Picking The Best Food For Plecos Based on Ingredient Quality

Feeding your plecos the right food types is essential for them to live a healthy and happy life. And there are some well known brands (I’m looking at you Tetra), which provide terrible foods, filled with useless fillers.

In this guides, I want to show you the types of ingredients to avoid, as well as high-quality ingredients to look out for. I’ll also share my favorite foods available.

How To Pick Quality Pleco Food

Plecos are omnivorous scavengers that eat a huge variety of things. From algae and wood to biofilm and small crustaceans, plecos’ diet is quite diverse. Not to mention, they also feed on dead organisms like fish, shrimp, and snails. Some plecos also feed on wood (yes, wood!).

On a side note, don’t believe the hype that all plecos eat algae. There are many species that predominantly eat meaty foods.

Always Check the Ingredients

Before picking a specific food for your plecos, make sure to check the ingredients because not all pleco foods have the same nutritional value. 

Even famous fish food brands like Tetra actually contain lots of fillers. Many “algae wafers” marketed for plecos have little to no algae in them and are made from low-quality ingredients.

They key here is the first ingredient listed is the most important.

Low-Quality Ingredients to Avoid

Here is an example of low-quality fish food you should avoid

Fish Meal

Fish meal is a big no-no for your plecos. Commercially-prepared fish meal is basically a mix of fish waste, like eyes, guts, scales, and skin. It adds zero nutritional value to your plecos and may even cause them to get sick.

Fillers

Fillers, like wheat or any other non-aquatic products, should also be avoided at all costs. Most fish types can’t even digest such ingredients, which means more waste and fewer nutrients.

Soy

Similar to fillers, fish, especially plecos, aren’t really adapted to eating soy. Soy isn’t as bad, though, because it contains protein, but it makes your fish produce more weight and might even hinder their growth if consumed in large quantities.

High-Quality Ingredients You Want

Whole Fish

Whole fish is an excellent food source for your plecos due to its high protein content and omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for skin health.

Krill

Here’s an example of high-quality ingredient

Krill are similar to shrimp when it comes to their shape and nutritional value. So, what makes krill suitable for your plecos? Well, it’s the high Carotenoids content, of course! 

Carotenoids are pigments that enhance the skin color of your plecos. Krill get them from their algae-rich diet. They contain a wide variety of pigments, including red, yellow, and orange pigments.

Spirulina 

Spirulina is an alga that contains a high amount of protein and vitamins, making it a great ingredient for your plecos, especially the herbivorous ones.

Since spirulina is basically a blue-green alga, it naturally enhances the color of blue and green plecos.

Kelp

Kelp is rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for optimal health. They’ll also improve vitality and coloration.

Provide A Variety of Foods

Plecos need a variety of foods to ensure they get all of the nutrients they need. Even carnivores need veggie foods like algae and spirulina, and herbivores need proteins from animal sources.

It’s good to have commercially prepared foods as the staple diet. It’d also be preferred if you mix in frozen foods and some veggies, like frozen peas. 

As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to mix up your plecos’ diet between 2 or 3 foods.

Best Foods For Plecos With Quality Ingredients

Repashy Morning Wood (Wood Eating Plecos)

The Repashy Morning Wood is a great choice for plecos. It contains a healthy mix of plant-based ingredients, like seaweed, alfalfa, spirulina, and even watermelon. The first ingredient is cellulose powder which provides the dietary fiber, so often lacking in a captive pleco’s diet.

Preparing it is relatively time-consuming, though, since you’ll need to boil water and stir in the powder. But, it’s well worth the effort.

Click For Full Ingredients

Cellulose Powder, Dried Seaweed Meal, Alfalfa Leaf Meal, Spirulina Algae, Rice Protein Concentrate, Pea Protein Isolate, Stabilized Rice Bran, Dried Brewer’s Yeast, Stinging Nettle, Locust Bean Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Citric Acid, Taurine, Garlic, Dried Kelp, Dried Watermelon, Rose Hips, Hibiscus Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Salt, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2-Monophosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex)

Repashy Morning Wood
Repashy Morning Wood

    Last update on 2024-07-14 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Repashy Soilent Green (Herbivore/Omnivorous Plecos)

    This is a great staple diet for plecos. The first ingredient being spirulina is something I love about Repashy Soilent Green. It is such a high-quality plant-based ingredient packed with lots of nutrients. It also contains high-quality protein sources Like krill and black soldier fly larvae meal.

    Click For Full Ingredients

    Spirulina Algae, Algae Meal (Chlorella), Krill Meal, Pea Protein Isolate, Black Soldier Fly Larvae Meal, Rice Protein Concentrate, Fish Meal, Alfalfa Leaf Meal, Dried Brewer’s Yeast, Coconut Meal, Stabilized Rice Bran, Flax Seed Meal, Schizochytrium Algae, Dried Seaweed Meal, Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Citric Acid, Taurine, Stinging Nettle, Garlic, Dried Kelp, Dried Watermelon, RoseHips, Hibiscus Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Salt, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2-Monophosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex)

    Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR
    Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR

      Last update on 2024-07-14 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Omega One Super Veggie Green Seaweed (Herbivore/Omnivorous Plecos)

      Not too much to say about this one. These are simply sheets of dried seaweed and are a great treat for plecos.

      Click For Full Ingredients

      Dried Seaweed

      Omega One Super Veggie Green Seaweed for All Algae Grazers.8 oz, 23 g, 24 Sheets, 3 Pack
      Omega One Super Veggie Green Seaweed for All Algae Grazers.8 oz, 23 g, 24 Sheets, 3 Pack

        Last update on 2024-07-14 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        Omega One Sinking Catfish Pellets (Carnivorous/Omnivorous Plecos)

        These large, sinking pellets are a great food source for large plecos (5 inches or larger). Containing salmon, whole herring, shrimp, and kelp, these are great stable diet for plecos. They’re fairly large (8mm), so make sure they are getting eaten completely by your fish.

        Click For Full Ingredients

        Salmon, Whole Herring, Whole Shrimp, Wheat Flour, Wheat Germ, Pea Protein, Wheat Gluten, Kelp, Astaxanthin, Canthanxanthin, Potassium Sorbate, Ethoxyquin (Preservative), BHT (Preservative), BHA (Preservative), Natural And Artificial Colors, Ascorbyl Monophosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Niacin, Inositol, Folic Acid, Biotin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

        Omega One Sinking Shrimp Pellets, 8mm Pellets, 8.25 oz
        Omega One Sinking Shrimp Pellets, 8mm Pellets, 8.25 oz

          Last update on 2024-07-14 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          Omega One Veggie Rounds, 14mm Rounds (Carnivorus/Omnivorous Plecos)

          These have always been one of my plecos favorite foods. Made up of protein sources like salmon, whole herring, kelp, shrimp, and spirulina, pretty much every fish in the tank goes down to the bottom to munch on these, not just plecos.

          Click For Full Ingredients

          Salmon, Whole Herring, Wheat Germ Meal, Wheat Flour, Rice Bran, Dried Kelp, Shrimp, Pea Protein, Wheat Gluten, Spirulina, Herring Oil, Vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Inositol, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Citric Acid (Preservative), Vinegar, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Astaxanthin (Color), Canthaxanthin (Color).

          Omega One Veggie Rounds, 14mm Rounds, Sinking, 8 Oz Container
          Omega One Veggie Rounds, 14mm Rounds, Sinking, 8 Oz Container

            Last update on 2024-07-14 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            Northfin Fish Food Kelp Wafers 14mm (Carnivorus/Omnivorous Plecos)

            Northfin actually have kelp as the first ingredient, which I love. Too many “algae wafers” have no kelp in or algae ingredients. Just fish meal or fillers. These mix plant-based ingredients like kelp and spirulina with quality protein, sources like krill, herring, and whole sardines.

            Click For Full Ingredients

            Kelp, Whole Antarctic Krill Meal, High Omega-3 (DHA) Herring Meal, Whole Sardine Meal, Wheat Flour, Spirulina, Garlic, Astaxanthin (Haematococcus Algae), Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamin A Acetate, L-Ascorby-2-Polyphospate (Source of Vitamin C), D-Activated Animal-Sterol (D3), DL Alphatocopherol (E), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamine, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Selenium, Zinc

            Sale
            Northfin Fish Food Kelp Wafers 14mm (250g)
            Northfin Fish Food Kelp Wafers 14mm (250g)

              Last update on 2024-07-14 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Which Fish Food Is Best For Plecos?

              All of the foods here contain high-quality ingredients. Simply pick a few of the ones which fit your plecos diet and you’ll have no issues with feeding.

              Christopher Adams
              Christopher Adams

              Hey there, my name is Christopher, and I've successfully ran freshwater aquariums for the past few decades. The mission of this site is to make it simple for anyone to run their own freshwater aquarium.

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