What Do Plecostomus Eat? Best Food & Diet Guide

All plecos come from Central and/or South America, making up the biggest family of catfish, Loricariidae.

So what do these armored bottom dwellers eat?

In this guide, I’ll teach you all about what Plecostomus (pleco) eat.

Pleco Diet Requirments

So, what do plecos eat exactly?

Well… that really depends. 

Some people think that plecos eat nothing but algae. However, this is incorrect.

Yes, some species are herbivores that feed almost exclusively on algae.

But there are many, many species that don’t eat algae at all.

In the wild, some are carnivorous scavengers that feed off of dead fish that they find.

Others eat mostly wood fiber and little crustaceans that live on the surface of sunken logs.

There really isn’t a one and done diet that’s a good fit for all plecos.

So I’ll lay out diets for all the different categories of pleco. 

Pro Tip: It’s so important to do careful research about any species of fish that you want to bring home. Be sure to look up the kind of pleco you are thinking of buying beforehand so know what kind of diet it requires.

What Do Herbivorous Plecos Eat?

Herbivorous plecos, like the common and bristlenose plecos, love to hit the salad bar. These guys will gladly munch on algae around the tank but should also be fed regularly to make sure they get enough to eat.

These species are voracious eaters who need a fairly big volume of food to be happy.

Feeding:

  • Algae 
  • Repashy Soilent Green
  • Blanched veggies: zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, romaine 
  • Omega One Veggie Rounds 
Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR
Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR

    Last update on 2021-10-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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

      Last update on 2021-10-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Pro Tip: Make sure to look at the ingredients when deciding on a fish food, especially “algae wafers.” A lot of these don’t contain much algae at all and are mostly made up of crappy filler ingredients. The foods I recommend are all high quality feeds.

      What Do Carnivorous Pleco Eat?

      Some of the showiest, most expensive and sought after plecos are actually carnivores. Species like the zebra and sunshine plecos are scavengers that feed off of dead fish. They need a high protein diet in order to thrive.

      Feeding:

      • Repashy Community Plus
      • Omega One Shrimp Pellets
      • Frozen bloodworms
      • Frozen brine shrimp
      Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR
      Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR

        Last update on 2021-10-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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

          Last update on 2021-10-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          What Do Wood Eating Plecos Eat?

          Yep, that’s right, there are plecos that eat mainly wood. They graze along the surface of submerged logs, eating the biofilm that grows there as well as the wood fiber itself. 

          These species, like clown and royal plecos, need an enormous amount of fiber in their diets. It’s best to decorate the tank with some pieces of driftwood so they can graze on it. 

          Feeding:

          • Driftwood placed in the aquarium
          • Repashy Morning Wood (don’t look at me like that, I didn’t name it, but I did laugh, too)
          • Blanched veggies: zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, romaine 
          • Omega One Veggie Rounds 
          Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR
          Repashy Soilent Green 6 Oz JAR

            Last update on 2021-10-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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

              Last update on 2021-10-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Final Words On Feeding Plecos

              Not all plecos are the same. There are so many different species and they have a variety of diets.

              Not all plecos are great algae eaters. 

              Many would be more than happy to Hoover up uneaten food from your other fish, but won’t deign to touch algae growing on the glass. 

              Others will scour the algae out of the tank and eat up a slice of zucchini after that.

              It all depends on the species.

              It’s our job as aquarists to make sure we do our research ahead of time so we can provide the best conditions for the fish we bring home.

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              Katherine Morgan
              Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

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