Ancistrus species belonged to aquaristics long before one even thought of the term L or LDA number. Unfortunately, the systematics of the group is complex, there have been and still are misidentifications and – this is especially unfortunate – the species can apparently often be crossed, so that aquarium hybrids have been created unintentionally. Such hybrids have no scientific name. The well-known Aquarium Ancistrus is such a hybrid. Aquarists with a deeper scientific interest therefore prefer to breed with defined strains and wild caught specimens. With LDA 72 we succeeded in importing a species from Colombia, in which the males develop particularly impressive nose ornaments and the females are also bearded.
The Ancistrus species of the area from which our animals must originate have only recently undergone a scientific revision (de Souza et al., 2019). If one follows the identification key in this paper, our imports come to Ancistrus triradiatus, a highly variable species described already in 1918 by Eigenmann. Probably the species name Ancistrus triradiatus hides – so de Souza et al. assume – several species, because the animals look quite different depending on their origin. Therefore in the hobby one should not dissolve the number LDA 72, but keep it until this question is clarified. Typical for LDA 72 of our current import is the following combination of characteristics: a small black spot at the base of the dorsal fin just behind the dorsal fin spine, a regular dot pattern on the fin rays of dorsal and caudal fin, an indistinct honeycomb pattern on the back of the forebody, a light vertical band at the end of the caudal peduncle, a unicolored, unspotted abdomen and a total of three bright dots on the tips of the dorsal and caudal fin even in fully adult animals. Our fish are currently 9-12 cm long.
For our customers: the fish have code 26480-LDA 072-4 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Literature: de Souza, L. S., Taphorn, D. C. & J. W. Armbruster (2019): Review of Ancistrus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the northwestern Guiana Shield, Orinoco Andes, and adjacent basins with description of six new species. Zootaxa 4552: 1-67.
One of the most attractive Ancistrus species is this so far not scientifically identified species from the middle Rio Negro in Brazil. There the beautiful fish is not rare, in some places even very common, but the species apparently prefers biotopes which are avoided by the local fishermen; otherwise it can hardly be explained why L184 is imported only so comparatively rarely. In the meantime, however, offspring are more frequently available, including the fish we can currently offer in small numbers.
While L184 has been found in nature in stately specimens of 15-18 cm length, the offspring always stay smaller, breeding already with 6-8 cm length and usually stop growing with 10-12 cm length. The reason for this is unknown, almost all other fish species usually grow larger in the aquarium than their wild cousins.
Apart from a high level of attention required by these Ancistrus for breeding and during rearing – very soft water with a pH around 5 and extremely low bacterial water loads – L184 are not particularly demanding when maintained “normally” without breeding intentions and are well suited for maintenance in community aquariums. However, one should not keep other, possibly even aggressive loricariids together with L184, because the “Brilliant Ancistrus”, as L184/L107 is popularly also called, is a very defensive species, which can be easily suppressed.
L184 differs from all other similarly marked Ancistrus species by the combination of the following characteristics: very flat body, broad head, white spots in the dorsal fin, no white fringe in dorsal or tail fin, pointed tail fin ends (white in juveniles).
For our customers: the animals have code 26480-L 184X-1 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
This extremely attractive Ancistrus is a breeding form. The actual LDA 16 is a wild form imported in 1994 from Brazil (Rio Puraqequara, a tributary of the Rio Guamá, which in turn is a tributary of the Rio Tocantins) and is uniformly purple-brown in color. We do not know if the orange-blotched Ancistrus descended from LDA 16, but we do not think so. It is rather the further development of the breeding form, which was introduced in 1996 by Ralf Paul in AqualogNews No6 as “Tortoiseshell Ancistrus”, which must have existed at that time already longer and is probably identical with the common “Aquarium Ancistrus“.
The care of the “Orange Brown”, in which every single animal is individually differently patterned, succeeds therefore every beginner in the aquaristics without problems. The only reason why these pretty loricariid catfishes are so rare in the trade, is probably that the clearly smaller number of eggs per clutch (approx. 60), than in the usual “Aquarium Ancistrus“ (up to 200).
For our customers: the animals have code 26480-LDA 016-0 (3 cm) and 26480-LDA 016-1 (4-5 cm) on our stocklist. Please note that we supply only wholesale.
From time to time we receive a very flat-bodied Ancistrus from the Orinoco drainage in Colombia and Venezuela under the name of A. ranunculus/L 34. However, this species does not exist there, A. ranunculus is only known from the Amazon tributaries Xingu and Tocantins/Araguaia; the Orinoco species is Ancistrus macrophthalmus, which has received the LDA number 74.
The easiest way to distinguish between the two is by the caudal fin, which in A. macrophthalmus is always distinctly pointed above and below and has white tips. In A. ranunculus the caudal fin appears truncated, sometimes even slightly rounded above and below. In males there is another easily recognizable difference: A. ranunculus never has “antennae” on the middle of the snout towards the forehead, A. macrophthalmus does.
Regarding coloration, most A. macrophthalmus are pure black (with a bluish tinge under suitable light), but they may also have small white spots. Both color forms can be found mixed in the same import. When A. macrophthalmus is nerved, light transverse stripes appear over the back. The large eye and the dusky coloration already show that A. macrophthalmus is a crepuscular animal, which only comes out of its hiding place during the day after a longer period of acclimation. Otherwise the usual care conditions for Ancistrus apply, with the restriction that A. macrophthalmus likes it warm and is comparatively oxygen-demanding.
For our customers: the animals have code 26480-LDA 074-2 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
One of the smallest Ancistrus species is Ancistrus claro, which was known as LDA 8 before its scientific description. The catfish originates from clear water streams with a strong current in the upper part of the Rio Paraguay-Paraná river basin and becomes at most 6-8 cm long.
The sexes are not quite as easy to distinguish as with other Ancistrus species, because just like the dwarf women in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”, the females of the dwarf ancistrus have mighty beards…
For our customers: the animals have code 26480-LDA 008-2 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
From the Guyana states (French Guiana, Guyana and Surinam) there are for various reasons hardly any commercial ornamental fish exports. The ornamental fish originating there, e.g. the glow-light tetra, are therefore practically exclusively traded as bred specimens. This is also true for Ancistrus leucostictus, which was brought back from a tributary of the Mazaruni River near its confluence with the Essequibo River by traveling aquarists in 2000.
In the same year the breeding of the comparatively small species (10-12 cm total length, the bristle-bearing males on the photos are about 6 cm long) succeeded and since then the animal is maintained and bred in aquaria. Also our specimens are German offspring. Usually, this bristlenose catfish shows up with uniformly black basic coloring and white points. Excited specimens (in our pictures slightly annoyed by the obtrusive photographer) show bright zones and a pattern in the form of a lying 8 on the front back. These patterns disappear when the animals dream away the day in their favourite hiding place…
For our customers: the animals have code 204452 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
In small numbers we received German bred specimens of these pretty bristle-noses. Ancistrus patronus is one of the numerous white dotted, black species and was known in the hobby as Ancistrus sp. “Puerto Ayacucho” and A. sp. “Rio Parucito” before its scientific description in February 2019; the numbers L125 and L150 were given to imported animals without exact knowledge of their origin; it is assumed in catfish circles that they are also A. patronus.
The second species, Ancistrus sp. “Rio Tocantins”, strangely enough never received a L-number, although it is very strikingly coloured. This species, which is easily recognizable by its honeycomb pattern, occurs in nature together with the Ancistrus species L156. Apart from the different coloration, Ancistrus sp. “Rio Tocantins” is also much flatter than most other Ancistrus species.
Care and breeding of both species is unproblematic and corresponds to that of the well-known Ancistrus species.
For our customers: A. patronus has code 204573, Ancistrus sp. “Rio Tocantins” code 204963 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
After Paraguay had closed its doors for half a year for the export of ornamental fish, now imports from the southern country in South America reach us again. Among them also various Ancistrus species, which are often sent mixed. It has become common practice in the trade to call these animals Ancistrus tamboensis, which is objectively wrong, because A. tamboensis comes from the upper Ucayali basin in Peru, but nobody is actually bothered by it; one knows what is meant.
We have just received another import of such Ancistrus from Paraguay, among them also about 50 specimens in show-size (11-14 cm). Some males of these animals have such a huge “antlers” as we have hardly seen it even under wild collected animals so far! By the way: What this “antler” of the Ancistrus-males serves at all for is still unknown…
These “tamboensis” cannot be assigned to a certain species. In the catfish atlas volume 2: 274 top this species is called Ancistrus sp. Paraguay.
For our customers: the animals have code 205106 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer