Ancistrus ranunculus L034

Photo: Lars Jamne


Maybe one of the most “ugly” and bizarre aquarium fish there is, but so fascinating and cool! We love them, and since they certainly represent a challenge as far as breeding goes we love them even more! Ever since it entered the aquarium scene more than 20 years ago, A.ranunculus has been one of the more common and regular species from Rio Xingu in the trade. But a dark cloud looms over it’s future, as the river will be dammed and captive breeding is not very common. It’s said to also occur in Rio Tocantins, but this hasn’t been confirmed.


Name: Ancistrus ranunculus (Muller, Rapp Py-Daniel & Zuanon, 1994)

Trade names: Medusa Pleco, L34

Origin: Rio Xingu, Brazil

Maximum TL: 15 cm / 6”

It comes from shallow rapids in Rio Xingu where it lives among crevices of rocks. These are grazed for algae and biofilm, which makes up most of it’s diet according to stomach content sampling. It also feeds on sponges found in the river. In captivity, adding small frozen foods (larvae, brine shrimps) and good dry foods seem to work well. It’s a species sensitive to new surroundings, and it takes a while for them to settle down and start eating. It’s also very oxygen demanding, so a good current and filtration is essential for them to thrive. Breeding happens every now and then, but it’s uncommon.

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