What Do Pleco Fish Eat?

Last Updated on January 30, 2021 by cmoarz

Plecostomus, commonly known as plecos, is a tropical fish species that originates from the Amazon river. Their natural habitat is South American countries like Brazil, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. Plecos belong to the armored catfish family called Loricariidae, the largest catfish family.

Diet of a Pleco Fish

A total of over 150 species of pleco fish species have been discovered. With this wide range of pleco species, there is also diversity in their diet and food habits.

There is a misconception that plecos eat nothing but algae. Some species of plecos indeed eat algae, but not all plecos are algae eaters. If you have an algae-eating pleco, it does not mean that their diet will consist of algae and only algae.

The algae-eating plecos are generally herbivores, while some pleco species are a carnivore. At the same time, pleco species like rubber lip pleco and gold nugget pleco are omnivores.

A specific variety of pleco also feeds on wood. Therefore, you should do thorough research on which species you are interested in to ensure you meet their dietary needs.

Diet of a Herbivorous Pleco

Herbivorous Plecos: Common pleco, Bristlenosepleco, Clown pleco, Butterfly pleco, and Royal pleco.

Herbivorous plecos rely mainly on algae as their primary diet. These species of pleco will gladly munch on algae, keeping the tank clean. However, they must be fed regularly with vegetables as they need lots of fiber to thrive.

Herbivorous plecos must be fed with algae wafers and rounds, repashysoilent green, Omega one veggie rounds, and finely peeled and chopped vegetables like zucchini, spinach, lettuce, kale, cucumber, sweet potato, etc.

Diet of a Carnivorous Pleco

Carnivorous plecos: Galaxy pleco and Zebra pleco

Carnivorous plecos do not eat even a little bit of algae. They need to be fed with lots of meaty foods, like shrimp, snails, bloodworms, earthworms, and larvae.

You should also feed these types of plecos with high-quality food rich in protein like Omega one shrimp pellets and repashy community plus.

Diet of an Omnivorous Pleco

Omnivorous Plecos: Rubber lip pleco, Gold nugget pleco, and Sunshine pleco.

These types of plecos eat only a little bit of algae. Their diet depends mainly on a mix of both vegetables and meaty foods.

Diet of a Wood Eating Pleco

Wood eating plecos: Clown pleco and Royal pleco

The diet of these species consists mainly of eating wood. They fed on submerged logs, munching on the biofilm and the wood fiber as well.

Therefore, it is best to decorate your tank with pieces of driftwood so that they can feed off of it.

They also require to be fed with good quality food products such as repashy morning wood, omega one veggie rounds, and chopped vegetables like cucumber, carrot, spinach, lettuce, etc.


Though some of the plecos are carnivorous species, they do not hunt or prey on other fish. But they do scavenge on dead fish. Plecos are also territorial creatures, and it is advised not to keep more than one pleco in a tank.

Pleco fish are nocturnal creatures. Therefore many expert hobbyists feed them during the night.

Different species of pleco have other diets. So, before you buy a pleco fish, do proper research on the particular species you are interested in owning.


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