Soma is one of the largest groups of fish and one of the most popular among aquarium fish lovers. Even those who have one common aquarium often contain a couple of catfish in it. One of the most popular groups of aquarium catfish, consists of the so-called suckers or in Latin: Ancistrus, one of the most popular catfish species in the aquarium.
The word Ancistrus comes from the ancient Greek - agkistron, denoting a horn. They get their name for the outgrowths that form in adult males on the head. These outgrowths resemble a beard or thick spines. For a long time, the number of outgrowths was used to distinguish different types of antsistrus, but as it turned out, individual individuals may have different amounts of outgrowths depending on the time of year. The exact mechanism of this has not yet been studied, but many experts agree that it is related to readiness for spawning. In the aquarium, almost all types of antsistrus are ready to spawn at the age of about a year, respectively, males around this age acquire chic horns.
No one expert knows exactly how many different species are united in themselves by the genus Ancistrus, it is often difficult to determine even subspecies. So basically aquarists speak generally - antsistrus, when they describe a fish that lives in their aquarium.
Antsitrus in an aquarium are usually covered with dots on a dark background - black or light, sometimes gray with reddish patches. Many, especially young individuals, have white or yellow spots on the body and head. Often they disappear, after reaching a small fish of mature age.
Over the years, aquarists have developed several new types of antsistrus. First of all, it is a magnificent albino ancistrus or as it is also called white ancistrus. There is also a view with veil fins, which are also albinos. Especially striking are the males of veil forms, in which the length of the fins can reach almost body length. Red antsistrusy, for the most part belong to the number of catfish, that is, rather rare species that have not their own name, but a number.
Almost all species of antsistrus are covered with various spikes and hooks, while in males the pectoral fins have the first ray, covered with tiny hooks, almost like a velcro. In addition, they have thorns on the gill covers, which resemble combinations of a discharge knife and a medieval spike mace. These spikes are kept hidden until ancistrus feels threatened.
Then they are instant, fish, bristling like blades. Then the male fights from side to side, waving this formidable weapon. The problem for aquarium lovers is that the fish cannot understand the difference between the hostile intentions of the enemy and the benevolent intentions of the aquarist who wants to clean the aquarium. This leads to the fact that the catfish is hopelessly entangled in the net to the state when he has to be freed with scissors. Therefore, it is best to catch and move Ancistrus with a plastic container, for example, having cornered and lift the container.
A distinctive feature of the ancistrus, in addition to the spiny head and body, is the structure of the oral apparatus. It is shaped like a sucker, with comb-shaped teeth that are adapted to strip algae from surfaces in the wild and in aquariums. They do an excellent job with the role of aquarium cleaners from algae and are able to quickly rid it of unnecessary growths, in which case they should be transferred to another algae tank or they should be provided with additional plant food, otherwise, they will most likely be hungry.
There is also evidence that wood is badly needed in their diet. It is a good idea to add a piece of driftwood so that they can process it. You will notice that over time it will decrease in size.
Adults most antsistrusov will necessarily fight with each other over the territory, which may result in the death of the weaker, especially the struggle escalates during the breeding season. It is best to keep one male per aquarium or a group of several males with a large number of females in bulk aquariums. Females are much more livable and can live in peace even in small aquariums.
Antsistrusy excellent cleaners of an aquarium from algae. They will perfectly clean every corner of the aquarium and will pass it several times a day. They eat almost every type of green algae, but do not touch the so-called Vietnamese or black beard, which affects a large number of aquariums (the person who proves that they eat this nasty algae will go down in history aquarium).
They also avoid eating thread, although they can eat it, especially when the plant diet in the aquarium is poor. In general, they do not damage aquatic plants, although some aquarists accuse them of damaging young and tender leaves of plants. On this occasion, the whole debate is heated. Personally, I never noticed that they ate something in the aquarium other than algae, some live food, and special pills.
Many antsistrusy divorce spawns in the general aquarium, and an adult and well-fed couple can get divorced throughout the year.
For reproduction, the finished pair of antsistrus is deposited into an aquarium with a volume of 30 liters or more. Water should be cool enough, this is due to the fact that in nature, the start of spawning begins with a cooling of water. The optimum temperature is between 20-24 ° C. PH and stiffness are not too important, but the optimal parameters are around dH up to 20 °, pH 6-7.5. In the aquarium, be sure to install an aerator to saturate the water with oxygen and create a stream, put a coat and several different shelters - coconuts, pots or plastic (ceramic) tubes for antsiruses. Plants are not needed, and diffused light in the room is sufficient.
Plant the selected pair in the prepared aquarium. Feed daily with the obligatory assortment of herbal supplements and regularly change 30% of the water in the aquarium. Add shrimp meat or frozen bloodworm to your diet. This will help the female to come to the spawning state faster.
After several weeks of such royal treatment, the male begins to pursue the female. He swims into the chosen shelter and starts waving his tail like a flag from there, drawing the female inside. Apparently, he also releases a certain amount of pheromones, and helps these movements spread them around the shelter. Intrigued female approaching. He allows her to penetrate the shelter, where she lays from 75 to 100 large yellow eggs, and the male insects them. It is amazing how large they can be compared to caviar of other fish species. This sticky mass of caviar looks like clumps of orange grapes and will stay together even in conditions of strong flow.
Now the male is rather cruel to the female and drives her away from the shelter, he can pursue her in the spawn. It is better to remove it from the aquarium, now everything further depends entirely on the male. He carefully fanned caviar with fins, and examines it in order to protect it from the fungus and there was a sufficient supply of oxygen to it.
Rarely, but still happens that the male refuses to care for caviar. In this case, the aquarist must intervene. It is best to remove the male from the spawning area, and direct the flow of water to the calf so that it carries oxygen, but does not erode it.
Anyway, after four or five days, the larvae hatch from the eggs. Larvae look like a calf with a tail at one end, with a pair of eyes. At this moment they are bright orange. Over the next few days, they will sway in place and absorb the contents
sacs with yolk, gradually becoming darker. After about a week, they will eat the contents of the yolk sac, and then they need to be fed.
They are very voracious and need to be fed several times a day. Special vegetable foods for antsistrus are well suited, some aquarists also add animal feed to their diets, although others successfully grow only vegetable ones.
Fry grow quickly, and within four weeks they will grow significantly and become miniature copies of their parents. At this moment, it is better to plant them in several aquariums, where they can continue their rapid growth.
If you reach this point, congratulations! You have completed another successful adventure in the world of aquarium fish breeding!
This is one of the most loyal, in terms of neighborhood, type of fish. Perfectly gets on with all other representatives of fresh-water fauna that is caused by their completely not predatory origin and lack of fight for forage, as their diet differs from the general. and guppies can only slightly “fight” for a feed pill, but this never leads to serious consequences.
These aquarium fish can greatly help you save on cleaning aquariums. The fact is that this catfish cleans everything around it, and two such fish can quickly clean the walls of even the largest aquarium. They even clear hard to reach places. Also usually eat food that is not eaten by other fish. Most often, these fish graze at the bottom of the aquarium, while guppies and other fish swim near the surface.
Antsistrusy are not particularly capricious in temperature, they successfully survive at 17 ° and at 30 ° C, although the optimum temperature will be 22 ° -24 °. One of the important conditions for a comfortable life for antsistrusov will be a sufficient amount of feed. And with a lack of algal overgrowth, antsistrus can damage aquarium plants, especially tender young shoots - they can even be eaten whole. Therefore, it is recommended to feed Ancistrus with various vegetable feeds (for example, tablets with Spirulina alga). Also antsistrusy will gladly eat scalded lettuce or cabbage, which with the help of a sinker is lowered to the bottom.
Do not allow the overcrowding of the aquarium adult antsistrusami. The optimal amount is 3-4 individuals per 100-150 liters. In this case, a 100-liter aquarium is better to keep only one male, because in everyday life, these peaceful fish can fight to the death because of the females. If there are several males, the owner of the aquarium should take care to increase the number of shelters for the males in the aquarium.
Under natural conditions, the Ancistruses are found mainly in South America, mainly in the mountain tributaries of the Amazon in the Peruvian part of the Andes, as well as in the headwaters of the Orinoko River in Venezuela. Ancistrus was introduced to Russia presumably in the 1970s.
In the wild, this fish lives in fast-flowing shallow mountain streams. This is due to the lack of a swim bladder and the presence of a powerful oral sucker, which makes it easy to hold onto stones even with a strong current, as well as a strong shell that protects from objects that the current can carry.
Adult males of antsistrus can reach 14 cm, but usually half as much. The male differs from the female by the presence of bushy "horns" on the nose, which are soft skin growths. Females are slightly fuller, and the outgrowths on the nose are almost imperceptible.
The basic color of the ancistrus varies from light gray with a yellowish sheen to dark gray with a light speck. However, the color of this fish varies easily with mood, usually changing to blanching.
Ancystrusts have a drop-flat body shape with a broad head. The anterior rays of the pectoral and anal fins are strongly thickened and covered with small spines, and the body is covered with rows of wide bone plates.
At the base of the head there are hidden spines that spread out in all directions when danger occurs. In nature, these spines are used not only during conflicts, but also for more convenient anchorage on obstacles in case of strong currents.
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Conditions of detention
Antsistrus shows the greatest peak of activity in the twilight or at night, so it is very important to provide your pet with shelter in which he will hide during daylight hours. As shelters suitable grottoes or snags, which catfish can use as an additional source of fiber, gnawing bark. Dense vegetation is best avoided, as antsistrus is often confused in it, damaging the leaves of the plants or pulling them from the root.
Water parameters suitable for ancistrus ordinary:
- hardness: up to 20-25 dH,
- acidity: about 6-7 pH,
- temperature: 22-27 ° C,
- weekly replacement of 30% water.
Like other scaly catfish, antsistrus poorly tolerate salinity, therefore, stones taken from the sea should be abandoned. Salting water is also not recommended, before prophylactic measures using salt it is better to transplant catfish into another container.
Since it is not enough for the voracious catfish to raid the walls and the remnants of the feed, they need to be fed. Most of the diet consists of vegetable feed. How fertilizing use:
- special sinking tablets for catfish with the addition of spirulina,
- fresh cucumbers,
- leaf lettuce.
Fiber is necessary for normalization of digestion. Oak snags, which will serve not only as a top dressing, but also as a decor, are best suited to produce it.
As a protein supplement you can use:
- insect larvae.
When malnutrition antsistrusy can not only absorb aquatic vegetation, but also manifest predation, attacking other inhabitants of the aquarium.
Sucker of catfish, with which it is held on surfaces and eats fouling
In the absence of predatory fish in an aquarium, antsistrus reproduce easily and sometimes even without the intervention of the host.
For offspring, it is necessary to select a mature adult that has reached a pair of 8-12 months or one male to two females. More than two males in the same aquarium are difficult to hold due to constant skirmishes, and it is impossible to get a fry in such conditions.
To stimulate the spawning process, it is best to imitate the rainy season in nature. This effect is achieved:
- lowering the water temperature to 21 ° C,
- daily abundant 30-50% water changes in the aquarium.
The spawning itself takes place in shelters, for this purpose, various hollow ceramics, opaque plastic tubes, etc. Before inviting the female to the shelter, the male takes up the territory, carefully cleans it, after which the female climbs into the nest and starts spawning. As soon as the male fertilizes the clutch, he takes all the care of the offspring on himself, and the female leaves the nest. It is necessary to set aside, otherwise the male will begin to attack her.
Albinos form Ancistrus
The parent jealously guards the clutch for 5-6 days, fanning it with fins, creating fresh water and removing dead eggs. The larvae hatch with a yolk sac, a well-developed sucker. As soon as the offspring begins to hatch, it is better to remove the male, and to begin feeding the babies after the yolk sac has resolved, which will occur in 3-5 days.
Young antsistrus voracious enough that they do not "dragged out" and quickly grew, you need a balanced diet and constant access to food.
Vegetable starters and Nauplii Artemia are used as starter feeds. Temperature for fry up to 1 month - 27-28 ° C.
- 50% - Nauplii Artemia,
- 25% - chopped cauliflower and boiled water mixed with egg omelet on milk in a 1: 1 ratio,
- 25% - green peas scalded and crushed and treated with boiling water,
- dry food for the night.
After the fry reach the age of eight days and the length of 12-14 mm, they switch to a vigorous diet.
- 50% - decapsulated eggs or nauplii of Artemia,
- 50% - vegetable food (spinach, nettle leaves, dandelion, lettuce, cucumber, etc.),
- Once the fry are 1 month old, you can add 10% of scalded oatmeal or white bread to your diet.
Under good conditions, the fry reach a length of 30 mm by ten weeks. Until adulthood, the feeding interval should be no more than 3 hours, and at night in the aquarium it is necessary to leave the pipe maker or bloodworm.
Antsistrusy - peaceful, but territorial fish. They get along with most species of fish. The exceptions are:
- Other bottom fish or male antsistrusov, with them will arise constant fights.
- It is not recommended to contain them with aggressive, territorial cichlids, especially during the spawning period.
- Peaceful and slow-moving fish, such as gold, will be easy prey for catfish if he wants to cling to them.
Antsistrus ordinary - unpretentious and very useful for the aquarium fish, able to maintain cleanliness in the most hidden corners. Small size, peaceful nature and interesting appearance - these qualities she fell in love with the majority of aquarists.
History of appearance and domestication
Сомы анциструсы впервые были обнаружены в Южной Америке, где обитают в большом количестве и сейчас. Их местом проживания могут быть самые различные водоёмы: глубоководные реки, озёра, горные ручьи, болота.
С 1854 года началось одомашнивание этих рыбок, а к концу 2005 года уже было выведено более 50 видов. In our country, they began to be used in aquariums in the late 70s of the last century.
Unlike stellate, specks of diamond Ancistrus do not fade with time
Ancistrus diamond (Brilliant Bristlenose Pleco) is one of the most beautiful, but rare aquarium catfish. This is because its breeding is a rather difficult process. The body of an adult fish reaches 8–11 cm in length. Its black velvety surface is decorated with large patches of white color, and bright glitters are scattered on the fins.
Albinos ancistrus are also called golden
Ancistrus albino (Ancistrus dolichopterus var. Albino) has exactly the same structure as the ordinary one. Its more delicate and unusual appearance is due to the pale yellow color and red eyes. The body length of an adult fish ranges from 7 to 13 centimeters.
Another name for this species is antsistrus dragonfly.
Ancistrus veil (Ancistrus dolichopterus) differs from other species in a very unusual body shape, resembling a dragonfly. Its beautiful fins and tail are oblong in shape and, when revealed, look like a gentle, transparent veil. On the dark olive surface of the body there are small bright spots, and on the fins - strips of light and marsh color. The length of an adult fish does not exceed 10 centimeters.
Ancistrus red was bred by breeders and is not found in nature
Ancistrus red (Ancistrus super red) is a selection form, which was developed not so long ago, but has already gained great popularity. The body of the fish has a bright orange color, and transparent fins are framed with a red border. Adults reach 13 centimeters in length.
Star antsistrus attract aquarists for their contrasting color
Star Antsistrus (Ancistrus hoplogenys) has a black body, which is decorated with shiny white and blue stars. As the fish grow, they turn brown. Along the edge of their fins and tails are white stripes that disappear in adults. The maximum size is 10 cm.
Despite the unremarkable color in comparison with other species, antsistrus ordinary remains the most popular among aquarists
Ancistrus vulgaris (Ancistrus multispinis) is the most common species in aquarism. This species has a dark brown or grayish body, on which the bright points are located. In this case, the back is darker than the abdomen. On the dorsal and caudal fins there are brown specks, and on the thoracic and abdominal fins are olive and grayish-blue. The body length of an adult fish is 10–13 centimeters.
Advantages and disadvantages
Antsistrus cleans the walls of the aquarium from algae and moss
The advantages of antsistrusov include the following:
- ease of breeding and care,
- unpretentiousness in nutrition,
- originality and colorful appearance,
- variety of species
- the ability to clean the walls of the aquarium and decorations.
At the same time there are several disadvantages of keeping these fish. They secrete a lot of waste products, as they absorb a sufficiently large amount of food. This leads to rapid contamination of the aquarium.
Another disadvantage is that it is very difficult to catch antsistrus from an aquarium - they immediately open the fins, raise their scales and get confused in the net.
What to feed
If you decide to treat Ancistrus vegetables, the uneaten remnants must be removed from the aquarium no later than in a day
Since antsistrusy are phytophagous, a large part of their diet should be plant food — about 70% of the diet, and 30% remains for protein feed. It should be borne in mind that these fish are great food lovers. Therefore, for normal life, they should receive a sufficient amount of balanced food.
Of the ready, it is recommended to include in the ration of special feeds for locomite catfish, for example, Sulfur Spirulina Tabs, which is produced in the form of algae-based tablets and other useful components. They fall on the ground of the aquarium and slowly dissolve, and the characteristic smell attracts fish.
The following products can be used as natural plant foods:
- lettuce leaves
- green pea,
When preparing for feeding you need to cut the vegetables into small pieces. It is also necessary to include frozen or live protein feeds in the Ancistrus diet. These fish love to eat moth or koretry. It is important to remove the remaining food from the aquarium, otherwise the water may rot.
Sometimes catfish refuse to eat. In order for the fish did not die, you need to establish the cause. There may be several:
- If the ancistrus is acquired recently, then the refusal of feed can be caused by the stress of transportation and the new place of residence. We need to let them adapt and observe their food preferences.
- Reluctance to eat can talk about the wrong content. We need to check the water, perhaps it is supersaturated with ammonia, nitrite or nitrate - poisons that pose a threat to fish. Signs of poisoning can be difficulty breathing, jumping out of the aquarium, changing the color of the body.
- Failure to eat can be caused by bacterial infections or invasive diseases that require urgent treatment.
- Since the ancistrus is activated in the evening, during the day they may not need food. Therefore, it is better to feed them closer to the night.
Diseases and treatment
Antsistrusy are rather hardy small fishes, but at the wrong contents can suffer from a number of diseases. The most common of these include:
- Helminths The appearance of parasites can be caused by contaminated feed or polluted water. There are many invasive fish diseases with various signs. Most of them are characterized by compression of the fins, loss of appetite, friction on the ground, and lethargy. In this case, it is necessary to add anthelmintic drugs to water in accordance with the instructions.
- White patches or spots on the body. Recently acquired fish may have the effects of stress. As a rule, they pass within several weeks. If white patches or spots appear in individuals that have long lived in an aquarium, then they are affected by some infectious disease. In this case, you should immediately transplant the infected antsistrusov in a separate container and treat it with antibiotics, for example, bitsillin-5. In general, the aquarium need to change the water and clean the soil.
- Abdominal distention. This problem can be caused by many reasons, including damage to the gastrointestinal tract, bacterial or viral diseases, constipation and other things. Since it is almost impossible to determine the nature of the disease on your own, if you swell the belly of a fish, you should immediately consult an ichthyologist.
- Split fins. Such a problem may be a sign of tuberculosis. In this case, ancistrus should be shown to a specialist and appropriate treatment should be carried out if necessary. This should be done quickly, since this disease can be eliminated only at an early stage of development.
Ancistrus diseases are easier to prevent than to cure. Therefore it is necessary to follow the recommended rules for keeping existing fish. New individuals need to be placed in a separate capacity for several weeks to pass the quarantine.
How to distinguish the female from the male
It is quite easy to determine the sex of antsistrus, but this can only be done after the fish have reached sexual maturity, which occurs in the second year of life. At this time, males form skin growths (whiskers) in the upper jaw, reaching 2 centimeters in length, and in females they are absent. At the same time, the body of the female is larger, longer and slender, and their fins are longer and sharper than those of the males.
With proper care and arrangement of the aquarium, there are no problems with reproduction of antsistrus. But if spawning does not occur for a long time, it is recommended:
- change most of the water in the aquarium,
- raise the temperature
- increase the amount of protein feed in the diet,
- install in the aquarium trim PVC pipes in which the fish love to breed.
How many live at home
In order for Som Ancistrus to live for 7 years, it is enough to observe simple conditions for keeping an unpretentious fish
The average lifetime of ancistrus is about 7 years. There are cases when, with proper maintenance and feeding, individual individuals live more than 10 years.
Som antsistrus is a rather interesting aquarium fish. Despite his specific appearance, he is very popular with aquarists for his unpretentious content and ease of breeding. In addition, he always adds a touch of exotic to the aquarium fauna.