Do Plecostomus Eat Plants? {The Top 5 Best Plants To Keep With Your Plecos!}

Are you concerned that your Plecostomus will uproot your plants or eat them? How can you prevent this? Should you remove the plants? In this article, we’ll find out if Plecostomus eat plants.

Do Plecostomus Eat Plants? Yes. Plecostomus enjoy nibbling on plant matter and rasping holes in some leaves. They will often leave your plants alone if you offer enough varied foods and keep your Plecostomus well fed. 

Why Do Plecos Eat Plants?

A plecostomus would like to nibble or rasp vegetation, algae growth and also try new food sources. It’s up to you to introduce blanched or raw vegetables that are clipped, tied down or stuck to the substrate.

If you aren’t offering enough food, you may notice your plecostomus chewing or rasping on your plants in your tank. Plecos are omnivores, but they scavenge opportunistically to find anything that suits them.

Algae is the top choice, but most of us do not wish to have algae blooming in large quantities to satisfy the hunger of a plecostomus. It’s best to offer plenty of varied foods to avoid your plants from being eaten.

Do Plecos Uproot Plants?

A plecostomus is happy in a tank with plenty of densely planted areas. There must also be enough room to maneuver, rest and explore. An average sized pleco is going to grow 12 or more inches and will need a tank larger than 75 gallons.

If you are noticing your plants being uprooted by your plecostomus, it may be due to the following reasons:

  • not enough space
  • overcrowding
  • lack of food
  • plants not rooted deep enough
  • accidents


It’s recommended to go above 75 gallons for a full grown common plecostomus. There are 150 types, but most grow large enough to require enough room to turn around without uprooting any plants. A small tank will stress your plecostomus to the point where they might do things like uproot your plants.


Too many tankmates will lead your plecostomus no choice but to dig or search for spaces to hide. They may choose to get under a planted area by uprooting them as a result. Ensure that there are plenty of decorations, caves and other hiding spaces to avoid getting uplants uprooted.

Lack of Food

When a plecostomus runs out of things to do or food to search for, your plants might become the next target. If there is algae growth on the plants, they will try to suck them off the leaves and stems. Otherwise, a lack of food could cause your plants to be nibbled or uprooted.

Plants Not Rooted Deep Enough

Please make sure that when you keep bottom dwellers, you need to root the plants deeper into the substrate. Your plecostomus should not deliberately try to uproot plants that are firmly rooted.


Large sized fish like a plecostomus may accidentally turn around, whip a tail fin and knock over plants. If they are spooked, they may dart from one side to another. If a plant gets in the way, it may also get uprooted.

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Can I Keep Pleco In A Planted Tank?

Yes. Please provide planted areas for your pleco to enjoy. Some plecos will nibble on the broad leaves of plants, but if you also provide vegetables, they will treat your plants as a place to hide or rest.

Sometimes a pleco will rasp on the leaves by sawing through sections or leaving holes in them. They are not out to consume your plants. The plants are essential in keeping these primarily nocturnal fish in shaded spots during the day when their tankmates are active.

Which Plecos Don’t Eat Plants?

Most plecostomus will leave your plants alone. The top three plecos below are not known to disturb your plants:

  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Clown Pleco
  • Common Pleco

Smaller plecos like the Bulldog plecostomus may rasp more on the leaves of plants than others. Some damage may occur to the leaves, but they will not destroy or consume the plants entirely.

Maintain a steady and consistent serving of vegetables, algae wafers and protein rich foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp to prevent your plecostomus from choosing plants as a source

Will Plecos Eat Algae Off Plants?

Plecos are popular for their capability to eat large amount of algae. They are not the best algae cleaners to keep your glass spotless. They need more than algae as a food source.

At night, your primarily nocturnal plecostomus will come out to search for edible debris including algae growth on plants. Plecos are opportunistic and will look for food growing on or placed near plants. Introduce the following foods to help steer them away from your plants:

  • cucumbers
  • spinach
  • zuchini
  • kale
  • melons
  • lettuce
  • shelled peas
  • sinking pellets
  • brine shrimp
  • bloodworms
  • insect larvae
  • live insects

Which Plants Go Well With Plecostomus?

Our tops 5 favorite plants to keep with plecos are the following:

  1. Amazon Sword
  2. Anubias
  3. Java Fern
  4. Jungle Vallisneria
  5. Java Moss

1. Amazon Sword

A moderate growth rate with sword-like leaves provides plenty of shade and resting space for your plecostomus to enjoy. You may find your pleco nibbling on the leaves from time to time, but not enough to destroy the plant. This plant grows quickly and can reach up to 16 inches.

2. Anubias

At 7.5 inches in height, anubias grow slowly, but maintain broad leaves. You can grow them directly on driftwood, making it a perfect shelter for your plecos to relax or sleep under.

3. Java Fern

Even if your plecos nibble on the leaves of a java fern, the thick bush will not be greatly affected. The leaves are long and thin and the plant itself can grow up to around 14 inches.

4. Jungle Vallisneria

This one grows fast and gets to be very tall. Smaller tanks are not recommended for plecos or jungle vallisneria. The blades are thin and long and look like grass. The area gets dense and becomes an excellent space for hiding or shelter.

5. Java Moss

If your plecostomus wants to eat java moss, good luck trying to stop its growth. You can create a wide space like a carpet with java moss growing on driftwood or rocks. Plecos enjoy resting on it, but java moss doesn’t grow more than a few inches in height.


We hope the information provided today helps you with your plants and plecos to thrive together. More food sources and suitable plants will keep your rooted plants healthy and your plecos happy. Thanks for stopping by at and see you again soon!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.