I've put some rocks in a jar with tank water and left it outside to grow algae for a pleco. It has started growing a brown algae but I was expecting green. Isn't green what they prefer or does it matter?
I'd think they would prefer green. It figures that you can't grow algae when you want it. The algae wafers should work. I've never had a problem feeding Plecos. They eat whatever is easy to get.
Most pleco will eat any of the common algae, meaning the common green algae that often develops but not brush, beard, etc., and diatoms (often called brown algae). The brown algae growing on your rock outdoors is not likely diatoms though it may be, but more likely a type that I see in one or two tanks that nothing will touch.
But aside from that, I agree with fishmonger that it is preferable to feed prepared foods. You didn't mention the pleco species; some are primarily vegetarian, others mainly carnivorous and some more omnivorous. The sinking foods that are algae/spirulina/kelp based also contain fish meal, and most pleco will readily eat these.
Any natural "common" algae in the tank will undoubtedly be eaten as well, unless the species is carnivorous. I've been using the Omega One kelp/spirulina base sinking wafers, and Hikari make similar. Plus some other types too for a varied diet. The shrimp pellets seem to be favourites even with my vegetarians, and Nutrafin's sinking tablets are another favourite with all my bottom feeders.
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