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Bottom Feeding Fish

Different types of fish feed at different levels in an aquarium.  Many types are capable of feeding at all levels, but take most of their food at one level.  The fish that are specialised for feeding at the bottom of the tank are useful in finding the food that has been missed by the fish at the surface and on the way down.  None of these scavengers can be expected to eat the wastes of the other fish, and having them is not a substitute for proper aquarium hygiene.  Remember that these are fish as well; make sure the conditions in your aquarium are suitable for them.

There are many specialised bottom feeders.  Here are a few of them.

Bronze Catfish

The Bronze Catfish, Corydoras aeneus, and the Corydoras genus generally, are excellent bottom feeding fish.  The fish of the genus vary in their temperature preferences, and although they are all considered to be tropical fish, some like the Bronze Catfish and the Peppered Catfish can tolerate slightly lower temperatures and can be used in an unheated tank as long as the tank is kept in a place that does not get very cold.

The Corydoras Catfish should be kept in groups of the same species.  These catfish cannot eat large amount at one time and need food frequently.

Kuhli Loaches

The Kuhli Loach, Pangio kuhlii, and the Black Kuhli Loach, Pangio oblonga, are good scavengers.  Their small size limits the amount they can eat.  They should be kept in groups of the same species.  Like the Corydoras Catfish these loaches cannot eat large amounts at one time.  Much of their feeding is at night.

Blind Cave Tetra

The Blind Cave Tetra is an excellent bottom feeding scavenger.  They cannot see, but appear to have an excellent sense of smell and can locate the general area that has anything edible in.  They will then move round this area at high speed eating anything they can find.  They have a fairly big mouth for their size and can eat an astonishingly large amount in a short time.

The Blind Cave Tetra is a tropical fish with a good tolerance for lower temperatures and is sometimes used as a scavenger with Goldfish in inside aquariums in areas that are not very cold in the winter.

Bristlenose Catfish

The Bristlenose Catfish is not specialised for scavenging, but is predominately an algae eating fish.  They will certainly do some scavenging when the opportunity presents itself.











Bronze Catfish
Peppered Catfish.Corydoras paleatus
Photo by Rcfernandes
Kuhli Loach
Photo by Marrabbio2at it.wikipedia [GFDL
(<a href="" class="external free"
CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],
from Wikimedia Commons
Blind Cave Tetra
By JohnstonDJ (Own work)[ GNU Free Documentation License,], via Wikimedia Commons
Female Bristlenose Catfish