Animal Stories - Bristle-nose Catfish

Animal-World Information about: Bristle-nose Catfish

Looking like the proverbial dog that just stuck its mouth in a porcupine, the Ancistrus or Bristle-nose Catfish are a very interesting and colorful member of the Loricariidae family of catfish!
Latest Animal Stories
Jim - 2013-12-16
Hi there, I have had a pleccy for about 5 years and he is in a 4 foot tank with a couple of eupterus (1 I have had for about 11 years and the other 7, I think). Unfortunately the cichlid colony have slowly thinned over the last couple of years to have 2 remaining (not adding more until we do work to the house and after tank is moved). The pleccy, over the last week has developed pink cheeks and nostrils (as if they are bruised or filled with blood) and is hardly moving or feeding. I have done a 50% water change and gravel vacuum, but not sure of my next step. Suggestions as to what it might be and how to treat?

ivor whitehouse - 2005-10-28
excellent and interesting fish. i bought four babys and they grew into two breeding pairs which have laid nine batches of eggs over the past twelve months. i've had over a hundred young which survived from the eggs and have given many away. they are easy to breed and seem to be quite hardy with only the very young ones dying now and again. i feed algae wafers as they clean the tanks of natural algae. they are crazy about cucumber and they will eat plants if you don't provide enough food. they will strip broad leaved plants in the aquarium by rasping at the leaves. so to say they leave plants alone is a little untrue as they only seem to ignore them when well fed. i use bog wood in my tanks which also keeps them happy and is supposed to help with digestion in some way. the information about them being nocturnal is not so accurate as the females and youngsters seem to be quite active when the lighting is on with only the adult males wanting to stay hidden. i love these fish along with clown loaches.

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  • Emma - 2011-09-15
    Dear Ivor

    I have a breeding pair of bristlenose plecos. About a week ago they had a bat of 50 eggs which all hatched into free swimmers. This morning I awoke to 45/50 fry dead on the bottom of the tank and am a bit confused as they were all very active last night before I went to bed. Do you have any ideas as to what I may be doing wrong as this also happened with the last batch aswell.
  • jerry12345 - 2013-05-23
    I have 6 albino and 6 brown bristlenose , if I leave them together will they inter breed / if so I will separate them
kye turnbull - 2013-05-08
i cant keep these my tandanus catfish kills them for fun D: i put three in all died i wondered why, so i got them out and my tandanus cat went balistic at the one i was getting out!! i feed my tandanus live gambusia affins everyday (they are a pest where i live so i feed it ones from the creek) and it loves them!

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  • Clarice Brough - 2013-05-09
    Well at least your Tandanus Catfish are happy:) Sounds like a great situation, even if you can't keep a Bristlenosed Catfish with them.
  • kye turnbull - 2013-05-14
    tandanus catfish are beautiful fish and are very funny, but they can grow up to 90 cm long! my one is 17 cm long, it is becoming a real pet!
Larry Hamblin - 2013-05-11
my 6 month old male albino long finned bristle-nose died and I don't know what it was!!!he was in a tank with 2 normal bristle-nose that I have had for about 6 years another longfinned female bristle-nose I got around the same time, 3 rams, 8 neons, 4 khuli loaches!

 Well it all started when I got 2 dwarf flag cichlids 2 months back(I think anyway) about 1 week after introducing these little guys to the tank I noticed the free swimming fish glancing there sides on bits of dirft wood then I notice the horrable little things that I think are the problem! mites! hundreds of tiny red ones about half a mm long!! 

 The albinos first sign of being sick was the veins in his head became very noticable!(bright red) so I done a 30% water change and cleaned the filter! after that he hid for about a week but came out with the bloats, so I set up a 35L tank with 70% water from the big tank and some fresh stuff! gave him a 5min salt bath between switching tanks! he sat under drift wood in the tank without moving much the next time I saw him out he had swelling over 80% of his face and pop eye two weeks later he died, when I pulled him out of the tank he had 5 blisters down his flanks between 4mm and 8mm in size!! very swollen belly but didn't look like bloat, the pop eye had gone about 2 days earlier so I thought he was one the mend!!

1) do you think he got enternal parasites from eating mites???

2) what else could it have been???

3) will it sprend to my other fish???

4) whats best to treat the tank with???

I'm spewing cause I had just given the last of my sterazin to a friend for their fish!! and another thing now 1 of my rams has either the mites stuck all over 1 fin or ich but i turned the tank up to 35c and whatever it is didn't drop off and multicure isn't working!! looks like ich but bigger!! don't think its the mites heaps bigger and not red more white/pink nearlly look like lice but smaller! any ideas on these would be much appreciated!!!


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  • Clarice Brough - 2013-05-13
    I'm so sorry to hear about your fish! What a disaster, I too think a parasite was introduced with your new fish. I did a bit of researching, and one thing I thought might be the parasite is fish lice. These little parasites come attached to a host, and as they infect the fish, small red spots or sores develop. So that may be the type of parasite you are dealing with.
susan lee - 2013-04-27
My large Bristle-nose is looking sick, I have had him for over 1 year. He has in the last week big white patches on his skin, can someone tell me what to do? I have been adding melafix to the tank the last 2 days, but it is getting worse.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2013-04-27
    White patches on the skin are sometimes the result of an aggressive tankmate, or possibly a problem with the fish laying near the heater. So I would look for clues on those. But it could also be Columnaris. This is a bacterial infection that's common in aquarium fish, but particularly with livebearing fish and catfish.

    Columnaris is usually called such things as Cotton-Wool, Cotton-Mouth, Mouth Fungus, Mouth-Rot, Saddle Back, and several more names. Usually it affects the mouth area, but can also be on the skin, fins, or gills, and even internal. It usually starts with  white or grayish white spots on the head, fins or gills, and then develops into a grayish-white film or yellow to gray patches as it eats away the fish's tisuue. The name 'Saddle Back' comes from lesions on the back that extend down the sides.

    Melafix is a good general tonic type treatment that can often help, but it may not be enough. To treat Columnaris do a water change and vacuum the gravel. Then treat with an antibiotic, but do so with extreme care. Avoid salt or copper sulfates as these are dangerous for scaleless fish like the Bristlenose Catfish.
chris - 2010-12-20
What does it mean when you're Bristlnose lies on it's back, but is still alive and breathing and fine when you put food in?

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  • Janet - 2013-02-12
    Hi I remember seeing a picture in a book of a bristle-nose laid on its back with a circle of cucumber around it. It had eaten all the middle and was resting so don't worry I understand this to be normal behaviour when they are full lol. Janet
jodie mains - 2012-09-22
i have a tank with roughly 120 bristlenose catfish any body intersted give me a call 07796345157

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  • Anonymous - 2013-02-09
    I love these catfish, I have 4 juveniles that are growing well and will soon be needing their own tanks. But I hope to breed them. (Hopefully I'll have one of each sex!)
yohseeme - 2011-12-17
I just got a male peppermint bristlenose today and it has been chased and harassed by female brown bristlenoses (2 of them) whole day.... The peppermint male looks a bit panicking and breathing heavily some time and not eating you think this is not good environment?

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  • Anonymous - 2012-01-17
    Probably not a good environment. Harassment will cause stress and eventually kill the fish. Best to separate them or get a larger aquarium to keep harassment at a minimum.
yohseeme - 2011-10-18
Is a glass ball style tank not suitable to have a Bristlenose? I feed them wafer twice a day but just making cloudy water and Bristlenose is not eating much...hope to learn water change cycle and feeding for it, if I can get advise...thanks.

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  • Alex Burleson - 2011-10-18
    The minimum recommended aquarium size for a Bristlenose Pleco, is 30 gallons. If your fish does not consume all of its wafers, it is advisable to remove the excess food from the aquarium. To keep the aquarium clean, a 25% water change per week, should suffice.
  • yohseeme - 2011-10-19
    Thank you Alex so much! I'll get bigger tank and transfer them to make it more comfortable and follow your advise ^.^
Sue - 2011-08-20
I have baby bristle nose about 3wks old and my tank is very cloudy. I went to clean it and found more eggs. How can I get rid of this cloudiness and will the eggs die from a water change

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-20
    If the water is effectively that stagnant (dirty) and you don't clean it, don't you run the risk of losing the fish - and also the eggs. I'd rather error on the side of safety and clean the tank.