all other breeds of fish. BUT, put them with another Bristlenose and it could get a bit ugly. These fish can get pretty territorial if placed with another of its own sort. If you have a fairly large tank with plenty of places to hide then it may not be a problem. But do you really need to take that chance?

Breeding Bristlenose Plecos

For the best chance of your fry surviving set up a separate breeding tank. In the tank, you will want some small cave-like structures. This will be where the female will lay her eggs. There will probably be between 100 – 120 of them. The Plecos like to be romantic, they will need a fairly dim light that will help with the mood. The intakes on your filter will want to be blocked off with sponges. This will stop the newborns from being sucked in. Once the eggs are laid it’s then the males turn to step up for duty. For the next 5 days or so he will set to work fanning the eggs with his fins. This will provide oxygen in the water that is needed to hatch the eggs.

Once they hatch they will stick themselves to the nearest item in the tank. They will have a yolk sac attached to them that will provide the nutrients they need for the next 2 weeks. Once this time is up they will unlatch from whatever they are latched to and be free to swim around.

To Conclude

Bristlenose plecos are awesome fish that will live in most people’s aquariums. They are placid, social (with other species), and good at keeping the tank clean. They tend to live to a good age as well making these fish perfect for beginners and experts in fish keeping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can plecos eat iceberg lettuce?

No, do not feed your plecos iceberg lettuce, it is not good for them and will affect their health. Romaine lettuce is ok though as is cucumber and zucchinis.

Do plecos get lonely?

When plecos start maturing they start to get territorial. It is natures way. They are not good with other plecos. They do seem to be happier when they are with other fish species though. So I guess if they were on their own they probably would get a tad lonely.

How long do Bristlenose plecos live?

Your average pleco should live between 5 and 10 years. Obviously, this depends a lot on the conditions that it is kept in.

Can Bristlenose live with shrimp?

Yes, your bristlenose pleco will get along with any type of shrimp. These docile fish are more at home scavenging rather than hunting.

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