Can Plecos and Shrimp Live Together?

Do you have plecos and want to add shrimp to your tank? Wondering if the plecos will eat the shrimp?

Plecos will eat smaller shrimp if they can catch them. Fortunately, it’s very difficult for plecos to catch shrimp, so you shouldn’t have much problem. Plecos and larger shrimp can live fine together. They have a mostly herbivore diet mixed in with some meat-eating. When they do decide to eat meat, they tend to scavenge for it rather than hunting for it because they are terrible hunters.

What About Shrimp and Carnivorous Plecos Living Together?

Shrimp and carnivorous plecos can also live together perfectly fine. Carnivorous plecos tend to be scavenger fish rather than active hunters. The herbivore plecos prefer food like peas or the occasional bloodworm.

This means they will not bother your shrimp.

Carnivorous plecos are also quite expensive, so chances are you don’t have a carnivorous one if you have a regular pleco purchased at a fish store.

Lots of Structure Will Help Your Shrimp

Here’s the thing with shrimp that many aquarium owners don’t realize.

Shrimp are actually pretty difficult for non-hunter fish to catch. They are small and very agile.

It becomes even harder for a non-hunter fish to catch a shrimp when it has a lot of hiding places.

Now, am I saying that a pleco won’t eat a small shrimp that swims right in front of its mouth?

Not exactly.

What am I saying is that you should not expect your plecos to completely destroy the shrimp population in your tank. They may eat the occasional unlucky shrimp that can’t evade the pleco, but the plecos won’t decimate the shrimp population of your tank.

I actually like having plecos in the tank as they do a good job eating the dead shrimp and keeping the shrimp population at a reasonable level. Even just eating one or two baby shrimp does a good job at naturally keeping a balance in the tank.

The protein from the shrimp is good for the plecos, too.

Closing Words

To summarize, plecos and larger shrimp living together is not a problem. Plecos may try to eat smaller shrimp, but they are so bad at hunting that it’s unlikely they will have much impact on the shrimp population of your tank.

It’s perfectly ok to have plecos and all kinds of shrimp in the same tank. Just make sure that you have some structure for smaller or baby shrimp to hide from the plecos.

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