Ancistrus sp. Long finned Albino Bushynose Pleco
by David Ayres - Sept/Oct 2009

   Back in the day, the early nineties, I was fortunate enough to have a pair of Bristlenose catfish spawn in one of my aquariums. At that time it was a rather uncommon occurrence reflected by the fact that our own BAP program recognized the bristlenose cat as a difficult species. You will have no doubt noticed that I referred to the fish as a Bristlenose Pleco - the name bushynose pleco is much more recent terminology. Speaking of names, the few people who were breeding this animal at that time referred to them as either Ancistrus dolichopterus, A. triradiatus, or A. temminckii. I am not sure if any of these were correct, certainly not A. dolichopterus as this fish has only recently been imported into the hobby. Back then the fish I had were a chocolate color with lighter spotting; probably A. cirrhosus and their eggs as I remember were a bright orange/yellow

   Fast forward fifteen or twenty years and the most commonly seen bushynose pleco today, at least in our area of northern Ohio is the albino form. It comes in two flavors, one with the normal type finnage and the other with long elegant flowing fins. Both of these forms are the result of selective breeding for the aquarium trade; they would not survive the predators in the wild.

   They require no special husbandry. My setup consists of a fifteen gallon tank, temperature set at 76 degrees F with a gravel substrate and a sponge filter. The prospective parents will need hiding places and I used pieces of broken clay flower pots from my cichlid tanks. Pieces large enough for them to get underneath. For the breeding cave use a tubular pleco cave, the kind with one end pinched closed and you'll be in business! The use of driftwood for this species is a personal choice, not necessity. I don't use it.

   I whole heartedly recommend this species to those who want to get into breeding Loricariid catfish, as they are precocious and will reward you with lots of fry guaranteed! As for dietary needs use a good quality mixed flake, just make sure it sinks and alternate with string beans. Look for them in the canned veggie aisle of your favorite supermarket and be sure to buy the ones marked unsalted on the label. One thing that I have observed is that these fish , especially the fry, consume a lot of food. They seem to be constantly grazing so be sure to keep them well supplied with food. Also along with this, keep the water changed often. This will ensure optimum growth.

   When you get run over with albino bushynose, graduate to some of the L-numbered Ancistrus found in today's hobby. There are plenty of nice looking ones to choose from that haven't as yet been bred in captivity. Who Knows, maybe you'll become a trailblazer!
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