Spotlight Fish: Bottom Feeder Fish
A popular fish type that many people stock their aquariums with are Bottom Feeder -- or bottom-dwelling -- fish, which include loaches, Plecostomus (or Plecos), Cory catfish (Cory cats), Otocinclus catfish, crayfish, freshwater shrimp, and snails. Aside from being easy to care for, Bottom Feeders are also natural aquarium cleaners, consuming waste as one of their primary forms of sustenance.
Bottom feeders are compatible with both freshwater and saltwater aquariums depending on type, so you can always incorporate a few bottom feeding fish into your tank no matter what type of aquarium you've established. A few great saltwater options include Blue Sapphire Damsels, Zebra Hermit Crabs, and Nassarius snails for cleaning most types of aquarium substrate. Freshwater bottom feeders include Cory cats, Otocinclus, and Plecos (as listed above). Keeping any type of bottom feeder will greatly aid in aquarium maintenance over time, helping to keep your underwater world free of waste, algae, and other unsightly aquatic build-up.
To ensure proper nutrition for your bottom feeder fish, select a high-quality fish food, such as API BOTTOM FEEDER PELLETS, to keep your fish healthy and satisfied. With any fish food, be sure to feed only as many pellets as your fish can eat within 2-3 minutes. When fish food goes uneaten, it dissolves into waste in your tank, spiking ammonia levels so that a water change is necessary. If overfeeding is avoided, you will spend far less time cleaning your tank.
Bottom feeders typically thrive in warmer water temperatures ranging between 72 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is always essential that you research the proper temperature requirements prior to starting a bottom feeder aquarium. Water temperature is essential for ensuring your fish remain well and don't become susceptible to disease.
If you're taking the proper steps to keep your water clean and your fish well-fed, your bottom feeders will make happy, healthy additions to your fresh or saltwater aquarium, and will assist greatly in aquarium maintenance over time.