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May 30, 2014

Good day, friends. I regret to inform everyone that we received no new fish this week! It’s a tragedy, to be sure. However, with no new fish vying for a place in the newsletter’s limited space, I’m excited to focus on a common and much-loved fish: the Bushynose Pleco.

The common Bushynose is a taxonomic mystery. Having been introduced into the hobby in the 1920’s with no recorded collection locations, its identity is a mystery. In the early 2000’s, it was commonly referred to as Ancistrus sp. 3. This was abandoned, a short time after this, when some hobbyists thought that its appearance was quite similar to Ancistrus cirrhosus of the Parana River Basin and that it may be either originally bred from this species or a hybrid of A. cirrhosus and another similar Ancistrus species. Genetic studies have indicated that this is not the case and, with so many unidentified members of the Ancistrus genus roaming South America, it is likely that this aquarium staple will remain unidentified in taxonomy for quite some time to come. The generally accepted moniker for this fish is Ancistrus cf. cirrhosus, indicating its similar appearance to A. cirrhosus while not placing it in a species of its own as A. sp. 3 indicated.


As a longstanding member of the fish hobby, the common Ancistrus has been bred into numerous ornamental strains. Each variety, however, features their namesake beautiful, bizarre fleshy growths upon the snout of the mature males. Some basics on this fish are broken down below:


71°F - 80°F

pH values:



1-16 dGH

Maximum size:


Care level:

Easy and undemanding.


Algae, awfwuchs, meaty foods.

Provide bogwood for grazing.

Aggression level:

Peaceful, males may be territorial if housed

in too small a space.

Aquarium size:

20 gallons for a single specimen or breeding

pair, 40 gallons for a small group.

The common color form of this fish is a brown fish mottled with lighter and darker regions of color, with light white to yellow spots patterning its upper back and fins. A white rim borders the back edge of their caudal and dorsal fins. There is a bit of variation between individuals – some specimens appear more grey or black, while others tend towards brown or olive tones.

Color morphs of the Bushynose pleco can be grouped by tone or distance from the natural coloration. Those closest to natural coloration include the “Green Dragon” color morph – a mottled fish with a cast of forest green, olive, and khaki.


In the brown to red tones, we begin with the Calico Ancistrus, a beautiful fish of orange with mottling of brown. Each specimen is unique and beautiful in its patterning. Some have more complex patterning with smaller regions of brown and orange, whilst some have large, bold separations of pattern.


It is suspected that the Super Red Ancistruswas developed by breeding the Calico strain to eliminate the brown coloration. These fish are gorgeous, bright orange as juveniles, and maturing to a slightly more ruddy coloration, though they will remain brilliantly colored for their entire lives.


One of the most common color morphs of Ancistrus in the market is the Albino Bushynose, a pale pinkish variety with semi translucent scales and skin and red eyes. Small white spots adorn their backs, as with the common, Green Dragon and Lemon Drop Ancistrus. We commonly stock both short and long finned varieties, the latter of which are bred by one of our managers.


There is another albino morph on the market, one that is new to us. It is known as the Large Spot Albino Bushynose – it is very similar to the standard Albino Ancistrus but, as the name implies, the white spots on its dorsal side are much larger and more distinct than that of the standard Albino.


Finally, we come to the strange bright yellow Blue Eye Ancistrus– a leucistic or xanthic variety that can range from pale yellow as a juvenile to brilliant sunflower as an adult. Their eyes, unlike those of the Albino Ancistrus, are silvery blue with black pupils. This color morph is a reduction of all pigmentation, known as leucism, as opposed to the reduction or lack of melanin that causes albinism.


I hope everyone learned some new information about the Bushynose Pleco and as usual thanks for reading. I can’t wait to talk about some new wonders next week!

Jessica Supalla