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Ancistrus claro Knaack, 1999                         

new kid on the block, so to speak, is this small pretty Ancistrus from the Rio Claro in the Mato Grosso area on the South Western tip of Brazil. You will find this species in the Aqualog all L-Numbers as LDA08 and was first imported into Germany in 1993 and subsequently was given this moniker by the German publication "Das Aquarium". The holotype resides in the Berlin Zoological Museum.

Ancistrus claro  = female

The common name of the "Gold Marble Bristlenose Catfish" is I think a bit misleading as if you have ever kept this species they change colour on a regular basis, whether they are resting on the substrate, on a piece of wood or rockwork. They seem to take their colouration from their surroundings and a better common name would be " The Chameleon Bristlenose Catfish"

As mentioned earlier, they reside in the Rio Claro and the type locality mentions "above the bridge in the direction of Chappada dos Guimaraes", this is not not far from the town of Cuiaba . It has been collected in the Coxipo River and other western tributaries and the Copixo is the area that is stated in the type locality. Its habitats consist of fast flowing waters with little vegetation among and under rocks.

This description of its habitat gives us an insight on how best to keep this species, providing plenty of water movement and caves/pipes with plant life only as a personal addition to the aquarium.

Ancistrus claro  = pair


The above picture shows a young pair with the male to the front with the marble markings to the body and head area. The female is darker and has more of a spotted pattern and has small bristles compared to the young male who will eventually sport the more traditional male Ancistrus head dress of larger and branched bristles.

This is an Ancistrus species which you will see quite often during the day, either clamped to the tank walls or sitting on or underneath their favourite position of flat stonework.

Click on the thumbnails below for further images.

Underneath rockwork  Male in in one of its favourite positions of rock clinging.
Taking on the colour of stone  Taking on the colouration of the flat stone.
Showing the mouth structure  Showing the mouth structure



Typical Ancistrus shape with both sexes sporting bristles to the head area with the male having the larger and more impressive tentacles.

Base colour of brown with gold marble reticulations in the male. The female has a darker colouration which comprises of a more dotted pattern. Both sexes have banding to the caudal, dorsal and pectoral fins and a white ventral region.

Quite an easy species to keep as long as there is adequate aeration in the aquarium and giving them a choice of pipes, stones or rockwork.

As per the Ancistrus family in neutral to mildly alkaline water. Will spawn in caves/pipes and the eggs are yellow, large, and can number to about 40 in a good spawning.

They are mostly omnivores with a liking for most foods. I find that they will eat courgette(zucchini) but they are not as keen on it as your usual bog standard Ancistrus species are. Will eat most flake and worm foods and have a particular fondness of algae discs.

Knaack, Joachim; Dr. A New Species of Bristlemouth Catfish of the genus Ancistrus, Kner 1854 from the Mato Grosso, Brazil (Pisces, Siluriformes, Loricariidae) TFH. June 1999.
Jinkings, Kathy. Bristlenoses, Catfish with Character.


Ancistrus; With barbed hooks, ( hooked spines)
claro; From the river of the same name in the Mato Grosso area of Brazil.


Photo Credits
Allan James @sScotCat
Factsheet 080

Common Name:
LDA08, Gold Marble Bristlenose Catfish
Brazil Brazil, The Mato Grosso, in the Rio Claro and Coxipo River and other western tributaries. (see location map)
9cm. (3½ins)
24-28ºC ( 75-83°f)
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                                                                                                                                    Factsheet 080 = updated October 20, 2004, © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top