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Blue armor – everything you need to know about it

Blue armor is a species that has a mysterious name, but surely everyone has heard of it. Algae eaters – because we are talking about them – are extremely popular fish and it is hardly surprising. As the name suggests, they eat algae. Thanks to this, they help to keep the aquarium in very good condition. The armorer is also an interesting subject of observation for every aquarist. It is easy to breed, which is just one of the reasons why many people want it. In our article, we describe the lifestyle, characteristics and all the needs of the armorer. Get to know the popular algae eaters better!

Where do blue armors live in the wild?

The scientific name of the species in question is Ancistrus dolichopterus. Of course, the armored fish are found in the wild, from where they are still sometimes caught in home aquariums. Their natural habitat is around the Amazon River. Algae eaters mainly swim in its middle and upper river basins. They are therefore seen in the rivers Tefé, Tapajós, Rio Negro, Madeira and Trombetas. They also prefer specific conditions. They like swiftly flowing rivers or streams with rocky bottoms. This knowledge will be useful in breeding them, because you need to provide them with conditions similar to their natural ones.

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Is blue algae really blue? Features of the appearance of the fish

The blue armor is not a very large fish. The average body length of algae eaters is usually 10 centimeters, although some individuals can grow up to 16 centimeters. They have a characteristic mustache near their mouths. It is also worth paying attention to the strongly developed pectoral fins.

How to recognize male and female armorers?

The color of these flattened fish is not vivid blue or blue, but can be bluish gray. Tiny white dots all over the back and stripes of the same color are also typical. Females and males are quite similar, but distinguish between the sex of the blue armorer. The female is smaller, rounder and has fewer mustaches than the male.

Does the blue armor eat only algae?

The name “algae eater” may suggest that these animals do well with only algae at their disposal. In fact, however, they feed on these plants primarily in the first years of life. Later they become a bit sluggish and usually give up searching the aquarium. Some argue that they then feed on the remains of dead animals, but this is not true.

What to feed the blue armorer?

You probably guess that the blue armor needs to be fed since he becomes a bit lazy. Suitable products for them include:

  • cooked vegetables (e.g. cucumber, peas, zucchini, lettuce);
  • some fruits;
  • ready-made food in the form of granules or flakes;
  • formulations (e.g. tablets) with spirulina;
  • live or frozen protein food.

In addition, the blue steel armor must have a source of soft wood, the particles of which are scraped off. It is an essential habit for the proper functioning of the fish’s digestive system.

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Can the armorer live anywhere?

Is it true that the reinforcements are supposed to adapt to all dimensions of the aquarium? This statement must be made between fairy tales. Too small a tank can affect the quality and life expectancy of the fish. Blue armor requires a tank with a minimum volume of 80 liters. These animals are not very large, but require space to explore, also in search of algae. Remember that the larger the aquarium, the better, especially if you plan to purchase more than one individual. It should be noted, however, that fish are territorial and may show aggression to other representatives of their species.

What conditions does the blue algae eater need, i.e. the armor and the tank

  1. Algae eaters do not have too many requirements when it comes to the temperature of the water in the aquarium, they feel best in water between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius, although they can also tolerate the range of 18 to 32 degrees.
  2. The best water will be of medium hardness with a pH of 6-8.
  3. Choose a filter with different cartridges. The one with peat and activated carbon is especially recommended.
  4. Lighting should be rather negligible.
  5. The bottom is extremely important for the blue armorer. It is best to lay them with coarse sand or gravel. Arrange different hiding places for them in different places. You can buy them or make them yourself (for example, from old wooden toys or stones).

Blue armor – reproduction in breeding

The blue armorer is a fish that reproduces relatively easily even in captivity. However, it is worth knowing a few tips.

  1. You should ensure that the water is clean and that the fish have many hiding places at the bottom.
  2. The animal must remain calm.
  3. If you want to stimulate them during spawning, you should change the water frequently to keep it as good as possible.
  4. You can also transfer the fish to a special separate aquarium, preferably with one male and several females.
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After about 50 eggs have been laid, the male will protect them from the threat. Hatching begins approximately a week after the eggs have been laid, and the fry begin to emerge approximately 5 days after they are born.

Blue armor – price for one specimen

The big advantage of these fish, apart from their ability to clean the aquarium, is also the low price. Young specimens of the blue armorer, which have not yet grown to their full size, can be bought for just a few zlotys. You will find them at many pet stores. Do you care about this particular variety? Pay attention to whether the seller offers you a common armor. The fish discussed in the text has the code L183 in aquarium catalogs and it should be recognized by it.

The blue armor is a fish willingly chosen by both experienced and beginner aquarists. The role of algae eaters in cleaning the aquarium is significant, and the unique appearance of these aquarium animals and the ease of reproduction also deserve attention.