Bristlenose Plecostomus

Here's a picture of a young female Bristlenose Plecostomus taken by littleme3333. This little pleco seems to be enjoying her lunch!


The Bristlenose Pleco belongs to the genus Ancistrus. Within that genus, there are about 60 recorded species. Primarily bottom dwellers, don't be surprised to catch the Bristlenose Plecostomus sucking the algae off the sides of your fish tank. They love it. When they've cleaned the algae up, feed them zucchini or algae wafers. I like to steam my zucchini and keep it in the fridge to use as needed.

Here are a few facts to keep in mind if you're thinking about stocking your aquarium with a Bristlenose Plecostomus:

  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Easy to care for
  • Adults can reach up to 4" (it varies among Ancistrus species)
  • The Bristlenose Pleco is a peaceful fish (loves to 'chill')

The nice thing about the Bristlenose Plec is that it has a voracious appetite for algae, but won't grow as large as the Plecostomus usually sold at your local pet store. Those can grow as large as one to two feet!

Breeding the Bristlenose Plecostomus is fairly easy, so have plenty of fish loving friends if you're going to try that. Bristlenose have whisker-like appendages around their nose and mouth. It's fun to watch when they flare them out.

The Bristlenose Plecostomus is a great fish tank addition for an aquarium enthusiast looking for a fish that can get a little tank cleaning done. Do you have a favorite Bristlenose Pleco species?

Share |
135 Comments for 'Bristlenose Plecostomus'
    August 11, 2007 | 12:04 pm

    I have a Plecostomus and i was wondering, what was that she was eating?

    Fish Tank
    August 17, 2007 | 5:41 am

    Hi Emily!

    I often feed my plecostomus zucchini. I’ll steam it, and give it to them after it cools. You can keep some extra in the refrigerator or freezer after steaming it.


    August 19, 2007 | 8:21 pm

    belive it or not i bought a bristlenose at my local pet store and put him my betta tank witch is filtered by the way and they’ve gotton
    along real well ever since before i got my brislenose my betta was sitting on the bottom of his tank wasent eating and seemed very alone now hes eating every day ang swims all day long all he really needed was a true friend so let the truth be told some male bettas can have friends!!!

    Fish Tank
    August 19, 2007 | 8:52 pm

    Hey Trillion,

    I’m glad to here your fish are getting along so well! Your pleco is going to help with your algae cleaning too!

    August 20, 2007 | 2:42 pm

    I have (2) 14 inches plecostomus that i would love too sale to a good home,I have to many for my tanks.

    Fish Tank
    August 20, 2007 | 6:10 pm

    Hi Barbara,

    I’d suggest putting an ad in craigslist for your area, or contacting the local fish shop.


    August 31, 2007 | 11:45 am

    im kind of worried when i go to feed my beta his beta pellets my bristlenose keeps eating them to should i be worried or is it no big deal?

    Fish Tank
    September 3, 2007 | 1:56 pm

    Hi Trillion,

    Your betta should be fine. I feed my betta’s just a small pinch of food every three days. As long as the betta is eating something, he’ll be ok. His stomach really isn’t much bigger than his eye. When you think of that, you can see how easily you could actually overfeed a betta.

    Maybe try feeding your bristlenose a couple algae, or shrimp pellets at the same time.

    October 20, 2007 | 1:22 pm

    i bought a female bristlenose and is getting along with my queen
    arabquese (not sure if spellings right), clown plec and male bristlenose

    Fish Tank
    October 23, 2007 | 6:55 am

    Nice mix Stewart! btw it’s “Arabesque”. I had to look it up :)

    December 27, 2007 | 11:50 pm

    hi, our bristlenose has a whitish patch over one eye. This is the best photo we could get of it. Do you know what this is? Is it bad?

    Fish Tank
    December 29, 2007 | 2:07 pm


    That could be a gram-negative bacterial infection. TMP Sulfa Powder, or Gentamycin Sulfate Powder is recommended

    January 3, 2008 | 10:18 am

    Hi, my plec has only been in my tank for a short while – 2 months, and although she/he seems fine (she’s called Pocahontas!), her spots seem have faded around her sides at the middle of her body.

    Is this normal (growing pains? – she’s growing very fast!)


    January 3, 2008 | 2:19 pm


    My Plec has gone pale. Its been in my tank for 2 months and otherwise seems fine. It eats well and is quite active (as far as it goes) but has developed pale patches on its otherwise brown and orange ‘spotty’ body.

    Is this normal?

    Fish Tank
    January 3, 2008 | 9:14 pm

    Hi Tony,

    It doesn’t sound normal.

    That could be a fungus. If anti-fungal meds don’t work, it might be Flexibacter columnaris. More info on that disease here.


    January 11, 2008 | 9:36 am

    Hello, I’ve just bought a Plec.
    It’s the first one I’ve had and it’s just in a regular fish bowl for now, with plants and a rock and stuff.
    I know it might sounds stupid, but I was wondering if they get lonely? He always looks really sad, and never seems to eat the algae flakes I put in.
    Basically I’d just like some advice on keeping him (or her :S) if you would.

    Fish Tank
    January 11, 2008 | 7:17 pm

    Hi Emma,

    Most of the Plecos I’ve had like to hide. Mine have especially enjoyed the driftwood I’ve included in my tank.

    What’s the temperature of the water in your fish bowl? Plecos usually do best in water 73-79 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 23-26 degrees Celsius. If your water is much colder than that, it could endanger the health of your pleco.

    As for eating algae flakes… Your Pleco may be getting enough nutrients out of the natural algae. Does your fish bowl grow algae? Do you see the plec eating it. Geverally they’ll do it at night when it’s dark. They’re very shy fish.

    My only suggestion would be to get a bigger tank when you can, and add a few friends :) Plecos generally need the environment of a heated fish tank with an air bubbler to “thrive”.


    February 6, 2008 | 3:09 pm

    I just got 2 bnp in my 20-29 gallon fish tank (not sure of the size) and i was wondering what i should put with them. There is one small castle.

    Fish Tank
    February 7, 2008 | 9:04 am

    Hi Adog!

    You’ve got plenty of choices for a nice community tank. You could do a Dwarf Gourami with a school of neon tetras. Danios, Guppies, or Swordtails would also be nice.

    Just remember that for every gallon of water you should get 1 inch of fish. So a dwarf gourami and 5 neon tetras would = about 8 inches total. Add your 2 bristlenoses which would be 8 inches as adults and you get 16 inches, so you could add a few more until you reach the 20-29 inch area.

    Have fun.


    February 11, 2008 | 2:37 am

    I just started feeding my pleco steamed zucchini but my bettas eat it and then turn all fat and almost bloated (look like the pregnant) Is it ok for them to at the zucchini to?

    Fish Tank
    February 11, 2008 | 9:39 pm

    Hi Rochellemay,

    I wouldn’t feed the bettas zucchini. Stick with betta food, and give them very little. I feed my bettas about 3 times a week with just a pinch of food. Remember their stomach is no bigger than their eye. They won’t stop eating, and could die if overfed.

    February 27, 2008 | 7:58 pm

    What’s up! I’ve got a 55 gal tank with 6 African cichlids that are about 2 inches each, 1 blue crayfish that’s about 3 in and was wondering if it would be safe to add a pleco to my aquarium. My grandpa has 1 and its getting too big for his little 10 gal so he wants me to have it. I keep the temp at about 76 deg. Really, my main concern is how the pleco would get along with the crayfish. The pleco is about 5/6 in long…

    March 17, 2008 | 1:52 pm

    hi,i got a 40 gallon tank i think maybe bigger i have 2 gourami 3 clown loach and a red tailed black shark and i just brought a new pleco i think it might be a common its only about 1 inch big but im worried its not eating its pooing and stuff but i dont see it eat any veg or algea tablets is there anything i can do? thanks

    Fish Tank
    March 19, 2008 | 2:11 pm

    Hi Olly,

    My pleco hangs out by the driftwood all day. I never see her come out and eat like other fish. Do you already have plenty of algae in the tank?

    April 15, 2008 | 6:48 am


    I’m just starting to set up my first fish tank. I started with two blue gourami’s about a week ago and went to the fish store yesterday and got a dwarf gourami, a blackfin cat fish, and a pleco. I didn’t really know much about pleco’s when I bought mine, I just told the store owner I wanted something to keep the sides of the tank clean. Unfortunately I didn’t realize how big pleco’s get! I only have a 20 gallon tank. My pleco is about 2 inches right now. How fast do they grow and what can I do? Thanks

    April 15, 2008 | 5:42 pm

    Nevermind about the pleco, it died this afternoon but now I have a new problem. I have two female blue gourami’s (with rounded dorsal fins) in my 20 gallon tank. One is about 2.5 inches and the other is only about 2 inches. The larger one won’t stop chasing the smaller one around the tank and is eating it’s fins. I’m afraid that the smaller one won’t be able to survive and I think this constant combat is stressing out my other fish. I’ve already got shelter but it doesn’t seem to help. Do I have to remove one of the fish permanently or is there a way I can get the big one to mellow out? Thanks for the help.

    Fish Tank
    April 16, 2008 | 8:57 pm

    Hey Jeff,

    Try adding a fish tank divider to separate them for a while.

    April 29, 2008 | 8:50 pm

    HI! I have a Pleco in a vase with Bamboo. Lately I have noticed that his under belly is turning a redish colour and at night he continuously cirlces the vase. I he ok in the vase?

    May 11, 2008 | 7:00 am


    I have a red claw crayfish and was wondering if he would get along okay with a pleco of similar size?


    Fish Tank
    May 13, 2008 | 3:38 pm

    Hey Jenny,

    I really don’t know. You have something unique. I would check to see how aggressive that crayfish is before placing with others.

    Fish Tank
    May 13, 2008 | 3:43 pm

    Hi Mel,

    Your pleco will do much better with more room. A vase is really too small.

    May 28, 2008 | 9:33 pm

    i just got a Bristlenose catfisk it is about 4 cm long i was just wondering what would be the best food to feed him in the community tank to make him grow quicker??


    Fish Tank
    June 8, 2008 | 12:41 pm

    Hi Cam,

    I feed mine algae wafers, shrimp pellets, and sometimes cucumbers. There’s no way to speed up growth. Often, Plecos get enough nutrients from just eating the fish tank’s algae.

    June 9, 2008 | 7:17 pm


    I hope that person with the crawfish comes back to say if it worked. We have a crawfish in a little tank and I’d like to put it in the big one with the pleco but I don’t want it eating the pleco.

    June 21, 2008 | 4:52 am

    Please can someone help!!!
    My pleco has a really swollen belly and looks very unhappy, does anyone know what the problem is and what i can do to make her better????

    June 22, 2008 | 5:07 am

    Karen, have you been doing regular water changes and keeping the the ph close to or under 7? Is the temp 80%? It may be a slow build up something less than desirable in the water that your putting into the tank. If you don’t have a Tap Water Deionizer Filter, you can get 1 from a decent pet store. They are pricey ($60-100) so if that’s not an option, you can buy DI or RO (reverse osmosis) water. These filtered waters are stripped of almost all traces of impurities. But it also strips all good minerals. There is an additive that needs be mixed with the new filtered water that is suited just for our plecos, discus, angelfish and others from thier region. This is the best way to make sure your fish are getting what they do need without what they don’t need.

    June 28, 2008 | 4:08 pm

    hey um i just bought a pleco a few days ago and this morning i found him dead. why is that? i have two goldfish (about two in. long each) and my tank is about 5-10 gallons.
    please tell me what went wrong?

    August 1, 2008 | 7:13 pm

    Hi, I just got a new tank, I just planted a few plants, I only have 2 rosy barbs in their atm. If i put in a bit of shelter do you think I could have a pleco?

    Fish Tank
    August 2, 2008 | 11:30 am


    A pleco would be a good addition.


    August 31, 2008 | 6:44 am

    Hi, I just got a new tank around a month ago and got a pleco about a week ago. Now I am feeding the algae wafers but it seems that the other fish are eating them and I am wondering if my Pleco is getting enough to eat. The pet stores say that we shouldn’t have a pleco for about 4 mos, (enough time for the algae to build up) but if we had the wafers it would be fine. What do you think?

    Fish Tank
    September 1, 2008 | 5:30 pm

    Hi Nova,

    I RARELY see my plecos eating algae wafers. They’ll get plenty of food just eating the scraps of food left on the bottom, or algae on the sides of the tank. If it takes 4 months for your tank to grow algae, I want to know your secret. :)

    I give mine a few shrimp pellets now and then too. The yoyo loach likes ‘em too.


    September 5, 2008 | 5:59 pm

    Me and My boyfriend have a ten gallon tank with our pleco, PeeWee. I dont know what kind, but when we bought him he was smaller than an inch, hence how he got his name. Now after 2 months, he is almost 5 inches long. There are no other fish in the tank, and not alot of algea. At night we feed him 1 tablet and it is gone in the morning.

    Is the water absorbing the tablets, so it looks like he is eating them?

    And we’ve upgraded him to 2 tablets a night, they are about the size of a dime… I dont want to overfeed him… how much should we feed him every night, and how often?

    Thank You!

    Fish Tank
    September 8, 2008 | 7:30 pm

    Hi Alexia,

    If the tablets are disappearing, and your algae is staying under control, then I’d say you’re feeding about right. Your pleco sounds healthy if it’s grown that much!


    September 13, 2008 | 7:03 pm

    A friend of mine has a pleco, and has had it for at least 4 years. It was in a tank with a goldfish, but that fish died about 2 weeks ago. There are no other fish in the tank, and now my friend has found 2 little fish with whiskers. Could these be baby plecos, and how did the one reproduce without a mate? I have searched the internet, but can’t seem to find a lot on how these fish mate. Any comments on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Fish Tank
    September 17, 2008 | 9:01 am

    Hi Kelly,

    I really don’t know, but if those are plecos let me know. That’s bizarre.


    September 28, 2008 | 2:33 pm

    hi, i have a 20/30 gal (not sure) tank with about 10 small guppies. my tank is always getting little spots of algae on the sides and i am constantly trying to get rid of them and nothing ever works. i am thinkning of getting a pleco, but i think that a 4″ long pleco would be too big for my tank? am i correct and if so can u recommend a smaller species? thansk! :D

    October 1, 2008 | 8:09 pm


    Fish Tank
    October 3, 2008 | 1:25 pm


    You’ve already got the tank plenty stocked. Plecos really need a bigger tank than that. Algae takes scrubbing, and yes everyone gets it, and it’s a pain.


    Your plecos are probably fine eating the natural tank algae. You can throw in a few algae wafers peridically, if you don’t have much algae.

    October 10, 2008 | 8:40 pm

    hello there,

    i bought a pleco, don’t know the type, but he was basically a light brown with darker brown, circular spots – two days ago. when i came home to check on my fish, i noticed something weird about him, and he was dead. he is in a 10 gallon tank with two baby angelfish, about 4 months old, and they did not die.
    something must have been wrong with simon, my pleco, don’t you think? i know how people say you need a 30 gallon tank for one pleco, but simon was about 2 inches, so i thought he’d grow out of it eventually, and i’d get him a bigger tank.

    do pleco’s need some kind of special water? i have a good filter, and a heater for my angelfish, and i was feeding him the algae wafers, he seemed alright last night, but today he just died!

    if you have any advice, or if you could direct me to some kind of site or something i could go to in order to read up about pleco’s, that would be greatly appreciated.


    October 16, 2008 | 8:07 am

    I recently purchased a lg pleco(idk wat type) annd he/she has developed stripes! is this bad or normal?

    November 22, 2008 | 5:56 am

    I had two plecs and one of them liked to go in the small barrel I had bought for my neons but on Thursday night he got stuck in it and seemed to be squashed. My dad got hold of his tail and pulled him out but when he came out he was dead. Is my dad heavy handed and killed him by accident or would it have died because of the panicing anyway of being stuck and because its shy? I was so upset that I cried. I have one plec left now and hope he lives a long life.

    nicole briones
    January 11, 2009 | 9:25 pm

    hi, i was wondering why do these fish eat so much and also how do they digest all of there food since there stomachs are so small.

    January 20, 2009 | 5:59 pm

    Can you breed Bristlenose Pleco in a community tank or do they have to be seperate?

    Fish Tank
    January 23, 2009 | 3:46 pm

    Hi Don,

    The eggs would probably be vulnerable to other fish in the community. I haven’t bred them, but think it would be easier seperate. Also, I’ve read that a 75% water change is needed to help the process get going, which would be better seperate.


    January 25, 2009 | 8:32 pm

    Hey Mike,
    I have a question about an albino BNP I got a few days ago. I’ve been reading up on them and must say I’m hooked. I’m having some trouble sexing him/her though. I’ve read about sexing based on the “bristles” and I’ve also seen mention of a pink spot on the back and I think this may be associated with the male but I can’t find anything that tells me for sure. My “guy” is still relatively small (almost 3 inches) and I can’t decide if it’s a female or a male that’s not quite developed yet it has a line of very small bristles around the mouth and two “protrusions” on the head just between and below the eyes that may just be nostrils (I’ve seen pics of females with similar structures). Do you know of any other way to determine the gender?
    Thanks, Scott

    March 17, 2009 | 12:22 am

    hey, i have 5 african cichlids (all under 2 inches) with a 5 inch Pleco (type unknown), and a small catfish (about 3 inches) all in my 55 gallon tank. the tank is very roomy but my catfish has not left the castle and it has been nearly a week… i have not seen it once. I know it is still alive for i have checked and my pleco hardly ever comes out… what should i do to know if they are eating?

    Fish Tank
    March 18, 2009 | 4:56 pm

    Hi Matt,
    They’re eating. My pleco hides all the time. Try checking the tank when the lights off at night.

    Fish Tank
    March 18, 2009 | 5:04 pm

    Hi Scott,

    You’re doing what I’d do to research it. Otherwise, I don’t know.

    May 2, 2009 | 5:30 pm

    can anyone explain how come plecos arent compatible with freshwater plants??

    July 17, 2009 | 6:58 am

    I am looking to get a bristlenose pleco and I was wondering how you tell the difference between male and female?

    Fish Tank
    July 23, 2009 | 12:07 pm

    Not sure where you heard that. Mine are fine.

    July 28, 2009 | 3:45 am

    Hello, do Plecos attack Goldfish? I saw my bristle-nose Pleco sort of jumping at my two 2 1/2 inch Fan-tails, he didn´t actually manage to bite them, but sort of chased them off. I wasn´t too worried. But they are in a make-shift 11g at the moment, my 29 g is still cycling. Do Plecos exhibit terretorial behaviour? I ask because I also noticed the tails of my Fan-tails are both shredded.

    Fish Tank
    August 1, 2009 | 6:45 pm

    My plecos have always stayed under rocks or driftwood. The male plecos can get territorial with other males. I’ve never heard of them getting aggressive enough to actually bite other fish.

    If that’s the only 2 species you have together, you can’t rule it out I guess.

    September 19, 2009 | 2:53 am

    I’ve just put my 3 BN Plecos into my new 4ft Amazon tank and was wondering if i could add my 2 Pictus and a Featherfin which are currently residing in my 280l Mbuna tank.

    October 7, 2009 | 2:07 am

    hi Matt
    my 6 inch pleco, draco, is lovely and was in hiding for the first three days but now is swimming all over my 200litre tank he is with small comunity fish and does not interact with them or spottie my baby pleco who is about 2 inches but i read how plecos don’t like to come out is this a bad thing he is doing this and do you know what their normal lifespan is

    October 26, 2009 | 11:12 pm

    Hi! I have a 37gal tank (biggest I could afford and store) and 2 plecos-1 sized at 9.5″ and the other at 6″. They usually live great in my outside pond, but brought them in as it;s gettting too cold for them and I want these guys to live. Problem: I don’t know if to set up gravel at the bottom of tank for them and of course, the pooper masters are at work. So how much should I feed them? The water has been cloudy as it’s a new tank set up, but I’m gravel vacuuming everyday, changing water if necessary. Main concern is correct quantity of food and setup. Also, the bigger one has gotten competitive when it comes to food. Help! These plecos were used to being hand fed peas in the pond. I just want them to be healthy enough through the winter so they can go back in the pond when it’s the right temp outside. Any and all advice welcomed!!!

    Fish Tank
    October 27, 2009 | 7:10 pm

    Your plecos are spoiled… ha ha.. hand fed peas.

    Make sure your water quality is good.. ammonia and nitrite levels.

    Probably happier with a few places to hide.. plants, caves, driftwood.

    I never feed mine anymore.. period algae wafers or shrimp pellets. Mine eat the algae.

    Main thing is watch water quality, since it’s now a closed environment. Weekly water changes.. 1/3 is what i do with my 37 gallon tank.


    Fish Tank
    October 27, 2009 | 7:13 pm

    That’s kewl.. mine hide.

    Plecos can live 10 years.

    November 5, 2009 | 10:49 pm

    I have a few BN pleco’s albino longfin and short fin- I got a pair of regular short fin and put them in a 55 gl tank that had a adult short fin male in it and they got in a fight..had to pull them apart -have a hook by their mouth found out the hard way you can’t keep 2 males with a fertile female in one tank.
    Also if you want to get a lot of alge fast -keep light on in tank 24 hours around… have a 20 gl tank with 2 BN albino and about 10 guppies… now have another 50 ” BN babies” does anyone know why they line the top about 10-15 days after they are born.. made it easy to count

    Fish Tank
    November 6, 2009 | 8:51 am

    I don’t know.

    What are you going to do with all those fish???


    November 6, 2009 | 5:10 pm

    love to sell them.. when they get big enough,, Started with 2 albino’s m/f and by chance have figured out how to get them to breed… First batch 20- then 6… now this time 50!!!! they turn out about 1/2 long fin and 1/2 short fin… have a few tanks when they get growing… so they can all get something to eat… they don’t take to zucchini, beans and things that other people feed theirs… so I make sure there is algae so they have something to eat…

    November 6, 2009 | 5:12 pm

    If I could figure out how to post a picture, I would… with them all hanging around the top of the tank…

    January 3, 2010 | 10:38 am

    I have 3 molly’s I got them last week and I’m thinking about getting a pleco how long will it be before I should get one? I figured I should wait about 4 months but I’m not sure…

    January 3, 2010 | 11:12 am

    If I get a pleco what temp will it have to be at because I keep my tank at 80 degrees because I have 3 mollies do I have to to lower the tempreture?


    January 3, 2010 | 12:04 pm

    Do you think my three mollies will be safe with a pleco?

    Fish Tank
    January 6, 2010 | 10:04 am

    Hi Jade,

    A pleco should be fine with your mollies. 80 degrees is ok too. A pleco should help if you have any algae buildup.


    January 18, 2010 | 10:04 pm

    How do you tell if a female Bristlenose Catfish Pregnant?

    January 24, 2010 | 4:06 pm

    Not sure if I actually GOT a bristle nose or not. This pleco was recommended at the store because I wanted an algae eater for a 33gal tank. I was informed that this one will grow to about 4″-6″ max and to expect his nose to grow the whiskers. So now, I’ve had him…. 6 months? He’s grown fairly fast to about 3″ right now, he’s beautiful, chocolate brown with tan colored leopard type spots, but hasn’t developed the whiskers at all. I’m starting to worry about the speed at which he’s grown compared to other fish I have in there, and if this might end up being a large pleco that my tank just can’t hold. I have another pleco in there that hasn’t grown at all (no clue on the type at all) and he’s much smaller than the bristlenose.

    Are there varieties of bristlenoses that don’t get the whiskers? Is he/she just too young? I’m just worried like I said that I have something that will outgrow my tank. It’d be a shame cause he’s beautiful; although very shy.

    January 26, 2010 | 8:40 pm

    I found my answer> In case someone else has the same question, the female does not have the bristles. That simple.

    February 8, 2010 | 7:05 pm

    I have a Pleco in a 10-15 gallon tank and we have had it for a few years. The Goldfish we had in there died several months ago so, the Pleco is alone. It never comes out even at night and I found that it’s was stuck in a hole in the log. We got it out and plugged up the hole and it found another smaller hole to stick it’s head in. Should we get it out and plug up all of the holes? We never see it come out even at night, there is never algae in the tank becasue there isn’t any other fish (the tank has a filter) and, it doesn’t eat the wafers. Also, should I take the light off of the lid or is that ok? I think the light probably heat the tank but, I wasn’t sure if maybe it doesn’t like the light and that is why it never comes out and never sticks to the side of the tank like alot of Plecos I have seen. Any advice would be appreciated!

    February 8, 2010 | 7:14 pm

    Forgot to ask if maybe I have to much water in the tank. The Pleco is about 3″ and the tank is 10-15 gallons and filled about 6″ from the top.

    Fish Tank
    February 12, 2010 | 9:46 am

    You just have a very shy pleco! Don’t feed it. It’s getting enough food from the algae. You could plug up those holes, but do leave it some type of hiding spot.

    Fish Tank
    February 12, 2010 | 9:48 am

    Thanks Marc!

    March 25, 2010 | 3:44 am

    I have 4 1 inch bristlenose plecos in a 15 gallon tank. how fast do the grow?
    Like for example how many inches per month.
    Would this tank be large enough for the 4 plecos which are supposed to be smaller than common plecos

    Fish Tank
    March 30, 2010 | 6:16 pm

    They’ll probably be fine. Keep up with water changes.

    May 14, 2010 | 1:57 am

    I have a 15 gallon tank with 10 fish (tetras & danios, all an inch or less). Used to have a pleco but it died. Got another and it died too – both apparently of the same thing, but I haven’t been able to figure out what. Both of them seemed quite well for several months. No outward signs of disease or stress (all the other fish remain in excellent health). We fed them algae wafers, zucchini, and cucumber bits, which they ate with great appetite until about a week before they died. They basically seemed to just stop eating. Water tests revealed no detectable ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates. The pH was a BIT low (5.5) but stable – and again, NO issues with any of the other fish, even our tiny blue-green tetras which are supposedly terribly sensitive to such things. Could the plecos have eaten too much, gotten some kind of intestinal blockage? Accidentally sucked up a snail? I am really hoping to get a bristlenose but I worry that the same thing will happen to it, any ideas/advice?

    Fish Tank
    May 16, 2010 | 11:31 am

    You’re obviously diligent at keeping safe water parameters. The only suggestion I’d have, you mentioned; maybe feed them less. I rarely give my plecos anything anymore. My gold nugget is extremely shy, but comes out now when I feed my other fish flakes once a day. Also, if you have any type of algae growth, the plecos should find it. Good luck.


    May 23, 2010 | 10:09 am

    hi, i have a red eared slider turtle, we just got him a much bigger tank and he seems lonley so we are probably going to get one more turtle and a couple of fish. he is still a very tiny baby only about 2 inches. i was wondering if he would attack this fish? could the fish hurt him?

    May 25, 2010 | 7:41 pm

    what will the babies if you have a longfin and a regular fin pleaco? I have a pair of albinos and a bunch of new babies. Cant tell yet

    May 29, 2010 | 11:34 am

    how do u tell what the gender of the pleco is

    June 8, 2010 | 7:21 pm

    Hi! My name is Tee, from Malaysia. There are a few species of pleco had been imported to my country since years ago. ‘Zebra Pleco’ is one of the most expensive species. I have ‘Sailfin Pleco’, ‘Albino’ as well ‘Dwarf Bristlenose Pleco’, it’s about 4 inches in length. But, my Dward Bristlenose is totally difference as this one you showing above. Mine is more to ‘Medusa Pleco’ look alike, dark brown with a few tiny white spot in color. I got it by accidentally among a group of mixing pleco in the pet shop. I am now looking for more medusa pleco and the dwarf species exactly the same as yours. Hopefully can find it in Malaysia, so that I can try to breed them in a colony ;o)

    Bill York
    June 26, 2010 | 7:05 pm

    We have four of these – all albino. Two of them got a little cuddly and we have scads of babies. Anyone want some plecos?

    I’d like to put them in my outdoor pond during the summer.

    Anyone know what temp will be too cold for them?

    Fish Tank
    July 27, 2010 | 1:03 pm

    Plecos can be a lot of fun.

    August 4, 2010 | 6:06 am

    We have a fish tank at work with about 9 fish and a pleco. They other day when we came in our pleco had no EYES!!! We read online that the type of fish we have can become aggressive and do this sort of thing. Will our little Pleco be okay?

    Fish Tank
    August 4, 2010 | 8:03 am

    I would guess your pleco will be ok… unless the other aggressive fish continue to pick at your pleco.

    Make sure the pleco has a good hiding spot.


    August 4, 2010 | 2:21 pm

    I have one angle fish with it looks like from the photos I hope a bristlenose,it is spotted no bristles I just changed tanks to a smaller one. It is now a ten gallon one. I realize that the anglefish will out grow and now I am thinking so will the bristlenose. the bristlenose seemed to be acting strange staying up on the sides not usual for this one. I went to get some algee did not eat. later I foumd some eggs in the tank on a shell, the anglefish was eating them. I don’t know it the eggs are from the bristlenose or the anglefish. How can I tell what fish the eggs are from??

    Fish Tank
    August 4, 2010 | 7:06 pm

    Bristlenose Pleco eggs are amber or orange colored. Anglefish eggs are very tiny. A hundred would probably fit on your fingernail.

    Do an image search on Google for “bristlenose eggs”, and “anglefish eggs” to see the difference.

    Fish Tank
    August 4, 2010 | 7:08 pm

    Male bristlenose plecos have more whiskers.

    August 22, 2010 | 2:04 am

    I have a 70 litre (I think thats about 18 Gallons) tank. I have 5 goldfish (2 are fan-tails) all under 2 inches, 5 danio’s and 5 red minnows all under an inch and I also have 1 Borneo Sucker who is tiny at the moment (only about an inch at the most). I was just wondering if it is safe to get a Pleco in there as well? And what is the smallest type you can get? I don’t want it to get to big for the tank.

    Kellie Young
    August 23, 2010 | 6:55 am

    My plecostomus’s underside is turning an orangy color. What’s wrong with it?

    Fish Tank
    August 23, 2010 | 6:13 pm

    That could be the pleco’s natural color if it’s young and still growing.

    Fish Tank
    August 23, 2010 | 6:20 pm

    I think you’d be fine if you add a pleco that doesn’t grow over 4 inches. Gold nugget, or bushy nose plecos are small. If you can find those locally. Give it something to hide in.

    August 30, 2010 | 11:07 pm

    Hi there. i lost a whole lot of bristlenose. dont know why. my angels in same tank were ok. i changed water then tried one about 2 months later, it died. I have since pulled everything out and scrubbed and cleaned, though not the gravel. have you ever had this problem. the only thing left i have not changed is my heater. this has a little bit of moisture in it. it doesnt seem to have any electrical problem that i can feel or see??? i need some more bristlenose so if you know Steve from pakuranga who puts his up for sale are you able to send me his email. i note that he used yr photo for a question on trademe and sent a thank you to you. i missed out on the last 2 auctions of his bristlenose as was too busy to go back. thanks Gayle

    Fish Tank
    August 31, 2010 | 4:54 pm


    I don’t think it’s your gravel. If you had other fish in the same tank, and they were ok, I’m guessing your water parameters were ok? Angels…at least the ones I’ve had have always been the most susceptible to bad water conditions. Are you sure there’s no detergents or other chemicals in your water? Did the plecos have plenty of space? Those are the few things I can think of.


    October 12, 2010 | 5:31 pm

    I got a bristlenose pleco a month and a half ago for help with the algae. He seems to have stopped eating it, at first he went crazy and cleaned the sides and some that was growing on the decorations. Does anyone know why he would stop eating it now? I am wondering if when he got a taste of the cory’s wafers he decided he was going to be picky now? Can anyone tell me if they are truely good eagae eaters and what will help control it better?

    Fish Tank
    October 22, 2010 | 8:33 am

    Maybe he’s got enough to eat. I’d stop with the wafers.

    Samantha T.
    November 17, 2010 | 10:28 am

    So i just bout my 2nd pleco, the first one is about 5” long and in with six red belly pirina. now this 2nd one is odd… he is a bristlenose but is a transparent redish-pink and has black spots on him. he is very cute at less than 1” and i was just wondering if anyone had seen any like this before.

    Gary Van Drunen
    November 19, 2010 | 8:55 pm

    I’ve kept fresh water aquariums off and on for about 40 years and generally try to include a pleco for algea control – nothing beats them for this. A few years ago our local water supply was upgraded and all of a sudden I couldn’t keep a pleco alive for more than a week or two. Finally traced it to low pH; our new water treatment plant appears to be removing all buffering capacity – makes for nice soft water but it can be hard on fish; plecos appear particularly sensitive. Anyone with trouble keeping plecos might try monitoring their pH; I test about once a week and anytime it approaches 6.5 I add a quarter tsp of baking soda per 25 gallons. I try to maintain pH just under 7 and the plecos are all thriving.

    Fish Tank
    November 23, 2010 | 4:31 pm

    Thanks Gary!

    December 5, 2010 | 7:54 pm

    Hello, I have a 55 gallon tank, I had the tank around 15 years, I have these white specs that look like poppy seeds all over my driftwood, the fish I have are all doing fine, and I never had any problems with the tank before.

    December 23, 2010 | 5:43 am

    I just bought a pleco. I have a 8 gallon tank with 2 tiger barbs, 4 buenos aires and one pleco? is this too small?

    Nancy Wilson
    January 7, 2011 | 12:55 pm

    I had 2 40gal and 2 10gal tanks and I moved leaving one of my 40gal.with about 3″of water in it in an empty house with minimal heat (winter) I went back 2 days later to clean out the last tank and found my pleco that I had completely forgotten about. I had caught all my other fish and pack them in zip lock bags so that all arrived in great shape. Pleco’s like to hide and got missed.The Pleco survived the ordeal but he was slow when cold but warmed up and was his old self again.

    Fish Tank
    January 27, 2011 | 8:59 am

    Wow. Glad your pleco survived. It’s easy to do with fish that hide.

    Fish Tank
    January 27, 2011 | 9:01 am

    What kind of pleco?

    February 7, 2011 | 10:28 pm

    Hello, I just got my fish yesterday.. I got schooling neon fish and a pleco. He/she seems very passive almost unactive, and the fins are down… I dont know if this is normal behaviour.
    Please help me!

    February 24, 2011 | 4:37 pm

    I have a small pleco that I purchased a few months ago and I was told it’s a bristlnose but that they don’t grow their bristles until they get bigger. I’m skeptical as it is already about 2.5-3 inches including tail and there are no bristles. It is dark brown with a pattern on it’s back near the head (like 2 circles). Thanks for your help. I also have a beautiful albino pleco in my other tank. About 6 inches long and I love him!

    Fish Tank
    March 6, 2011 | 2:39 pm

    Awesome. Plecos are a lot of fun.

    March 10, 2011 | 1:15 pm

    i have 2 baby plecos… they look healthy. all of sudden they have these brownish spots on there back. i have no clue what it may be. its pretty hard to explain. how can we tell the plecos are sick?

    March 19, 2011 | 11:15 pm

    I got a medium pleco about 4 days ago and i read that they like to eat veggies. So I put some brocili in the tank. The only problem is that the pleco isn’t eating it, my fancy guppy is. I don’t know if it is safe for my fancy guppy to be eating it cause after it eats it, it lays on the floor for a long while which it never does. Also, what should I feed my pleco that he will actually eat?

    April 15, 2011 | 3:31 pm

    I had my local petshop order in a pair of bristle nose plecs for me. He actually ordered 3 of them. I purchased 2 and my friend purchased the 3rd. These are only little at the moment approx 5cm long and non of them have bristles. Does this mean they are all female or do bristles develop as the plecs get older?

    April 25, 2011 | 3:06 am

    I got 2 of these last week. A male and a female both about 8cm head to tale. I think their awsome, they clean up the leftover fish food and the walls very well. It’s never been this clean. I can’t wait to see them breed and have more of these cute suckers on the glass :)

    Fish Tank
    April 25, 2011 | 4:36 pm

    Yes. They’re great cleaners. Good luck with them.


    May 13, 2011 | 6:03 pm

    I was wondering if is normal that my pleco is active all day, morning, noon, evening night, I feed him with algae wafers every other day. Is not enough?? I have also a comet fish with him. I use to have a lager gold fish ( he was about 8 in long) but he died. Since then my pleco is more active, it could be another fact??

    Fish Tank
    May 15, 2011 | 2:35 pm

    Yes. Some plecos are that active. Sounds fine to me. I wouldn’t feed any more than that.

    March 30, 2012 | 11:02 pm

    Hi. I have a 30 gallon with a male bn and a long fin albino female. Any tips for breeding? I have been trying for mOnths..

    May 25, 2012 | 9:43 am

    I have a bristle nose and today I noticed he is covered in tiny little spots what’s wrong with him??

    Fish Tank
    June 11, 2012 | 2:04 pm

    You’ve described the deadly “ich”. You need to medicate the water with rid-ich as soon as possible.

    August 15, 2012 | 11:14 pm

    Hi – my husband has always had a plec in our tank and never had any problems before now. We also have cat fish, clowns, neons, penguins, harlequins, 6-8 plants and a largish piece of driftwood all purchsed from pet stores in a 64 litre tank. We test the ph and ammonia levels on a weekly basis and do a 20% water change also weekly. We have been unsuccessful in keeping a plec alive for more than a few weeks. We usually have a bristlenose around 3cm but have also tried a red spotted who is larger at around 6-7cm. They all have been purchased from pet stores. All start out fairly active and then just sit in one place and stop eating. They get plec wafers and zucchini once or twice a week. All other fish are thriving. Any help with this problem would be gratefully received as we are at our wits end. A tank is not the same without a plec. Thanks

    Fish Tank
    August 16, 2012 | 3:24 pm


    You’ve had two plecs die? I’d say they were sick when you bought them, or too stressed that they never came out of it. I doubt it’s what you’re doing. Just bad luck. I’ve recently bought two yoyo loaches from a pet store, and then two more striata from another. This was after I tried two loaches a year earlier from another store. Well those first two died soon after, and with my recent purchases, only 1 striata and 1 yoyo are left. They were unfortunately sick when I got them. They llived a month, so I figured they were ok, but no. I knowm it’s not my water parameters, and I’ve been very successful with loaches beforre.

    Try again. You’re doing nothing wrong…sounds like.

    August 24, 2012 | 2:36 pm

    Thanks for your response. We will try again, but after losing around 8 plecs this year we are wondering if there is anything else we should be doing. We have bought from 3 different pet stores so would assume they have different suppliers. Did notice on our larger plec a reasonable sized area that looked like an opaque white fungus. This came and went. Our other fish do not appear to have this. Did not look like the dreaded ich. This same tank used to have a plec that grew to around 12 inches. The tank was unused for around two years before we restocked it. All our other fish are thriving.

    November 1, 2012 | 7:41 pm

    Hi. I’ve noticed that my Pleco’s underbelly is turning purple and not eating the wafers I put in the tank. Is there a problem? Thanks a bunch! :-)

    June 16, 2014 | 3:55 pm

    I put my bristlenose pleco in a round7 gallon and I was wondering if that was alright cuz I didn’t know. It’s a baby and is about 1.5″ right now

    July 19, 2014 | 7:56 am

    I bought some fish to start filling up a long-empty tank we’ve had, about a month or so ago. I got one pleco and apparently it was female because now we have two baby Plecos, at least I’m hoping that’s all, I haven’t found anymore yet. Does that just mean she was pregnant when I bought her?

    Fish Tank
    August 19, 2014 | 11:51 am

    Congratulations Abigail,

    That must’ve been the case! Mike

    Fish Tank
    August 19, 2014 | 11:53 am

    That should be fine. Remember to do water scheduled water changes to keep your fish tank healthy. Mike

Leave a comment



Information for comment users
Line and paragraph breaks are implemented automatically. Your e-mail address is never displayed. Please consider what you're posting.

Use the buttons below to customise your comment.

RSS feed for comments on this post | TrackBack URI