Top 5 Bottom Dwellers

Top 5 Bottom Dwellers

This is the list for you if you are looking to add some bottom-dwelling cleaners into your tank. 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.

5. Geophagus

The Geophagus is our number five choice. 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 will continue for the rest of the day. This is a larger fish based on the species and they can range anywhere from 6-10 inches. There are many varieties, and each one has a different 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. Protect your plants by placing large rocks around their base. These tiny worker bees will help keep your tank clean.

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 very unique and prefer 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.

3. Loaches

Our third favorite is the Loach Family. Loaches are scavengers that come in many different varieties. You should be able find the right species for your tank. These are the top-rated bottom dwellers.

Clown Loach

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 clean off the bottom and go through the substrate to look for food. These require large tanks.

Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach is significantly smaller loach that comes in at about 3 1/2 inches. 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 are extremely plant friendly and won’t eat snails. 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. They are best kept in a school. 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.

Zebra Loach

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.

2. Shrimp

Shrimp is our second-best choice. Shrimp come in at number 2 because their only downfall is that they can’t live with everything. Shrimp can and will be eaten by most larger fish. They come in a variety of colors and are excellent cleaners that will comb through everything including algae! Because they are so small, they can reach every nook and cranny. They like to reproduce, so you should expect more to appear in your tank with time. 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.

1. Corydoras

Corydoras are at the top of our wish list. There are many Corydoras you can add to your aquarium. They are generally small, but they can be very useful if you have at least six of them. The Corydoras Labrosus and Salt and Pepper Corydoras range in size from about 2 to 3 inches. 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. Keep in mind that some Corydoras are more expensive than others. 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 friendly and very personable.

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!