While choosing fish for an aquarium, various factors have to be taken into consideration. A fish tank must be balanced with fish that are top swimmers, middle swimmers and bottom feeders. Some fish like to stay near the surface of the water, whereas, some others opt for the middle parts, whereas bottom feeders are mostly found on the bottom of the water body.
What are Bottom Feeder Fish
As mentioned above, there are some fish that like to stay near the bottom of the water body, whether it be lakes, rivers, oceans or a simple aquarium. Such fish and other aquatic organisms are jointly termed bottom feeders. They can be seen in almost all natural water bodies and the most common among them are crabs, crayfish, bristle worms, snails, starfish, shellfish, flatfish, eels, carp and shark. Even though, all those fish and other aquatic creatures that dwells on the bottom of the water bodies are jointly called bottom feeders, the term is usually used for those fish, that are mainly found in aquariums.
|Freshwater Bottom Feeders||Saltwater Bottom Feeders|
|Red-tailed Black Shark||Sea Robins|
|Chinese High Fin Banded Shark||Bastard Grunt|
|Bamboo Shrimp||Saltwater Hermit Crabs|
|Blue Crayfish||Saltwater Emerald Crabs|
|Apple Snails||Mithrax Crabs|
|Black Mystery Snails||Serpent Sea Star|
|Long-armed Prawns||Sea Cucumber|
|Freshwater Flatfish||Nerite Snails|
|Freshwater Crabs||Coral Banded Shrimp|
Bottom Feeder Traits
While most of these fish feed on the decayed organic matter that lies on the bottom of the water body, there are some species that consume only plant material. Some species are found to be carnivorous, as they feed on other fish and even other bottom feeders. Another interesting trait of these fish is that most of them can bury themselves in sand. This characteristic feature is more pronounced in snails, sea cucumbers, flatfish and stingray. Most of them have flat ventral area, so that they can comfortably rest on the sand. However, flatfish do not have a flat ventral area and are found to rest on their flat sides. Most of the bottom feeders have their mouth pointed downwards, as they feed from the substrate only. They use some special technique to discard the sand that enters their body. In some organisms, the sand is expelled through the gills, in some others, it is passed through the body, before expulsion.
Aquarium Bottom Feeder Fish
In case of fish tanks, these fish can be beneficial in various ways. First of all, they can give a balanced look to the tank, as other fish are likely to stay more on the top and middle layers of the water. Another advantage is that some of the bottom feeders feed on the leftover food that sinks to the bottom and decayed organic matter, while some others like to feed on algae. However, you must be careful, while selecting one for your aquarium. Pleco catfish is perfect for aquariums with aggressive fish, as the former have good armor. Apart from that, they consume the leftover food too. If you wish to add some color to the bottom portions of your fish tank, then, clown loach will be the ideal. These peace-loving fish with attractive stripes are also good at cleaning the tank. Crayfish is another bottom feeder fish that feed on leftovers. However, they are aggressive and can hurt other small fish. Even though, they consume algae, leftovers and decayed materials, they too need food, like algae wafers and shrimp pellets. Even the tank size must be taken into consideration, while choosing these fish.
Catfish and loaches are the most popular among the bottom feeder freshwater fish. Plecostomus is one of the common types used in fish tanks.These fish usually have a good lifespan and have very few health problems. So, go through the fish list, available with the supplier and select the one, which is best suited for your aquarium. It is always advisable to seek the opinion of experts, while choosing fish for your fish tank or aquarium.