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Albino Bristlenose Pleco: A Detailed Care Guide

Albino Bristlenose Pleco: A Detailed Care Guide

Albino Bristlenose Plecos are a peaceful and curious freshwater fish with a striking appearance. It’s albino coloration and bristle-like appendages make it stand out in any aquarium.  If you’re interested in adopting one, what should you keep in mind?

Albino Bristlenose Plecos are small, white, or pale fish with red eyes. They have a reddish-pink marbled pattern at various places on their bodies, prominent sucker mouths, and bony armor to protect themselves against predators. Though they’re omnivores, their diet consists mainly of plant matter.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the Albino Bristlenose Pleco

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Overview & Natural Habitat

  • Common name: Albino Bristlenose Pleco.
  • Scientific name: Ancistrus cirrhosis var Albino.
  • Care level: Easy.
  • Size: 5 inches/12 cm.
  • Lifespan: 5 to 7 years.
  • Temperament: Peaceful and easygoing 
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Group size: Solitary fish.
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons/136 liters minimum. 
  • Tank level: Bottom dwellers.
  • Water temperature: 60 to 80°F (16 to 27°C).
  • Water pH levels: Between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Water hardness: Between 20 and 25.

The Albino Bristlenose Pleco, also known as the Albino Bushynose catfish or Albino Bristlenose catfish, is a fascinating freshwater fish belonging to the Loricariidae family.

They originate from the Amazon River Basin, and their natural habitat is fast-moving freshwater bodies. They are easy-going and low-maintenance fish and a great choice if you’re looking for a catfish. 

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Appearance & Size

The Albino Bristlenose Pleco’s body is entirely white (or sometimes a creamy off-white color) and differs from the Albino Bristlenose in that it has a broader head and body. 

Another distinguishing feature of this popular fish is its red eyes and prominent sucker mouth. Albino Bristlenose Plecos also have an interesting reddish-pink marbled pattern at various places throughout the body. 

It also has bony armor to give it additional protection from predators and prominent dorsal, pectoral, and abdominal fins. 

As adults, Albino Bristlenose Plecos can reach 5 inches/12 cm, but it’s common to see individuals smaller than this. 

Difference Between Males and Females 

There aren’t many differences between male and female Albino Bristlenose Plecos. However, males have protrusions or thick whiskers growing out of the top of their heads when they reach maturity. 

Females also have whiskers, but these are more delicate and grow from the sides of the head. 

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Personality & Behavior

As with all plecos, Albino Bristlenose Plecos are placid, calm, and reclusive. They will only become aggressive if another tank mate approaches or enters their living space and during the breeding season. 

Albino Bristlenose Plecos like relaxing, and you shouldn’t become alarmed if you notice them floating around without moving, as this is normal behavior.

As nocturnal species, Albino Bristlenose Plecos hide during the day and become active at night.

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Expected Lifespan

If you take care of your Albino Bristlenose Pleco well, provide them with the correct food, and a large enough tank so they don’t become stressed, you can expect them to have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Care & Tank Set Up

Before bringing an Albino Bristlenose Pleco home, there are certain important things to remember about setting up the tank and caring for the fish.

Tank Size

Albino Bristlenose Plecos are smaller-sized plecos and don’t need a huge tank, like some other varieties. That said, you should ensure that their tank is at least 30 gallons/136 liters in capacity as they enjoy plenty of space where they can be alone. 

If you want to add other fish to the tank, a larger aquarium would be more suitable. 

How Many Albino Bristlenose Plecos Are Suitable for a 30-Gallon Tank?

Two Albino Bristlenose Plecos are suitable for a 30-gallon tank. If you decide to have two plecos in the tank, make sure you include enough vegetation, boulders, and hiding places so they don’t fight with each other.  

That said, avoid keeping two male Albino Bristlenose Plecos in the same tank, as they will compete for territory. 

Water Parameters

  • Water temperature: 60 to 80°F (16 to 27°C).
  • Water pH levels: Between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Water hardness: Between 20 and 25.

The water parameters for Albino Bristlenose Plecos aren’t as stringent as those required for other pleco species: 

Water Temperature 

Albino Bristlenose Plecos thrive in tank water with a temperature range of between 60 to 80°F (16 to 27°C), which is easy to maintain. 

The tank nitrate levels are also important and should consistently be less than 20 ppm. With the large number of waste products Albino Bristlenose Plecos produce, you should monitor the nitrate levels regularly.  

Water pH Levels

For your Albino Bristlenose Pleco to live a healthy life and not become stressed, they should have a slightly acidic water pH level ranging between 6.5 and 7.5.

You can check the pH level in the water by investing in a simple and inexpensive tool from a pet store or online. 

Water Hardness

Water hardness is another vital tank water parameter to consider for your Albino Bristlenose Pleco. Aim for a water hardness level of between 20 and 25, which is soft to medium harness water. 

Water Current 

An Albino Bristlenose Pleco’s natural habitat is the fast-moving waters of the Amazon River, and they prefer the same kind of tank water current. 

You can emulate this by using a pump in your tank.

What To Put In The Tank

Aside from optimal tank water, Albino Bristlenose Plecos enjoy certain other elements in an aquarium. These include: 


Albino Bristlenose Plecos prefer a clay-like tank substrate. If you’ve used this type of substrate before, you’ll know that it can make the tank water look a little murky and affect its quality. 

However, you can fix this by adding a layer of fine gravel on top. 


Albino Bristlenose Plecos love nibbling on pieces of driftwood, which provides them with dietary fiber and entertainment. This is an essential tank decoration because it also comes in handy when the fish breed, as they lay their eggs on driftwood. 

These pleco fish also like tank decor in which they can hide, such as:

  • Aquatic plants
  • Decorative caves
  • Tunnels 

Ideal Plants

Having plenty of aquatic plants in your tank is also important when keeping Albino Bristlenose Plecos because they love swimming in and out of vegetation. 

Although an Albino Bristlenose Pleco’s diet consists primarily of plant matter, it will usually only eat loose or decaying plant material and won’t nibble on live plants. 

This means that you can safely include a wide range of plants in the aquarium for your Albino Bristlenose Pleco, including: 


Albino Bristlenose Plecos prefer low to medium-light conditions with plenty of vegetation and other dark hiding places when they feel the need to feel safe. 

It’s not unusual to see Albino Bristlenose Plecos hiding and sleeping in vegetation during the day. 

Introducing a little light into your Albino Bristlenose Pleco’s tank is a good idea because it encourages algae and tank biofilm to grow, which are a vital component of this species’ diet. 

However, be sure to monitor algae and biofilm growth because, left unchecked, it can quickly create hazardous tank conditions and put your Albino Bristlenose Pleco’s health at risk. 


If you own an Albino Bristlenose Pleco, you won’t typically need to use a water heater, as their preferred water temperature range is quite broad (between 60 to 80°F/16 to 27°C) and easy to achieve. 


Albino Bristlenose Plecos are small fish, but they tend to produce a lot of waste products, and investing in a good tank filtration system can help keep the water healthy and clean. 

Using a sponge tank filter is an excellent option. Not only is it relatively inexpensive, but it effectively filters out excess waste and bacteria, keeping the water healthy. 

In addition, you should change the tank water completely every second week. 

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Tank Mates

Albino Bristlenose Plecos do well alone in a tank and don’t need tank mates to be content. However, if you want to introduce other fish to the tank, consider the following suitable mates: 

Tank Mates To Avoid

Albino Bristlenose Plecos like to keep to themselves and won’t show active aggression toward other fish unless provoked. 

That said, some fish make highly unsuitable tank mates as the Albino Bristlenose Pleco will either eat or right with them: 

  • Crabs
  • Two males of any species as they will likely fight
  • Other pleco species
  • Crayfish
  • Dwarf shrimp

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Food & Diet

Like most plecos, Albino Bristlenose Plecos favor the bottom of the tank and like eating loose pieces of decaying vegetation that have sunk to the bottom. 

As “janitor fish”, they do a fantastic job of helping to keep your tank clean by sucking up algae and other plant waste matter.

Although they’re technically omnivores, their optimal diet should consist of 3 quarters of plant matter and 1 quarter of protein. They also like rasping on driftwood in the rank, which provides them with additional fiber. 

You should feed your Albino Bristlenose Pleco twice daily, and excellent examples of what to feed them include: 

  • Freeze-dried pleco food
  • Algae wafers
  • Blanched vegetables (e.g., cabbage, runner beans, cucumbers, and baby marrow)
  • Bloodworms

Since they’re nocturnal, feed your Albino Bristlenose Pleco in the evenings to prevent the food from going rancid. 

Breeding Albino Bristlenose Plecos

An Albino Bristlenose Pleco’s breeding period usually takes place during the winter and if you want to increase the chances of successful breeding, consider introducing two females for every male in the tank. 

Albino Bristlenose Plecos spawn in caves and need plenty of cavernous hiding places and driftwood during this time. Females like to lay their eggs in and around driftwood, after which the male will guard them. 

The baby Albino Bristlenose Pleco (or fry) will hatch after 10 days and should be placed in a separate tank until they’re a few weeks old because the adults occasionally eat them. 

Albino Bristlenose Pleco Common Health Issues

Albino Bristlenose Plecos aren’t known for their health issues and it’s not uncommon for them never to experience illness. 

However, they’re prone to some health issues, the main one being: 


Albino Bristlenose Plecos will happily eat any decaying vegetation, algae, and biofilm in the tank. Unfortunately, they sometimes overeat, and this can result in bloat (also known as dropsy), a serious but treatable condition. 

Bloat Symptoms

The most common symptom of bloat is a distended or swollen belly. In extreme cases, your Albino Bristlenose Pleco may become highly uncomfortable and start spending more time at the top of the tank. 

Bloat Treatment

If you suspect your Albino Bristlenose Pleco has bloat, you should ensure that you’re not overfeeding them. In addition, make sure that the tank and water are spotless, and that there are no excess algae and vegetation floating around, which your fish may eat and exacerbate the problem. 

If you’ve monitored your Albino Bristlenose Pleco’s diet closely and ensured the tank conditions are pristine, but your pet still isn’t improving, you should consult a vet.

Bloat Prevention

Preventing bloat in Albino Bristlenose Plecos is straightforward: 

  • Avoid overfeeding your pleco.
  • Keep the tank clean. 
  • Remove old pieces of uneaten food or vegetation.


Ich (white spot disease) is a common health condition that affects fish, and Albino Bristlenose Plecos can sometimes contract it, especially if pathogens are allowed to develop in the aquarium. 


If your Albino Bristlenose Pleco has ich, it will usually present with white spots throughout the body. 

They may also seem lethargic and won’t be as active during the night. If the disease isn’t treated promptly, your Albino Bristlenose Pleco may stop eating and lose weight as the infection takes hold. 


Thankfully, ich in pleco fish is easy to treat, and you can use a vet-approved treatment that you can purchase from a pet store or online. It involves applying the treatment to the tank water until your Albino Bristlenose Pleco has recovered. 

If you have other fish in the tank and they haven’t yet been affected by the ich, consider quarantining them in another aquarium until the sick fish is better. 


Ich is caused by a parasite, which is more likely to enter the tank’s water when it’s dirty, you don’t monitor the nitrate levels regularly, or you don’t change out the water often enough. 

You can prevent ich by being fastidious about tank water hygiene and not leaving decaying aquatic plants or uneaten food lying in the tank. 

Are Albino Bristlenose Pleco Right For You?

Albino Bristlenose Pleco are right for you if you can provide a 30 gallons/136 liters tank, feed them a mostly plant-based diet, and ensure that the tank water is always clean as they produce a lot of waste matter. 

You should also be happy not to include another Albino Bristlenose Pleco male to prevent fighting and only introduce peaceful or top tank-dwelling aquarium mates. 

Albino Bristlenose Pleco FAQs

How Fast Do Albino Bristlenose Plecos Grow?

Albino Bristlenose Plecos grow incredibly rapidly as fry (or baby fish). It takes young Albino Bristlenose Plecos roughly 6 months to mature and reach the same size as a normal adult. As babies, they require a high-protein diet. 

Do Albino Bristlenose Plecos Need Wood?

Albino Bristlenose Plecos don’t need wood in their tanks for survival. However, they enjoy rasping on pieces of aquatic driftwood and creating tiny holes in them. You should include driftwood with other aquatic decor and vegetation for your Albino Bristlenose Pleco.

Are Albino Bristlenose Plecos Aggressive?

Albino Bristlenose Plecos aren’t aggressive unless another fish enters their living space at the bottom of the tank. A male, Albino Bristlenose Pleco is more likely to display aggression when confronted with another male. 

You can prevent aggression in Albino Bristlenose Plecos by keeping them in a large enough tank and separating males. 

What Is The Behavior of the Albino Bristlenose Pleco?

The behavior of Albino Bristlenose Plecos is calm, non-threatening, and shy. They’ll only show aggression if another fish approaches their territory or a male Albino Bristlenose Pleco is actively protecting eggs. 

Are Ablino Plecos More Sensitive?

Albino Plecos aren’t more sensitive. On the contrary, they’re hardy plecos and can tolerate tank water with a relatively wide temperature range. They need slightly acidic tank water with a pH of 6.5 and 7, and the fry may not develop fully if you don’t adhere to this.

Wrapping Up

Albino Bristlenose Plecos make a fantastic addition to any tank, and you’ll love admiring their understated yet impressive pale coloration and reddish-pink marbled patterning. 

These pleco fish are easy to care for as long as you provide plenty of aquatic vegetation and driftwood and avoid keeping two males together. 

Albino Bristlenose Plecos don’t typically have health issues but they can quickly develop bloat if there’s excess food in the tank.

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...