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The Best Pleco Food for 2022

best pleco food

The best pleco food is different from regular fish food in the sense that it does not float. Plecos and similar fish species are bottom feeders. This means that their mouths are on their heads pointing downward. It would, therefore, be almost impossible for them to eat floating fish food.

Some people think that they do not need to feed their plecos since they eat the algae that grows on the glass. However, that is not always the case. Most of the time, a single pleco can eat so much algae that the tank would not be able to keep up production.

This article will help you sift through the many different brands of pleco food so that you will end up with the best. You will be getting some shopping tips and a couple of product recommendations. Once you reach the end, you will know all the things you need to know to make the right choice.

Best Pleco Food Reviews

1. Ultra Fresh Vegetables Shrimp Pie Pleco Food

ultra fresh vegetables shrimp pie pleco food

The nice thing about this product is that it does not cloud the water as much as other brands. These pellets soften after a couple of minutes but you can’t expect them to deteriorate and make the water murky. They keep their shape for up to an hour, which does not happen often as they usually get eaten immediately.

One of the reasons my plecos just love these pellets is that they contain dried sword prawns. This ingredient adds a lot of flavors that plecos and other fish just love, which is why it is one amazing option for the best food for pleco growth. Whenever I plop this pellet into the tank, other fish would swarm around it, not just the pleco.

Aside from the flavor, this product also has tons of vitamins and minerals to keep your plecos healthy. It contains all the required nutrients that plecos need for healthy skin and scales. You will be surprised at how much better your pleco will look after a week or so. I did not think my pleco was particularly beautiful but now, it certainly looks great.

Another thing that I liked about it is that it quickly sinks to the bottom of the tank, even without soaking. I did not need to worry about the pleco having to fight the other fish for the food. It was already at the bottom before the others even noticed. Plecos and other bottom feeders need not compete with the other fish for this product.

However, even though I like this product, it would have been much better if the pellets were a bit bigger. Plecos can get big quite fast and these little pellets are too small to keep them interested. Ideally, the pellets should be bigger than their mouths to encourage the plecos’ foraging instincts.

Pros
  • Softens quickly but remains intact
  • Contains sword prawns for added flavor and protein
  • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals
  • Sinks immediately to the bottom of the tank
Cons
  • A bit small
  • Somewhat pricey

Although this is a bit on the expensive side when it comes to pleco food, I can still say that it is a worthwhile purchase. I have never seen my pleco look as healthy as it is now, and it is all thanks to this pleco food.

2. Aquatic Foods Plecos Sinking Wafers

aquatic foods plecos sinking wafers

Plecos grow quite quickly and I noticed that they do so much quicker with this fish food. This product contains a good amount of protein, which greatly increases the rate at which they grow. I also keep a couple of breeder stock and I discovered that these wafers are great for the fry. This makes them grow faster and more resilient to illnesses.

Aside from protein, these algae wafers also contain a healthy amount of fiber. This greatly improves the digestion of the fish who eat it. This means that the plecos will be able to absorb more nutrients from the food they eat but produce less waste. In other words, the pleco will not be adding much to the ammonia load of the tank.

These wafers come in the shape of discs that are also the perfect size for plecos. These are big enough that they will not fit entirely in their mouths but small enough that a single pleco can finish eating one wafer in five to ten minutes. One wafer is usually enough for one pleco every day.

One of the things I liked about this product is that it does not cloud the water easily. When the wafers sink in the water, they will soften after just a minute or two but they will not disintegrate and make the water murky. I have used other similar algae wafers, and some of them have turned the water green.

What I did notice about this product is that a couple of my fish, who are notoriously picky eaters, will not go near them. It is a good thing that my plecos like these but unfortunately, my catfish do not seem to care for these at all.

Pros
  • Contains a lot of protein to promote fish growth
  • Has fiber for improved digestion
  • Just the right size for plecos
  • Does not break up as easily as other wafers do
Cons
  • Takes a bit longer to sink
  • Not ideal for picky eaters

I am fortunate enough to have fish that are not that picky when it comes to food. However, it is hard to find fish that will not eat this fish food, at least in my experience. Plecos sure do love these and the ones that I have become significantly healthier since I started giving them these wafers.

3. Zoo Med Laboratories Pleco Banquet Block

zoo med laboratories pleco banquet block

This is the ideal food block if you are usually out of the house. It can last up to five days, depending on the size of the fish that will be eating it. I like using this whenever I am leaving the house for more than a day, just so my plecos and other bottom-feeding fish would have something to eat while I am gone.

Even if I am not leaving the house, I would use these blocks to ensure that my plecos and other bottom-feeding fish are fed. I have a four-inch-long pleco and it takes around two days before he can eat through an entire block. This food block is also great because its form promotes the natural feeding pattern of bottom feeders.

Plecos are not the only fish that like this food. I also keep a couple of shrimps and snails and they cannot get enough of this food block. Of course, these small creatures will not be able to finish this entire block by themselves. This means that there must be at least a small pleco in the tank with them.

The reason why I got this food block is that I feel bad for the plecos having to fight with the other fish in the tank. Some fish food takes a long time before they reach the bottom that the plecos have nothing left for them. This one is so dense and large that they have no trouble feeding anymore.

The only problem that I have with this product is that it initially hardens the water quite significantly. The water hardness is not so high that they harm the fish but the rise is also significant enough that you should address it soon. It also clouds the water a bit but expect it to be cleared up after about an hour or so.

Pros
  • Can last for up to five days (depending on the size of the fish)
  • Ideal for feeding your fish for several days
  • Loved by shrimp, snails, and bettas, too
  • Provides the plecos a chance to feed without fighting with the other fish
Cons
  • Affects the hardness of the water significantly
  • Clouds the water a bit

This is a good solution when you need to leave the house for a couple of days. It is hard enough that it will not dissolve completely even after a couple of days. The hardness also promotes the natural feeding habits of the plecos and other bottom feeders.

4. Hikari Monster Fishes Food

hikari monster fishes food

If you thought your lowly pleco cannot look nice, you will change your mind after you have fed it with the best food for plecos. I have a bristle nose pleco that did not stand out when I first got it but it now has brighter colors and more vibrant patterns. This has kindled an interest inside of me to keep more types of catfish and plecos now.

When it comes to the size, they are just the right size and shape for plecos and other bottom-feeding fish. They are small enough for a single pleco to finish by itself, but not so much that the fish could swallow whole. However, if your pleco grows to its maximum size, these pellets might become too small.

Because these pellets are for bottom feeders, I noticed that they are quite porous and would sink to the bottom almost immediately. This will allow the plecos and other bottom-feeding fish to eat without the other fish stealing their food. The pellets also make sure that your pleco gets the nutrition it needs.

This bristle nose pleco food also contains quite a lot of protein, which is important for the proper growth of fish. If you think that your pleco already grows quite fast, wait until you start feeding it with this product. Aside from making your fish grow faster, the protein content also improves their immune system.

Although I do like this product quite well, it still has a couple of issues that I did not like. The biggest issue I have is that these pellets dissolve too fast and the particles cloud the water. You will need a quite efficient filter to keep the water clean if you are feeding your fish this food.

Pros
  • Enhances the colors of the fish
  • Just the right size for bottom-feeding fish
  • Sinks to the bottom fast
  • Promotes proper growth and boosts immunity
Cons
  • Contains a lot of filler ingredients
  • Dissolves too fast and clouds the water

The nice thing about this product is that it significantly enhances the appearance of your plecos and other bottom-feeding fish. I did not know that they can look as appealing as mine look right now. If you keep catfish, this will make their colors pop out much more.

5. Xtreme Aquatic Foods Cat Scrapers

xtreme aquatic foods cat scrapers

My whole tank would go into a feeding frenzy whenever I plop a couple of these wafers into the water. It is a good thing that it sinks rather quickly to the bottom, or else my pleco would not have a chance to eat. Aside from my pleco, my shrimps and snails also love this product. I sometimes go through one package a week.

Another nice thing about this fish food is that the pellets are in a disc shape. This means that they lay flat on the bottom of the tank, making it easier for bottom-feeding fish like plecos, catfish, and loaches to eat them.

The disc-shaped pellets promote the natural feeding behavior of bottom-feeders. This makes them feel more at home in their artificial environments.

In addition, these fish pellets do not disintegrate quite as fast as other similar products. I have tried other brands of algae wafers and some of them would break apart easily once in the water. The tiny particles they release would also often make the water cloudy. This keeps its shape much longer than most of the other products in the market.

This stuff also contains a bunch of probiotics, thereby encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria in the guts of plecos. What this means is that your fish will have a much more efficient digestive system. They would be able to get more nutrients out of their food and produce less waste.

I only hoped that this stuff came in a larger container. As it is, you will only be getting a small jar, which would only last me on average around two weeks. Having to purchase every week or so racks up the costs over time. Also, this must be one of the smelliest algae wafers that I have tested so far.

Pros
  • Almost all fish like it, not just the bottom-feeders
  • Shaped into discs to promote natural feeding habits
  • Contains probiotics to improve the fish’s immunity
  • Does not dissolve quickly and will not cloud the water
Cons
  • The container is quite small
  • This product smells quite bad, even compared to other algae wafers

Its repulsive smell might be the reason why all my fish seem to swarm over this food. It works just like how a stink bait would. Also, because my fish do love it quite a lot, it would have been much better if this came in a larger container. It would have lowered the price a bit, and I also do not need to buy a new pack every week or so.

6. Hartz Wardley Fish Food

hartz wardley fish food

This pleco fish food comes enhanced with additional Vitamin C, which helps bolster the immune system of all the fish. I have not had any serious illness breakouts in any of my tanks since I started using this food. And because my fish like this a lot, they have been eating quite heartily, which means they are getting even more nutrition.

This fish food is also easy for fish to digest. Plecos and other bottom-feeding fish already have strong digestive systems, so they have no problem digesting these pellets. Not only can they get the most nutrients from this food, but it also means they make less waste. My fish are healthier and the ammonia level of the water stays low.

This fish food has a specific formulation for bottom-feeders like plecos, loaches, catfish, and others. These pellets sink to the bottom of the tank, unlike traditional fish food that floats on top of the water. This promotes the natural foraging and feeding habits of the bottom feeders.

Here’s the best thing about this fish food, it will look like you have been starving your fish when you feed it to them. They would quickly go into a feeding frenzy when you sprinkle these pellets into the water. Even the picky eaters in my tanks can’t resist this food. It caused a bit of a problem since everyone in the tank competes for the pellets.

I found that it will be better for the plecos to put this food in the tank at night when they are most active. This gives them a better chance at eating. I also did not like how these seem to get suspended in the middle of the water where the plecos cannot reach them.

Pros
  • Contains Vitamin C to boost the fish’s immune system
  • Easy to digest
  • Formulated specifically for bottom feeder fish
  • Even picky eaters love this
Cons
  • Small jar and kind of overpriced
  • Does not sink fast enough

This fish food is almost too good. All the fish in my aquarium love this a bit too much, I think. They would swarm towards the pellets as soon as they hit the water, which means that only a couple would reach the pleco. This is why you should use this at night when the plecos and other bottom feeders are most active.

7. Tetra Shrimp Wafers Plecos Food

tetra shrimp wafers plecos food

These wafers are orange in color, indicating that these pellets contain a lot of shrimp. This means that they contain a lot of proteins that will promote proper growth and improve your fish’s immunity. My plecos love this fish food and it made their colors quite vibrant. I did not know they can be this beautiful.

This fish food boasts of their flat disc shapes. I also noticed that they sink quickly to the bottom of the tank. This is an important feature because this is the ideal form for bottom-feeding fish like catfish, plecos, loaches, and similar species. These fish have mouths situated at the bottom of their heads, so they cannot eat floating food.

These pellets are also nutritionally balanced to promote proper growth and improved health of bottom-feeding fish. As I mentioned earlier, this food greatly improved the coloration and vibrancy of their details. My pleco used to look plain and dull but now, the brown coloration has gotten brighter and gave it a bit of a reddish tinge.

A nice thing about this product is that it does not disintegrate as quickly as other pleco wafers. These wafers can last for a couple of hours in the water and they will keep their shape. This prevents the water from getting too cloudy if the fish will not eat the pellets immediately.

Although these pellets do not cloud the water, it does make the water a bit hard, so you may need to put on a bit of water conditioner every other day. The water does not get immediately toxic. You will still need to pay attention to your water’s quality closely.

Pros
  • Contains a lot of protein from shrimp
  • Just the right size and shape for plecos to feed on
  • Nutritionally balanced for the proper growth and health of your fish
  • Does not cloud the water
Cons
  • Not for picky eaters
  • Somewhat made the water hard

I am fortunate enough that my pleco likes this fish food because the other fish would not even touch these. Even the snails and shrimp do not like these discs. This means one package can last quite a long time and your plecos will have plenty of food.

8. API Tropical PELLETS Sinking Fish Food

api tropical pellets sinking fish food

API is one of the companies that you can trust for proper fish care and these sinking pellets are not an exemption. This fish food is specifically formulated to be easier to digest so that your fish will get the most nutrients. After just a week or so of feeding my tank with this exclusively, the fish have gotten quite livelier and more active than before.

Because this fish food is easier to digest, that also means that the fish that eat this will not create that much waste. I have been feeding this product to my goldfish tank, and I was surprised at how little waste they have been making so far. This also means that the ammonia level in the tank will always be manageable.

Another nice thing about this product is its price. For the size of the packaging and the amount of product it contains, you are getting great value for your money. This brand is one of the more reasonably priced fish foods and one package can probably last a month or so of regular feeding.

Although these are sinking pellets, other fish and other creatures would swarm towards this fish food. All kinds of fish just love this fish food, fish like goldfish, catfish, plecos, shrimps, snails, and more. I just love seeing a mini feeding frenzy whenever I plop a couple of these discs into the water.

As much as I love this product, it does have a couple of issues. The biggest issue that I have is that these discs dissolve rather quickly and they cloud the water. It does not happen often as the fish would almost immediately devour it, but sometimes, a pellet would escape the mob, which is enough to make the water murky for a day or two.

Pros
  • Easier to digest and absorb the nutrients
  • Makes fish create less waste
  • Great value for money
  • Not just for bottom feeders but other fish as well
Cons
  • Disintegrates quickly and makes the water cloudy
  • Inaccurate product weight

My fish goes crazy for this fish food. However, since this does make the water cloudy, you must only do a light sprinkling. You will need to wait until every pellet is eaten before giving your fish more. Although this food is not exclusively for plecos, they do get quite a lot of benefits from this.

9. Aqueon Bottom Feeder Tablets

aqueon bottom feeder tablets

This sinking fish food does not cloud the water quite as much as other brands, especially when used properly. Each pellet is just the right size for a modest-sized pleco or catfish, so I just drop one pellet every feeding time. My pleco usually finishes one pellet in 5 to 10 minutes and I feed him twice a day.

This fish food contains so many vitamins and minerals that it could pass as nutritional supplements. It also has quite a lot of fish proteins that aid in the proper growth and development of fish.

Plecos grow quite fast on their own, but add these pellets into their diet and they will grow at a much faster rate. This is why I also plop a tablet into my breeder tank. The fry loves this and it makes them grow faster.

Aside from bolstering their overall health, these pellets also improve their appearance quite a bit. Plecos have beautiful scale patterns and most people do not notice it is because they have not been fed the right food.

This fish food improves the overall health of plecos, which reflects in how they look externally. My pleco now has a brighter brownish-red color instead of the drab brown it once was. Their markings are also now more visible.

These pellets are so dense that they readily sink to the bottom of the fish tank. I do not need to soak them in water, nor do I have to wait for them to sink. This means that the bottom feeders do not have to compete with the other fish in the community tank. However, it is also nice that some of my tetras and mollies love this fish food.

I am quite disappointed though that these pellets still manage to make the tank water cloudy. Even if you follow the instructions perfectly, the pellets still dissolve quickly and would make the water a bit murky. With a good filtration system, the water would clear up in fifteen to thirty minutes, but this should not have been an issue, to begin with.

Pros
  • Used properly, this food will not cloud the water
  • Contains nutrients and minerals necessary for an improved immune system
  • Contains nutrients that bring out the natural beauty of fish
  • Sinks readily and is the ideal shape for bottom-dwelling fish
Cons
  • Picky eaters might not like this food
  • Still cloud the water a bit

I was a bit disappointed at how this fish food still seems to make my water cloudy regardless of whether you follow the feeding instructions or not. However, the results do speak for themselves. My bottom feeders are more active and they look healthier than before. The cloudiness disappears after an hour or so, so it is tolerable.

10. Fluval Bug Bites Algae Crisps

fluval bug bites algae crisps

The best thing about this fish food is that it contains premium ingredients, quite unlike other brands that are full of extenders. This one has black soldier fly larvae, which Fluval breeds and cultivates in a controlled environment. It is one of the best sources of natural protein for fish and my plecos just love eating it.

In addition to protein, this fish food comes further fortified with additional vitamins and minerals that aid in the proper growth of fish. My pleco, which was usually sluggish and would just hide in a corner most of the time, is now significantly more active. He is also looking a whole lot better than he did before.

My pleco is not the only one that just loves eating this fish food. Whenever I drop a pellet or two into the tank, it causes almost all the fish to swarm towards it. Besides my pleco, it seems like my tetras and mollies also love eating this fish food, which can be a problem sometimes because the pleco will be competing for its food.

I also love that this does not cloud the water. Even if I put two or three wafers into the tank, the water stays clear. I do have to remove any leftovers, if there are any, immediately as they tend to grow mold when left in the water for too long.

I do have a couple of minor issues with the product. First, these pellets do not sink immediately. You will need to force them to make them go down. Second, in my opinion, these are too small for plecos, especially full-grown ones.

Pros
  • Contains highly nutritious black soldier fly larvae and other protein sources
  • Further fortified with additional vitamins and minerals
  • Causes a mini-feeding frenzy in aquariums
  • Does not cloud the water
Cons
  • Takes a while to sink
  • A bit too small for plecos

Aside from a couple of minor issues, I think this is the best repashy pleco food that you can give to your bottom feeders. Not only does it contain a lot of protein but it also seems to taste great. Almost all the fish in my community tank love it.

What to Look For When Buying a Pleco Food

best food for pleco growth

This might be the first time that you even thought of buying food just for your plecos. Most people think that plecos and other bottom feeders are perfectly fine just eating the algae off the sides of the tank.

However, they need proper nutrition like the other fish in the aquarium. Here are a couple of things to look for when shopping for the algae wafers for plecos:

Protein Content

Check the labels of the fish food you are thinking of buying. It should contain a decent amount of protein from natural sources. Plecos and other bottom feeders need a lot of protein because they usually do not get enough from just algae. Look for products that contain shrimp or fish meals as the main source of protein.

Size

Unlike other fish, bottom feeders have mouths situated under their heads, and they do not swallow their food whole most of the time. Choose fish food shaped into flat discs that are around a third of an inch in diameter. This will promote the natural feeding behavior of plecos, which will then make them want to eat more.

Does not Affect Water Quality

There are many pleco wafers out there that would start dissolving the second that they get wet. This can result in a cloudy tank. Good fish food should be able to get soft so that the fish can eat them easily but still be able to retain their shape and not disintegrate.

Sinks immediately

Plecos and other bottom feeders have mouths on the underside of their bodies, so they will find it almost impossible to eat floating food. The food you get them should be able to sink immediately so that bottom feeders can reach them easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

best food for plecos

What do Common Plecos Eat?

Most of the time, plecos would eat algae and the bark of driftwood. However, they would also eat, and further process, the waste from the other fish in the tank. They are also scavengers, so they will eat dead vegetation or fish that sunk to the bottom.

You can also feed them with homemade pleco food containing vegetables, like cucumbers, carrots, and lettuce leaves.

How Often do Plecos Eat?

Plecos do not eat that much. It is recommended that you only feed them just once every other day or two, or maybe once every day if you have a large fish.

Conclusion

You might have bought a pleco just for keeping your aquarium free of algae but that does not mean it does not need any other food. Give your hard-working pleco the nutrition it deserves and it will work even harder at keeping the tank spotless. In addition, if fed properly, plecos can look quite beautiful.

Now that you know how to shop for the best pleco food, you should buy one so you can provide your bottom feeders the nutrition they need and deserve.

4.1/5 - (7 votes)