Now that you have purchased a 10-gallon tank, you need to think about its inhabitants, and how you will make that corner of your house interesting, which was previously occupied by your grandmother’s coat stand.
To have a well-rounded ecosystem in your 10-gallon tank, you need to have all sorts of colorful fish that beautify the corner.
With a tank this huge, you have the opportunity to fill it up with as many species as you want. However, since bottom-dwelling fish are an important part of the aquarium, the question here is ‘what type of bottom dwelling fish can you keep in your 10-gallon tank?’
The answer to what type of bottom-dwelling fish can you keep in your 10-gallon tank is not a definite one. Bottom-dwelling fish play an important part in the ecosystem, and that is the part of cleaning up their homes.
Therefore, you need to think carefully about the choices you make because there are over a dozen species that can keep your 10-gallon tank populated and attractive.
Before we get to the list, here are a few more things you need to know:
Knowing Your Fish
When you step into a pet store, more often than not, you get confused when it comes to selecting the inhabitants for your aquarium.
The staff at your local store may present you with a lot of options but keep in mind that most of them might just be trying to increase the sales and earn their commission without really listening to your needs.
Even worse than this is following the name tags on the display tanks that are supposed to clear your doubts but may be flat out wrong.
Therefore, the question remains… How are you going to fill up your 10-gallon tank? Here are a few tips:
- Do your own research (This article can serve as a guide)
- Learn in-depth about aquarium care and the different species of fish
- Keep in mind that some fish may be appropriate for your 10-gallon tank but they may not be easy to take care of
12 Bottom Dwelling Fish for Your 10-Gallon Tank
1. Cory Catfish
This species of bottom-dwelling fish is one of the most popular ones. They remain tiny and do not normally grow longer than a few inches. They are highly compatible with other species, but most importantly, they are omnivores.
This means they not only keep the tank clear of algae, but also eat any dead fish and anything else found at the bottom of your massive tank.
2. Otocinclus Catfish
These can be another great addition since they only grow up to 2 inches. They are called by several other names like Oto cats, algae scrapers and dwarf suckermouths.
Brown algae are their personal favorite – so there goes your worry of cleaning up the tank often.
They are also a bit sensitive and tend to do the best when they are added to an established ecosystem.
3. Siamese Algae Eaters
As their name suggests, Siamese algae eaters love algae no matter what the type is, therefore any algae that might be toxifying your tank may not be found the next morning.
As these fish age, they will need alternative food like pellets, but rest assured algae will not be a problem anymore.
You should not confuse them with Chinese algae eaters that grow more than the Siamese do.
Another popular species of bottom feeders that enjoy sucking on smooth surfaces so you will always find the sides of your 10-gallon tank clean.
They are highly efficient at their jobs so you will find them sucking day and night. However, you need to be careful since some snails reproduce faster than others do.
The Mystery Snail is one of the best choice since they do not reproduce fast and are compatible with other fish.
5. Amano Shrimp
The Amano shrimp is adaptable to various tank environments and are one of the most productive algae eaters in the family of shrimps.
Another cool characteristic of the Amano shrimp is that they will eat any leftover food that will otherwise turn into bacteria.
They only grow to an inch and a half, and are a great friend to other fish.
In addition, they are beautiful to look at with their spotted translucent bodies.
While this will sound odd to many fish enthusiasts, Crayfish are actually excellent bottom feeders. They even devour dead fish.
Apart from that, they are colorful and vibrant with their bright blue color, so it makes sense to keep them in the tank to do the dirty work.
One thing about crayfish that you need to know is that they get insecure if they do not find a hiding spot; therefore, you need to make sure your tank has plenty.
7. Kuhli Loach
Loaches have a unique personality and love to live in groups with other species of fish, so there is passion and it is seen in their movements around the tank.
They really enjoy digging in the gravel of the tank and find their meal.
They are so dedicated and persistent with finding their food that they may even move decorations and are often found stuck under those items at times.
One thing you need to take care of is to prevent them from crawling out because they are sneaky and like their time out as well.
8. Plecostomus Catfish
The Pleco fish lives between 20-30 years and may grow as long as 2 feet. It not only constantly feeds but is nocturnal too.
The moment you switch off the lights is when Pleco fish starts its day.
However, when it grows to 12 inches, it will eat a lot and poop a lot, too, but rest assured your algae problems would not remain.
9. Corydoras Catfish
They are cuter than Cory Cats and flit around and scour the bottom of the tank all day.
Usually, they stay small, but other species in the family may grow to different lengths.
They are also quite peaceful but you might notice some squabbles unless you keep them in a big group.
10. Synodontis Catfish
They are really active but also shy at times.
Like the Synodontis Catfish, they may squabble amongst themselves but they are peaceful and ignore the smaller fish in the tank.
The best part about these species is that they are fun to watch when they wiggle out of their hiding to cruise around the tank for food.
11. Botia Loaches
Their small appearance is interesting and their behavior is quite intriguing too, but some of their species can grow to a certain length that may not be suitable for a 10-gallon tank.
They are fun to watch since you will find them manically scouring for substrates at times or lounging like a kid in front of a TV at other times.
They prefer being in big groups if you want them to be non-aggressive.
The name of this species literally translates to earth-eater or sand-sifter.
They are known for taking mouthfuls from the ground, sifting through it and then spitting out the rest.
They have several species, amongst which some of them might grow too long to fit in a populated 10-gallon tank while others may be too aggressive.
Here is some advice that may come in handy – surround the plants by big rocks to avoid them plowing through.
Like the 10-gallon tank that you might not want to overpopulate, without overloading you with information, here are a few other bottom-dwelling fish that might interest you:
13. Adolfo’s Cory
14. Bandit Cory
15. Pictus Catfish
17. Twig Catfish
18. Fresh Water Shrimp
19. Panda Cory
20. Weather Loach
How Many Fish to Get for a 10-Gallon Tank?
While there is no definite answer to this question, the best way to go about it is to do your own research on the different fish species you like. Learning about them will help you evaluate whether or not they will go well with the other species.
The bottom dwellers above to very well with common fish like guppies or angelfish. If you plan on keeping them with such fish, we highly recommend reading our following articles:
- Are angelfish hard to keep? 5 facts you must know
- Are guppies hard to keep? 10 facts you should know!
The Rule of Thumb
The general rule of thumb in such cases recommends one adult fish per gallon. Therefore, for a 10-gallon tank, you can stock around 10 fish (if you choose to follow the rule).
However, rather than relying on a basic method or a simple formula, it is better to do your own homework and find out more about the fish species you intend on getting for your tank.
Comparing them will help you come up with the right combination of species to inhabitate your tank. While you’re at it, don’t forget to come up with a backup plan as well in case the fish species you get do not mix well.
Just think smartly before selecting the different types of bottom-dwelling fish you want in your 10-gallon tank and you will be a proud owner of a beautiful ecosystem consisting of numerous exotic fish species within no time!