Every species of fish eat different food. Feeding them the right food will help with their overall health. Some species of fish can live off a diet of fish flakes, while others need live foods to survive. When it comes to plecostomus or “plecos”, they are one of the easiest species of fish to feed.
What to feed plecostomus? Plecostomus are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Vegetable plants such as lettuce, spinach, zucchini can be fed to them. In addition, fruits are great for plecostomus as well. This includes apple, honeydew, and pears. As for animals, this includes brine shrimp, bloodworms, and baby fish.
Best Types of Food For Plecostomus
Plecostomus, in general, will eat just about anything given to them. They will eat fish flakes, vegetables and fruits, meat, and even other fish. However, for the health of the plecos, you will want to feed them the highest quality food as much as possible.
The best types of food to give them are food that is algae-based. These fish are algae eater, which means they require a lot of fiber in their diet. Food that is high in fiber is pellets and flakes, vegetables, and fruits. In addition to all of that, algae are their main source of fiber.
Feeding Plecostomus Pellets And Flakes
Plecostomus will eat fish flakes and pellets. This is not their usual type of food, but they will eat it when given the chance.
Plecostomus are a bottom feeder and most flakes and pellets are designed to float on top of the water. For this reason, plecostomus will usually not get a chance to eat it. However, some plecos have been known to swim to the top of the aquarium to eat flakes and pellets.
There are fish food called algae wafer that is designed to sink, made specifically for bottom feeder fish. These algae wafer will descend to the bottom of the tank and plecos will be able to eat them.
Since plecos are nocturnal, they will come out only at night to feed. Drop a couple of algae wafer in the tank before heading to bed. For adult plecos, 2 pieces of algae wafer are enough. For juvenile plecos, 1 piece of algae wafer should be fed to them daily. The reason for this amount is so they will scavenge for leftover food from other fish and eat the algae growing in the tank.
When buying fish flakes, pellets, or algae wafers, make sure to only buy those that are of high quality. Low-quality foods will usually not meet their dietary requirements. In addition, it can cause health issues for the fish, which could also lead to death.
Feeding Plecostomus Wood
Placing a piece of wood such as driftwood in the aquarium will help provide a source of fiber for the plecostomus. The fish won’t eat the wood directly, but they will suck the algae that grow on the driftwood. As they suck on the algae, they will suck some of the fiber from the wood as well.
Driftwood is the only type of wood you should put in an aquarium. Driftwood is woods that have been in the water for a long period of time.
Most pet store sells driftwood for aquarium use, but you can also find them outdoors. If you’re planning to use driftwood you found yourself, you’ll need to sterilize the driftwood first. You can boil it for a couple of hours or place them in a bucket of water for several weeks. As you can tell, boiling them is much quicker and ready for use in a couple of hours. The reason for sterilizing them first is to remove tannins from the wood. If not treated first, the driftwood will slowly release tannin into the water, which will soften the water and cause a drop in pH.
Regular wood that you would find outdoors will have sap and other things in it that could harm the plecostomus and the rest of the other fish. For this reason, you should stay away from using these types of wood.
Feeding Plecostomus Aquatic Plants
For plants, both live and artificial plants will provide food for them. Like woods, the plants don’t directly provide food for the plecos. Instead, the food is provided via the algae growing on them.
Artificial plants can be used as and it will serve as a source of algae formation. There are many different types of artificial plants you can use. For best results in providing algae grow, use the plants that have a large leaf. It provides a large number of algae formation and will be easy for the plecostomus to suck the algae off it.
Using live plants will provide a more balanced diet and collect algae more easily than artificial plants would. There are many different varieties of live plants to use. Same like artificial plants, you will want to get plants that have a large leaf.
When choosing live plants, use only aquatic live plants. These are found plentiful at your local pet shop or gardening center. You can also find aquatic live plants outdoors. However, you’ll want to be careful with them due to parasites and pests they might have. To make it safe for them to use in the aquarium, you’ll need to kill them first.
To kill the parasites, use Seachem ParaGuard, which can be found at Amazon. Put the live plants in a bucket of water and pour Seachem ParaGuard (according to the instructions on the label) into the bucket and let sit for a couple of hours. Afterward, remove the live plants and place them in your tank.
Feeding Plecostomus Vegetables
When it comes to food, plecostomus eat a variety of food including vegetables. Like humans, these fish can eat many of the same vegetables that humans can. Some of their favorite vegetables to eat are squash, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, and spinach.
Most aquarists overlook vegetables as a food source for plecostomus. To most people, these bottom feeders are known only as algae-eater. However, feeding them vegetables can benefit their health a lot. Vegetables are high in nutrition especially vitamins A and C, and fibers.
Feeding them vegetables can be a challenge as most vegetables will float, instead of sinking. To counter this problem, you can purchase a food holder designed for fish tanks. What it does is attached itself to the glass of the aquarium via a suction cup. You then can place the food in the food holder and that should prevent vegetables from floating to the top.
As for the vegetables, feed them only raw blanched pieces. Avoid using vegetables that are cooked with oils or seasonings. Doing so will contaminant the aquarium water, which could cause fish to be sick.
Vegetables can be fed along with fish pellets or you can rotate their diet daily. This way, they will get all the required nutrition each day.
Feeding Plecostomus Meat
Believe it or not, plecostomus are carnivores as well. They will eat meat from dead fish and other aquatic creatures. Meat is a good source of protein and you could feed them meat occasionally.
You can use fresh, frozen, or pelleted meats from earthworms, bloodworms, or shrimp. If using fresh meat, cut them into small pieces before feeding them to the plecostomus. Small pieces are easy for them to suck into their mouths.
Avoid using meat from cows and other land animals. These types of meat will be hard for them to swallow, even if it’s cut into small pieces.
What To Feed Plecostomus Fry
Plecostomus fry can be fed algae wafers, algae in the tank, and uneaten food that sinks to the bottom. In addition, they can be fed live food such as baby brine shrimp and infusoria.
When they are just a couple of days old, they should be fed with infusoria or powdered spirulina only. These food are small and easy for them to eat.
After a week, pleco fry can be fed algae wafers and any other food that contains algae. Also, at this age, they will start to feed off the algae growing in the tank. For this reason, you should prepare the tank with driftwoods and plants for them to feed algae off.
Pleco fry doesn’t necessarily need a lot of care, especially when it comes to feeding. They will naturally start scavenging for food right after birth. In their natural habitat, there is plenty of food available for them to eat. On the other hand, in captivity, the only food available to them if the food you give them. For this reason, make sure to provide plenty of food for them, especially food containing algae.
What To Feed Plecostomus That Are Sick
There’s nothing worse than seeing your pleco sick. If you know that your plecostomus is definitely sick, there is food that can be given to them to help them recover fast. Just like a human when we are sick, we need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. The same goes for plecos and you can feed them fruits and vegetables too. For vegetables, zucchini and leafy greens are great at help plecos to recover. For fruits, try apples and pears. Simply put the food on a fork and drop it into the water.
In addition to the above food, give them their regular diet of algae wafer as well.
Plecostomus fish are easy to care for which is why it makes them one of the best freshwater fish for beginners. Plecostomus are nocturnal creatures which means they feed at night and sleep during the day. Before going to bed, drop a couple of algae wafers into the water. In addition, make sure to turn off the aquarium lights so they know when to come out to feed. As long as you know what to feed plecostomus fish, they will be healthy and live for a long time.
Fred has been a fishkeeper his whole life. At the age of 3 yrs old, he got started with a goldfish that was given to him on his birthday. Ever since then, he loved caring for fish of all types and species. Beside fishkeeping, he enjoy fly fishing and the outdoors with his 4 kids.