Plecos are known for being opportunistic omnivores that’ll only resort to feeding on meat-based protein when it’s absolutely necessary. Unless the fry or the fish is already dead or appears to be dying, Plecos won’t eat them.
With that in mind then, this quick guide will go over why Plecos eat fry and whether or not you can put Plecos in a fry tank. Let’s dive right in!
Will Plecos Eat Fry or Not?
Plecos, in their natural habitats, have docile, gentle temperaments. In other words, they don’t often show aggression towards other fish—except when their surrounding environment forces their hand at feeding on smaller fish.
So, to answer the question, will Plecos eat fry? Yes, they certainly will. Despite their laid-back personality, you can still expect to see them displaying some signs of violence towards small fish fry and fellow tank mates.
Simply put, so long as you keep the filial environment regularly cleaned and provide your pet fish with enough food, there will be no reason for your Plecos or any other fish to feel the need to survive by feeding on others.
Why Will Plecos Eat Fry?
To reiterate, Plecos will eat the small fish fry only when the need arises for it because in the end, they’re opportunistic omnivores and they don’t necessarily require meat in their diet to live.
It helps, then, to know what the surrounding conditions that cause Plecos to eat fry in the first place. This way you can learn to avoid them and help protect your fish’s newborn babies.
An Inhospitable Environment
Inhospitable environments trigger a lot of aggressive behavior in your pet fish. Imagine living in conditions where you’re not fed well or aren’t getting enough oxygen—these are sure ways to turn anyone cranky.
As such, it’s recommended that you take good care of your Plecos and you study up on how to keep them both healthy and well. So long as the Pleco tank is a great home that closely resembles their original habitat, then they should be fine.
Another element that forces fish to turn on each other is the strong survival instinct to find food and live off it. When there’s a food deficiency, your Plecos will have no choice but to turn to their other tank mates.
To avoid facing a scarcity of food in your aquatic home, make sure that you’re feeding your Plecos regularly and providing them with enough plant and meat-based protein. It won’t harm to have the tank densely populated with plants as well—just for when Plecos feel snacky.
Sometimes Plecos can get a bit aggressive during their breeding season, especially when their parental instincts start kicking in. Both female and male Plecos are dedicated to their parental care duties so the two of them can get just as hostile when protecting their young.
In other words, it’s plausible to find your Plecos attacking or feeding on other tank mates if they view one of them as a threat. It’s recommended, then, that you move your Plecos to another tank, if plausible, when they’re breeding to protect the Pleco eggs and fry.
A Pressing Illness
Plecos, much like most humans again, will become more assertive when they’re sick or have a pressing illness. Symptoms might be hard to catch at first, which is why it’s important to catch signs of Pelco aggression quickly.
When they’re falling ill, Plecos perceive other fish approaching them as threats to their safety and privacy. Plecos are all about being left alone when they’re sick and might remain in hiding till they get better.
Can I Put a Pleco in the Fry Tank?
Generally speaking, it should be pretty safe to put your Pleco together in the same tank as your fish fry or livebearers. There are a couple of factors that you need to keep in mind first though.
Don’t Overcrowd the Space
Overcrowding the tank is the surest way to push your Plecos towards acts of aggression. It’ll happen to all the other fish as well.
Additionally, the more fish in the tank, the stronger the instinct is to survive. As such, the fish will feel more inclined to feed on others to keep themselves alive—an urge that many Plecos have.
So, in simple words, keep the number of fish in your tank limited to how big of a space you have but don’t force them all in one place.
What Should a Pleco Tank Look Like?
One thing you have to remember is that Plecos grow to be a big size after a few months. Not only that, but like most fish, they need the proper living conditions to grow up.
With that in mind, consider the following when setting up your Pleco tank:
- Buy the right size of a tank. For every inch of your fish, there needs to be one gallon of water to accommodate it.
- If you plan on growing live plants in your tank, make sure there’s room for it as well.
- Remember to get plants with water-purifying qualities that are safe for your Plecos.
Keep the Type of Pleco Breed in Mind
Here’s the golden rule to remember about Plecos: they’re not all omnivores and many of their breeds are strictly herbivores.
In other words, while some Plecos would definitely clean up the tank from debris, harmful algae, dead fish fry, and ill fish, some breeds stick only to plant-based tank garbage.
Your typical Bristlenose Pleco, for example, can be safely put with fry without having to worry about either.
Will Plecos eat fry? Yes they will but only a few circumstantial elements will lead Plecos to eat the small fish fry of others. For starters, a bad environment, food scarcity, and overcrowdedness are just a few factors to mention.
That said, you can decide to keep the fish fry in another place until they’re grown adults and then you can move them back to your Pleco tank. Otherwise, keep your Plecos happy and there’s a good chance they won’t turn against their tank mates.