Top 5 Bottom Dwellers

Top 5 Bottom Residents

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 can be translated as sand-sifter/eartheater. These fish will dive to the bottom of your aquarium, grab some sand and then sift through it. This will continue throughout the day. This is a larger fish based on the species and they can range anywhere from 6-10 inches. There are many types and each fish has its own personality. 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. For protection, you can place large rocks around the tank’s base. Otherwise, these tiny worker bees can 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. These fish are unusual looking and hide well. 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 can be quite costly at $18 per piece, so ensure you are ready to make the investment in their care.

3. Loaches

Our number 3 top pick is the Loach Family. Loaches come in many varieties and are great scavengers. You should be able find the right species for your tank. These are the top-rated bottom dwellers.

Clown Loach

The Clown Loach will be active in large groups. If you keep them in a group with 10 or more, they will be very active. However, they are a large fish, with most adults measuring in at around 12-14 inches. They scrape the substrate and search for food. These require large tanks.

Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach measures approximately 3 1/2 inches. They have a striped body that is long and slender like an eel. They are nocturnal and scavengers so you need to look out at night to see these fish. The Kuhli Loach fish sells for $3 in most stores. They love black worms but will often scavenge. They are friendly with plants and will not 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 is our favorite for planted tanks. These fish will reach approximately mid-water level and can be as active as clown loaches. Likewise, it’s best to keep them in a school. These fish are priced at $12 per fish. However, they are extremely friendly and easy to keep an eye on. These fish can take care of snail problems for you if you have one.

Zebra Loach

Finally, the Zebra Loach makes a great addition to any tank. These fish thrive in groups of 3 to 4 and can reach about 4 inches. These fish are also safe for the garden, just like other listed.

2. Shrimp

Shrimp is our second-best choice. Shrimp is number 2 as they cannot live with everything. The majority of larger fish will eat shrimp. They come in a variety of colors and are excellent cleaners that will comb through everything including algae! Their small size allows them to clean through all the nooks and crannies. Because they love to reproduce, you can expect to see more in your tank. Shrimp can be an excellent bottom dweller and scavenger, provided they are kept in a tank that has compatible mates.

1. Corydoras

Corydoras rank high on our 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. 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 is a good choice if you want to add large schools to your tank. Corydora axelrodi are smaller fish that can be easily added to large groups. Keep in mind that some Corydoras are more expensive than others. The Green Laser Corydora is usually sold for $17 per fish.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of species, and the little armored catfish is hard to beat. They prefer to be in their own little communities and dig through the bottom of the tanks. They are friendly and extremely 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. Dwarf Anchor Catfish can be difficult to find in stores because they are uncommon and rare.



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. A fish you are going to keep is not the best choice. A fish bought to clean the tank is not a good idea. Every fish you add to your aquarium should be motivated and interested. 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!