The most popular catfish living in the aquariums of professional fish breeders, and people who have just started to support them - ancistrus. He is considered the main "orderly" of the aquarium, he is very unpretentious, a peaceful neighbor and looks quite outstanding, although he is not considered handsome.
Antsistruses belong to the order Kapoobrazny, suborder Somoid and the family of chain mail. The fish has a slightly flattened shape. The size of the body, consisting of bone plates, is about 8-25 cm. The color of the fish is reddish or shades from gray to black.
Different varieties have small differences in size and color. For example, golden ancistrus saturated yellow, the star-like appearance is decorated with white spots throughout the black body, which makes it resemble a starry sky.
This is the largest species, growing in nature to 25 cm. In addition to common ancistrus there are also decorative species bred specifically for keeping in aquariums and their decoration. These include, for example, bright red super red and veil antiscistrus - dragonfly, with beautiful fins.
Among the fish also exist albinos and ancistrus not an exception. The colorless appearance is completely white or yellowish with red eyes. The most important difference between ancistrus and others soms - the structure of his mouth. His lips are equipped with scrapers that literally scrape off the dirt from the walls, and a round suction cup draws the rest of the food from the bottom.
The birthplace of Antsistrus catfish is South America, the Amazon River. In nature, he chooses completely different water bodies for living - from swamps to deep-sea rivers. He likes swimming pools with a fast current, which saturates the water with oxygen. Water hardness is preferred 4-5 ⁰DH, acidity about 6 PH.
In conditions of home maintenance, ancistruses need a rather spacious aquarium with a volume of 100 liters or more. This condition is necessary for the fish for active movement, in which it is constantly located.
Water temperature should be around 22 ° C, hardness 20-25 ° DH. Change weekly под of water to fresh. Soma is quite active, constantly looking for food. In this regard, their metabolism is accelerated, and the waste of their food quickly pollutes the aquarium, therefore, when keeping catfish, it is recommended to install more powerful filters.
In addition to water requirements, lighting should not be neglected - you need to divide the day into two phases that are identical in time. The transition from light to dark is recommended to arrange a smooth, simulating twilight. This can be achieved by illuminating the wall of the aquarium at a right angle with a low-power light bulb.
High activity of catfish falls precisely at twilight time, so proper lighting is very important. When designing an aquarium for ancistruses, you need to remember that they like to hide in shaded areas, so it’s worth providing them with fish.
As for safety, taking into account the love of Antsistruses to stand in the stream from the aquarium pumps, it is better to close the filter with a net so that the fish could not get there and die.
Antcistrus spends most of his time at the bottom, moving in steps, along one trajectory he understands, in search of food. He examines the bottom, driftwood, various ledges and caves in the aquarium. Nothing escapes his sucker, he will clean everything. When living in freedom, catfish, just as in the aquarium, try to hide under the snag, find a secluded place. They can swim in a secluded place and hang upside down there.
As for the neighborhood with other fish, the ancistruses are quite peaceful, they get along well with the cardinal, scalaria, barbus and many other fish in the aquarium. But still, they may well harm some fish, especially the scaleless ones. It is also not recommended to keep catfish with leisurely goldfish.
In the absence of predators in the aquarium, they will more readily breed. With their relatives, they try to divide the territory, choosing a shelter and jealously guarding it from other males. It is possible to keep several males together only if the size of the aquarium allows and there are enough separate corners in it that catfish use as their home.
Natural food for ancistrus - various kinds of fouling, which they scrape from driftwood, stones, pick up from the bottom. The nutrition of aquarium fish should be balanced and include various components. Antsistrus is generally a very voracious fish, he licks not only the walls of the aquarium, but also equipment, algae, stones, and maybe neighbors, if they do not hurry to swim away.
Antsistruses are very fond of algae, which can be obtained not only from feed containing spirulina, but also by eating soft algae that grow in the aquarium. So that catfish do not spoil aquarium plants, it is necessary to give the fish lettuce, cabbage, spinach. Greens must be scalded with boiling water before serving.
Vegetables will also be met with enthusiasm - carrots, zucchini, cucumbers will be a tasty and healthy supplement. With vegetables, you need to be careful, and remove food debris after feeding from the aquarium to avoid water damage. Somics can eat up the remains of the feed of other fish, and from live insects they love daphnia, cyclops, tubule, bloodworms.
It is necessary to feed adult Antsistruses at least twice a day, so that one feeding falls on twilight time. More than half of the daily diet should be plant food.
You can buy Antsistrus fish, or you can try to breed them yourself. In the natural habitat, ancistruses begin to breed with the advent of the rainy season. To provoke spawning in an aquarium, it will be necessary to begin to change water more often and increase its aeration.
You can put the female and male into a separate aquarium with a volume of about 40 liters. When choosing producers, pay attention to their size, both future parents should be approximately the same, otherwise the male can kill a small female. The aquarium intended for spawning must be equipped with pipes, stumps, old ceramic pots or small vases.
Fish choose a place where female ancistrus lay eggs. The male will pre-clean the future "maternity hospital", and when the female lays eggs in an amount of 30 to 200 pieces, he will guard the masonry, fanning it for fresh water and removing dead eggs.
Five days later, larvae hatch, which for the first couple of days feed on the reserves of their yolk bladder, and then fry of ancistrus need to start feeding. Life expectancy of fish is about 6 years, but most often it dies earlier.