What are the origins of 'Ancistrus?

Zone d'origine dell'Ancistrus

Zone d ’ origin of ’ A.

Today the fish commonly sold in stores such as Ancistrus is classifiable under the name Ancistrus sp(3). The name of the undefined species derives from the fact that the aquarium fish commonly spread is probably derived from a series of controlled hybridizations just made in the early years of its introduction in the field of aquarium species, among which may include Ancistrus Ancistrus and dolichopterus temmincki. It is for this reason that this fish is often called, not quite correctly, Ancistrus temminckii or A.. Its features are very similar to those of the two species has probably originated.
The Ancistrus is found in the upper and Middle Amazon basin, and Rio Negro basins, in the Terminal part of the Trombetas, basins of Tefé, Madeira and Tapajós.

There are other types of Ancistrus?
There are many species of Ancistrus and many species of armored catfishes similar morphology and behavior to A., Although most of them is little widespread in aquarist.

It is a good cleaner?
The Ancistrus is one of aquarium fish that have drawn their popularity from the habit of sticking to the glass and objects with their mouth scraping off algae. Unfortunately this feature, that made this fish known as "cleaner", "-" or "mangiaalghe" has led many people to believe that to have an aquarium bright enough to buy a couple of these fish and buttarceli inside. In reality, as each animal, the Ancistrus has specific needs that cannot be neglected if you want us to live well and long. The nourishment of algae in the Aquarium can represent only a minimal part of its diet, and remember that in any case not all species of algae are pleasing to these fish.

How much time a Ancistrus?
The life expectancy of this species is around 10 years.

How many of these fish can I keep in my Aquarium from x liters?
The Ancistrus, like most fish belonging to the family of armored catfishes, lead solitary lives and have a rather marked territoriality. Young people can live together peacefully in the tanks of accretion of herds or from retailers, but as they reach sexual maturity they become impatient towards conspecifics and can get seriously hurt by squabbling between them. So it's good to keep no more than a couple (male and female) of these fish in aquariums by seating capacity of at least 60-70 litres. Alternatively, you could raise a bunch of 5 or 6 young people to select a pair yielding then all others. This allows you to choose the best subjects. In any case in an aquarium size housewives would advise the cohabitation of more than one male and one female.

They can really get hurt by squabbling between them?
Not only do evil. They can even kill himself during a territorial dispute. These fish are equipped with retractable hook thorns that in normal conditions not seen because they are hidden in the area of gills. However, when a fish wants to hurt a fellow like or feels threatened when simply extracts the spines using them as a weapon. During a quarrel two fish usually are trying to punzecchiarsi each other. In the worst cases it is possible that the fighting degenerate and one of the two succumb to a well-aimed in the belly.
In this link There are two A. Sub-adults in a typical hostile attitude: in these cases it is important that the litigants do not expose never to attack their opponent's most vulnerable, the belly.

I could raise a single Ancistrus in my Aquarium?
Certainly. It is a gruff and sociable fish who also loves nature solitary life. Living alone in the Aquarium is not stressful for him, Although the presence of a companion of the opposite sex would be probably more palatable. The important thing is that spade bred in an Aquarium of at least 40-50 litres, with a few other fish and environmental characteristics suitable. Apparently not coming for breeding fish bred in this way grow more, to reach a larger size than those able to reproduce.

Ancistrus femmina - testa

As you recognize the sex of Ancistrus?
The Ancistrus show sexual dimorphism, i.e. the characteristics that distinguish males from females, Since the length of about 5-6 cm, or about 6-8 months of life. The male of the soft fleshy outgrowths sprout-like moustache over the muzzle, that over time can branch and have the function of stimulate egg laying by female. The female does not develop the growths as the male, Although in some cases may be mentioned around the upper edge of the mouth, especially with advancing age of the specimen. An equally clear indicator of sex of ancistrus is Bristly appearance of the first ray of the pectoral fins, who gets to appear slightly hairy in males. Also this feature may be present, less evident, also in females.

Ancistrus maschio - testa

It is possible to reproduce these fish in Aquarium?
Yes. Get your reproduction of Ancistrus is not difficult if you held the Aquarium properly. Reproduction takes place within narrow cavity, so it's good to arrange objects that they can do by tana, so that fish can choose which one to use as a nest. For this purpose are fine amphoras, coconuts shells broken in half with a slit that allows the fish to enter by way of igloo or similar objects. The Ancistrus tend to reuse the same Lair for reproductions.

Uova di Ancistrus prima della schiusa

As playback?
Mating is rather rude: the male leads the female in the burrow to lay. Once laid eggs and fertilizes the female ends his role and leaves the nest. By this time the male will remain in the burrow for most of his time looking after the eggs and ventilandole with its fins to keep them clean and prevent ammuffiscano. Released only for short excursions in search of food. After several days the eggs will hatch as larvae, which will remain attached to the wall where they were laid up to the complete absorption of the SAC. At that point the small fish fry will be able to move independent and Buttering, and shall come forth from tana, After 15-20 days from deposition. Out of all the male juveniles leave the custody of the tana returning to his normal life.

Uova di Ancistrus durante la schiusa

In the image to the side you see a male Ancistrus intent to care for the eggs. In this case the deposition occurred on the glass of the Aquarium, but usually, If present, the Ancistrus prefer more protected places such as in amphoras or other narrow cavity, where service and the defense of the eggs from possible predators can be more effective.
You see clearly the egg yolk yellow inside of transparent shells. The size of each egg is about 2.5 mm and every deposition are released approximately 150 eggs. The number can vary in relation to the age of the female and environmental factors.
Freshly laid eggs, These are fertilized by the male, and so began the development of the embryo inside them. The photo alongside shows eggs on the second day after the deposition.
The rate of hatching is generally very high, and depends in part on the experience of the couple in parental care, and environmental conditions of the Aquarium. Hard water In the proportion of eggs that languish is superior.
The next picture shows the moment of hatching. In this case the deposition occurred on the aquarium glass by exposing the larvae to predation or flight and not allowing a completely effective treatment by the male, However it is interesting to note the development of embryos inside egg, where we perceive clearly the black dots that will be the eyes of future FRY.
You can also see the larvae already exits from the shell which preserve under the body still transparent SAC intense yellow colour. This has the function of feed in the first days of life, in order to allow them to grow enough until the FRY will be large enough and developed by moving alone in search of food.
Such absorption occurred SAC small juveniles measure about 13-14 mm long and have already a colour similar to that of adults and full mobility.

That there are relationships between the pair of Ancistrus?
Low propensity to social relations of this fish is also noticeable in the couple's life. Male and female have no evident link outside of the time of deposition. Only during this time the male leads the female inside the lair that decided to use as a nest to stimulate the spawning.

How should I feed my Ancistrus?
The Ancistrus are omnivorous but they still need a good portion of plant food in their diet. A proper diet should be based on administration of affondanti tablets for fish from the bottom, They both usually contain animal substances that vegetable. There are also completely vegetable based pads, they are however suitable for feeding. It would be appropriate to replace this basic food with natural foods a few times a week, as leaves of salad or boiled zucchini slices, without exaggeration with quantity.
It is good to emphasize that the A. is a nocturnal fish. To respect its natural habits more would be good to provide the food after the lights. In any case it is willing to eat without problems even by day.

THEAncistrus You can see in the dark?

Occhio di Ancistrus al buio

A. in the dark eye

Occhio di Ancistrus alla luce

A. eye uncovered

These fish possess Visual capacity rather rare fish in the world. Are able to adapt their view to very different lighting conditions. In particular,, Unlike most fish, have the ability to adapt the size of their pupils according to light conditions, and possess an extendable flap like blinders that protects their view from a surfeit of lighting, guaranteeing them both an excellent night view that a good daytime view.
The next figure is a schematic drawing of the flap flap under conditions of darkness and light.

I noticed that on many sites you give different indications regarding the breeding of Ancistrus. I took them to 28 degrees, do well? What is the value of hardness and ph optimum for their?”
If you want to know the breed them for A. I and my experience I would say that the temperatures indicated are definitely too high. My above 27-28 degrees cease to reproduce. Always keep those temperatures is obviously a force. As regards hardness … will tell perhaps heresy, but in reality are quite tolerant and unless you put them in very hard waters fit well. My, for example, are at ph 7.5 about and reproduce normally and practically without losses … The important thing is not subject to strong thermal or osmotic stress when they are placed in Aquarium, trying to be as gradual as possible in recognition ...

How can I be sure that the fish that will take is a Ancistrus?
It happens sometimes bump into little shopkeepers regarding competent fish belonging to the family of armored catfishes. Many fish of this family commonly found in trade look alike between them when they are young and a little person might be buying expert instead of a A. a fish that maybe in a few months it becomes long 30 cm, creating obvious problems in the Aquarium. Usually the most popular trade and armored catfishes resembling A. are the Liposarcus, the Suckermouth and the Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps. These two species have very characteristic to grow and not to be absolutely suitable for farming in a common Aquarium pet.


Ancistrus - esemplare giovane

The tail has a profile almost straight and is edged with white ends. The dorsal fin may be bordered of white.
The background color of the fish is very dark grey on which are irregular patches of colored light grey. In times of stress the background color may lighten in certain areas of the body mingling with that of lighter patches.
The subject depicted in this photo is a young male who has not yet reached full sexual maturity. There are in fact around the mouth the first hints of fleshy protuberances that characterize the species.
In addition to natural species are widespread in trade some selected varieties derived from it. There is a selection long fin (also called icing fins) and a selection of these fish Ganta. Both do not exist in nature and are the result of selections to ornamental purpose operated by men.

Ancistrus albino - varietà a pinne lunghe

The Albino varieties It is morphologically identical to the natural, but it is characterized by a total absence of pigmentation who gives the fish a whitish color. Even the eyes lack pigmentation and the IRIS is red. This variety is particularly sensitive to excessive light. The variety you can pair with albina species native to generating an offspring of fish completely black but carriers of the recessive character of albinism.
The variety with powdered fins instead presents all fins especially elongated body. This, some can be considered an aesthetically interesting element, actually makes the movements of the fish less agile and, given its behavioural habits, exposing the animal to frequent injury to pinna, with an increased risk of infections. In the wild would be a very debilitating feature.
Pictured alongside a mature albino selection with powdered fins.

Hypostomus punctatus

Hypostomus punctatus - esemplare giovane

The tail has a curved profile, typically the Crescent-shaped. The body appears more slender than that of A. and the color is markedly different. Nell'Hypostomus punctatus livery is light brown with irregular spots edged little net darker Brown. The pattern is the same on both the body and fins and tail.
The specimen shown in photo is young and is only a few cm long. These are the typical size of the fish sold in the shop. However as an adult can grow beyond the 40 cm and this makes it absolutely unsuitable to be reared in a home Aquarium.

Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps

Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps

One of the main hallmarks of this species is very high dorsal fin and rounded.
The body has a dark gray color with a yellowish colored reticolatura-Orange
The fish represented in the picture, like those above, is a young specimen of typical size where these fish are sold. Although it is rather widespread in trade is unsuitable to be reared in a home Aquarium, Why can reach half a meter in length.