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Calico Bristlenose Pleco | Ancistrus sp.

The Calico Bristlenose Pleco, also known as the Bushynose or Bushymouth Pleco, is an attractive and unique addition to any aquarium. This member of the Loricariidae family is a South American suckermouth catfish that grows to a size of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 16 cm), making it an ideal choice for most aquariums.

Unlike other pleco species, the Calico Bristlenose Pleco is a generally peaceful and hardy fish that requires minimal care. It is an excellent scavenger and will help to control algae in the aquarium while eating excess food. Its facial area becomes littered with bristle-like appendages beginning in sub-adulthood, which is more pronounced in males, giving it a unique appearance and receiving the names Bristlenose, Bushynose or Bushymouth Pleco. 

The Calico Pleco is primarily nocturnal but will become active during daytime hours once established in an aquarium. Providing plenty of hiding places with driftwood and rockwork is essential for this pleco to thrive. It will benefit from wood in it's home by feeding on the natural bio-film and in some cases consuming the wood as it breaks down in the water.

The Calico Bristlenose Pleco is an omnivore, but its diet should be heavy in vegetable matter, including high-quality vegetable flakes, sinking algae wafers, and pellets. It will also appreciate being fed fresh vegetables such as shelled peas, spinach, zucchini, and cucumber. Occasional meaty foods such as bloodworms are also beneficial when fed sparingly.

This fish is generally solitary but will socialize during breeding. We prefer to keep two male plecos per one female pleco for breeding. This will give males a break between litters since the males are the ones whom guard and care for the eggs. Males may be somewhat territorial with each other, but disputes can usually be diffused by providing ample aquarium space and pleco caves. All other tankmates will be generally ignored, although it is possible that small shrimp might fall prey to the Calico Bristlenose Pleco.

Overall, the Calico Bristlenose Pleco is a very practical and manageable fish that will make an excellent addition to any aquarium. Tank parameters for this fish include a pH level range of 6.5-7.5, a temperature range of 72°-86°F (22°-30°C), and a minimum tank size of 10 gallons (for breeding purposes, we prefer a 20 gallon long). So, if you're looking for a peaceful and unique fish that will help keep your aquarium clean and attractive, the Calico Bristlenose Pleco is an excellent choice.

Our Food Recommendation for Bristlenose Plecos: 

NorthFin Kelp Wafers
NorthFin Veggie
NorthFin Community

Our Tank Parameters

  • Ph: 7.2 to 7.5
  • Gh: 8 to 16
  • Kh:  4 to 7
  • TDS: 180 to 250
  • Temp: 70 to 74

Tank Recommendations

  • Leaves: Indian Almond or Guava
  • Wood: Malaysian or Mopani
  • Cones: Alder Cones

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