It is customary to call albinos organisms whose integuments are devoid of pigmentation. Such individuals often appear in wildlife, but their age, as a rule, is short-lived, because “white crows” more attract the attention of predators. When keeping fish at home, many of the laws of nature fade into the background, so albinos can live a long life in an aquarium. White forms of popular aquarium fish are not uncommon on the market. They are kept under the same conditions as forms with natural colors. In our article we will tell you about the golden ancistrus – this is what the albino form of this popular catfish is called.
Golden ancistrus is a freshwater ray-finned fish from the Lorikariev (Kolchuzhny) catfish family, it is a selection form. Golden Ancistrus can be safely recommended for the maintenance of novice aquarists.
The peculiarity of this breed is a golden-beige color of varying degrees of brightness, the eyes have a pinkish tint. The rest of the fish does not differ at all from its “natural” relative. Golden Ancistrus is unpretentious in its content, calmly treats other types of fish, helps aquarists maintain cleanliness in the aquarium because these fidgets constantly scrape off algal fouling from the walls and decorations. Catfish can be safely kept in herbal aquariums, despite the predominantly vegetarian diet – they do not touch live plants, provided they receive high-quality feed with a high content of plant components.
One of the interesting features of the fish is the presence of intestinal respiration. Ancistrus are able to swallow atmospheric oxygen and use it for breathing, a special part of the intestine is responsible for this. It is for this reason that one can observe how periodically ancistrus float to the surface of the water, and then just as abruptly sink to the bottom.
Ancistrus golden has a drop-shaped flattened body, which is covered with rows of polygonal plates. Like armor, they protect the body of their master from enemies. That is why the family to which this species belongs is called Lorikarev catfish. After all, “Lori-ka” is nothing more than the armor of the legionaries of Ancient Rome.
The oral apparatus of the albino ancistrus is extremely unusual. It is shaped like a suction cup with horn-shaped scrapers surrounding the mouth opening. Thanks to this device, the catfish is able to scrape off algae from various surfaces. With the help of this suction cup, the fish can safely move along vertical surfaces or upside down.
The caudal fin is single, with rounded ends. The dorsal has hard rays, the ancistrus is able to spread it like a comb. The pectoral and pelvic fins are in the same plane as the abdomen. In the end, there are sharp thorns that can even damage the net. This should be taken into account when catching fish. Among the golden ancistrus, there are also veil forms, distinguished by long, well-developed fins.
The maximum body size of an albino Ancistrus is 15 cm. Females are smaller than males.
Ancistrus is native to South America. Fish are found mainly in the tributaries of the Amazon. They gravitate towards bodies of water with clean, transparent water and a moderate or strong current, which a suckermouth helps the fish to resist.
Care and maintenance
For keeping golden ancistrus, an aquarium of 50 liters or more is recommended. It is best if it is decorated with live plants. Catfish can be kept both singly and in pairs. The aquarium should be covered with a lid to avoid accidental escaping.
It is better to use a small fraction of soil, without sharp edges. You can decorate the aquarium with flat stones and driftwood. The latter is very important in aquariums with golden ancistrus. By scraping off wood, fish receive the cellulose necessary for digestion. It is useful to establish a variety of hiding places in which the catfish will hide when needed. These are crepuscular animals that are active mainly at night.
For the comfortable existence of golden ancistrus, the aquarium should be equipped with a productive filter (you can even create a moderate flow) and a compressor. You will also need a thermostat because these Amazonians love warm water.
Once a week, you should replace 20% of the water in the aquarium with fresh water. It is very dangerous to use tap water for this without preliminary preparation, because it may contain chlorine or a high concentration of heavy metals. Use Tetra AquaSafe with every water change to instantly make the water liveable for your fish.
Golden ancistrus are completely peaceful creatures that get along well with almost any type of fish. You can safely plant catfish for zebrafish, tetras, neons, barbs, irises, rasbora, apistograms. There are no conflicts with speckled catfish, although both fish prefer to live at the bottom. Ancistrus can also get along with medium-sized cichlids – a strong shell protects the fish well from attacks.
Feeding ancistrus golden (albino)
A favorite food of golden ancistrus is algal growth, which often appears on decorations, walls of the aquarium, or equipment. Ancistrus (especially young ones) are effective in keeping the aquarium clean.
However, regular feeding of quality food to your catfish is essential for good growth and proper development. Tetra’s line of dry food for Loricaria catfish is an excellent choice for the daily diet of albino ancistrus. They are in the form of tablets or wafers. Due to the special structure, the food immediately sinks to the bottom, where it becomes prey for catfish. At the same time, the tablets retain their shape for a long time and do not cloud the water. The next important point is the high content of plant components in Tetra feed, which is vital for catfish.
Good choices for golden ancistrus are Tetra Pleco Tablets, Tetra Pleco Veggie Wafers, and Tetra Pleco Spirulina Wafers.
It is recommended to feed the fish once a day. It is best to do this before turning off the lights. When it gets dark in the aquarium, the fish swimming in the water column will not compete with the catfish.