Bristlenose Pleco: Quick Guide to Keeping These Unique Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Bristlenose Pleco

As the name suggests, Bristlenose Pleco is one of the most unique looking freshwater aquarium fish. It has distinctive features along with an adorable size. This makes this fish one of the smallest freshwater fish too. 

Interestingly, they have a wide head. Their body is flattened with bony plates and branches like tentacles are projected from their head. Their elongated lips make them the ideal suckerfish. 

You can keep Bristlenose Pleco in your aquariums, however, you must know the details of keeping them and caring for them. This guide will help you do just that. Let’s walk you through all the guidelines of keeping this different yet amazing freshwater fish. 

Ideal Habitat 

Bristlenose is found in the rivers and streams of South America. Water in such areas is fresh yet well aerated. This is what you should replicate in the tank. 

The water should be well-oxygenated, and they like a moderate water flow. 

Tank Size 

The minimum size tank that is suitable for keeping Bristlenose is 25 gallons. Since they prefer spending time at the bottom of the tank, you should make sure the bottom is spacious as well. 

However, keep in mind that these fish produce ample waste, so if you are keeping them with other fish, the bigger the tank, the better. 

Tank Set-Up  

Temperature: They aren’t used to very warm temperatures, hence, keep the water temperature between 60 to 80 Fahrenheit. 

pH: They like pH that is on the borderline of being acidic and neutral. So, keep the pH between 6.5 and 7.5. 

Water hardness: They aren’t used to soft waters. Hence, keep the water hardness between 20 to 25 dKH. 

Plants: Bristlenose Pleco love to hide. Hence, as many plants you keep in their aquarium, the better. 

Decorations: Driftwood, caves, rocks, etc. are excellent hiding spots for this freshwater fish. Hence, make sure you keep a reasonable quantity of these decorations in the aquarium. 

Tank Mates 

Bristlenose Pleco is a very peaceful fish and gets along with other calm fish. They like spending time at the bottom of the tank or keep sucking at the side of the glass. 

Let’s see which types of fish prove to be a good tank mate for Bristlenose Pleco. 

  1. Neon Tetras
  2. Platys
  3. Guppies
  4. Oscar
  5. Mollies
  6. Zebra Danios
  7. Gouramis
  8. Swordtails
  9. Angelfish

However, do not keep them with bigger aggressive fish as they will bully them and stress them out to an extent that can be harmful to their health and wellbeing.

  • Can you keep Bristlenose Pleco with other Bristlenose Pleco?

The simple answer to this question is, yes, you can. However, little monitoring doesn’t hurt. Especially if you introduce young ones into a tank that already has older ones, make sure to keep an eye. To avoid any mishaps, try to introduce Bristlenose Pleco of the same age at the same time. 


Bristlenose Pleco is a majorly vegetarian fish. However, their diet should constitute of proteins as well. 

Below are some of the food items you can feed them. 

  • Algae pellets
  • Parboiled lettuce
  • Cabbage leaves
  • Cucumber
  • Peas

Use tablets that are specifically made for bottom-dwelling herbivores like sinking algae pellets and wafers. Adding driftwood to the tank allows their fiber intake to be regular. 

Feeding routine: You should feed your Bristlenose once or twice a day. 


Bristlenose Pleco is fish that adapt well to different situations, but they need proper care and clean environments to nourish. 

Cleaning: You should change 25% of the tank water once a week. Carry out a deep clean once every two weeks. Also, make sure you remove excess food from the tank each day.

Also, as mentioned above, Bristlenose Pleco produces a lot of waste, you should be very particular and regular about the water change and general tank cleaning. 

They clean the driftwood and rocks as they graze on the algae that grow on these pieces. Also, part of their care is making sure their fiber and nutrition intake as well, as if their nutrition is good, they will have a very good coloration. 


That’s it for caring for and keeping Bristlenose Pleco. At this point, you must be pretty confident about adding this unique fish to your freshwater aquarium. 

All you have to do is put in some effort to ensure proper care, and you will find lovely friends in this fish. Good luck!

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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