Bristlenose Pleco Care Sheet

Bristlenose Pleco Care
Bristlenose Pleco Care, photo by Beckie


  • Scientific Name: Ancistrus
  • Lifespan: 25 years
  • Size: Up to 10 inches
  • Care: Easy
  • Community: Yes, as long as you have lots of room for them to move around. (4+ ft tank )
  • Lifestyle: Diurnal, active during the day.

Tank Requirements

  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallon tank
  • Water Temperature Range: 71 – 80 °F
  • Water pH Range: 5.8 – 7.0
  • Water Hardness Range: 5 – 20 dGh

Perform a 10%-25% water change weekly. If you do not have a filter in your tank, do a water change twice a week.


A hood is recommended as it aids in helping your fish stay in the tank. Also, the hood keeps debris or dust from falling into the tank.


For Lighting: Full spectrum lighting – T5 is recommended.

Tank Items

Silk plants, live plants, and decorative ornaments may be put into a bristlenose pleco’s tank. Although they will usually be on the outside of ornaments and on the glass walls eating algae, they will also enjoy a few ornaments they can hide under. If choosing to use fake plants, try to use mainly silk fake plants which are smoother for the fish’s skin. Some fake plants are very rough and can scrape the sides of your fish’s skin if rubbed the wrong way. This is just something to take into consideration when going plant shopping.

Feeding & Diet

The best part about bristlenose plecos is their diet. They will practically eat anything that falls to the bottom of the aquarium. They will base their diet off of the algae in the tank and any type of fish diet you feed to your regular fish like fish flakes. They will usually eat the left over food that falls to the bottom of the tank.


Out of all the substrates (sand, gravel, bare bottom, and etc.), gravel has been proven to be the best substrate for bristlenose plecos. Sand tends to buffer the water to a higher pH than you will want for your bristlenose pleco while the bare bottom method is dangerous as there is a chance for slime build up that can potentially harm your fish.

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