catfish of the month, this month (Aug. 2007), has
had a checkered history down the years as this beautiful
Ancistrus species has been misidentified on numerous
occasions as "body brown to green brown, upper
parts darker, lower side lighter". The body is
also noted to have dark spots. As you can see from
the lower image of a sub-adult that this is well of
the mark and this description in the publication "Die
Aquarienfische in Wort und Bild" by Holly, Meinken
and Rachow may have snowballed and added to the confusion
in the intervening years that this was published (1932).
The fish was known at this time by its synonym, Xenocara
mentions in his work (Sterba's freshwater fishes of
the world vol:2) that it was first imported into Germany
in 1911 and also first bred in this year by Lehmann
and describes the fish as having white spots on the
body and fins with the dorsal and anal fins carrying
a brilliant white margin. No mention is made of the
same trait in the caudal fin which I find strange
as the line drawing in the same publication shows
the caudal fin margin. Other earlier literature have
mentioned "Body dark blue with white dots with
the dorsal and caudal fins dark blue, with white borders".
According to Muller
(1999), L 183 is the "true" Ancistrus
dolichopterus. In the original description
it states that the species has 8-9 soft rays in the
dorsal fin, as is the case in L
183. In the aquarium trade and literature,
L 183 is mistakenly referred to as Ancistrus
hoplogenys. Even the first and third Baench Atlas's
have A.dolichopterus as A.hoplogenys
and vice versa on page 486/487(1) and 364/365(3)
On an adult speciman
shown below the colours are not quite as vivid, but
you can still see the white margins to the dorsal
and caudal fins.
dolichopterus - adult
there is a few Ancistrus species with white
spots on a dark background you can be sure of this
species by making sure that the dorsal count is 1/9
as most other Ancistrus species have 8 soft
rays in the dorsal fin.
The lower lobe of the caudal fin is longer than the
top, thus the meaning of the species name; long,
or lengthy fins.
dolichopterus in the aquarium is not problematic
as long as you keep the oxygen levels up as they will
be the first fish to feel the effects of reduced oxygen
in the aquarium. They will start by moving up the
tank walls until their snout is nearly out of the
water, this is even more of a problem with young fry.
This is a danger sign and a large water change must
be made, filters cleaned out and water flow back up
again. Two internal power filters at each end of the
tank or a combination of one internal and one external
filter is needed in a larger tank. Bogwood is the
preferred option as decor as they will graze on it
and is a necessary part of their diet. Small rounded
gravel or sand for the substrate and pipes or slate
caves for spawning are a good addition. Plants such
as Anubias and Java Fern can be used in a low light
situation as bright tank lights will keep your Ancistrus
hidden from view.
Starlight Bristlenose Catfish.
Rio Negro (lower and middle course).
D 1/9; A 1/4; V 1/5; 32-24
bony scutes in a lateral series. 6-9 hooked spines
on the movable interopercular.
Colour dark brown to grey
or green-brown to some extent with dark blotches.
Healthy fishes are very dark with a blue-black sheen.
Underside somewhat paler. Fins blue-black, the dorsal
and anal with dirty white spots and a pale margin,
(this also applies to the caudal fin: A.J.). In
young fishes (see first image) the blue tint is
usually more intense and is also enlivened with
numerous white spots on the body and fins. The dorsal
and anal fins also have a brilliant white margin
(as does the caudal: A.J.).
Care & Compatibility
No problem with otherfishes in the aquarium.
As per genus with
eggs laid in tubes, in caves or under bogwood. The
male will fan the eggs and will hatch after about
5 days. The fry will use up their yolk sac after about
7 days and then will have to be fed soft vegetables
such as blanched lettuce.
Mainly vegetarian with a liking
for algae but as this will be in short supply in a
tank set-up can be fed on soft veg such as cucumber,
courgette (zucchini), raw potato plus loricaria tablets.
Will also eat worm food but its main diet would have
to be vegetarian.
Different name for the same fish. Interopercular: Between the preoperculum
and the operculum, sometimes very small, and in some
Loricariidae bearing spines.
Ancistrus:With barbed hooks, (hooked spines). dolichopterus: Long, or
M; Meinken, H; Rachow,
A; Die Aquarienfische in wort und bild: 1932. Sterba, Günther; Sterba's Freshwater
Fishes of the Word, Vol:2. TFH 1973.
All L-Numbers Datz Special. www.datze.de Jinkings, Kathy. Bristlenoses, Catfish
with Character. 2000. Kingdom Books. 112p.