20 Gallon Tank Best bottom feeders

KizzyB

Hi all, I have a 105 litre (20 imperial gallons) aquarium which needs some bottom feeders but I love so many I can't decide what to get! The tank footprint is 75cm by 35 cm and fairly heavily planted. Temp range 25 - 26 degrees c. pH 8

Stocking so far:
7 Black Neon Tetra
1 Red Honey Gourami (probably actually a thick-lip)
1 zebra snail

I love the idea of Otto cats but as they won't be much help cleaning up bits that sink to the bottom unless it's algea I think I'm going to need something else instead or even as well as. Any ideas welcome.
 

carsonsgjs

As your new tank is relatively new i wouldnt go for otocinclus - they need a fairly established tank to provide them with a food source.

Do you have a sand substrate? If so, how about a species of corydoras?
 
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BigManAquatics

My peacock gudgeons sure like to pick at food off the bottom as well. Have also found mystery snails love to eat leftover fish food off the bottom, as well as about everything else they can get their mouths on.
 
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JettsPapa

Corydoras pygmaeus
 
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A201

The best bottom feeders I've ever kept have been Loaches. Research some of the smaller varieties and see if any interest you.
 
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mattgirl

Albino/Bronze corys are my cleanup crew. I call them my little vacuum cleaners. They clean up any food that makes it to the bottom. Of course they get food specifically for them but I never have to worry about leftover food fouling the water.
 
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JettsPapa

Albino/Bronze corys are my cleanup crew. I call them my little vacuum cleaners. They clean up any food that makes it to the bottom. Of course they get food specifically for them but I never have to worry about leftover food fouling the water.

I'm not disagreeing, but don't they get a little large for a 20 gallon tank?
 
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mattgirl

I'm not disagreeing, but don't they get a little large for a 20 gallon tank?
Possibly but if it is 20 gallon long, and with the dimensions posted I think it is, I wouldn't have a problem putting 5 or 6 of them in there. It might be better to get a smaller species of cory though.
 
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JLAquatics

On top of all the great suggestions mentioned above, I will throw out the true oddball fish suggestion that is not even a fish at all! If your tank will be heavily planted with lots of biofilm buildup, Amano Shrimp are by far one of the absolute best cleanup crew members! They will eat soft algae vigorously, and I find them to be very entertaining at feeding time. They will actually sense when food is dropped in the tank and will gather up and quickly gobble up the leftover food scraps! They also grow large enough to where they shouldn't be bothered by the average Honey Gourami as well!
 
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KizzyB

As your new tank is relatively new i wouldnt go for otocinclus - they need a fairly established tank to provide them with a food source.

Do you have a sand substrate? If so, how about a species of corydoras?
The substrate is a smooth edged micro-gravel (specifically marketed for bottom feeders) so should be safe for Cory 'wiskers' and tummies.
Possibly but if it is 20 gallon long, and with the dimensions posted I think it is, I wouldn't have a problem putting 5 or 6 of them in there. It might be better to get a smaller species of cory though.
In my experience a group of 6 would be quite comfortable in this size as long as they don't need to compete for space with another species. I have a group of 12 sterbai in my 25 (imperial) gal tank, but it's literally just for them and a small shoal of 7 harlequins.
Thanks all for the responses. I do love a Cory cats
but figured I would throw it out there for the things I hadn't even thought of! I wouldn't be introducing any Otto cats until the tank is more established (although there seems to be plenty of algae at the moment much to my zebra snails delight Im sure) i would worry that shrimp or pygmy / dwarf Cory species might be at risk if my honey gourami is actually a thick-lip as she will get bigger than originally planned so I might have to stick to the slightly larger species. Maybe albinos or Venezuelan Cory's would be nice. Or even panda Cory's but I think the temperature doesn't suit the so well.
 
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jinjerJOSH22

The substrate is a smooth edged micro-gravel (specifically marketed for bottom feeders) so should be safe for Cory 'wiskers' and tummies.

In my experience a group of 6 would be quite comfortable in this size as long as they don't need to compete for space with another species. I have a group of 12 sterbai in my 25 (imperial) gal tank, but it's literally just for them and a small shoal of 7 harlequins.
Thanks all for the responses. I do love a Cory cats
but figured I would throw it out there for the things I hadn't even thought of! I wouldn't be introducing any Otto cats until the tank is more established (although there seems to be plenty of algae at the moment much to my zebra snails delight Im sure) i would worry that shrimp or pygmy / dwarf Cory species might be at risk if my honey gourami is actually a thick-lip as she will get bigger than originally planned so I might have to stick to the slightly larger species. Maybe albinos or Venezuelan Cory's would be nice. Or even panda Cory's but I think the temperature doesn't suit the so well.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the Thick Lipped attacking other fish, unless he was defending eggs in a bubble nest, but even then I wouldn’t worry about armoured Catfish ;)
 
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LHAquatics

Panda corydoras or Khuli Loaches are the best options IMO. You can keep the water temp 78. and pandas will do fine.
 
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poconofishguy

In a 20L I would pick out 2 or 3 scavengers. My personal choices would be a siamese algae eater, corydoras and/or kuhli loach. No plecos for a 20g tank, they tend to get too big. I don't buy-in to what most say that you need 3-6 of each species for them to be 'happy'. They're fish, they are not happy or sad, just get one of each and they'll be too busy eating to socialize or worry about being the only one of their kind.
 
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jinjerJOSH22

In a 20L I would pick out 2 or 3 scavengers. My personal choices would be a siamese algae eater, corydoras and/or kuhli loach. No plecos for a 20g tank, they tend to get too big. I don't buy-in to what most say that you need 3-6 of each species for them to be 'happy'. They're fish, they are not happy or sad, just get one of each and they'll be too busy eating to socialize or worry about being the only one of their kind.
I think not stressed is a better way to think about it. Stress is a killer, lowering immune systems etc...
While it’s perfectly possible to keep them on their own I personally don’t see the point in keeping a social fish on their own when you have the space. You’d be missing out on the social interactions which are often the most interesting part of keeping this type of fish.
Also I would say the same as you said about Plecos for SAE’s, they grow too big and are very active.
 
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ScottMc

I love my panda cories! they are active and do a great job picking off the food in my substrate (sand)

Also, for those concerned about this being a 20 imp gallon, 105 litres is closer to 28 US gallon.
 
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KizzyB

Thanks all for you're responses :) Yes I definitely wouldn't be adding any pleco species to this tank (even an ancistrus would be a little pushed for space once full size in my personal opinion). As for the social aspect I believe that some fish are better kept in groups. Whether they experience emotions or not I do know that the more you have the more interesting and fun to watch behaviours you see from my own previous experience. so I am most likely going to go with Corys. Perhaps pandas if I can find any. If not albinos are super active and quite sweet. I already have sterbai and pepper cats (not in this tank) so I would love to have something a bit different. I will also keep an eye out for khuli loaches but I don't think our local shops have any in right now as livestock is in short supply here.
 
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ferg42995

Like others have mentioned: corys, mystery snail, shrimp, and my orange dwarf crayfish also helps with cleaning. My Bolivian Ram also picks food up off the bottom all the time.
 
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