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Starlight Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus dolichopterus)

Welcome to our in-depth look at the Starlight Bristlenose Pleco, a unique and fascinating species in the aquarium hobby. This article aims to provide comprehensive information for enthusiasts looking to understand and care for these captivating fish.

Starlight Bristlenose Pleco Facts

Fact Detail
Scientific Name Ancistrus dolichopterus
Common Names Starlight Bristlenose Pleco, L183 Pleco, White Seam Pleco, Starlight Bushymouth Catfish
Average Size 4-5 inches (10-13 cm)
Life Span 5-7 years
Habitat Amazon Basin
Coloration Dark body with white or yellow spots
Temperature Range 73-82°F (23-28°C)
pH Range 5.0-7.0
Diet Algae, biofilm, vegetables, occasional protein
Temperament Peaceful
Aquarium Setup Well-oxygenated with hiding places

Starlight Bristlenose Pleco Profile

The Starlight Bristlenose Pleco, scientifically known as Ancistrus dolichopterus, is a sought-after species in the aquarium trade. Originating from the Amazon Basin, this species is renowned for its distinctive appearance and efficient algae-eating abilities. Typically, they reach a manageable size of 4-5 inches, making them suitable for a variety of aquarium sizes.

Starlight Bristlenose Pleco Coloring

One of the most striking features of the L183 Pleco is its coloration. The body is primarily dark, ranging from deep brown to black, contrasted with white or yellow spots that create a starry sky effect. This unique patterning not only adds aesthetic appeal but also serves as camouflage in their natural habitat.

Starlight Bristlenose Pleco Habitat

The Starlight ancistrus originates from the Amazon Basin’s fast-flowing rivers and tributaries. In these habitats, they are accustomed to clean, well-oxygenated water with an abundance of hiding places among rocks, driftwood, and dense vegetation. These environments play a crucial role in their development and behavior.

Starlight Bristlenose Pleco Aquarium Setup

Setting up an appropriate aquarium for L183 Starlight Pleco is crucial for their health and well-being. This section will cover the essential aspects of tank setup, including tank size, water parameters, filtration, and decoration.

  • Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a Starlight bristlenose catfish is 20 gallons, which provides ample space for them to move and grow. If you plan to keep more than one or have other fish species in the tank, a larger tank will be necessary to prevent overcrowding and maintain water quality.

  • Water Parameters

Starlight Plecos thrive in water temperatures between 73-82°F (23-28°C) and a pH range of 5.0-7.0. Regular monitoring and maintaining stable water conditions are essential for their health. Sudden changes in temperature or pH can cause stress and health problems.

  • Filtration and Water Quality

Effective filtration is critical for maintaining clean and oxygen-rich water. A combination of mechanical and biological filtration helps in removing debris and maintaining a balanced ecosystem in the tank. Regular water changes, typically 25-30% every two weeks, are recommended to keep the water parameters in check.

  • Decoration and Hiding Places

Decorations play a vital role in replicating the natural habitat of L183 Starlight. They prefer tanks with plenty of hiding spots, as they are nocturnal and shy by nature. Driftwood, rocks, and cave-like structures provide ideal hiding places. Additionally, live plants not only enhance the tank’s aesthetics but also contribute to a healthier environment by absorbing nitrates.

  • Lighting and Substrate

Moderate lighting is suitable for a Starlight Bristlenose Pleco tank, as it helps in the growth of algae, which is a part of their diet. The substrate should be soft or rounded to prevent injury to their delicate barbels. Sand or fine gravel works well for this purpose.

Creating the right environment for Starlight Bristlenose L183 is key to their well-being. A well-set-up aquarium not only supports their health but also allows their natural behaviors to flourish, making for a more enjoyable and engaging experience for both the fish and the aquarist.

Starlight Bristlenose Pleco Breeding

Breeding L183 Pleco can be both fascinating and rewarding. These fish are known for their unique breeding habits and require specific conditions to breed successfully.

Breeding Environment

To encourage breeding in ancistrus dolichopterus L183, it’s essential to set up a breeding tank that mimics their natural environment. This tank should have a slightly higher temperature, around 77-80°F (25-27°C), and a pH level close to neutral. Adequate filtration and aeration are crucial to maintain water quality and oxygen levels. Provide multiple hiding places and breeding caves, as these fish are cave breeders. Driftwood and rocks can be used to create natural shelters and caves.

Spawning Process

The spawning process begins with the selection of a suitable cave by the male pleco. Once he finds a cave, he cleans it and entices a female to enter and lay her eggs. The female lays dozens of orange eggs, which the male then fertilizes. After fertilization, the female leaves, and the male takes over the responsibility of guarding the eggs.

During the incubation period, the male actively fans the eggs with his fins to provide oxygen and prevent fungal growth. This period lasts about 4-10 days, depending on the water temperature. Once the eggs hatch, the male continues to guard the fry until they are able to swim freely and fend for themselves. At this stage, the fry can be fed with finely crushed flake food or specialized fry food to ensure proper growth and development.

Starlight Bristlenose L183 Diet & Feeding

The diet of the Starlight bristlenose catfish primarily consists of algae and biofilm. In the aquarium, supplementing their diet with algae wafers, vegetables like zucchini and cucumber, and occasional high-protein treats like brine shrimp ensures a balanced nutrition.

Starlight Pleco Compatibility

White seam plecos are generally peaceful and can coexist with a variety of tank mates. Ideal companions include small to medium-sized, non-aggressive fish. It’s important to avoid overly territorial species that might compete with ancistrus L183 for hiding spaces.

L183 Pleco Common Diseases

Starlight Bristlenose Plecos, like many aquarium fish, are susceptible to common diseases such as Ich (White Spot Disease), fin rot, and fungal infections. Poor water quality and stress often contribute to these illnesses. Ich presents as white spots on the skin, while fin rot is characterized by frayed or disintegrating fins. Fungal infections appear as cotton-like growths. Prompt treatment and maintaining clean water are key to prevention and recovery.


The Starlight Bristlenose Pleco is a remarkable species that brings both beauty and utility to the aquarium. With proper care, appropriate diet, and a well-maintained environment, these plecos can be a delightful addition to any freshwater aquarium. Their unique appearance and peaceful nature make them a favorite among aquarists.