Antsistrus ordinary, belonging to the family of chain catfish, is very popular among aquarists. Due to the special structure of the mouth, it is called catfish-sucker.
It was first introduced to the territory of our country in the 70s of the twentieth century.
The birthplace of the Ancistrus is the Amazon River in South America. It prefers fleeting waters of rivers, mountain streams, but can also be found in forest lakes and marshes.
Ancistrus body is elongated, drop-flat, covered with bony plates, head is wide. The mouth is in the shape of a sucker with peculiar horn-like scrapers, with which ancistrus scrubs bloom from the bark, leaves and walls of the aquarium.
The dorsal fin is large, flag-shaped, and in some individuals pressed to the back. The adipose fin is small, while the ventral and pectoral fin are wide and large.
The color ranges from a yellowish-gray to dark gray and even black, the whole body in bright spots. The belly is slightly lighter.
Juveniles are distinguished by a bluish body tone and white edging on the anal and dorsal fins.
Males can be distinguished from females by the presence of tentacles – leathery processes located on the head, which are absent or practically invisible in females. Males are slimmer and larger and can grow up to 13 cm.
Antsistrus idle time is rather unpretentious and can be contained in a freshwater aquarium of any type with a minimum volume of 50 liters. The obligatory condition of the maintenance is the presence of numerous caves, snags and stones, which serve as shelter and resting place for the fish. Basically, the male Ancistrus chooses one cave that he likes and keeps close to it, not allowing other fish to go.
Large stones should be stable and lie on the bottom, otherwise the ancistrus can crawl under the stone that will crush it.
The filter output tubes should be closed for safety reasons, as the ancistrus who loves a strong current may swim too close to them, get into the filter and die.
Ancistrus easily tolerates temperature fluctuations in the range of 17-30 ° C, but the most comfortable temperature will be 22-25 ° C. PH – 6.5-7.5, dGH – about 15 °.
In nature, antsistrus ordinary prefers fast flowing, oxygen-saturated water, so powerful filtration with aeration is required in an aquarium. Partial water changes should be regular.
Antsistrus does not like bright light, but due to the fact that it is necessary for the growth of plants, it is necessary to ensure alternation of light and dark phases with intermediate twilight lighting.
Common antsistrus is very peaceful and can be kept with any fish similar in terms of keeping.
In nature, and in aquarium conditions, Ancistrus ordinary food is bloom, which forms on snags, stones and glasses, especially if the aquarium is well lit. In addition, eats the remnants of plant and live food, not eaten by other fish.
When there is a shortage of algal growths, it switches to plant leaves, especially young ones, leaving holes on them. In order to avoid damage to the plants, it is necessary to feed the Ancistrus with vegetable feeds: cabbage, lettuce and nettle leaves, scalded with boiling water.
No special difficulties. Often the fish are able to lay eggs in the general aquarium, but then the risk of death of the fry is great.
The female lays eggs in a secluded place, sometimes even behind or in the filter.
Parental care mainly shows the male. Since the appearance of large orange eggs, he has been fanning his eggs with fins, regularly cleans it with his mouth and protects him from all sorts of enemies, even from the female.
For breeding, it is better to use a separate spawning tank with a volume of 50 liters or more, placing tubes made of bamboo or ceramics, stones, snags, and clay pots of small size. To stimulate spawning, water is replaced by a third during a decrease in atmospheric pressure.
Parameters of water for dilution: 20-26 ° С, pH 6-7.3, КН 2 °, dH 10 °.
The readiness of the female for spawning is determined by the rounded abdomen. In some cases, spawning occurs on the following day, but for the most part the male chooses a suitable shelter for several days and carefully cleans it.
During this period, the diet of antsistrus (Ancistrus Dolichopterus) should consist mainly of plant foods.
The female spawns usually at night. The number of eggs can vary from 20 to 300 pieces and depends on its size and age.
In the first spawning, the number of caviar is usually minimal.
The female sticks the caviar in the form of a large cluster in the place prepared by the male, and this is where her responsibilities for raising offspring end. She settles down, otherwise the male, protecting the eggs, is able to do much harm to her.
In the period of development of eggs, which lasts from 4 days to a week, depending on the temperature regime, the male does not leave the calf even for eating.
If the spawning took place in the general reservoir, the male should be immediately deposited in the spawning ground along with the caviar, but only if the female has secured it in a tube or grotto. If caviar is laid on the glass, it should be carefully removed with a blade, but in this case it is not necessary to replant the male.
Having suffered a similar stress, he refuses to care for caviar and may even eat it.
Ancistrus larvae are large enough with large yolk sacs. At first, they remain hanging in a bunch, and only a few days later they gradually spread over the aquarium. At this stage, the male is deposited, and the fry can be fed.
Special feeds for fry and tablets intended for catfish will be suitable as starter feed. Fry stick to them and gnaw slowly.
Finely chopped vegetable feed will do as well.
Fry of ancistrus common grow very quickly. Feeding should occur at least three times a day, and water should be replaced daily by about 20%.
In six months, the fry practically catch up with the size of their parents, and by 8-12 months they reach maturity.