Plecos do eat brown algae, but it isn’t the most popular algae type among them. Especially the Sailfin pleco likes brown algae and their diet in the wild consists a big part out of this kind of algae.
Keep in mind that there are many species of plecos. In this case, we are talking about omnivorous and carnivorous plecos. This includes the most common species, though, like bristlenose plecos, clown plecos and common plecos.
There are also species of plecos that will not eat any algae, so brown algae will not get eaten. These include the popular zebra pleco and leopard frog pleco.
Before buying a pleco, always look at what it eats in the wild, and try to mimic this diet in your tank. As stated above, the sailfin pleco is one of the plecos known for eating brown algae. This is easily explainable because it eats tons of brown algae in the wild. Bristlenose plecos are a safer and better choice, though, because these plecos can get enormous!
Brown algae occur primarily in starting tanks, so it’s really nothing to worry about. Hence, buying a pleco especially to clean out brown algae is not a good idea.
If you want to know more about plecos eating algae, read our blog post on this topic. Brown algae are only a small percentage of algae growing in your tank!