Skip to Content

Why is My Pleco Not Eating? (Possible Causes)

Why is My Pleco Not Eating? (Possible Causes)

This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you recently bought some plecos for your fish tank? They’re amazing fish that can be a lot of fun to own.

Many plecos are hardy and easy to take care of for beginners. These fish are very peaceful and they like to hang out at the bottom of the tank.

If your pleco isn’t doing so well in your aquarium, you’ll want to figure out what’s happening. What does it mean when your pleco isn’t eating food?

Read on to learn about reasons why plecos might stop eating. This will help you to figure out how to help the plecos so that they can get back to normal.

Pleco Not Eating Algae Wafers

Closeup of Algae Wafers for Fish

You might not know this, but not all plecos like to eat algae. There’s a chance that you have a pleco fish that doesn’t like algae.

Some types of plecos such as vampire plecos are carnivorous. That means that they only like to eat meaty foods.

If you try to give a carnivorous fish algae rounds, it’s not going to appreciate the gesture. Even fish that like algae might not be interested in eating it all the time.

Don’t worry too much if the fish is not taking algae wafers from you. Try feeding it other types of food to see if that changes things.

The Plecos Could Be Sick

There’s a good chance that plecos will stop eating properly if they’re sick. Is it possible that your plecos have become sick in some way?

Observe the fish and see if anything seems amiss. Aside from the plecos not eating, are there any other symptoms to take note of?

Does the fish appear to be lethargic? Is it swimming in an unusual way or does it appear to be in pain?

There’s a chance that your fish has some type of disease or it might have been infected. Plecos are susceptible to various conditions.

Sometimes fish stop eating when they contract ich. You might need to pay close attention to see if you need to treat the fish for some type of illness.

Remember that fish are more likely to get sick when the water quality is poor. If you haven’t been doing a good job of cleaning the tank, it could have caused the fish to get sick.

Cleaning the Sides of a Fish Tank

This is why it’s so important to monitor the water parameters and do regular water changes. Hopefully, you’ll be able to turn things around even if the fish happen to be sick.

Issues with Stress

Stress has been known to cause fish to stop eating, too. Fish can become stressed for various reasons.

Water quality issues are the most common causes of stress. If the water parameters aren’t right, it’s going to negatively impact the fish.

Issues with dirty water will make the fish feel terrible. They might stop eating and could even wind up getting sick.

Overcrowded fish tanks will make the water dirtier, and it’ll directly stress the fish. Plecos hate living in crowded fish tanks, and you need to ensure that the fish have enough room to thrive.

Aggressive tank mates can stress your fish as well. If your fish are placed in a community tank with fish that they aren’t compatible with, they might stop eating due to getting bullied.

Sometimes fish get bullied so much that they hide and won’t even come out to eat. Try to figure out if sources of stress are making your plecos stop eating.

If stress is the problem, you can turn things around by eliminating the sources of stress. Change things for the better in the tank and your fish should start eating again.

It’s also possible that you don’t have enough hiding spots in the aquarium. Plecos like to hide, and a lack of hiding spots will cause them stress.

These fish are nocturnal and they like to be able to hide and rest during the day. If you don’t have hiding spots for them to use, it’ll be tough for them to do well in your tank.

Ensure that you have aquatic plants, little caves, log decorations, and other hiding places for the plecos. They’ll do much better.

Try Feeding the Plecos Different Food

Bristlenose Pleco Eating Algae Off of Rock

There’s a chance that the plecos just don’t like the food that you’re giving them. Perhaps they’re tired of eating the same food all the time.

Enthusiasts do say that it’s wise to mix things up when feeding fish. For example, plecos will likely get bored if you try to feed them nothing but algae rounds.

Mix up the diet and give plecos foods such as veggies, shrimp, bloodworms, and nutritional pellets. It should help to get them interested in eating again.

If they don’t appear to be interested in anything that you offer them, something else is wrong. It’s more likely that the fish are sick or they’re dealing with significant stress issues.

Final Thoughts

Your fish should start eating again if you can fix whatever is wrong with them. You might need to address issues with sickness to get them feeling better.

Sick fish will often lose their appetites. It’s normal for fish that are sick to become lethargic and stop eating.

It could also be that the fish are stressed and unhappy in the fish tank. This could be caused by a number of different things.

Fish will get very stressed when you force them to live in a cramped fish tank. They won’t like it when the water gets too dirty either.

You need to do a good job of keeping the fish tank clean so that the fish can thrive. It’s also important to give them enough space to feel comfortable.

These fish even need to have access to hiding places. Make sure that they have spots where they can hide during the day when they’re supposed to be resting.

It might even simply be that you need to feed them different food. Your fish might appreciate it if you vary the types of food that you give them.

Take this advice to heart and you’ll be able to get the fish to eat. Even if the fish is sick, it should be possible to get it back to feeling healthy again.