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7 Pleco Poop Questions Answered!

As more and more people start to add a pleco to their aquariums as a quick and easy way to control the build-up of detritus and discarded food on their substrate, we have noticed more and more questions about taking care of a pleco each month being asked by the community.

Over the last couple of months, we have seen a drastic spike in the number of people specifically reaching out and asking questions about pleco poop.

Due to seeing so many different questions being asked about pleco poop with each day that goes by, we have decided to publish this article answering as many of them as possible.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers better understand some of the common problems with pleco poop and how they are able to avoid them as they really are a great fish to have in your tank.

As we will be covering a number of questions in this article, we have decided to add our table of contents below to make it as quick and easy as possible to navigate our article.

Clicking any of the sub-headers below should take you directly to the specific section of our article for that problem and help you better understand the cause of the issue.

Why Does My Pleco Poop So Much?

Plecos consume a huge amount of detritus, discarded food, and algae relative to their body size so they do tend to poop more than other fish species.

This is totally normal for them and is nothing to worry about with their poop usually adding less volume to your tank than all of the food that they eat on a daily basis.

This means that even though your pleco may seem to poop a huge amount, it is still pooping out considerably less volume than it is taking in.

The majority of aquarium keepers see this as a benefit to their tank as it requires less maintenance than it would require without the pleco while also usually being much easier to clean pleco poop with something like a gravel vaccum than it is to clean the stuff a pleco eats.

Although your pleco may poop lots, another benefit of having a pleco is that they will eat a huge amount of discarded food in your tank that could otherwise lead to a potential problem with fungus in your tank too.

Some pleco species will also eat parasites in your tank too helping to minimize the potential risk of you having problems with parasites in your tank too.

“gold spotted pleco” by SvenDowideit is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Why Does My Pleco Have Poop Hanging from It?

If your pleco has stringy poop hanging from it then there is a good chance that your pleco is constipated and having problems pooping.

Feeding your pleco some pleco waffers is usually the best route to take to fix their constipation quickly and prevent them from having stringy poop hanging out of them.

Feeding your pleco a pleco waffer every two to three days should be able to help prevent the fish from becoming constipated again.

How to Get Rid of Pleco Poop?

The easiest way to get rid of pleco poop is to use a gravel vaccum to suck it out of your aquarium with minimal time and effort being required for the task.

Keep in mind that different species of pleco are different sizes and will have different sized poop so be sure to get a gravel vacuum with a hose that is large enough to suck the pleco poop size you require.

What Eats Pleco Poop?

There are no animals that will eat pleco poop in your tank and the poop must be manually removed from your tank using a gravel vacuum or another manual removal method.

Although some people do say that snails and shrimp, especially amano and ghost shrimp will eat the poop of your pleco, this is not correct and they will not actually eat pleco poop.

How to Control Pleco Poop?

The easiest way to control the build-up of pleco poop in your aquarium is to stick to a strict tank maintenance schedule where you will clean your tank at least once per week.

Most people will run a gravel vaccum over the substrate on their tank during their tank maintenance session while they clean their tank and remove the poop from all of the inhabitants of the tank at once including that of your pleco.

Is It Abnormal for A Pleco to Poop Substrate?

Depending on the species of pleco that you keep and the type of substrate that you use in your tank, it can be normal to see a small amount of your substrate in your plecos poop due to the way plecos forage for food.

This does tend to be more common with the large pleco species but it is not as rare as some people initially think, especially if the pleco is hunting for bloodworms in your substrate.

Pleco With Transparent Poop?

Clear or transparent pleco poop is usually due to your pleco not eating enough food or a problem with parasites.

If your pleco does have clear poop then seeking advice from a veterinarian is usually a good path to take as they will be able to recommend specific advice to your plecos situation.

Sometimes a tweak to your plecos diet or a quick and easy anti-parasite treatment will be able it takes to get your plecos digestive system back to normal though.


That brings our article going over the more commonly asked questions about pleco poop that we see from the community to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the more common problems that we see people reporting with their plecos poop time and time again as well as what is probably causing it. The majority of the time, it can be totally normal, and even if there is a problem, it does tend to be very easy to fix in most cases.