How Much Do You Feed A Plecostomus? {A Complete Feeding Guide}

Are you trying to decide how much food you should give to your plecostomus? Can they survive on algae alone? In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of the best ways to feed a plecostomus the right quantity and quality of food.

How Much Do You Feed A Plecostomus? Plecostomus naturally consume algae, but also graze on driftwood. Feed your Plecostomus nightly or skip a day. Use pleco specific wafers, rounds or sinking discs. Introduce a slice of vegetable or fruit 2-3 times a week. 

When Do I Feed My Pleco?

A plecostomus is primarily noctunral and prefers to graze at night. You may find your pleco laying motionless or resting for much of the day. Train your pleco to eat at night because it’s when they are most comfortable and active. This is when they will need the extra nutrition.

Once a day or every other day will suffice. Make sure to feed your pleco meals that are specifically intended for it or vegetables and fruits that sink to the bottom of the tank.

What Do I Feed My Plecostomus?

Your plecostomus loves to eat. Most plecos grow quite large at over 12-15 inches. Some are able to grow up to 24 inches. They will not get enough nutrients from algae and detritus in your tank. Discs, rounds and wafers intended for plecos are easy to buy from your local fish shop, but they are not enough as well.

Consider the appetite of your pleco and make sure there is enough variety to satisfy its omnivore diet. Focus more on vegetables, but some fruits and proteins such as brine shrimp or bloodworms can also be included 2-3 times a week.

We like to pin down, clip, tie or drop any of the following vegetables below, but you can try many more types as well:

  • cucumber
  • zucchini 
  • squash
  • shelled peas
  • kale
  • romaine lettuce
  • cooked broccoli
  • lima beans
  • celery

How Do I Know If My Pleco Is Overeating?

Do you keep driftwood in the tank? Do you know that your pleco will ingest bits of driftwood by grazing their sandpaper-like teeth over it for additional fiber? They may also nibble on plants and definitely continue looking out for algae. Your nightly meals may get to be heavy.

The bio-load of a plecostomus is massive. They are dirty fish who drop a lot of waste. If you see extra long coils of feces or if the waste is long and still attached to its body, you may consider skipping a day between meals.

Plecos digest quickly, but consume endlessly when you’re offering more options. Some people recommend skipping two days between meals, but only do so if your plecostomus is bloated, disinterested in eating or constipated.

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How Many Wafers Should I Feed My Plecostomus?

Pleco-specific food usually arrives in the form of sinking rounds, discs or wafers. If you are dropping algae wafers, two will be enough. If you have a current, air pump, powerhead or strong filter, you should clip the food to the glass attached to a suction cup.

Young plecos won’t need two wafers. One will suffice. Since plecos are omnivores, the discs or rounds you find in shops will usually be blended with vegetables and protein.

Drop the wafers or any food source at night, but make sure it’s near your plecostomus. Keep the lights off and allow them to enjoy.

Which Fruits Do Plecos Eat?

It’s fun to experiment with your plecostomus. They are hardy eaters and will try almost anything you are offering at the same time and place each night. If there isn’t competition for it, your pleco will eat in peace and comfort.

Offer the following fruits:

  • cantaloupe
  • honeydew melon
  • breadfruit
  • papaya

Try not to offer acidic fruits like oranges or tomatoes. Blanch, boil or thoroughly wash any produce. You can also take some tank water and use that to clean any raw fruits or vegetables.

How Much Do I Feed A Pleco?

You can feed your pleco 2 wafers or discs a night. If you see that they have been consumed it and there are no other food sources, you could choose to drop another wafer in the morning.

If your pleco ignores it, scoop it back up. We don’t want to overfeed them, but will help them out when they are still hungry.

Choose 2-3 days out of the week where you can offer small cuts of meat, shrimp or worms. Pellets, fruits and vegetables are also great. Watch your pleco eating at night to see how much is being consumed right away.

  • 1 slice of zucchini 
  • 1 slice of cucumber

Compare your other foods to the same size as the slices above. Offer this amount only to not overfeed or dirty your tank with leftover debris that will surely spike ammonia levels.

Which Food Is Best For A Pleco?

The food you prepare will always be the best. You take the time to cut, clean, boil or blanch the food and they are single source ingredients. The cheaper blends contain fillers and preservatives.

Buy vegetable and algae wafers. Plecos can eat them twice a day. Most vegetables don’t need much preparation. Brine shrimp and bloodworms can be served frozen.  Get into the act of preparing blends of vegetables and protein and place them in ice trays.

You get what you put into it and your pleco will thank you for it by growing larger, staying vibrant, playful and most likely producing lots of waste for your filter and substrate vacuum to clean up.


Feed your adult plecostomus 2 wafers or its equivalent at night. A young pleco is fine with half this portion. Skip a day if your pleco is overeating and creating a heavy bio-load.

One slice of cucumber or any food source that is about the same size can be substituted 2-3 times a week for some variety and extra nutrition.


Thanks for visiting for another article on plecostomus that we greatly enjoy taking care of in our aquariums. Check out more of our articles on the variety of marine life we research and keep. Bye for now!

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.

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