13 Bottom Feeder Fish For Your Aquarium

Bottom feeder fish are scavengers by nature and help to maintain a clean and healthy tank by eating excess algae, food, and waste at the bottom of the tank. Some bottom feeders also eat dead fish. Here are the best types of bottom feeder fish for your aquarium:


Plecos are suckermouth catfish that are always eating. Because they eat so much, they put out a lot of waste. Thus, it is best to keep them in larger tanks.

Plecos are timid and nocturnal cave-dwelling fish. During the day, they hide in a cave or under logs and come out to feed on plants and algae at night.

This is why your tank needs lots of deco or plants to provide adequate hiding spots for your pleco during the day.

Cory Catfish

Another type of catfish that’s also a bottom feeder is the Cory catfish or Corydoras.

Cory catfish are small scavengers that generally hang around the substrate of the fish tank. They are schooling fish and thrive in groups of 5 or more.

Because Corydoras likes to search the substrate for food, they tend to scratch and injure themselves on sharp substrates. For example, blasting sand. Thus, it is best to use a smoother substrate like this natural aquarium sand.


There are many types of snails. But freshwater aquarium snails are what you need for your fish tank. The most popular types are nerites (Neritina sp.), Inca snails, and Ivory snails.

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Snails are quite peaceful and spend most of the time eating algae on most surfaces in your tank and will eat up uneaten food in the substrate. The only drawback is that they poop a lot.

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli loaches look like little eels. They are really good at hiding and you might not see them once they find a decent hiding spot.

They usually come out at night but are also known to come out during the day when other fish are being fed. To keep them happy and healthy, the aquarium needs lots of shade and hiding spots.

Zebra Loach

The zebra loach is another freshwater bottom feeder fish that are more active during the daytime. However, they still require lots of hiding places/shade.

Long-finned fish should not be kept with these bottom-dwellers as they are known to pick at the fins and tails of these fish.

They are also known to compete with other scavengers for territory so it’s best to only keep one type of bottom feeder fish in the tank.

Zebra loach.

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish are algae eaters that constantly graze on plants, decor, and tank glass. In the wild, they school in groups of up to 1000. Thus, a minimum of 10 in a tank is recommended to keep them happy.

Otocinclus Catfish


Crayfish are tiny invertebrates that look like lobsters. You can find them on almost any online fish store or in local pet shops.

Crayfish are omnivores and will need lots of food to keep them satisfied. If not, they can and will attack and eat other fish in the aquarium. They can also crawl out of tanks so be sure that your tank has a secure lid.


Aquarium shrimp are usually docile creatures that keep to themselves. They eat algae and will also eat most fish feed as well. The only thing to consider is that different shrimp require different water conditions. Thus, it is important to ask about this before you buy freshwater shrimp for your aquarium.

Freshwater Shrimp


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