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Is It OK To Only Feed A Bristlenose Pleco Vegetables?

Author Topic: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?  (Read 1393 times)

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Offline Vanadia

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Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« on: March 16, 2019, 11:02:27 AM »
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I have been having alot of difficulties feeding my bristlenose pleco algae wafers and pleco tablets. He loves them, but over time the neon tetras in my tank seem to have developed a taste for them and now they will try to eat them as soon as I put them in the tank. The tetras will gather around the pleco and nibble the wafer, and he will get very agitated and charge at them. They will also nip the fins and tail of my pleco to try and get the food (I have actually seen them do this), and my pleco has torn fins.

This has only seemed to happen in the last month or so, I have kept the neon tetras and pleco together for nearly a year without any previous issues. I have even tried putting in a wafer several hours after the tank lights go out, and the neon tetras are resting in the opposite corner, but they still wake up and go for the wafer.

To solve the issue, I have started to feed my pleco courgette slices and spinach leaves instead as the other fish have no interest in these. There is also driftwood in the tank. However I am concerned that he might not be getting enough protein and nutrients. Can a bristlenose pleco survive on a diet of vegetables and driftwood, and if not, how can I ensure that he gets enough protein?



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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2019, 08:41:41 PM »
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I know @Littlefish keeps these so may well be able to help here. I believe they do need a small about of protein in their diet... I wonder if you could feed something like blood worm which you could sprinkle throughout the tank and therefore avoid everyone being focussed on the same spot..

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2019, 09:46:07 AM »
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Hi @Vanadia and welcome to the forum.  :wave:

I have a couple of bristlenose plecs in different tanks, with various tetras and corydoras. All of my tetras will eat algae wafers, but I've not had any problems with fin-nipping.

I'm not sure if a plec can survive on veggies & driftwood in a tank, though I guess they don't get any wafers in the wild.

There are a few things that you could try.
I have grown algae just by putting the rocks in some old tank water in a container on a sunny windowsill. A small pinch of fish food will provide nutrients. It takes a while to get a good growth, but my BN's love them.
You could also try leaving the tank lights on for longer, to encourage algae in your tank, but that can be quite a controversial approach, depending on how pristine you like the tank to look.
I'd also think that a variety of vegetables would provide a broader range of nutrients. My BN's and other algae eaters have eaten courgette, cucumber, carrot, and baby sweetcorn. There is a huge list of things these fish will eat, though some might be a bit trial and error to find things that they like. Others on this forum have used sweet potato, sweet peppers, and apple. If you have a search on the internet you'll find lots of different things that are considered suitable.
The other thing that I do is push algae wafers into softer veggies like cucumber and courgette. My tetras will nibble on these, but it keeps enough of the wafer "hidden" so it might provide your plec with more of a chance to get some.
Does your BN have a favourite cave of hiding place? My Bertie does, and I tend to put some cucumber with wafers in right in front of that. If you can do something similar it might reduce the access for the tetras, and again give your BN chance to eat undisturbed.

I hope that this gives you some ideas.  :)

Offline Helen

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2019, 11:50:24 AM »
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I have a bn plec in with fiveband barbs and kuhli loaches, as well as rasboras and dwarf rainbow fish.

I add sinking wafers for the kuhlis and fivebands and following a suggestion from Sue, I crush them and soak them.

To avoid the greedy rasboras from eating everyone else's food, I have developed a strict order to adding the food. I start with crushed flakes on the surface, then add the crushed sinking pellets (and a melted frozen cube) with a turkey baster, so they are closer to the substrate. And finally I add the algae wafer for Bertie. This seems to work well because the greediest fish are still too busy eating the flakes or the frozen food to bother Bertie much.

And if they do decide to go for any of the sinking wafers, they are spread around the substrate, so there isn't a concentration of fish in one area competing for food.

I have also seen Bertie eating frozen food that has reached the substrate - brine shrimp, blood worms etc. So I have come to believe that he is more omnivorous than strictly vegetarian. And it's not because the alge wafer is missing, I've seen him eat up blood worms right next to the algae wafer.

Offline Sue

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2019, 05:19:21 PM »
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According to websites that give the diet, bristlenoses need a varied diet, not just algae wafers. The suggestions include sinking dried food (which could be algae wafers or a meat based pellet), daphnia, mosquito larvae, bloodworm, prawn/shrimp (that's the kind we eat, cut into tiny bits), together with fruits and parboiled potato.
I have also seen it suggested to make your own food containing spirulina, mixed veg and meatier ingredients bound together with gelatin. Presumably these would need to be frozen to stop them going off.

Helen's experience shows that bristlenoses do indeed need some 'meat' in their diet as these other sites suggest.

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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 07:38:00 PM »
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There is this one as well, which is good for plecos
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Repashy-Fishfood-Morning-Wood-84g/dp/B00GMMWRLA/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1552851198&sr=8-10&keywords=Repashy
I've used both, "paint" them onto rocks and wood, then leave them to cool before putting them in the tank. The tetras will still pick at this food, but my BNs and bulldog plecs enjoy it. It also gets approval from my hillstream loaches, garras, gobies, and shrimp.

Offline Vanadia

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 07:43:48 PM »
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Thank very much for all the suggestions, I have lots of options to try!

I did try putting some bloodworms inside a slice of courgette this afternoon, and none of the other fish noticed at all and my pleco has managed to eat quite a bit of it so far :)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2019, 08:06:36 PM »
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That's great news.  :cheers:

Offline Vanadia

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2019, 08:57:41 PM »
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I bought some Repashy Morning Wood and have been feeding it to my pleco for about a week now. My pleco enjoys it. The other fish did nibble it at first but seem to have lost interest in it now. :D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Is it OK to only feed a bristlenose pleco vegetables?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2019, 12:56:07 PM »
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I'm glad that your pleco is enjoying the Repashy food, and that your other fish have lost interest.  :)

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