Aquarium Bottom Cleaners

9 Most Common Aquarium Bottom Cleaners

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In order to keep your aquarium clean and clear, you need to perform water changes on a regular basis and install a filtration system as well. Yet there is one thing that can help clean the bottom of the tank without you making every effort.

That’s aquarium bottom cleaners. Keeping these cleaning crews not only adds beauty to your fish tank but also keeps the aquarium water free of algae and waste. It’s a win-win.

This post will provide a collection of incredible aquarium bottom cleaners for your tank. Let’s see which creature can work best for your needs.

1. Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae Eater
Siamese Algae Eater

Size: 6 inches

Minimum size: 10 gallons tank

As its name mentions, this fish is well known for consuming all of the algae in your aquarium.

Being hardy and docile, Siamese Algae Eaters are ideal for beginners as they do all the cleaning for you and require low maintenance.

The fish feature a slim and long grey body with a unique bold line that run from head to tail. The line might get faded in times of stress, for camouflage or during courtship behaviors.

As usual, they love taking over the bottom of the tank and digging around the substrate. They are scavengers who feed anything they pick up, such as algae, dead fish, and dead insects. That’s why they become a great aquarium bottom cleaner.

These fish are relatively active and do not mind being alone or in groups, so you can add them to community tanks.

2. Chinese Algae Eater

Chinese Algae Eater
Chinese Algae Eater

Size: 6-11 inches

Minimum tank size: 30 gallons

Like Siamese Algae Eaters, these fish are also great aquarium bottom cleaners that excellently remove algae buildup and keep the aquarium sparkling clean.

Chinese Algae Eaters features a dull appearance with a pale brown or slightly gold body and a dark line running across. There is also a dorsal fin with many rays.

You might see them latched onto the glass of the aquarium. Their big mouth creates a suction mechanism which helps them attach onto these surfaces.

They tend to seek food at the bottom of the aquarium and won’t interact with other tank mates. Instead, they love hiding near plants and caves. It’s important for you to use a soft substrate with flat rocks because these algae eaters love vacuuming and cleaning the surface of the rocks.

3. Synodontis Catfish

Synodontis Catfish
Synodontis Catfish

Size: 12 inches

Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Synodontis Catfish are typical aquarium bottom cleaners because they are often seen swimming at the bottom of the tank.

The fish sport broad eyes at the back of the head, making it ideal for peripheral vision. Besides, they have freshy barbels near the mouth to sense food and objects near the bottom of the aquarium. There is also an inferior mouth that supports in scavenging and sucking up food.

These creatures have sleek bodies with a sharp spine and a forked tail. They come in a variety of colors, from darkish to light brown, and have different dark markings all over their body.

4. Rainbow Shark

Rainbow Shark
Rainbow Shark

Size: 4-6 inches

Minimum tank size: 50 gallons tank

These colorful freshwater sharks do a good job of aquarium bottom cleaners, keeping your tank clear of algae.

Rainbow Sharks are really eye-catching with brilliant red-orange fins and slender grey bodies. They have flat faces with a round snout.

These passive creatures will spend much time swimming at the bottom of the aquarium, picking up any waste or algae near the substrate.

Notice that the fish are semi-aggressive, so they are not good options for community tanks. They might become territorial or aggressive if provoked.

5. Common Pleco

How to Build a Tank for Common Pleco?
How to Build a Tank for Common Pleco?
Common Pleco
Common Pleco

Size: 20-24 inches

Minimum tank size: 30 gallons

Being one of the most widely-seen bottom feeders, Common Plecos turn out to be effective aquarium bottom cleaners as well.

The fish prefer hiding in caves and digging around the substrate, particularly at night when they become most active. Their flat bodies enable them to stay as close to the bottom as possible, playing around and suctioning up any algae and leftover food with their highly adapted suckermouths.

Common Plecos are typically covered with black markings that stand out against a brown body.

6. Loach


Size: 2 inches

Minimum tank size: 10 gallons

This fish is another great choice as an aquarium bottom cleaner.

Loaches should be raised in small groups. If you only have 1 or 2 fish in your tank, they won’t live up to your expectations.

A small group of Loaches will do wonders in cleaning the bottom of the aquarium. The whole will be foraging for food via the gravel.

These fish have a small, narrow, and elongated body with patterns of brown-to-black pigment along the dorsal surface and sides.

7. Twig Catfish

Twig Catfish
Twig Catfish

Size: 9 inches

Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

As their name, Twig Catfish have a long and skinny light brown body, which is ideal for camouflage.

Besides, they have small fins because they are not active and spend most time latched onto surfaces with their suckermouth.

Thanks to the ability to clean up all algae building up in the tank, Twig Catfish has been known as an efficient aquarium bottom cleaner.

Because of their timid personality, they are not suitable for community tanks since they might be outcompeted for food. They prefer slow-moving friendly tank mates.

8. Tiger Shovelnose Catfis

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish
Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

Size: 36 inches

Minimum tank size: 100 gallons to 250 gallons

If you are searching for a larger aquarium bottom cleaner, you can consider Tiger Shovelnose Catfish.

These fish have special features that help them adapt to their surroundings quickly. Their long flat mouth lets them scoop as much prey as possible. In addition, they have barbels around the mouth to easily sense food and objects near the bottom.

9. Panda Garra

Panda Garra
Panda Garra

Size: 3.5 inches

Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Panda Garras tend to scavenge at the bottom of the tank, picking up bits of algae and leftover food. Thus, they are one of the best aquarium bottom cleaners you can consider adding to your tank.

These inquisitive and appealing fish are brown splashed with several yellow-brown markings. They feature a modified lip structure that mimics a disk shape, making it easy for them to remain steady in fast-flowing waters.

Even though they spend most time of the day swimming at the bottom of the tank, you might see them swimming at higher water levels.

Wrapping Up!

When you decide to keep a fish tank, there is a lot of maintenance work, including keeping the aquarium clean. That might require much time and effort.

Those aquarium bottom cleaners will help make your life easier. They will be responsible for all algae and uneaten or leftover tidbits of food. Therefore, your tank water will always be clean and safe, and your inhabitants will stay happy and healthy.

Do you know any other aquarium bottom cleaner that can get the work done? Feel free to share it with us in the comment section.

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