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This rare bristlenose pleco variant is one of the few members of the Loricaria group of catfish that will not exceed 4 to 5 inches in length, making it a perfect choice for home freshwater aquariums!
The Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus dolichopterus), also known as the Rio Ucayali Bristlenose Pleco, is a member of the Loricariidae family of South American suckermouth catfishes. While many suckermouth catfish species have yet to be bred commercially in aquariums, the very rare Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco is now available as a tank-raised specimen! This pleco is unique among other Ancistrus species due to the orange and cream colored spots that cover its entire body and fins. Like other Ancistrus, it is immediately distinguishable by the growth of many bristle-like appendages on its facial area beginning in sub-adulthood. Both sexes grow the appendages, but the growth and length is much more pronounced in males.
A generally peaceful and hardy species, the Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco is an excellent, undemanding candidate for most aquariums. Unlike the widely-seen Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus) and Trinidad Pleco (Hypostomus punctatus), which easily reach a monstrous size of 18 to 20+ inches (45 to 51+ cm), the Bristlenose Pleco grows to a size of only 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm). This smaller size makes for a much more manageable (and less messy) pleco that can thrive permanently in a well-maintained aquarium as small as 30 to 40 gallons. Male plecos may be somewhat territorial with other males of their species, but disputes can usually be diffused by providing ample territory and hiding places for each fish. All other tankmates will be generally ignored, although it is possible that small shrimp fry might fall prey to the Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco. However, some large-scale dwarf shrimp suppliers breed bristlenose blecos in the same pools they use for shrimp breeding!
The Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco is primarily nocturnal, but will often become active during daytime hours once established in an aquarium with plenty of driftwood, rockwork, and other hiding places. It is not known to eat wood heavily like some plecos (Panaque sp., etc.), but it may benefit from some supplementary wood (or bio-film on driftwood). The Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco will not bother plants, but it will eat plenty of algae in the aquarium, especially as a juvenile. Feed the Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco a diet heavy in vegetable matter, including high-quality vegetable flakes, sinking algae wafers and pellets. It will also appreciate being fed some fresh vegetables such as shelled peas, spinach, zucchini and cucumber. Occasional meaty foods such as bloodworms are also beneficial when fed sparingly. This fish eats constantly, so too much meat/animal protein in its diet can be unhealthy for the fish as well as the level of waste it produces in the aquarium.
What We Like About This Fish:
- This is a rare and colorful natural variant of the classic Bristlenose Pleco.
- The Orange Spot Bristlenose Pleco is a very peaceful and hardy addition to almost any aquarium.
- At a maximum size of 4 to 5 inches, this is a very practical and manageable fish.
- This fish will not bother most plants, but it will likely help with algae control, especially as a juvenile. It will also scavenge and consume most uneaten fish food.
- The Bristlenose Pleco is an aquarium fish with a unique appearance as well as plenty of personality.
- Diet: Omnivorous, but meatier foods should only be fed sparingly
- Social behavior: Generally solitary, but will socialize somewhat, especially during breeding.
- Origin: Tank-raised, but indigenous to South America.
- Average adult size: 4 - 5 inches (10 - 13 cm)
- Average purchase size: 1 - 2 inches (2.5 - 5 cm)
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- pH level range: 6.5 - 7.5 (flexible as long as sudden changes are avoided.)
- Temperature range: 72° - 86° F (22° - 30° C)
- KH: 6 - 10 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
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