Home » Fish Guides » Albino Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus Cirrhosis) Ultimate Care Guide

Albino Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus Cirrhosis) Ultimate Care Guide

Albino Bristlenose pleco, also known as Albino Bristlenose Bushynose, Ancistrus dolichopterus, Bushynose Pleco, or simply Albino pleco, is the most popular Plecostomus fish in the aquarium industry.

They are pretty small, efficient tank cleaners that can camouflage themselves in their natural surroundings. 

Fortunately, these fish are quite common in pet shops, and they are affordable as well.

Caring for these fish is pretty straightforward. In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about Albino Bristlenose Bristlenose pleco.

Albino Bristlenose Pleco

What is Albino Bristlenose pleco?

Scientifically named Ancistrus cirrhosis var Albino, Albino Bristlenose Pleco is a member of the Loricariidae family of suckermouth catfish.

The native habitats of these fish are in the rivers and streams of South America.

They are omnivore fish species that primarily feed on algae and other plant matter. They are bottom dwellers that spend much of their time foraging and grazing on algae.

The peaceful and undemanding nature of these fish makes them so popular in the aquarium industry.

Albino Bristlenose pleco is a hardy and adaptable fish that can survive in a variety of tank conditions. Because of this, they are considered as an ideal beginner’s choice.

How big do Albino Bristlenose pleco get?

Albino Bristlenose pleco is a pretty small fish that is smaller than the common pleco fish. They grow up to 15cm long (6 inches).

Is Albino Bristlenose pleco aggressive?

No. Albino Bristlenose pleco is a peaceful and non-social fish. They always spend their time in solitary, often hiding in caves and other hiding places.

They may become aggressive towards their own species during spawning and feeding. But, if you provide enough hiding places, they can coexist nicely.

Albino Bristlenose pleco behavior

Albino Bristlenose plecos are peaceful fish that don’t bother other species around them.

They are bottom dwellers that stay alone all the time, hiding in caves and other hiding spots.

However, some older males become aggressive towards other plecos when feeding and spawning.

But, this is primarily because of the lack of hiding places. When given enough hiding spots, you can avoid the aggressiveness of Albino plecos.

Albino plecos often roam around in the lower region when lights go off and graze on algae simultaneously.

They are great algae eaters, especially when they are young. When these fish get older, their metabolism slows down, and they become a little lazier. 

You will often see these species scraping on algae out of driftwood, substrate, and tank glass. When they are not grazing on algae, they will often hide in the dark corners of the tank.

Albino Bristlenose pleco prefers densely planted aquariums with caves, rocks, and other ornaments, as they like to stay hidden most of the time.

Sometimes these fish swim up to the water surface to gulp some air. But, if you see them often on the water surface, that means the water condition is poor.

How long do Albino Bristlenose plecos live?

Albino Bristlenose pleco live for about 3 to 7 years with proper care. However, these fish are considered easy to care for fish even a beginner aquarist can keep.

Albino Bristlenose Pleco

Albino Bristlenose pleco care

Albino Bristlenose pleco is easy to care for fish that can survive in minimum water conditions.

In optimum water conditions, they can thrive and live longer, So, they can do the tank cleaning job more efficiently. 

Albino Bristlenose pleco size

Albino Bristlenose pleco is the smallest aquarium catfish that barely reaches about 6 inches in length. Most of these fishes grow up to 3 to 4 inches maximum.

Albino Bristlenose pleco tank size

These fish need at least a 20-gallon tank to thrive. Although these fish are relatively small, they need some space to roam around.

And also, in a 20-gallon tank, you may not be able to house other species other than some shrimps.

The optimum tank size is about 30 gallons. In a 30 gallon tank, you can house some other species with these fish.

Further, the tank should be longer as these are bottom dwellers. So, they may not be a good choice for a nano aquarium.

How many Albino Bristlenose pleco should be kept together?

Matured albino Bristlenose plecos may become aggressive for food and when spawning when kept together.

So, to avoid such situations, we recommend keeping only one fish in an aquarium. But, if you have a pretty large aquarium with so much space, you can keep more than one plecos depending on the size of the tank.

Albino Bristlenose Pleco

Tank setup

Albino Bristlenose plecos prefer densely planted aquariums with many places to hide. So, you have to prepare the tank as per their preferences.


These fish do not have any specific preferences on the substrate. A clay-based substrate would do just fine, but you may have to top it with some gravel to avert cloudiness.

When choosing the substrate, be sure to pick a smooth substrate like sand or gravel with round edges as a coarse substrate may cause injury/scratches on these fish while swimming in the lower regions.

You can pick a color as your choice. Albino plecos do not care about the color of the substrate.


These fish are crazy poopers. Hence, you must install sound filtration to clean up those detritus.

You can choose any type of filter system with these species, but we recommend going with a hang-on-the-back filter or a canister filter as they are more efficient.


When decorating the aquarium, try to replicate the natural habitats of Albino Bristlenose plecos.

These fish prefer many hiding places in their surroundings. So, introduce driftwood, rocks, PVC pipes, caves, and other ornaments to the bottom of the tank.

Driftwood helps their digestion, and they use caves when spawning.


Albino Bristlenose plecos prefer well-planted aquariums as plants provide both shelter and food. These fish like to eat algae build-up of plants.

However, they do not eat plants all the time. If you see them eating plants most of the time, that means they do not have enough food in their surroundings.

In that case, you will have to feed them more.


Moderate lighting is sufficient for Albino Bristlenose plecos. These fish often stay hidden in dark places. So, they don’t demand lighting at all.

You can adapt lighting to the needs of the plants in your aquarium. And also, lights help the growth of algae, therefore more food for your Bristlenose.

Water quality condition

Albino Bristlenose plecos prefer water temperature between 60 and 80 F. The optimum pH level is about 6.5- 7.5. The hardness of the water should be soft to medium. Around 2 – 12 dGH hardness range is fine.

These ranges are the typical water parameter ranges of tap water. So, there is nothing much to change once you put the tap water into the aquarium other than dechlorinating.

However, strong filtration is necessary because these fish are big on pooping.

In addition, you need to perform 25% water changes bi-weekly to keep Ammonia, Phosphate, Nitrate, and Nitrite levels down.

Albino Bristlenose Pleco

Albino Bristlenose pleco breeding 

Breeding Albino Bristlenose Pleco is fairly easy if you keep both male and female fish in one tank. It is far better if you own more females than males.

These fish sexually mature in one year. They need to have caves to spawn.

Albino Bristlenose pleco male or female identification 

Sexing male and female Albino Bristlenose plecos is relatively easy as they have distinct differences.

The male fish have visible longer bristles grown out on the top of their heads, while females have smaller bristles grown more around the snout margins.

These bristles grow after these fish sexually mature.

Identify pregnant Albino Bristlenose pleco and pregnancy stages

Albino Bristlenose pleco sexually mature after one year. When the female is ready to reproduce, she carries eggs in her abdomen, and her belly becomes larger.

At the same time, you will notice that the male is creating the spawning environment. Plecos are egg layers and cave spawners.

When they are ready to reproduce, the females lay eggs in the cave while males fertilize them. After spawning, the females leave, and the males start to protect the eggs until they hatch.

Albino Bristlenose pleco breeding

Albino Bristlenose pleco breeding is relatively easy when you provide optimum water conditions and a suitable environment for breeding.

In their habitats, pleco spawns in the caves in the winter months, during the Amazon’s rainy season.

To replicate this environment, you will have to provide enough caves in the tank and reduce the water temperature.

For this, you will have to set up a separate breeding tank as other fish in the community tank will otherwise eat the eggs and fry.

You should keep more females than males in this breeding tank as males become territorial and aggressive when breeding.

The male will search for a suitable cave, and when he finds one, he will prepare and clean its surface for the eggs. He will then wait for the female pleco.

The female pleco visits this cave, and if she is impressed, she will lay eggs in the cave. The male fertilizes them while she lays the eggs.

After spawning, the female fish leave the cave, and then the male fish starts to protect the eggs until they hatch. More than one female may lay eggs in a male’s cave.

The eggs take about 4 to 10 days to hatch. During this time, the male pleco protects the eggs, cleaning, aerating with its fins, and chasing away other fish.

They do not eat while guarding the eggs. So, you do not have to worry about that.

After hatching, the fry stays in the cave for a further 2 to 4 days absorbing their egg sacs. And then, they become free-swimming fish fry. After the fry leaves the cave, the male fish stop guarding and exit the cave.

How many babies does Albino Bristlenose pleco have?

Female Albino Bristlenose pleco lays about 20 to 50 eggs in one spawn. So, you can expect around 20 to 50 fish in one spawn per female fish, give or take.

Albino Bristlenose pleco fry care

Albino Bristlenose pleco eggs are adhesive and have a bright orange hue. These eggs take around 4 to 10 days to hatch.

The fry stay in the cave for another 2 to 4 days to absorb their egg sacs. Then, they become free-swimming fish fry and leave the cave to feed themselves.

They will nibble on algae and biofilm inside the tank. You can also supplement them with blanched vegetables. In 6 to 10 months, this fry will attain its adult size but will take a few more months to mature.

You must ensure that the filters are covered with a sponge to prevent fish fry from sucking up. 

Ancistrus cirrhosis

Special tips

You should not overfeed Albino plecos as it may lead them to death.

If you want to house more than one plecos, avoid adding more than one male plecos in one tank. (A mated pair in one tank is fine.)

If possible, avoid buying juvenile Albino Bristlenose plecos as they are more sensitive to pH levels than adults. Always try to buy a young, mature specimen of these species.

How to feed Albino Bristlenose pleco?

The main diet of these fish will be biofilm and algae growing in the aquarium. However, their diet should contain 80% plant-based food and 20% protein-based food.

So, you should supplement them with some protein-rich food as well.

Suppose the algae build-up and the biofilm is not enough for these fish. In that case, you can feed them with sinking fish pellets, spirulina, algae wafers, as well as blanched vegetables such as lettuce, zucchini, carrots, beans, and peas.

You can supplement them with protein-rich food such as bloodworms, daphnia, freeze-dried tubifex worms, brine shrimp, and blackworms.

Feeding them once per day is enough as overfeeding may lead to bloat and other health complications which may cause death.

You should remove any leftover food after 24 hours of serving to prevent them from decaying and ruining the water quality.

What fish can live with Albino Bristlenose pleco?

Albino Bristlenose pleco will get along with any fish that has a similar temperament. They are compatible with any peaceful fish except their own species and other similar shapes species.

The male Albino Bristlenose plecos are aggressive towards other males while feeding and spawning.

Therefore, you should avoid housing two or more males together. They can also be aggressive and territorial towards other similar-shaped species like other plecos.

So, you should not add any other pleco species with these fish.

You can also house shrimps and snails with these fish. But, they may view tiny shrimp fry as food. So, separating these species is essential while breeding shrimps and snails.

These fish have bony armor that can help protect them from semi-aggressive and small aggressive fish.

But, if you house them together, you should carefully monitor them to avoid unnecessary injuries.

Ancistrus cirrhosis

Related questions 

Are Albino Bristlenose Plecos rare?

No. Albino Bristlenose plecos are not rare. They are one of the most common aquarium fish available in pet shops.

These fish are popular among aquarists because of their small size and their ability to clean the tank effectively.

How long does an Albino Bristlenose pleco live?

Albino Bristlenose pleco live for about 3 to 7 years with proper care.

How big do white Plecos get?

The maximum size of these small fishes is 6 inches in length. But, the average size of most Albino Bristlenose plecos is about 3 to 4 inches.

Do Plecos actually clean the tank?

Yes. They are very efficient tank cleaners and constantly graze on algae in the tank. They may not be able to finish off algae build-up in the tank, but they can control it fairly.

One look Care guide

Scientific nameAncistrus cirrhosis var Albino
Common nameAlbino Bristlenose Pleco, Albino Bristlenose catfish, Albino Bushynose catfish, Ancistrus dolichopterus, Bushynose Pleco, Albino pleco
Care levelEasy
Native toSouth America
Type catfish
Color Albino
Tank size20 gallons minimum, 30 gallons optimum
Preferred temperature60 and 80 F
Other water parameters (ammonia ,ect)pH- 6.5- 7.5Hardness- 2 – 12 dGH
Preferred salinityNone. Freshwater fish.
Size of the Albino Bristlenose PlecoUp to 6 inches
Life SpanUp to 7 years
Temperament Peaceful
Recommended tank matesOther peaceful fish, shrimps, and snails
Preferred foodOmnivores. Biofilm and Algae, sinking fish pellets, algae wafers, blanched vegetables, protein-based food
Feeding frequencyOnce per day
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.