Bottom Dwelling Freshwater Fish

Bottom Dwelling Freshwater Fish: Choose From 9 Best Options 

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Each & every fish tank (except nano tanks) must have bottom-dweller fish. These bottom dwellers help to maintain the tank well. They just don’t clean the tank, rather they increase the coloration of tanks too. 

For a community fish tank, bottom-dweller fish are the best. The quality of water remains well due to their activities. Just because of them a tank establishes quickly. However, most of them are very shy types of fish, though you can enjoy observing them well. 

Now, if you are just starting the fishkeeping hobby then you must try the best bottom-dweller fish for your freshwater tank. Otherwise, it may create a headache for you. 

So in this article, we are going to recommend the best 9 bottom-dweller fish for freshwater aquariums. You have to choose one or two for your aquarium from this list. So without wasting time, let’s dive deep into the topic.  

Best 9 bottom-dweller fish for freshwater aquariums

Beginner fish keepers should know what the bottom-dweller fish exactly are. Some fish prefer to roam near the substrate of the tank. They rarely come top of the water surface. They are called bottom dwellers in terms of captivity. Now let’s discuss the examples of it. 

1. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach
Kuhli Loach

Kuhli loaches are on the top of the list because of their behavior & tank compatibility. They are probably the best bottom-dweller fish for a small-sized tank. 

Kuhli loach is shy & nocturnal species. They hide themselves during the daytime. So, the tank should have plenty of hiding spots. 

Kuhli loaches prefer to stay close to the bottom substrate. So soft type of substrate i.e. sandy substrate is the most preferred for them. They are one of the most popular scavengers too. 

Read More:- How to Stop Fin Nipping in Aquarium: With 9 Popular Fin Nippers

2. Pygmy Cory

Pygmy Cory
Pygmy Cory

Pygmy cory is one of the top-bottom dwellers in a freshwater aquarium. They are so small and very good for beginner fishkeepers. They grow up to 1 inch long. 

Pygmy cory prefers to graze around the substrate by creating a shoal. It is very rare for bottom dwellers. So you must keep at least 4-6 pygmy cory in a tank to keep them healthy. 

Pygmy cory loves to forage the substrate. They often dig the substrate searching for food. So sandy & soft substrate is preferable for them. Otherwise, it may damage their mouth. 

3. Twig Catfish

Twig Catfish
Twig Catfish

Twig catfish are one of the unique bottom-dweller fish for a freshwater aquarium. They have a long thin body that needs much bigger space to accommodate in the tank. 

Twig catfish prefer dark-colored substrate in the tank. However, the sandy substrate can be used for them too. They prefer to hide. So it may be difficult to find twig catfish sometimes in the tank. 

Twig catfish need quality water to thrive in the tank. So the addition of some aquatic plants may help to maintain the water quality. 

4. Clown Loach

clown loach
clown loach

Clown loaches are one of the famous loaches in the fishkeeping hobby. They are colorful & very beautiful to watch. They are considered playful bottom dwellers too. 

To keep clown loaches healthy you need well-aerated warm water. Not only that but a strong filtration system is required for them too. You must change the water twice-thrice a week depending upon the size of the aquarium. 

Clown loaches are like little puppies. They prefer to graze on the substrate to find different plant matters. They are the significant scavengers of a tank. 

5. Hillstream Loach

Hillstream loach
Hillstream loach

Hillstream loaches are famous for their unique body shape. Their appearance is like a stingray. This flat-bodied fish prefers to roam around the bottom of the tank. 

Their body shape is suitable for high currents. So in captivity, you must control the water flow to keep them healthy. Not only that, but the quality of the water should be top-notch. 

Hillstream loaches love to eat algae and biofilm. So in a tank, you don’t need to take a headache to clean the tank manually. 

They are omnivorous species so insect larvae, tubeflex, and daphnia are also some good options for this fish. You should be dependent on only the algae of the tank. 

Read More:- Does Hillstream Loach Eat Shrimp? A Compatibility Test

6. Pleco Fish

Pleco Fish
Pleco Fish

Almost all types of plecostomus are bottom dwellers of a freshwater aquarium. However, you should not keep without knowing much about them. 

Some of the plecostomus are peaceful & small in size. You can keep them in a small or medium community tank. However, some plecostomus e.g. sailfin pleco, common plecostomus, etc. grow very big (up to 12-24 inches). These adult plecostomus show aggression in the tank too. 

Bristlenose plecostomus are comparatively good options to keep in a community tank. They are considered very good scavengers. They help to clean algae & uneaten food from the tank

Read more: – 10 Types of Pleco Fish: With Pictures & Recommendation

7. Otocinclus Catfish

otocinclus catfish

Otocinclus catfish are one of the most popular bottom dwellers in a freshwater aquarium. They are suitable for a low-maintenance tank. 

Otocinclus catfish are considered a very good algae eater. If you are facing brown algae in your tank then otocinclus catfish are the suitable one. They are good for removing new algae from the tank too.

They are non-aggressive fish breeds too. They prefer to roam around the aquarium on the substrate. The safest substrate for otocinclus catfish is sand. Don’t add any gravel as substrate in an aquarium that has sharp edges. 

8. Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae Eater
Siamese Algae Eater

From the name of this fish, you can understand that it is a great algae eater. The otocinclus genus has 17 different types of species. Most of these species are bottom dwellers. 

This fish breed constantly grazes on driftwood, plants, driftwoods, etc. & removing algae from the tank. They are considered a great addition to a community fish tank.

However, make sure not to add Chinese algae eaters to a community fish tank. They grow up to 10 inches & show aggression towards tank mates. Furthermore, they damage scales, slime coats, and fins of other fish in a tank. 

Read More:- How to remove algae from the aquarium? Solutions for each type of alga

9. Zebra Loach

Zebra Loach
Zebra Loach

Like clown loaches, zebra loaches are bottom dwellers too. As they prefer to dig the bottom of the tank so sandy & soft substrates are the most recommended.

Zebra loaches need clean, well-aerated, & warm water too like clown loaches. However, they are quite shy and need hiding spots in the tank. To build several hiding spots, you can use artificial caves, driftwoods, bogwood, etc. 

Despite eating algae and plant matter, zebra plecos aren’t great algae eaters. They use it as just a snack, not the main course. So you must provide external foods to keep them healthy. 

Read More:- 10 Best Tank Mates Of Guppy: Choose According To Tank Size

Final thoughts

From this article, you have known the 9 best bottom-dwelling freshwater fish. It may help you to stock your first aquarium correctly. 

You must know that for a medium or large aquarium bottom dwellers are mandatory. They work as scavengers. Now it’s up to you which fish will be suitable for you. 

According to us, for a small to medium-sized aquarium pygmy cory & kuhli loaches are suitable, for medium to large-sized tank zebra loaches, pleco fish, & otocinclus catfish are some good options. Lastly, for large freshwater aquariums clown loaches, twig catfish & hillstream loaches are preferable to keep. However, these must depend upon other fish in a certain aquarium. 

Best of luck & happy fish keeping. 

Read More:- How Many Algae Eaters For Fish Tank: 5, 20, 55, 60g & More

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