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Ancistrus triradiatus   Eigenmann, 1918

f you would like to venture into the breeding of the family Loricariidae here is a species which you can get your teeth into and start you off and hopefully take you on a journey to the more fancier L-numbers of the Panaque, Peckoltia and Hypancistrus genera's.
Along with the various Rineloricaria and Loricaria the genus Ancistrus is one of the easiest to begin with and the many species in this genera have been bred for many years, and one of them is this months (June 2012) factsheet subject, the Three ray bristlenose catfish, Ancistrus triradiatus.

Ancistrus triradiatus  - male


Why the "Three ray bristlenose catfish"?. This is brought about by the three soft rays in the anal fin peculiar to this species, ie: triradiatus, meaning three rays.


Below is an image of the orange eggs in pipework. Unlike the Rineloricaria/Loricaria genera who like an open pipe or cave at both ends the Ancistrus males prefer to have one end blocked off although this does not stop a determined pair if it is an open cave, but it does give better options for spawning.




Orange eggs of Ancistrus triradiatus


Orange eggs of Ancistrus triradiatus


For your tank set up you can provide a sand substrate with driftwood and pipwork with closed ends. Water circulation for oxygen intake is a benefit.


Males possess large bushy tentacles to the mouth area, the females are very much smaller. Three rays to the anal fins.


Variations on mottled brown with the fins sporting brown banding/lines. The juveniles lack the light caudal fin edging that is found in a lot of aquarium bred species of Ancistrus.

As with most of this genus it will do well in an aquarium where it will wipe out any algae. You can house with most of the Tropical fish species that are found in the hobby today. Try not to put too many bottom living species with them as this limits there tendancy to concentrate on producing fry.

Relatively easy to breed where the female will deposit her eggs, up to 100, in a confined space such as pipe work. The juveniles can be raied on tablet and vegetable foods.

Sexual differences

Males have, as in this genera, bushy tentacles to the mouth area and the females have them very small.



Feed vegetable foods such as lettuce, cucumber and courgette (zucchini). Will eat most aquarium fare.


Ancistrus: With barbed hooks, ( hooked spines).

triradiatus: three rays.


Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1995 Aquarien Atlas. Band 4. Mergus Verlag GmbH, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde, Melle, Germany. 864 p.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Seidel, I. 2008. Back to Nature guide to L-catfishes, Ettlingen, Germany 208 p


Glossary of Terms

Anal fin: The fin forward from the anal cavity.
Caudal fin: The tail.

Photo Credits

© Shane Linder

Factsheet 192

Common Name:
Three ray bristlenose catfish
South America; Colombia: Middle and lower Orinoco River tributaries; Valencia Lake and Los Guayos River basin; southern tributaries of Lake Maracaibo basin. Type locality: Quebrada Cramalote, Villavicencio; Andes east of Bogotá, upper Meta basin, Colombia.
12.0cm. (4¾ins)
24-28°c (75-83°f.) 
6.5 - 7.5.
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                                                                                                                                   Factsheet 192 = updated December, 2009 © ScotCat 1997-2018  Go to Top