The Different Types of Bristlenose Catfish

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The Different Types of Bristlenose Catfish
Bristlenose catfish are common in fish aquariums. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Bristlenose catfish are members of the Ancistrus group, and are also known by the names "Sucker-mouth" catfish and "Bushy-nosed" catfish. Originating from the Amazon River, this species is a common aquarium fish. Bristlenose catfish aid in maintaining a clean tank by eating algae as well as uneaten food found beneath the water surface. With more than 50 types of this species known, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the types.

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Albino Bristlenose Pleco

The Albino Bristlenose Pleco is an albino version of the Common Bristlenose Pleco. The body of this fish lacks average amounts of pigment melanin and it cannot create the protective camouflage needed to avoid predators. Therefore, Albino Bristlenose Plecos often die young. This small (up to 6 inches), non-aggressive fish is normally white, but often has a yellow to golden tone. The forefront of the body exhibits roundness that decreases toward the tail. The underside of the body is flat. Males are wider and larger than females. Males have more bristles that are also longer than females'.

Albino Long Fin Bristlenose Pleco

The Albino Long Fin Bristlenose Pleco is a red-eyed, pale fish with long, flowing fins commonly known by the names "Bushynose Pleco," and "Long Fin Albino Bushynose Pleco." Originating from South America, this peaceful, small fish (4 to 5 inches in length) is usually found on the bottom of aquariums, or nestled in hiding spaces or caves in an aquarium. With a body flatter than a Common Pleco, this fish is commonly black, grey or brown and occasionally features white or yellow spots. Males have bristles around the upper portion of their head. The area surrounding the snout of the female contains short whiskers that are used for detecting food.

Peppermint Bristlenose Catfish

Peppermint Bristlenose catfish are jet-black with white spots. The tail fin is white as well. Recognised as peaceful fish, males can easily become aggressive when they feel their territory has been threatened. Peppermint Bristlenose are commonly found in Brazil. Primarily vegetarian, these algae-lovers are considered dwarfs due to their small size. The average size for this fish is 2 to 7 inches in length. The Peppermint Bristlenose catfish has prominent buccal teeth and no abdominal plates. Males have bristles above the mouth, while females may not have any.

Snowflake Bristlenose

The Snowflake Bristlenose is found in the lower Amazon River. They average 7 to 9 inches in length. Males have cheek bristles, and develop a noticeable bump on their forehead similar to antlers as they mature. Prior to maturity, both sexes appear similar, with a polka dot appearance (black body with white dots.) Once females reach maturity they develop a row of thin tentacles. Normally a peaceful fish that prefers secludes spots, the Snowflake Bristlenose becomes aggressive when placed with its species in aquariums. However, it performs well within other fish communities. The life expectancy for this fish averages eight to 12 years.

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