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  1. photo by Erik Olson (from the GSAS gallery).
  2. cichlids and algae
    by (matthew.kaufman) (1 Dec 91)
  3. Fish eating Pleco
    by (Bob Perk) (26 Sep 1994)
  4. Bristle nose plecostomus
    by George Booth <> (Thu, 14 Sep 1995)
  5. Bristlenose pleco
    by Liisa Sarakontu <> (Thu, 14 Sep 1995)
  6. Algae eater
    by Liisa Sarakontu <> (Mon, 16 Oct 1995)
  7. Why the asterisk* when plecostomus are mentioned?
    by hougen/ (Dean Hougen) (16 Apr 1996)
  8. The Bubbling Pleco
    by bae/ (Beverly Erlebacher) (13 Jan 98)
  9. Bristle nose plecs
    by "J. Edgar" <john/> (Thu, 22 Jan 1998)
  10. bristle nose plecos
    by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/> (Fri, 26 Feb 1999)
  11. Bristlenose sexing
    by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/> (Tue, 2 Mar 1999)

cichlids and algae

by (matthew.kaufman)
Date: 1 Dec 91
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

In article <> (Bill Konrad) writes:
>He was refering to a Lamprologus brichardi (in Baensch). He just gave
>me one of the two he had. I'll let Gary answer as to whether the oscar
>is happy or not. 

I keep these fish in hard, alkaline (ph > 8) water. Some folks keep them
in pH 9 water. I use 1 tsp/gallon of marine salt. They do well, but I have
3 males, unfortunately. I had lots of trouble with these fish until
I learned to use the marine salt and to only keep them in well established
tanks (I always lost them during isolation in temporary hospital tanks. They're
extremely sensitive to ammonia and nitrite.)
>Heh heh, he earlier gave me another Chinese algae-eater (he had two).
>While I was *very* impressed by it's efficiency and industry in
>removing every trace of algae from my tank, when I put him in with
>some Golden Ram Dwarf Cichlids, he got into some serious tussles with
>them. So I moved him back to the goldfish tank where nobody seems

They will harrass other fish and eventually (well, mine and a friend's did)
develop an appetite for scales from other fish. Not something I'd
keep with fancy goldfish, though the temperature and presumably current levels
(they like strong current in the water) you keep goldfish in should make
the algae eaters happy.

If you want a gentle, extremely high efficienty algae eater, I recommend
the Peckoltia Brevis. I have never seen a fish gleefully consume as much
algae as this one will. It's not a big fish (though mine is about 4.5" long
when they're only supposed to reach 4"), hides during the day but
is out foraging at night. I like it better than otocinclus, flying foxes and
of course algae eaters. I have one in a 90 that has 7 good sized cichlids,
including a pair of Aequidens pulcher ("Blue Acara"), and it more than
holds its own. It does require hiding places, though, is not  a cool water
fish and given its eventual size would be best in 20L type tanks and up.

Fish eating Pleco

by (Bob Perk)
Date: 26 Sep 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

In article <362rf0$>,
(Centsible Software (via Grant Sonneman)) wrote:

> Every once in a while a perfectly healthy Neon will
> disapear completely (overnight). Is it normal for
> Pleco's to eat small healthy fish? I know they will
> consume a sick fish. Am I underfeeding him perhaps?

I have experienced the same behavior.  When the neons sleep near the bottom
the Pleco just figures it is another meal.  I eventually moved on to
keeping larger fish.  My 1st pleco lived 17yrs.  He died a few months after
moving to a 55 gal tank from a 10 gal.  It seems to me that the ultimate
size of the pleco is dependant on the tank size.  The 17yr old pleco I
referred to reached about 15 inches and stayed that size for years.  I
replaced him in the 55 gal tank with a 4 in pleco.  In about 8 months he
has reached 15+ inches.  He eats anthing that is too slow to get out of his
may, including floating ciclid food.  This is kind of an interesting sight.

Hope this helps.


Bristle nose plecostomus

by George Booth <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995

Hi Stephen,

> The local Aquarium Services store has some bristle-nosed plecos in stock.

They are many species where the males have bristles; any idea which
one you have?

> Does he like to consume the ubiquitous brush algae as much as his
> reputation implies?

Do you mean the "red brush/black tuft" algae.  No.  They have a
sucker/scraper mouth and feed on larger, smooth surfaces.

> How likely is he to ravage H. poly and H. diff? 

Not very.  Watch out for swords and other broad leafed plants though.

> Will he bother these if there is a sufficient supply of algae or other
> foods?

It depends, of course :-).

> Is he fond of frozen blood worms and tubifex?

Food is food.  Our plecos will come scurrying out when food hits the
> Will zuchini, spinach and lettuce be enough to keep him happy and away
> from softer plants? Has anyone fed chinese or conventional cabbage?

There is no reason for him to recognize the difference between what you
think of as "food" and what you think of as "plants".  I suspect he
will think the plants are "fresher". 

> If there is thread algae in lilaeopsis, is he going to pull all
> this up rooting around in the gravel and will he consume thread algae?
> Are Valisneria tasty to him? 

It is probably more interested in easy to get at algae on smooth

> Ludwigia acuata? 


> Do the little barbels on his head sting? How unpleasant/painful is
> this?

Nope, just fleshy protuberances.  The mark of a male.  He waves them
to get the girls hot.  Or something like that :-)

> Any other caveats?

Make sure there is some driftwood in the tank to satisfy his need for

> [Farlowellas] Perhaps these ones are nocturnal?

Ours like to hang on the vertical stems of large Echinodorus most of
the time.  I would suspect they are nocturnal. 

Bristlenose pleco

by Liisa Sarakontu <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995

A very efficient algae eater.  Eats all types of green algae, but not 
red.  (Do you mean red brush algae?)  Likes especially to clean glasses
and broad leaves.

> How likely is he to ravage H. poly and H. diff? Will he bother these if
> there is a sufficient supply of algae or other foods? 

I have heard cases when a bristlenose has eaten ALL plants from a tank,
but my three bristlenoses haven't touched any other plants than my floating
duckweed and frogbit (Limnobium).  I think that their favourite snack is
sword plants, if there is not enough algae and other green food for them.

> Is he fond of frozen blood worms and tubifex? 

Yes, he will eat these.

> Will zuchini, spinach and lettuce be enough to keep 
> him happy and away from softer plants? 


> Has anyone fed chinese or conventional cabbage? 

They didn't like chinese cabbage.

> Do the little barbels on his head sting? 

The ones on his nose don't sting, they are not bone but just skin, but the
ones hidden in his cheek are harder.  They haven't yet stinged me.

> Any other caveats?

They are slightly territorial, but normally don't hurt each other or other
fish in their fights.  They can defend themselves well and if they want to
breed (should be VERY easy with some Ancistrus species) they will steal a
cave from other fish.  Oh, and they are very hard to catch and if you 
eventually manage in that, they will get stuck to your net.

Liisa Sarakontu                     INTERNET:
Helsinki University of Technology   WWW homepage

Algae eater

by Liisa Sarakontu <>
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995

kbkoh wrote:
> An article in October's AFM rated Ancistrus sp. as highest in term of 
> elgae eating fervour. Anybody on the list having Ancistrus can confirm 
> this? Having fail to locate otto and SAE so far, I'm going to add this 
> species into my "search" list. Thanks.

I have never (yet) owned any other suckermouth cats than bristlenoses,
so I can't compare them from my own experiences.  I have three
"spotted bristlenoses", Ancistrus sp. cf. temminckii and I'm very happy
with their algae eating abilities.  They keep the glasses of my 150 liter
tank clean - I had to scrape the glasses at least once a month before I got
them, and now I have to scrape only few green spots every few months.

My Ancistrus eat only some soft floating plants like duckweed and frogbit
(Limnobium sp.) and leave all the others alone, but I have heard from
more than one tank owner that a lone Ancistrus has attacked plants, no
matter how much extra veggie food it is given.  In these cases they 
usually start with sword plants and might eat everything, even java fern.

Few SAEs (for red and soft green algae) and some bristlenoses (for harder
green algae types) make a nice tank cleaning team!  Some Ancistruses,
like this "spotted", are very easy to breed, so they should be rather
easily and cheaply available everywhere, where shops take home-bred
fishes for sale.

Liisa Sarakontu                     INTERNET:
Helsinki University of Technology   WWW homepage

Why the asterisk* when plecostomus are mentioned?

by hougen/ (Dean Hougen)
Date: 16 Apr 1996
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.misc

In article <4kukvq$>,
Cary Nakama  <> wrote:
>Its too bad that so many people have experienced fish deaths that they
>have resorted to primitive, barbarous superstitions. I am truly
>appalled that the reason for the "*" is to ward off the grim reaper. I
>guess I had just expected too much from humans that there would be a
>more scientific and rational explanation for it.


See the "rec" part in this newsgroup's name?  It stands for recreation.
People are having a bit of fun here.  I don't think anyone believes (or
ever has or ever will) in a net.pleco.curse.  It was jokingly suggested
and jokingly incorporated into the lore of the group.  It's a joke, son.

It should make you stop and think, though.  How do you know which of your
actions are harming your fish and which are helping?  Did your fish spawn
when you lowered the pH of your tank?  Was it the pH or the storm front 
that happened to be passing through your area or something else?  Did your
fish die when you wrote the word pleco to the aquarium newsgroups?  Was it
the net.pleco.curse or the fact that you added iodized salt to your tank
or something else?

Most of us will rule out things that seem unlikely to have causal
connections (like the net.pleco.curse) but many people report on a single
factor that they notice has changed and claim that their success or
failure is due to this factor.  Is it?  Most of our observations do not
even give us enough data to say that behavior y is positively correlated
with factor x, to say nothing of concluding that x caused y.  Yet these
types of claims are made all the time on rec.aquaria.*.  (If we did the
research necessary to find correlations, we'd call this sci.aquaria.)

The myth of the net.pleco.curse arose the same way that many of the claims
for what works and what doesn't arise.  Someone saw that y sometimes
followed x.  Concluding, therefore, that x caused y is the logical fallacy
known as "post hoc ergo propter hoc."  It is made in this hobby (and
elsewhere) all the time.  (Unlike the net.pleco.curse, though, it is
usually not done tongue in cheek.)

So, the next time you are thinking of claiming that your fish died (or 
spawned or whatever) because you lowered your tank temperature (or 
added vitamins to the water or whatever), think of the net.pleco.curse.
Is your claim also all wet?

Dean Hougen

P.S.  Iodine is essential for the health of your fish.  Reports in the
older aquarium literature (and often repeated in rec.aquaria.*) of problems
associated with iodized salt are likely due to other chemicals in the salt
mix added to keep the salt from clumping.  (So much for that "primitive,
barbarous superstition.")
"Weird science."  - Oingo Boingo

The Bubbling Pleco

by bae/ (Beverly Erlebacher)
Date: 13 Jan 98
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids

In article <69g2eh$>,
Mark A. Stone <> wrote:
>Sugarlips, my 14 inch loveable Pleco, occasionally will let a huge bubble 
>out of his/her mouth and then dash to the surface and take a large gulp 
>of air. He/she does this about once an hour. My water conditions are 
>I've read about this in this ng before, and the conclusion is that it is 
>normal; however, does anyone know what he/she's DOING?

Plecos are able to breathe air a bit.  It's an adaptation to being stuck
in swampy ponds during the dry season.  I think they may 'breathe' into
their stomachs.

Sugarlips may be doing this just for entertainment if your water is good.
I also wonder if there may be a "social" component.  I've read accounts
of how in nature one pleco will surface for air, followed by all the plecos
within a considerable area, an obvious technique for confusing predators.
Perhaps Sugarlips is wondering if there are any other plecos around?

>Check out "The OSCAR Home Page -- Truths and Myths about Oscars, at
>The ".edu" meens i are smart.

Bristle nose plecs

by "J. Edgar" <john/>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc

I have recently started breeding bristle nose plecs in my community tank
and have been surprised at how easy the whole process has been. The
dedication shown by the male plec when caring for the eggs and fry is
simply amazing with almost 100% survival rate whilst in parental care.

My problem arises when the fry leave the nest in that about 90% of them
die before the next batch is laid. I don't feel that they are being
eaten by the other fish (only keyhole cichlids are big enough but they
don't seem interested) but perhaps they are startiving to death.

I have taken to suspending slices of corgette in the tank and this seems
to attract some of the fry but otherwise they just don't seem to eat. My
other problem is that the fry only seem interested in situating
themselves on top of one of my powerheads and won't swin to the bottom
of the tank. This has made it difficult to feed them as the current
washes away any food I place on the powerhead.

What are other peoples' experiences of breeding plecs?
J. Edgar

bristle nose plecos

by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999

Jason Miller wrote:

> I have a bunch of bristle nose plecos and am wondering how to sex
> them.  I notice that some have white tips at the corners of their 
> caudal fins, is this some sort of sexual dimorphism?  

No, it isn't.  Many bristlenose species have these white or cream tips at
the corners of their dorsal and caudal fins when young, and some species
have them even when full grown up.  I have never noticed any sexual
dimorphism in these spots.

> By the way, the males (assuming I have any out of ten fish) haven't
> got their bristles yet.  Most have tiny beginnings of bristles, but none
> have the elaborate bristles I have seen in older specimens.

The fisrt tiny spikes start to grow when the fish are about 5 cm - 2"
long.  Only males have any kind of beard on some species, and females have
some small stubs on other species.  And it depends on the species and
specimen how full beard there will be.  Sometimes just very short,
non-forked spikes, sometimes lots of branch-like bristles.  And it is
normal that only the strongest male grows a full beard, the rest have much
shorted bristles or no beard at all.

There are other ways to sex young bristlenoses too: wait until they are
sucking the front glass:  Males have wider heads and wider mouths.
Females have bigger bellies, less blunt noses and narrower mouths.  Males
have sturdier and more spiky first rays of pectoral fins.  That mouth
width is often easy to see even when the fish is just 3 cm long.  (Tomasz
Nidecki taught this to me when he visited me few years ago, thanks Tonid!)

> but since they eat algae,

The "common bristlenose" (temminckii- or dolichopterus-looking species) is
the best algae eater I have yet met!  They don't eat red algae, but most
types of green is eaten.  And they don't normally damage plants, even the
tasty swords, if vegetables and other food is given.  It is also one of
the easiest egglayers to breed and extremely hardy.  


Bristlenose sexing

by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/>
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999

Hugo Hoekstra wrote:

> I have 2 temminckiis 

First, are you 100 % sure that they are of same species?  Are they from
same litter, or at least from the same breeder?  There are over 50
Ancistrus species, and many of them are nearly impossible to tell apart.
To make things more difficult, color, size and beard size and shape vary a
lot inside a species too, especially in the "common bristlenose", which is
widely bred in numerous countries (anybody want few baby bristlies?) As
the whole genus Ancistrus is under reclassification now by Swiss Sonia
Muller, it is best not to use any certain sci names from the dark
brownish, light-spotted species until she has figured out who is who.

> because one of 4 cm has a wide mouth, but also a bigger bellie and a 
> big head, compared to the other one. It's also beginning to develop 
> some very tiny bristles. 

Sounds like a male, but could also be a female from a species where girls
have beard too.

> Other one is 3 cm and has  clearly a slimmer head but a more round
> mouth. 

Could be a female but could also be just younger and less fat.

> Pectoral fin rays are about the same, how many rays should be spiky?

Just the first one.  I don't think that they have much spikes there before
reaching sexual maturity - at that time males are 7-10 cm, females 5-7 cm

OBplant: Baby bristlenoses make excellent algae eaters for tiny tanks.
Just put them into bigger tank or sell them when they get too big, and
replace them with few babies from the next litter (and you have a breeding
pair of your own, naturally).  They are rather hardy even as only 2 cm
long.  I have bristlenoses in all my four tanks and couldn't imagine life
without them!  

(and to Anton: SAE is Crossocheilus siamensis.  Many older books list it
as Epalzeorhynchus siamensis.  And it is not "Latin" but scientific name!)


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