What Do Plecos Eat?

In Tropical Fishby PaulK

Plecos are considered the janitors of the aquarium fish world. They are really omnivores catfish, so they require a good variety of plant food and live and frozen worms. Some common plecos grow quite large, like a few feet long. You’ll want to avoid those because chances are you won’t have a large enough tank to accommodate them. It’s better to get a small variety of bristlenose or rubber mouth pleco for the average aquarium.

Just because Pleco are bottom feeders doesn’t mean you don’t have to feed them specifically. They can have quite an appetite and if you feed them exclusively algae wafers, it won’t satisfy them.

Good food for Plecos

Canned green beans – you can buy this at every grocery store.

On Amazon or maybe at pet stores:

Repashy morning wood – These are part of a whole line of super fish food. A little more pricey but great for your fish. Plecos need wood in their diet!

Ocean Nutrition Cichlid vegi pellets – The nice thing about these is they sink rapidly and the Plecos go crazy over them.

Aquacarium Catfish sticks – They really love these!

Fluval Bug Bites

Other human foods you can feed your Pleco are blanched cucumber and/or zucchini. The reason you blanch them is get any chemicals and what not off of the vegetables. Also, unblanched veggies will foul the tank eventually if not eaten. Blanching simply involves boiling them before placing in the tank.

Will Pleco eat other fish?

Not that I’ve seen, but they will try to feed on dead fish if they sink to the bottom. It depends on the size of the Pleco. Their mouths are shaped such that they are designed to suck materials off the bottom and not to bite off and chew other fish. A smaller Pleco can maybe suck up a whole fish, but a larger common Pleco certainly can.
Will Pleco eat snails?
Plecos will not eat snails. A better fish for that is a Clown Loach. Assassin snails do a good job of eating your snails if you’re having a snail problem.

Will Pleco eat shrimp?

A Pleco will eat just about anything including shrimp at times. If you don’t feed them well, they will have no choice but to chew on the shrimp. Some plecos will and some won’t.

Will Pleco eat fry?

Plecos are primarily a vegetarian fish, so if they have plenty of that to feed on then most likely they won’t eat other fry as well as their own. There have been instances where fish keepers have lost fry and the Pleco was blamed. It may be that they ate them or the fry dispersed and starved. If the fry are dead and on the bottom, the Pleco will most likely suck them up along with everything else.

Will Pleco eat algae?

The reason people get Plecos is the fact that they eat algae. Plecos are known as the tank cleaners. They will eat most types of algae on decorations, rocks, substrate and glass and it won’t take long. Your fish tank will look great after they are done.

Will Pleco eat your plants?

Mostly they’ll leave your plants alone but they will eat thinner leaf plants, so you don’t want any type of plants with thin leaves on them. Plants with thicker leaves like Anubis or amazon ivory would be fine. You could also go with artificial plants.

Will Pleco eat fish waste?

There are some misunderstandings about the Pleco. First and foremost, they don’t eat waste. Either their own or other fish waste. They’re cleaners but there are limits.

Plecos have a voracious appetite and will eat almost anything, but if you want a healthy Pleco you should feed them a varied diet of decent food.

Since they are nocturnal, you should feed them at night before you go to bed.


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