Do Bristlenose Plecos Eat Plants? Plant Safe?

Last Updated on February 28, 2022 by cmoarz

You may be wondering if adding a bristlenose pleco to your planted tank is a good idea.

Bristlenose plecos are common inhabitants of planted tanks and they do a great job of keeping the tank clean. They are also known to eat algae, so you may be wondering do bristlenose plecos eat plants as well?

Will plecos eat my plants (specifically, bristlenose plecos)?

Bristlenose plecos love plants and you will often see them grazing and sucking the plentiful algae from the leaves and stems with great joy and vigor.

However, bristlenose plecos, and other pleco species, will not eat the plants themselves. But they may end up damaging them by accident.

Specific plants tend to be weaker and more delicate than others and plecos can easily uproot or damage them.

So, if you have a planted tank and are thinking of adding a bristlenose pleco, be sure to do your research on the plants you are using and choose ones that will withstand the attention of your new fish.

They may also on occasion accidentally remove a few weak leaves from more robust plants, but they will not devour your tank like some fish might.

If you are looking for a good algae eater that will also leave your plants alone, a bristlenose pleco is a great choice!

Just be sure to choose plants that can withstand the attention of this voracious eater.

It’s important to have plants in a pleco tank

Not only do you have nothing to worry about for your plants, But it’s actually ideal to have plants in a pleco tank.

Plecos are the ultimate scavengers and will eat any and all algae they can find. So, in addition to keeping your tank clean, they will also help to control algae growth.

Plus, plants provide hiding places and territories for the fish to swim in and stake out as their own. This can help reduce fighting and stress in the tank.

So, if you’re looking for a great addition to your planted tank, consider a bristlenose pleco!

They are happy eaters of algae and will leave your plants alone. Just be sure to choose plants that can withstand their grazing and weight.

What plants are good with plecos?

Plecos like certain plants over others, and may prefer these in particular:

  • Java fern
  • Java moss
  • Amazon Sword
  • Anubias
  • Wisteria
  • Jungle val

Don’t forget the driftwood!

Driftwood is an incredibly important addition to any pleco tank, as it provides both shelter and grazing areas for the fish.

Plecos love to nibble on the wood, and will often strip off the bark and soft woody tissue. So, make sure you have a good piece of driftwood in your tank to keep your plecos happy!

You can read more about plecos and driftwood here.


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!