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Need help getting bristlenose pleco to eat algae wafers or vegetables


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Hello, I recently purchased a bristlenose pleco from aquarium coop, and have him in a relatively new 40 gallon planted aquarium.  The aquarium has spiderwood in it, and I always find him either on the spiderwood, or on the glass, and generally seems content.  He even polished off the white film that had started developing on the air tube the night I got him.

The issue is, I have been trying to feed him the algae wafers that I purchased along with the pleco, to no success at all.  Then I put in a slice of blanched zucchini in the tank last night, and this morning it looks untouched.

I also have gotten some cucumber that I will try tonight, but I'm not sure if there is a better way to entice the pleco to eat.  I see him grazing throughout the day, but am worried whether he is getting enough nutrients.

Additional info:

He was introduced at the same time with 10 neon tetras, and there is currently 1 betta in the tank as well.


*edit* Here is a picture of the pleco, with the algae wafer next to him that he just ignores


Edited by tk_yt
added the picture of the pleco
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I hear canned green beans are a favorite, as is repashy, but I would worry less--they generally prefer grazing, and may not eat other things until they run out of their favorites. Also, I have noticed some fish don't "recognize" new food until you offer it once or twice. Presumably he has seen algae wafers before though at ACO, so I am betting he is just enjoying the variety in your tank for now.

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3 minutes ago, Colu said:

I cut cucumber in half and remove the seed from the middle and with a minute of putting it in the tank they have there head buried in the middle of the cucumber

thats funny, my otos eat the seed part first!! They leave just the skin at the end, lol. 

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 My cory catfsh and bristolnose pelco is funny eaters .. i feed them at night before bedtime ..they like vegetables more then fish food ,, i feed New Life Flakes, BugBites and Algae Wafers ..  neither pelco or cories will not touch Rapashy .at all.  my tetra love the rapahy though  even though i bought for bottom feeders  

Good idea ... Might try the bloodworms in the Rapashy to see if that works 

i am thinking of trying the Xtreme foods to see if they like that brand better

my Cories will eat the flake  and Bug Bits if that is all there is and they are real hungry  ...they will not touch the algae wafer  at all my pelco will not eat the flake or bug bit pallets he will eat the waffles if that is only thing plus have wood in there too  i am having a small algae problem with new plants right now my Pelco loves that Algae 


i tried blanched the vegetables but they like it raw bettetb.. it might take a few hours to soften 

The Cory love green beans but my Pelco only likes Zucchini and Cabbage i tried almost all  vegetables even cauliflower , lettuce ,carrot , cucumber ,broccoli green  peas i heard they like pumpkin too 

i buy extra zucchini each week   for my pelco and i have green beans and cabbage on regular bases 

i feed them twice a week vegetables to make sure they eat 

Edited by Bev C
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2 hours ago, BlackLabelCarling said:

Have you tried repashy? My plecos love it. I mix french cut green beans in it and some freeze dried bloodworms. 

I have not actually, hearing about repashy for the first time 🙂  I'm going to be doing more research on it, and will try them out too!

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1 minute ago, tk_yt said:

I have not actually, hearing about repashy for the first time 🙂  I'm going to be doing more research on it, and will try them out too!

It is a little spendy but it is high quality. They have 2 varieties targeted towards bottom dwellers/plecos: Morning Wood and Bottom Scratcher, but in my experience plecos will eat any repashy you give them. So if you want something that will be appealing to all the fish in your tank, Community Plus is equivalent to "one size fits all."  I also use Soilent Green which has Spirulina as the main ingredient, it's great for plecos, snails, cichlids, bottom dwellers....TBH, usually when I make a batch I mix multiple varieties together with other mix ins like I mentioned above. Not sure if that's right or wrong, but my plecos, corys and snails seem to enjoy my repashy concoctions 🙂 

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I was really worried about my plecos not eating as well. But they got there! Just like the others have said, they only stated eating prepared food when they ran out of other food they liked. Well, that and when they saw the loaches eating. 😄

If you catch your pleco on the glass, take a look at his underbelly. It might be hard to see since yours is a dark color already, but are his intestines dark? If so it means he’s eating. You can often catch them pooping too.

Here’s a random picture from Reddit as an example:


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Thanks for all the replies and suggestions!  

So far I've tried:

  • Blanched zucchini (ignored)
  • Quartered cucumber (sliced along the length then halfed), served raw on a fork (ignored)
  • Community Plus Repashy (my neon tetras loved them, I think ignored by the pleco)
  • Algae wafers (ignored)

But I'm going to keep trying!  I also got the Morning Wood Repashy that I will be trying out tonight, and I plan on picking up a pleco cave from aquarium coop, and might even try a trick that Cory showed on one of his youtube videos, where he dipped the cave in repashy and put it in the tank.

I do see quite a bit of poop in the area that he likes to hide (right now he hides behind the Fluval E thermometer a lot), and when he's on the glass I can see that his tummy looks full.  So I'm not worried about him starving, just want to make sure he's getting the right amount of nutrients.

As soon as I find the right food that he likes, I'll for sure provide an update here!

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Well, after heading over to Aquarium Coop again and picking up a couple of the pleco caves (thought it would be good to give him some hiding place besides just behind the heater), I decided to try the algae wafers again after seeing him on the spiderwood.

I dropped the wafer really close to him and went about my business, and when I returned, was very relieved to see that he has found the algae wafer and was finally eating it!  

So at least I'm less worried now, and thanks again for all the responses!

(The picture is not as great because I had to take it from afar and zoom in, I was worried about scaring him off)


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