what to feed pleco

Any food to be fed to plecos need to be the right size for the fish to feed on. Plecos avoid brightly lit areas and usually stay in shaded parts of the tank or under decor until the lights go out at night. HerbivoresAlmost any vegetable and many fruits that you can find in the supermarket will do here, but some are more suitable than others. In fact, the sucker mouth is a development based on the environment they live in, typically varying strengths of running water in varied areas of South America. At the weekends I feed him a slice of cucumber as well. If the fish eats algae faster than it appears, you should feed it with artificial food. He can eat a 1" x 2" piece in no time. Algae and sinking algae wafers. Plecos are omnivores, meaning they need meat as well as vegetables. Remember to take any left of food or vegetables out of the … Feeding Zebra plecos have an omnivorous feeding inclination although they so much cherish eating foods that are rich in protein – like bloodworms, mussels, lobster eggs, tubifex,daphnia, brine shrimp, and so on; it is for this reason, they are often erroneously categorized as carnivores. Adding blanched vegetable treats and/or fast-growing Hornwort may protect plants from damage. Your pleco needs lots of fiber in their diet, and they can get it from driftwood. These fish came into the hobby as "Algae eaters", and many are still bought to keep the glass clean on the tank they live in, while other, more exotic, species are bought purely to please the owners by having a striking pattern. Common plecos are not bred in captivity and we don’t know much about their reproductive behaviors or requirements. Wild plecos tend to hide in the shallows under rocks and driftwood. Algae eating catfish are popular options for planted freshwater tanks, but not all Pleco Fish work out in peaceful communities. Maintaining the driftwood in the aquarium is essential. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, and this belief leads to many underfed and malnourished plecos. This can include bloodworms, small crustaceans, fly larvae, and earthworms. One question that commonly occurs is what and how to feed these fish. Plecostomus fish really only need to be fed once a day. This can include algae, aquatic plant matter, fungi, meat, small insects, larvae, worms, and a great many other food sources that sink to the bottom. LimnivoresThese fish also eat many different things. Plecos are huge waste factories. Add some tap-water to each compartment to seal in the food-bits a bit better. Plecos are a popular option for both novice and experienced fishkeepers because they’re generally hardy, easy to care for, and help remove algae and decaying scraps from your tank. These types of foods should be cooked before feeding to remove undesirables and most are available pre-cooked and are easy to use. For bigger plecos, these can be just cut up to suitable portions and fed directly. Different plecos seem to like different parts of the vegetable. You can't usually find this in the supermarket, but aside from dedicated (usually frozen) foods in the pet-shop, you may be able to get suitable food items by farming your own. This diet should be reproduced as closely as possible in the home aquarium, and they should ideally be fed algae wafers and a high quality flake food. They thrive the most if their food consists of at least 80% plants, while the rest of it should be plant based. This is the first part of a two-part article on how to feed loricariid catfish, aka Plecos. For preparation, see the above. Hypostomus plecostomus, also known as the suckermouth catfish or the common pleco, is a tropical fish belonging to the armored catfish family (Loricariidae), named for the armor-like longitudinal rows of scutes that cover the upper parts of the head and body (the lower surface of head and abdomen is naked). These will provide an abundance of hiding places for your fish during the day and plenty of surfaces to rasp for algae and fiber. But unlike smaller species, such as the Bristlenose or Clown, Common Plecos often don’t work out in community aquariums: Common plecos are native to a wide range of Central and South America. They feed on all sorts of matters they find in their region. You can add any kind of fish food and even ground, dried vegetables. Aquatic Foods Inc. Wafers of Algae & Spirulina. My albino bristlenose pleco fish love cucumber! With their massive appetites, these fish produce a lot of waste and need a high-quality canister or HOB filter with replaceable media to keep their water clean. While they are bottom dwellers when young, mature giant plecos often use their entire tank for hunting, so your mid-level and surface fish, Plecos are a natural fit for planted aquariums, but mature catfish, Offer your plecostomus commercial foods like, 150-gallon or larger aquarium with a stand and cover/lid, High-quality canister and/or HOB filtration system(s), Decors such as driftwood, sticks/branches, rocks and plastic plants, Hoses and/or vacuum system for water changes, Commercial sinking algae wafers and/or spirulina pellets. For smaller individuals, it's preferred to blanch the vegetable before feeding. Make sure to provide several pieces of driftwood in the aquarium at all times so your pleco can suck and scrape it off. They love to eat at night and rarely like to be seen during the day. An air stone is highly recommended to maintain high oxygen levels in your water. It doesn't actually say anything about the specific feeding habit of the fish, to do that, you have to look closer, but more on that later. They likely require at least a 300 to 500-gallon pond-style enclosure to induce spawning, but there are no successful breeding reports to work off of. When time comes to feed, just take a cube and put it in the water. They’re susceptible to the typical water-borne diseases and parasites like Ich, so always quarantine new fish and plants for a few weeks before adding them to your tank. A varied diet of vegetables and protein-based foods is ideal. The fish love broccoli, and although popular, cabbage varieties can make the water smell like of cabbage, which is a drawback. Young plecos may be friendly bottom dwellers for a few months and then suddenly have an attitude change. How to Feed a Plecostomus Fish. To keep the fish you need a tank with large amount of fouling in it. You can also feed them blanched vegetables – try out a variety to see what they like the best. Their main diet should be composed of a herbivore sinking pellet, since they tend to mainly eat on the bottom of the tank. With diligent care and spacious environments, a Common Pleco can live for up to 15-years in your aquarium! In this article, I'll try to explain how to prepare various types of food. Wood should be cleaned properly with boiling water and then soaked for at least 24 hours before it's placed in the fish-tank. I feed mine one algae pellet/tablet per day. Keep in mind that giant plecos are voracious eaters and may attempt to eat anything they come across, from scraps left by other fish to dead or slow-swimming members of your community. Clips with suckers to stick to the glass are available from most fish shops, the sucker can fatigue after a few months. Is the Common Pleco a good option for your aquarium? For bigger plecos, these can be just cut up to suitable portions and fed directly. When it comes to food, plecostomus eat a variety of food including vegetables. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. An older, larger Pleco may need a tank size closer to 150-200 gallons. Grind your favourite fish food to bits. Like humans, these fish can eat many of the same vegetables that humans can. Catfish are a popular choice for aquariums because they’re usually very healthy fish and don’t suffer from many common problems. Your Mr. Pleco (XIX), in just a few months, can eat a tremendous amount of this. They’re found in streams and river habitats, and usually prefer to hide among wood, branches and debris, along the bottom of waterways. With a teaspoon you can pierce the food with it, and vegetables can be attached to stones with a rubber band or a piece of string. One needs to feed the Pleco once or twice a week depending upon the algae growth in the tank. This means that they want to have at least some food all the time. There are examples of fish eating orange, but vegetables in the Cucumber family, such as Courgette (Zucchini to the American audience), common cucumber and various types of melon are all excellent foods. If plecos don’t consume enough fiber or gorge on protein-rich treats they may develop bloat or constipation problems. Here's an article on how to breed them: http://www.easyinsects.co.uk/livefood/fruitflies/ . For Plecos, it's better to feed the maggots than to feed flies, as they aren't good at catching floating creatures. Common suckermouth catfish may fight when kept together in groups unless provided with a spacious environment (like an outdoor pond).. You may notice small or medium-sized fish are missing or find their partially eaten bodies, and you may even witness an attack on larger fish as your pleco gets bolder and bigger. I usually recommend using aquatic soil, sand or fine gravel for pleco tanks to avoid causing any injury to their abdomen or fins, but Common Plecos are tough and can handle any type of substrate. Place it in the tank. Wood eatersAside from having wood in the tank, these fish also like a bit of vegetable, particularly the skin of certain vegetables such as cucumber and courgette are eaten with gusto. For protein, consider live or frozen snacks. Rubber lipped plecos can live up to 12 years with proper care, but their longevity depends on their habitat, feeding regime, and maintenance routines. Common plecos are wild-caught and usually sold as 3-inch juveniles, but they can double their size in less than 6 months! Stress caused by inadequate space, erratic feeding, poor hygiene or changing water parameters can dramatically reduce their lifespan. Article © Mats Petersson, uploaded January 01, 2002. A few times a week offer live, dried or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms or … All commercially produced fish foods have to have some type of binder to get the nutrients to the fish. Most people will tell you that the common pleco is a sucker fish, and can live off algae alone. Until you know if the fish likes one part or the other, don't be tempted to peel of the "nasty skin" just because that's what you wouldn't want to eat! Another option is to breed fruit-flies. Feeding Plecostomus Vegetables. Yes, the dog will eat any scraps that fall to the ground, but they should still have daily meals consisting of actual dog food. As a result, it’s best to be safe and only keep one Pleco per t… Supplement any algae growth with a mainly herbivorous diet, with a small amount of higher protein food from the carnivore section. Just try again with a fresh piece. However, with plecos as with many other fish and humans, overfeeding is much more of a problem than underfeeding, and aside from that, food that is breaking down in the water will affect the water quality in a negative way. Although Plecos can be housed with a wide variety of fish, they are very territorial towards their own species. If in doubt, chop it a bit finer than necessary, but of course liquidising mussels in the blender until they resemble a milkshake isn't the right approach. If you’d like to keep a Common in a community set-up, your best bet is to raise your pleco with a group of aggressive cichlids like Oscars or Green Terrors. I just drop it in the tank most of these float) and he loves hunting it down, catching it and devouring it. Feeding Bristlenose Plecos. Know when to feed. A hungry bristlenose pleco will completely devour every last piece of blanched zucchini, cucumber medallions an… This is usually wheat or soy. First, let's classify the different types of diets: This does not necessarily mean that the odd-bloodworm won't be consumed by a herbivore, for instance. Fry also benefit from the protein in the egg white. The sucker mouth is an excellent way of staying in place in water with a minimum of effort. Almost all loricariids are opportunistic feeders, so they will eat leftover food that is given to other fish. In general, it does take some time for the fish to figure out that something added to the tank is actually food, so don't give up if the fish hasn't touched your food after a day. Not in the sense that they eat grass, but in the sense that they are, in their natural habitat, eating more or less continuously. It’s difficult to spot the differences between males and females, and even experts may be unable to identify precise species unless they know the capture location. Although plecos are known as cleaner fish, scavengers, and algae eaters, they must be fed a regular diet consisting of high-quality fish foods. ... How to feed pleco fry! But, they are not as fond of it as other plecos or voracious algae-eaters. While you can temporarily keep juveniles in smaller set-ups, I don’t recommend it since they’ll quickly outgrow it. Terry Mitchell at A guide on breeding, feeding and caring for L333 Pleco on 2019-06-02 08:37:12; Terry Mitchell at A guide on breeding, feeding and caring for L333 Pleco on 2019-06-02 08:33:41; Berna768 at Details on keeping Siamese fighting fish with images and forums on 2019-01-24 05:31:07 Zebra Plecos do best on a high-protein diet. A common misconception is that these fish have a sucker shaped mouth in order to hoover up algae. Don't forget that your Pleco will like to munch on algae on the walls of the tank. I feed cucumber to my pleco fry. The tiny pieces of driftwood the pleco eats help with its digestion. Your happy loricariids will eat away since this mimics their "natural" foods. Anything that is a bit heavier than water can be used as a weight, such as a teaspoon or stones. This product is highly acclaimed for being one of the … They are available in all sizes from a few centimetres to well over half a metre. In the wild, these catfish are opportunistic eaters and readily consume anything that fits in their mouth. Tankarium is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As for the vegetables, you can feed plecostomus with spinach, lettuce, squash, cucumbers. South American catfishes (Everything else), Please donate to our monthly hosting costs. Your pleco will grow alongside your aggressive community. Learn how your comment data is processed. Since plecos have huge appetites and produce a lot of waste, toxins quickly build up in their water. An excellent choice is Hikari Algae Wafers, which I use for my plecos This should be supplemented with vegetables, as they need a large amount of plant matter in their diet. Most vegetables tend to float at the top of the tank, and plecos tend to eat at the bottom or side of the tank, so it's necessary to make sure the food ends up in a place where your fish will be able to eat it easily. Tankarium is reader-supported. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. They are happy to consume both fresh and decayed matter. Adult Commons become aggressive and territorial towards the community and don’t play well with peaceful species: Plecos are easy to care for overall, but do present a few problems as they grow and develop. will go for the centre and often leave the skin untouched. Always anchor any raw vegetables you feed your plecos to the floor of the tank. Additionally, you can treat your plecos with the occasional raw cucumber or zucchini one or two times each week. Lastly, note that, if your tank has live plants, plecos may uproot or eat them. Raw vegetables should be anchored near the bottom of the aquarium. Blanching, for those of us that aren't Delia Smith, means to boil it for a short time. You should feed them tablets which have been specifically developed for bottom dwelling herbivores such as sinking algae pellets or wafers. Think of it like having a pet dog. It may eat some soft leaved tank plants, but only in case if it doesn’t have enough of algae and supplements to its diet. Here are some suggestions, based on what diet your fish may have. A well-balanced Pleco diet consists of: 1. Adding a juvenile to an existing aggressive tank may work too, if there’s plenty of hiding spots to keep them safe until they’re bigger. The best advice is to start with a small portion. Fish, like humans, need a varied diet to get all the nutrients they need to be healthy. A few examples of things you could try are, parboiled lettuce or cabbage leaves, carrots, cucumber or peas. Step 3. This is because this type of fish needs extra fiber and the fiber can be obtained from driftwood. They eat algae, algae wafers, zucchini, squash, cucumber, earthworms, shrimp, and more They’ll eat almost any fish food that drops to the bottom, but this can’t be their entire diet Plecos are … If the fish don't like it after a few attempts, try something else. They often start attacking and even eating smaller or slower-moving fish. These fish came into the hobby as "Algae eaters", and many are still bought to keep the glass clean on the tank they live in, while other, more exotic, species are bought purely to please the owners by having a striking pattern. Invest in protein-rich dried foods. Plecos can even eat vegetables and fruits from time to time. Please donate to our monthly hosting costs and keep us free for everyone to enjoy!Explore our YouTube channel, Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. White worm and micro worm cultures are also good fun to try and really appreciated by these types of fish. You can supply blanched lettuce, zucchini, peas, and more for vitamins and nutrients. In a bright environment such as a greenhouse this will soon form thick green algae that can be fed. The only other problems you’ll usually see are related to unbalanced or overfeeding. For instance mussels are also available tinned, which makes it an ideal food because it's easily available. Better choices are medium to hard woods, such as cherry, apple, birch and beech. In the next part of this series we'll discuss what groups of species eat which groups of food. Preparation as for herbivores. The fish mainly eats vegetable food and algae, though it may eat some live food. Jen has more than 30 years experience as a biologist, aquarist, and fishkeeper. I feed cucumber to my pleco fry. They are pretty easy to breed, and you can buy a starter culture. For example Panaque maccus will eat the skin of a courgette before attacking the centre, whilst Ancistrus spp. Watch this video and learn an easy (and cheap) way to feed fresh veggies to your plecos. While these foods don’t need to be a regular part of your plecos’ diet, they can help add fiber and essential vitamins. Step 2. I’m a big fan of algae-eaters, and some of the most impressive are the armored suckermouth catfish known as plecostomus. Common Plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus), Average 15-inches in length, but adults range from 12 to 24-inches at maturity, Scavenging Omnivore; juveniles consume algae, wood and plant materials along with decaying scraps and live fry, insects and eggs. He prefers it fresh, not blanched. In the next article, it's explained what groups eat what type of food so you can work out what each genus will want. You can avoid these issues by feeding plenty of plant-based foods and limiting protein treats to a few times a week. All Rights Reserved. Step 1. Consider feeding peeled, finely chopped foods like lettuce, zucchini, spinach, or melon – just make sure you avoid acidic fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes I have a 12" pleco, too. As they grow and mature, giant plecos frequently become territorial and even aggressive with each other and the rest of the community. They often become more aggressive as they age, and may begin to hunt and consume your other community fish . Supplement with regular treats of fresh blanched veggies like spinach, cucumbers, peas, carrots and zucchini. It is unquestionably the most important food source produced in most water bodies, and vital to the overall community. Offer 2 to 3 protein treats a week, such as brine shrimp or bloodworms, Easy, but becomes more challenging as catfish mature, Varies as the catfish mature; juveniles may be shy and mellow, but adults are often aggressive and territorial, Mostly bottom-dweller but may use the entire tank in adulthood, Well-filtered and very clean water with a mild to moderate current, Juveniles may initially be kept in peaceful community tanks and with other Pleco species, but they often become aggressive with age. The Common Plecostomus may be cheap and widely available, but these giant catfish can become problematic as they mature. The dry egg white will only dissolve very slowly in water. Live and frozen foods are not an essential part of the Bristlenose Plecos diet, so don’t stress too much over these. Shane's World Catfishology Feeding Plecos, Part 1 • Types of food. Aquarium algae can’t provide fish with a balanced or complete diet, so you’ll have to supplement your plecos with commercial products and fresh treats. Commons prefer warm water from 72 to 86°F, so you may not need a heater in your aquarium or outdoor pond. If you buy a larger amount of food than the fish will eat in one go, you can easily create your home-made frozen food by putting the remainder in a ice-cube tray, say a teaspoons worth in each compartment. So, I hope the above gives you some good ideas and encourages experimentation too. Our Privacy Policy. It’s best to feed your plecos every day and provide protein-rich live foods a few times a week: Despite the advice given at many Big Box pet stores, the Common Pleco is not a good option for the vast majority of community aquariums. Adults are best kept on their own or in a community tank with large, aggressive cichlids like Oscars or Green Terror, Ideal for planted aquariums, but may consume plants rather than eating wood or algae. They are actually omnivores, and eat plant material, algae, insects and small crustaceans in the wild. Common Plecos can reach over 15-inches in length and can easily outgrow a small aquarium within a few months. Again, the Bristlenose Pleco is a bottom feeding fish, so it’s important that the live and frozen foods sink to the bottom of the tank, in order for them to be seen. When it comes to the Bristlenose Pleco, we are talking about algae-eaters with a mostly plant-based diet. She is an expert in setting up new tanks and maintaining naturally-planted freshwater habitats, and has experience raising a wide variety of aquatic species. As for the live food, it can be earthworms, bloodworms, insects larvae, small crusta… Drop a note in the comments below or join the bigger pond on our social media pages! Since giant plecos range between 15 and 24 inches (depending on the species) when full-grown, they need large and spacious aquariums. In terms of their appearance, giants have the same pleco body shape and features as the rest of the catfish in the Loricariidae family: Plecos are hardy catfish and can easily survive for a decade in captivity. Feeding Bristlenose Plecos. This is the first part of a two-part article on how to feed loricariid catfish, aka Plecos. Experiment by adding a small amount of plant food to tank with no fish in it, and some suitable size stones, pottery or similar for the algae to form on. Once frozen, you can obviously remove the cubes from the tray and keep them in any container, as long as you keep them in the freezer. This way, they can get all the nutrients they need for a healthy life. Keep driftwood in the tank at all times. It is not suitable to use wood that has a lot of resin, such as pine and spruce. Larger aquatic insects, amphibian larvae, snails, crayfish, and native fish eat this. Some of their favorite vegetables to eat are squash, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, and spinach. Other commonly used food is Sweet Potatoes or Yams, split peas and sugar-snap/mange-tout are also excellent foods. The Pleco Feeder A Smarter Way To Feed Your Plecos and Other Aquarium Fish. InsectivoresInsects and larvae of insects. Has this page been useful? While they’re often sold as algae eaters, Common Plecos are actually omnivores and need to eat both plant and animal-based foods. To set up a community tank for a single Common Pleco and a few aggressive cichlids, you’ll need: Does a giant Common Pleco seem like a good choice for your tank, or do you think a smaller species would be better for your community aquarium? However, just like humans eating the wrong things for too long, the fish will live a longer and happier life if it's fed the correct diet. For the more adventurous, you could try your hand at express-growing of algae. He loves pears, melons, cucumbers, and zucchini. They can also be fed frozen foods, … How much to feed?Plecos are grazers. 2. Overcooked vegetables can easily cause the water to go cloudy. While juvenile plecos are often shy and peaceful fish at first, they rarely stay that way once they’ve matured. I am away for 6 days and have Bristlenose pleco fry. Supplement with raw zucchini or cucumbers as a treat once or twice a week. Like previously stated, bristlenose plecos love to eat and you can provide them with a wide range of food. Plecos can eat a variety of vegetables such as lima beans, broccoli, cabbage, kale, celery peas, and zucchini. To control the waste from my common pleco, I have a HOB filter rated at 400 gpm, a sponge filter rated for a 60 gallon tank, and a 300 gph powerhead fitted with a filter sock.. Common plecos need a tank of 75 gallons minimum and even larger is preferred. There are a two main ways of doing this: clips and weights. I wish I could take credit for this, but my hat is off to Norbert Flaugger of Casa Maria, Venezuela who, in conversation with Shane Linder passed on this method that works wonders for raising tough fry and acclimatizing picky loricariids. What are the requirements for a giant pleco aquarium? OmnivoresThese fish eat just about anything, so a mixture of vegetables, insect larvae and carnivore diet. Overall, plecos don’t do well in peaceful or semi-aggressive communities. While there are more than 150 species of armored catfish, one of the most prevalent in the aquarium trade is the “original” or Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus). The article is targeted at carnivorous insects and amphibians, but fish will take these larvae too. It is important to not overcook the vegetable. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can provide these fish with only algae-based foods. These eating machines need plenty of room and a robust, high-quality filtration system, but are otherwise tolerant to a wide range of conditions. For any vegetable foods, anything that hasn't been eaten after 24 hours should be removed, otherwise it goes soft, most fish won't eat it and your water quality will take a nose dive. Plecos are sold quite small in pet stores, so most people don’t realize that they will grow to reach 1 to 2 feet in length.As your Pleco grows larger, be prepared to house it in a 50-100 gallon aquarium. There are three sources of food that the aquarist can use: Most supermarkets in the western world carry a wealth of food items that can be made into suitable food for plecos with just a little bit of preparation. CarnivoresWhite fish, mussels, shrimps/prawns, cockles. Providing care for Sailfin Pleco is pretty simple as compared to other fishes which have complex diet patterns and require a high degree of maintenance, the Sailfin Pleco needs feeding only when the algae level goes down in the tank. Even with a well-maintained filtration system and using fresh filter media, you’ll need to do a 30 to 50% water change at least once a month to maintain a healthy pleco tank. Food preferences often shift in adulthood away from algae to live plants and larger live prey, Feed daily and offer a mix of commercial sinking algae wafers and spirulina pellets supplemented with fresh blanched veggies. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); © 1996 - 2021 PlanetCatfish.com, part of the Aquatic Republic Network group of websites. For smaller individuals, it's preferred to blanch the vegetable before feeding. Most plecos will not be able to bite chunks out of for instance mussels or prawns, so it needs to be chopped to a suitable size. I’ve actually had to rehome a Common myself, so we’d love to hear about your experiences with these problematic plecos. If it's all been eaten overnight, it's probably OK to feed a bit more next time. Suitable wood can be found in the fish shop, but you can also use wood from the garden, or found on river-banks and shores. Probably the best way to sink vegetables is a new product called a screwcumber, but any kind of fish safe weight will do. The ideal decor for a pleco tank is a lot of driftwood, bogwood, tree roots, branches, sticks and rocks. The goal is to give sufficient food, without overfeeding. Paint the resulting mixture on a flat rock or driftwood. Since giants can measure up to 24-inches in length, you’ll need at least a 75-gallon tank for a single adult fish, although 150-gallon would be even better. Offer your plecostomus commercial foods like sinking algae wafers and spirulina pellets as their primary diet.

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