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What Do Plecostomus Eat?


If you have ever taken care of a Plectostoma (also known as a Pleco), you understand it is pivotal to provide the right food for this rare group of fish. Some fish keeps typically wonder what plecos eat in the wild. To give information regarding pleco food and fulfill the need for freshness, we'll examine the different types of food plecos enjoy eating and how to provide them in your aquarium.

What Are Plecostomus Fish?

Plecostomus fish (Hypostomus plecostomus), also known as plecos, are a common species of fish originating in North America. Aquarium hobbyists often keep these suckermouth catfish because of their cleansing abilities. Greek prefix plekein-the origin of the noun plecos, which means "to suck"; Latin suffix ostomus-the source of the noun pleco, which means "mouth."

Plecostomus has a long, cylindrical body that tapers off toward the end. It contains a round head, a broad lower jaw, and many small, sharp teeth. There are two sets of tiny, fringed whiskers on both sides of the lower and upper lips. It helps these organs to sense their surroundings and gather food.

The most common pleco species aquariums keep are algae-eating suckerfish, also known as plecos. There are many other plecos, but one of the most widespread is the aquarium cleaner sucker.

What Does Plecostomus Eat?

Plecostomus are scavengers and will eat almost anything they can find. Most plecos are herbivorous or omnivorous, but several carnivorous pleco species include the goldie pleco and leopard cactus pleco.

We have created a guide on what plecos can eat to help you adhere to your pet's pleco diet plan so you can support them adequately. Our food guide includes instructions on what type of food herbivorous, carnivorous, and driftwood-eating plecos prefer. If you have a meat-eating pet, feed him a mixture of plant- and meat-based foods!


Herbivorous plecos subsist on the purely plant-based matter as nourishment. This type of pleco is the most common and can be found in most pet shops. Here are some tips for feeding your herbivorous pleco.

1. Algae

Algae should make up a good amount of a green aquarium's fish diet. Regardless of what kind you choose, most herbivorous plecos will enjoy the opportunity to snack on it. Remember that you should not offer your pleco any red or dark algae, as this type of algae is toxic to the animal.

Alternatively, you can hire your local pet store to provide live algae wafers to place in your tank. Alternatively, you can grow your own algae by placing a few pieces of driftwood or rocks in your aquarium bed and allowing them to hang out there for several weeks. The growth of your algae will become evident around the time those wood pieces begin to sprout green hairlike shoots.

2. Zucchini

Zucchini is an excellent choice for your herbivorous pleco. It's rich in fiber and low in calories. Slice a couple of segments and toss them into your aquarium for your pleco to snack on in good health.

If your plecos cannot finish all of the leftover zucchini in one sitting, remove all uneaten pieces from your tank to avoid rotting and fouling the water. It s one thing to have a messy aquarium, but it s another thing to have a smelly one!

3. Cucumber

A piece of cucumber drifting in the aquarium is an excellent snack for most herbivorous plecos. Cucumbers are rich in vitamin K, B6, potassium, magnesium, and silicon dioxide. These nutrients can help keep your pet's scales and bones healthy and even help prevent holes in their side.

Cucumbers will also provide your aquarium that fresh cucumber scent we all love! If you prefer not to use a whole cucumber in your filter-feeding devices, peel it and then let the other half stay in your refrigerator until later.

4. Broccoli

A pleco typically requires a complete meal, so it is best to provide your pleco a mix of different foods. Brassicas are an excellent source of vitamin K and A and fiber that helps avoid constipation.

Since tossing an entire broccoli head into your tank can be tempting, we recommend starting with a few pieces. These can be nutritious foods, but you must still exercise self-control.

5. Squash

Regarding vegetable groups, squash is an excellent choice for herbivorous plecos. Squash is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, and potassium, making them one of the tastiest options for plecos.

Chunks of butternut squash can be dissolved in your aquarium, and if you have a particularly voracious pleco, you can also serve it boiled or mashed squash. We promise that your pleco will be fascinated with squash in no time!

6. Omega One Veggie Rounds

Below are all the foods we've assessed thus far as ways to feed your herbivorous pleco. But, purchasing vegetable rounds from a nearby fish store is handy if you'd like a quick and easy way. This ensures you and your pleco will have proper nutrition from the food sources.

One of the things that makes this particular food source an excellent nutritious selection is its long shelf life. So if you momentarily find yourself running low on time to prepare a snack for your live pleco, these croquettes can be very helpful!

7. Carrot

Carrots are a great way to satisfy the nutritional needs of aquarium fish. Not only are veggies rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and dietary fiber, but they are low in toxins. So even if your fish overeats carrots, they won't be harmed.

To encourage your pleco's craving for carrots, drop a few slices into the aquarium. Your fish will enjoy this treat, and you will enjoy watching them nibble away! Alternatively, incorporate carrots into homemade food for your fish. Check out these recipes for ideas!

8. Romaine

Romaine lettuce isn't just for humans! This leafy green is rich in vitamins A and K and dietary fiber. The fact that it's ample water makes it a terrific snack for plecos that are prone to constipation.

I do not have any romaine lettuce on hand; you can use the lettuce you have on hand as a substitute. Just make sure to avoid iceberg lettuce, which is low in nutritional value.

9. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are often considered among the most nutritious vegetables around. This tuber is an excellent source of dietary fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium, all essential nutrients for pellet fish. Furthermore, they're relatively low in toxins, making them a nutritious snack.

If you've got herbivorous plecos, try cutting a fresh sweet potato into little pieces and dropping them in the tank as a treat. You can also let them swim in the tank to eliminate competition between the plecos and other fish.


Although most plecos are herbivores, however, not all are carnivorous. Some are omnivorous, while others are entirely carnivorous! If you have carnivorous plecos in your aquarium, it's essential to feed them a high-protein diet rich in calcium. Here are some great ways to help your pleco to stay this healthy!

1. Shrimp Pellets

Think of shrimp pellets as raw shrimp in a stable shelf-stable form. This fish food is an excellent way to provide your carnivorous pleco a balanced diet. It is high in protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients necessary for your fish to stay healthy.

The pellets are usually provided in compressed form. Soak feeding before dropping them into the aquarium to make feeding more convenient. If a fish refuses to eat these pellets after you have soaked them thoroughly, try crushing them into a smaller size or crumbling them on the aquarium soil.

2. Repashy Community Plus

Repashy's community plus is a fish food designed to meet the dietary needs of plecos, snails, bottom-feeding fish, and other inhabitants. It uses high-quality ingredients low in toxins, making it a safe food for fish.

To use, just sprinkle the desired amount into your aquarium. You can also mix it with other foods to create a custom diet for your fish. As with any other type of fish food, store it in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage.

3. Omega One Shrimp Pellets

Pleco fisherman delight, Omega One, is at your service with a sinking shrimp pellet, especially for you! As its name implies, this shrimp pellet is made using a high-quality bullet that is excellent for meat-eating fish. In fact, it is developed to meet the nutritional needs of carnivorous fish, containing all the essential nutrients they need to thrive.

It comes with several all-natural colors, so your pleco will remain in top shape with this method! Omega One concentrates on creating high-quality fish foods free from toxins and fillers. They are also dehydrated to preserve their natural tastes to the greatest extent possible.

4. Frozen Bloodworms

As far as frozen foods go, bloodworms are a delicious seafood delight. They provide all the nutrients a pleco requires, as they are a natural source of animal protein. As a complimentary bonus, they are also so nutritious and well-balanced that large, carnivorous fish are fed!

Because of their ability to freeze, bloodworms are easier to handle and store. To defrost, place them in a bowl of room-temperature water for about 15 minutes. Once they are warm up, you can feed them to your fish!

It is not recommended to thaw frozen bloodworms in your tank directly, as they may cause sludge to accumulate in your filtering system.

5. Frozen Brine Shrimp

Brined shrimp is yet another excellent example of meaty foods that plecos enjoy. These shrimp are high in protein and other essential nutrients, making them an ideal food for your fish. They are also straightforward to digest, making them suited for Plecos and different sensitive fish stomachs.

Brine shrimp are similar to bloodworms in their ability and storage needs. To defrost, place them in a cup of room temperature water for 15 minutes. Then, remove them with a spoon and feed them to your fish! Do not overfeed your fish, as they may spit out brine shrimp.

Wood Eating Plecos

Some plecos, in fact, actually eat small pieces of driftwood or even fragments of driftwood as part of their diet. While that is normal, some wood-eating plecos are notorious for eating pieces of wood that are too large for their bellies. Within their digestive tracts, these morsels of wood may cause constipation or even death.

Be sure to take into account some tips when feeding your pleco wood.

Driftwood Placed In The Aquarium

Many aquarists already feature pieces of driftwood to complement their aquarium decor. If you have wood-eating plecos in your tank, they likely are eating naturally on these pieces of driftwood. To keep them safe, you should opt for driftwood that has been thoroughly cleaned and cured. This ensures that it will break down safely inside your aquarium.

It is also essential to not place too much driftwood in your tank. As driftwood breaks down, it eventually introduces excess nutrients and leaches tannins into your tank, which can cause black water, both unattractive and unhealthy for the fish. Remember that tannins lower the pH of the water, which can be detrimental for some fish.

The final tip seems obvious, but if your pets like nibbling on wood, please use natural driftwood instead of man-made stuff! Apart from having a different look and feel from natural wood, synthetic driftwood is often made from materials detrimental to aquarium fish. Since many fish use driftwood as an ideal refuge, selecting something safe for fish is crucial.


Feeding a pleco tank is no simple task, and deciding which options you should use is not relatively easy. In any case, it's always best to consult an expert if you have any questions. Most importantly, remember that whether you feed your fish yourself or rely on a professional, enjoying the experience of caring for them is the optimal approach.

We hope this article was helpful to you. If there's anything we've forgotten, we'd be happy to hear from you in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you, so please keep sending us your feedback. Happy Holidays!

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