Ancistrus homeland is the mountain rivers of South America. These are small, up to 10 cm long fish, unpretentious and almost omnivorous. Aquarists love them for their useful ability to clean glass from overgrown algae.
The content of Ancistruses in a home aquarium
The minimum volume of the aquarium is 25 liters per fish, ideally there should be 100-120 liters of water per adult male. Because of the females, usually peaceful and calm ancistruses are ready to fight to the death.
Ancistruses prefer aquariums densely planted with greenery, necessarily with a large number of various shelters. You can build them from pipe scraps, pottery shards, glued stones, driftwood. The fish stay close to one of the shelters and drive away competitors. They are particularly active in the evening.
The temperature range in which ancistruses can live is quite wide: from 17 ° C to 30 ° C, but they prefer slightly warm water — about 23 ° C. In nature, ancistruses live in rivers with soft, slightly acidic water, in an aquarium they easily adapt to very hard water and can coexist, for example, with cichlids. At the same time, they are sensitive to oxygen content and cleanliness, so a powerful aerator and filters are needed. The fish love the current and will stay close to the pump.
We recommend alternating the phases of strong lighting with weak: the ancistruses themselves prefer weak, but strong is necessary for the growth of algae. It is optimal to alternate phases of equal time, separated by twilight for about 40 minutes.
How to feed ancistruses
Ancistrus’ favorite food is tender algae. Fish are constantly looking for them on rocks, driftwood, aquarium glass, decorative elements and can eat plants if there are too few algae. In order for the greens not to suffer, it is necessary to feed the fish with various vegetable feeds. Both store branded and ordinary ones are suitable, for example, lettuce, cabbage or nettle leaves scalded with boiling water. Ancistruses perform the role of cleaners, eating up the remains of other fish’s food.
Breeding of Ancistrus catfish in an aquarium
Spawning sometimes takes place in a common aquarium, most of the fry in this case are eaten by neighbors. For masonry, a secluded corner is chosen in a slot, a tube, often behind the filter, or even in the filter itself. Males take care of the clutch, clean it, fan it with their tail and fins, and guard it even from the female.
As a spawning ground, it is advisable to use a small aquarium with a volume of 50-100 liters. It is not necessary to fill up the soil or plant plants, it is enough to provide a large number of shelters. The temperature should be reduced by 2 ° C compared to the main aquarium.
Spawning sometimes follows the day after the fish are landed, but more often the male chooses a place for laying for several days and prepares the nest. The female throws from 30 to 200 eggs, after which it must be planted. Fry appear after 4-7 days.
How long do ancistruses live
Any dry food for fry is used as a starter feed, especially pills for catfish are good. You need to feed at least three times a day and replace 20% of water daily. Under such conditions, ancistruses grow rapidly and reach sexual maturity by 10 months. In total, they live 5-6 years.