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Bottom dwellers: necessary or just nice to have?


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My previous tanks have been single-species: either all goldfish or all platies or single bettas. In planning my new planted tank, I'm trying to think more along community lines--probably platies and a gourami, maybe a few guppies, and a snail or two.

My question is whether there's such an advantage to having bottom dwellers like corydoras or kuhli loaches that a planted tank should pretty much definitely include them as a maintenance crew, or whether they are more of a "good to have if you like them" fish.

With only 20 gallons to work with, I'm reluctant to give bioload space to fish I'm not super into. Cories are cute but the fact that you need 6+ is significant in such a small tank.

Thanks for weighing in.

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I agree that bottom feeders are not absolutely necessary and you should stock what you like. I like catfish, so I have several. Although my angels carefully search the bottom for morsels after a feeding, there is no way they do the job as well as catfish, and I enjoy watching them. And then there is algae. But catfish do take up bio-load space, which could be used for a show-fish. A more enjoyable, beautiful aquarium is what we are all going for, and that means different things to different people (thank goodness).

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34 minutes ago, PineSong said:

My question is whether there's such an advantage to having bottom dwellers like corydoras or kuhli loaches that a planted tank should pretty much definitely include them as a maintenance crew, or whether they are more of a "good to have if you like them" fish.

 

the advantage is they are supposed to be the cleanup crew.  Larger community tanks usually consists of top, middle, and bottom dwellers.  A planted 20 doesn't really have three separate layers, so buy what you like.  If you cut back on the food, they will all scavenge.  You could try shrimp if they are compatible with the other animals.

 

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