If you have an aquarium, a huge part of keeping it thriving involves making sure that the fish are healthy – and that means understanding a lot about how they behave and what they should look like. Fish poop can be a surprisingly important aspect of fish care, which is why we are going to look at pleco poop today.
Anyone who is thinking of adding plecos to their tank should be aware that plecos are among the messiest fish out there – and they will fill your tank with waste. You will need some management systems in place to ensure that the tank stays clean if you have one of these fish.
In this article, we’re going to explore what is and isn’t normal in terms of pleco poop, and how to ensure that your pleco is healthy and pooping as it should be.
Is It Normal For Plecos To Have Long Poop?
It is very normal for plecos to have long poop, yes. These fish generally produce strings of poop that trail out in the water behind them like ropes. You will often see them swimming around with a line of waste behind them, and this is nothing to be concerned about. It is a sign that your fish is normal and healthy.
This happens because plecos have big appetites and inefficient digestive systems. They eat a lot and get rid of a lot of the food as waste very quickly, rather than spending time digesting it. The food is essentially passing through the pleco’s digestive system with minimal processing, and coming out the other end.
Because the pleco doesn’t spend much time extracting nutrients from its food, there is a lot more waste than there would be if the food passed through a fish with an efficient digestive system. This results in plecos eating a lot but also pooping a lot – and this appears as long strings behind the fish’s body.
If you are going to keep plecos, you need to be aware of how much waste they can produce, as this surprises many individuals. You will need to be prepared to do regular water changes and to clean the substrate at the bottom of the tank frequently if you choose to keep one of these fish.
What Fish Eats Pleco Poop?
There are no fish that will eat pleco poop, at least not intentionally. Some fish will occasionally pick up a strand of poop, mistaking it for other food, and they may eat a little of it – but this is not deliberate. They are simply confused about what they have picked up.
Fish do not generally eat the waste of other fish, as this has had many of the nutrients stripped out of it already, and may contain parasites and dangerous bacteria. Although pleco poop is not very processed, other fish still will not consider it food, and are therefore very unlikely to consume it deliberately.
The best way to deal with pleco poop in your tank is to clean it yourself as regularly as possible. Don’t try adding fish for this purpose. Although you may sometimes hear about “cleaner fish,” you should be aware that these feed on uneaten bits of food, decaying plant matter, and sometimes dead fish – but not fish poop.
Cleaner fish are useful members of the tank, but they won’t get rid of pleco waste, and they will produce waste themselves. Adding them does not decrease the amount of fish poop in your tank, and will instead increase it.
Some people find that other tank inhabitants, such as shrimp, will feed on pleco poop, and this is a good alternative. However, no fish will do it.
Do Pleco Fish Produce A Lot Of Waste?
Pleco fish do produce a lot of waste, and some people consider them the most wasteful of all fish that you might keep in a standard aquarium. This is partly because they feed on algae, which tends to be in plentiful supply. That means they can eat a lot, and that in turn means that they will poop a lot.
This is how the fish have evolved to survive, so you don’t want to change this. Decreasing the number of algae in your tank might reduce the amount of poop that the plecos produce, but this isn’t a good thing. Over centuries, plecos have developed big appetites, and they need to eat a lot of food in order to sustain themselves.
If they can’t find enough algae, the plecos will starve, because their digestive systems simply aren’t good at extracting nutrients. Unless they eat a lot, they will die.
How Can I Help My Plecostomus Poop?
If your plecostomus is not producing much poop and you are concerned, you should check that the fish has enough food. Plecos feed on algae, so if you are keeping your tank too clean, there is a risk that the fish will not be able to find enough food.
If your pleco isn’t eating, it will soon stop pooping. If this happens, you need to make sure that you supply food quickly, or the fish will die. You can give plecos plenty of other kinds of food, and most of them are unfussy scavengers that will go for almost anything.
Any time that you notice your pleco not pooping, you should make a point of feeding it. You should also check whether the other tank parameters, such as the temperature and the pH value, are okay, as plecos that aren’t eating or pooping may be sick.
If your pleco is hiding, or if it shows sudden signs of aggression or lethargy, there is a high chance that it is sick, so you need to pay attention to these signs, especially if the fish has also stopped pooping.
Plecos should poop a lot, as they are big eaters and they process the food very quickly. You should be aware of this before you purchase a pleco for your aquarium, because they will make a big mess of your tank.