Top 5 Bottom Dwellers
This list will help you find the right bottom-dwelling cleaners for your tank if you’re in the market. Our list of the Top 5 Bottom Dwellers gives you a list of our top choices for the best fish that you can add to your tank to keep it functional and attractive.
Geophagus is our top-ranked pick. Geophagus is a sand-sifter, or eartheater. These fish will dive to the bottom of your aquarium, grab some sand and then sift through it. This cycle will continue all day. This is a larger fish based on the species and they can range anywhere from 6-10 inches. They come in several varieties and each variety has their own attitude. Some of these fish are more aggressive while others are peaceful. You might notice you are using a gravel vac less because these fish will do all the dirty work for you. You should be aware that fish can dig up your plants. To protect your plants, it is best to place some big rocks around the base for protection. These little worker bees will keep your tank clean and tidy.
4. Synodontis Lucipinnis
Our number 4 pick is a specific fish called the Synodontis Lucipinnis. These fish are about 3 inches long and tend to swim like sharks. They are unique looking and like to hide. The Synodontis Lucipinnis is part of the catfish family, which means they are also nocturnal. These fish are great cleaners and will happily clean the bottom of your tank. These fish will swim approximately halfway up your tank’s top if they are small. Their unique look sometimes pushes people to keep them as a single centerpiece fish but it is best to keep them in groups of 3 or more. They lay on the pricier side at around $18 per fish, so be sure that you are willing to invest in their care.
Our number 3 top pick is the Loach Family. Loaches are scavengers that come in many different varieties. There are many species that you can choose from so it should not be difficult to find one that will fit into your tank. These are the top-rated bottom dwellers.
The Clown Loach can be very active when they are in large groups. If you keep them in a group with 10 or more, they will be very active. They are, however, a large fish with most coming in at about 12-14 inches as adults. They dig through the substrate and clean the bottom. These require large tanks.
The Kuhli Loach, which measures in at 3 1/2 inches, is a smaller loach. They have a striped body that is long and slender like an eel. They are scavengers and nocturnal, so to catch a glimpse of these fish, you’ll have to take a peek at night time when they emerge. In most stores, the Kuhli Loach sell for about $3 per fish and they like to eat black worms but will mostly scavenge. These loaches don’t like snails and are very plant-friendly. They like to do their own thing and you can be sure that adding these fish to your aquarium will bring a unique look, without sacrificing the lives of your snail buddies.
Dwarf Chain Loach
This fish is our favourite for planted tanks. These fish will go up to about mid-water and are as active as clown loaches. It is best to keep them in schools. At $12 per fish, they are on the pricier end, but they are extremely personable and enjoyable to watch. If you have a snail problem, these fish will happily take care of that for you.
The Zebra Loach is another great option if you want to add some fish to your tank. These fish are best in groups of 3 or more and grow to be about 4 inches. Like others listed, these fish are plant safe.
Shrimp is our second-best choice. Shrimp are the second most popular choice because they can’t eat everything. Shrimp can and will be eaten by most larger fish. They come in many colors, and they are great cleaners. They are small enough to reach all corners and crevices. Because they love to reproduce, you can expect to see more in your tank. Shrimp are one of the greatest bottom dwellers and scavengers that you can add to your tank, if, they are in a tank with compatible mates.
Corydoras are at the top of our wish list. There are many Corydoras you can add to your aquarium. Most of them are small but it is good because it is best if they live in groups of 6 or more. There are many varieties that can grow to about 2-3 inches in length, including the Corydoras labrosus, Salt and Pepper Corydoras and Bronze Corydoras. A dwarf Corydora might be the best choice for you if you’re looking to add a lot of schooling fish to your tank. The Corydora axelrodi is a smaller fish and can easily be added in large numbers. Be aware that Corydoras come in varying prices. The Green Laser Corydora usually sells for about $17 per fish.
There are hundreds of species that you can choose from and these little armored catfish usually can’t be beat by others. They like to live in their little schools and scavenge the bottom of the tank. They are extremely personable and likable.
Bonus: Dwarf Anchor Catfish
One bonus fish to add to the list is the Dwarf Anchor Catfish. They are a small type of catfish that grow to be about 1 3/4 inch. However, Dwarf Anchor Catfish are rare and uncommon, so finding them in store may be a challenge.
When it comes to deciding on which bottom dweller will best suit your tank it is important to balance finding a fish that will suit what you already have but also one you will enjoy personally. You should buy a fish that you want to keep and not a fish that is only used for cleaning. Buying a fish only to be used to clean is similar to adopting a dog just so it can eat food spilled on the floor. You should be motivated, interested, and invested in any fish you add to your tank. While tanks should be functional and well-maintained, they can also be used for personal enjoyment. Be sure to choose what is most appealing to you and which tank you will enjoy!