Bristlenose catfish-Ancistrus triradiatus
There are a number of areas in any aquarium, you have top swimmers, middle swimmers and then bottomfish. More and more bristlenose catfish are being added as part of the scavengers for cleaning up the wastes made in the aquarium. Bristlenose catfish are gaining in popularity because they are often smaller than the standard plecostomus species that have been popular all along. The problem with plecostomus is that they often outgrow the aquarium and end up becoming quite sedentary since they are unable to move in the close confines they find themselves in.
In a rather extensive article on Bristlenose catfish in Practical Fishkeeping, the history, needs and preferences are outlined:
Bristlenoses are the prettiest of the uglies, says Nathan Hill. And who can resist those puckered lips, clinging to the glass, combined with their penchant for guzzling up algae?
Bristlenose catfish are numerous and here to stay. They are an aquatic success story, acting as a surrogate replacement for the larger, more common ‘plec’ catfish traditionally sold to clean aquaria, only to outgrow their home and sit there, glum and unable to move.
The selection between the various algae eaters in the pet store is often quite difficult since there are quite a vast array of bottomfish available. The most common are the plecostomus types. The problem wit them is that they are often a species that will rapidly outgrow the aquarium, unless you have a large tank to begin with. This is uncomfortable for the fish and can cause terror in smaller fish that have to live with them.
Selecting a Bristlenose Catfish for Smaller Aquariums
The advantage of most of the Ancistrus catfish is that they do not generally grow as large as the other plecostomus species. In addition they can be found in a wide range of water conditions, ranging from slow and sedate to quite flowing streams. Depending on the way the aquarium aquascape is assembled, you have a wide range of these small scavengers available.
The article is quite extensive in the types and preferences of many of the bristlenose catfish. Diet and the conditions they require for success are covered. One important point is that males are not very tolerant of each other, so be careful when placing a number of them together in the aquarium.
Tagged algae eater, bottom fish, Bristlenose catfish, plecostomus