Plecos work well in eliminating decaying plant and algae matter. But many plecos consume both vegetables and meat. So, what vegetables can plecos eat?

This article will help you answer that question and provide you with other valuable information. Let’s get into the details!

What Vegetables Can Plecos Eat? 

Your pleco can eat many various vegetables, such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, celery, lima beans, zucchini, and more.

However, you should avoid offering certain acidic vegetables or fruits such as tomatoes or oranges.

In general, there are many options for choosing vegetables for your plecos. The fact is that whatever vegetables you can consume, you can also feed them.

But not all vegetables are equally beneficial. The following are the most common vegetables that are commonly used to feed plecos.

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Almost all plecos like broccoli. The common plecos even like to consume this vegetable’s florets.

You can feed your plecos either boiled or raw broccoli. But remember that this vegetable may produce quite a mess.

If you want to feed your plecos broccoli, it’s best to cut or slice it into smaller pieces. After a day, you should get the piece out of your tank to avoid any mess.

Broccoli for Plecos



Cucumbers are prevalent vegetables for feeding plecos.

This vegetable is relatively cheap and easy to obtain, making it an attractive option. Above all, your plecos love it!

When you feed your pleco catfish cucumbers, you can make it sink using a spoon or fork, and most plecos will eat it.

It is wise to feed these fish with raw cucumber. Moreover, we recommend removing its seeds to prevent making a big mess.


Zucchini for Plecos


You can use zucchini to replace cucumber perfectly. Thanks to its similar shape to a cucumber, it is easy to feed your plecos.

It is even considered more nutritious than cucumber. Peeling or boiling plecos is unnecessary, as both cook methods may lower zucchini’s nutritional value.

In addition, your plecos tend to prefer eating raw. Zucchini is straightforward to feed, nutritious, and does not make a large mess.

It is similar to cucumber but more nutritious, allowing it to be a perfect substitute for cucumber.

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It is also one of the vegetables that plecos can eat. In addition, this vegetable is a rich source of fiber, making it a good choice for various wood-eating plecos.

You can feed these fish boiled or raw carrots. For your plecos, we recommend boiling your carrots first.

Also, boiled carrots will sink to your tank’s bottom, meaning you don’t have to do anything to make them sink.

Brussel Sprouts

If you want to make your Brussels sprouts sink without doing anything, all you need to do is boil them. After cooking your Brussels sprouts for several minutes, they reach your tank’s bottom.

If you cut your Brussels sprouts into smaller pieces, they will most likely produce a mess. Plus, after boiling your Brussel sprouts, you should let them rest for a while to cool down, as hot Brussel sprouts can be dangerous to your fish.

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Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes for Plecos

Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato is ideal for wood-eating species as it is a rich source of fiber.

We recommend removing the potato peel before feeding your fish. Boiling is also a good choice for young plecos.

One of the significant benefits of sweet potatoes is that they can stay well for up to three days without going bad. The same is true for boiled sweet potatoes.

So, it is unnecessary to worry about sweet potatoes messing up the fish tank.


Squash is considered one of the excellent options for the herbivorous pleco.

It is rich in vitamin A, potassium, and dietary fiber. Plecos also love squash and would happily eat this vegetable.

You just need to put some small chunks of squash each time in the aquarium.

If your plecos are starving, it is alright to feed them mashed or boiled squash instead of the fish pellet. Your plecos will consume them in no time.

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Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers for Plecos

Sweet Peppers

There is no denying that sweet peppers are also easy to serve your pleco fish.

You will have to remove their seeds, then wash them thoroughly to get your fish contaminated with pesticides.

All sweet peppers will work well, including red, orange, green, and yellow. Boiling is unnecessary.

Canned Green Beans

These beans are cheap and easy to find to feed your plecos. They will quickly reach the bottom of your tank, allowing your pleco catfish to reach easily.

We recommend not feeding high amounts of canned green beans to your plecos as they will fall apart and get messy.

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green lettuce for plecos


Lettuce or romaine is a great vegetable option you can offer to plecos. You can weigh or clip it down before releasing it to your fish.

Romaine will also fall apart quickly, messing up your tank. Hence, you have to clean it after several hours.

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Which Plecos Eat Vegetables?

Species Eat Vegetables or Not? Eating habits
Bristlenose plecos Yes Vegetarian
Common plecos Yes Omnivores, mostly some meat and algae
Clown plecos Yes Plant-based foods
Flash plecos Yes Plant-based foods
Zebra plecos Rarely Entirely shrimps, carnivorous, snails, etc.
Queen Arabesque Plecos Rarely Entirely shrimps, carnivorous, snails, etc.
Snowball plecos Rarely Omnivores, and mostly meat.
Leopard frog plecos Some, besides meaty food. Omnivores, and mostly meat.
Candy Striped Plecos Some, besides meaty food. Omnivores, and mostly meat.
Golden Nugget Plecos Yes Mostly plant-based high-protein food.
Sailfin Plecos Yes Brown algae and plant-based materials.
Royal Plecos Yes Mostly plant-based food.
Blue phantom plecos Yes Omnivorous, an algae eater.
Sunshine Plecos No Omnivorous, and mostly meat.

Why Do Plecos Need Vegetables? 

Pleco species are omnivorous, meaning they consume plant and meat matter.

Hence, they can eat a wide range of food like biofilm, algae, snails, plant material, and shrimp in the wild.

Fresh vegetables contain essential vitamins and fibers with high nutritional value. Vegetable nutrients are also beneficial for the plecos’ digestive system.

So it is essential to provide vegetables to your plecos regularly.


Vegetables are essential to most plecos species. Therefore, you should add vegetables to their daily menu.

This article has given you some good ideas on choosing vegetables for your pleco catfish. If you have any suggestions, let us know via the comments section.

Alex is a pet freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. He attended Colorado State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, which was where he first got some experience in animal nutrition. After graduating from University, Alex began sharing his knowledge as a freelance writer specializing in pets.

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