Which Fish Clean The Aquarium [Nature’s Little Helpers]

Owning an aquarium is fascinating and allows us to glimpse the magical world beneath the water. As someone who loves aquatic life, you know how important it is to provide a clean and nurturing home for your fishy friends. 

A clean environment not only keeps your beloved aquatic creatures happy and healthy but also creates a balanced and thriving ecosystem. However, keeping your aquarium in its best condition requires dedication and effort. 

Regular maintenance, water changes, and careful care are essential for responsible aquarium ownership. In this blog post, I’ll explore the top 13 fish species known for their natural cleaning abilities. We’ll also talk about additional tips to keep your aquarium clean and how to remove fish waste. 

By getting these helpful fish on your team, you’ll not only make your maintenance easier but also ensure a lively and beautiful underwater paradise. So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of these underwater caretakers together!

Which Fish Clean The Aquarium [List of Top 13]

Image Credit: howcast.com

1. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras Catfish are truly charming aquatic creatures that bring a sense of peace and sociability to any aquarium. Their gentle nature and social behavior make them a joy to watch as they gracefully glide through the water. One of their most valuable contributions to the aquarium ecosystem is their role as proficient algae-eaters and scavengers. 

They have a keen appetite for algae, keeping it in check and preventing it from taking over the tank. But they don’t stop there – these little helpers also excel at scouring the substrate, diligently searching for any leftover food and debris. 

By doing so, they act as the unsung heroes of the tank, making sure that nothing goes to waste or decomposes, which could otherwise lead to water pollution and jeopardize the health of other tank inhabitants.

2. Loach

Loaches are amazing little fish that have special skills, making them very useful in aquariums, especially if there are too many snails. These clever fish are natural snail hunters and will eagerly eat them, helping to control the snail population in the tank. This keeps things balanced and prevents the snails from becoming a big problem. 

But that’s not all! Loaches also love to eat algae and debris, which makes them excellent cleaners for the aquarium. They keep the algae from growing too much and quickly clean up any leftover food and mess. 

This makes the aquarium look cleaner and more beautiful. Having loaches in your tank means you don’t have to worry about too many snails and you can enjoy a well-balanced and tidy underwater world.

3. Bristlenose pleco

These special fish, called Bristlenose Plecos, have some amazing abilities that help keep your aquarium clean and healthy. One of their main skills is being fantastic at eating algae, especially the annoying algae that grow on the tank walls and decorations. 

They have a unique appearance with bristle-like things around their head, which is very helpful in their job as algae removers. These bristles work like tiny scrub brushes, allowing them to reach and clean tricky spots in the aquarium. 

Because of this, Bristlenose Plecos make the aquarium look cleaner and more attractive for all the fish and plants living there. Their impressive ability to handle algae makes them reliable helpers in keeping your aquarium bright and full of life.

4. Flagfish

Flagfish are really interesting aquatic creatures that love to eat algae, making them perfect companions for your aquarium. They have an important job of keeping the tank walls and plants free from yucky green stuff. When algae start to grow, these little heroes get to work, munching on the algae and stopping them from spreading all over the tank. 

Because they enjoy eating algae so much, they help keep the water looking clean and pretty. Having Flagfish in your aquarium means you won’t have to worry about ugly algae taking over, and you can enjoy a beautiful and balanced underwater world that your other fishy friends will love too.

5. Geophagus & Satanperca Cichlids

Geophagus and Satanperca Cichlids are not only famous for their beautiful colors, but they also do an important job of keeping your aquarium clean. These smart cichlids have a special way of searching through the bottom of the tank, where the sand or gravel is. They look for any leftover food and bits of dirt that may be there. 

When they find these leftovers, they eat them up, so they don’t cause any problems by rotting and making the water dirty. It’s like having a natural cleaning team in your aquarium! This helps to keep the tank neat and the water healthy.

So, apart from adding beauty to your aquarium, Geophagus and Satanperca Cichlids work hard to make sure all the fish and plants in the tank have a clean and happy home to live in.

6. Rainbow Shark

The Rainbow Shark is a truly beautiful fish to have in your aquarium, and it offers more than just its good looks. This fish is excellent at controlling algae growth. It has a special talent for eating algae, and it works hard to keep the tank clean. The Rainbow Shark constantly patrols the tank, always on the lookout for any algae that might appear. 

As soon as it spots algae, it quickly eats it up, preventing the algae from taking over and making the tank look messy. Thanks to its diligent algae-eating skills, the Rainbow Shark helps to keep the aquarium clean and attractive, providing a peaceful and enjoyable underwater environment for all the other fish living there.

7. Molly

Mollies are amazing little fish that have a special liking for nibbling on algae. This interesting behavior is actually very helpful because it keeps the algae from growing too much in the tank. When there’s some algae starting to appear, the mollies happily munch on it, making sure it doesn’t spread and take over the tank. 

Their constant nibbling is like a natural cleaning service, keeping the tank tidy and well-balanced. This helps all the fish and plants in the tank to have a healthier and happier home.

So, not only are mollies pretty and lively, but they also have an important job in keeping the aquarium clean and creating a happy underwater world for everyone to enjoy.

8. Slim Bodied Goldfish

Slim-bodied goldfish are not just beautiful to look at, they are also very helpful in keeping the aquarium clean. These smart fish have a special talent for finding and eating extra food and mess that might be floating in the water.

Whenever there is leftover food or any dirt in the tank, these goldfish get to work, making sure nothing goes to waste. 

Their helpful cleaning habits not only make the tank look nicer but also keep the water healthier for all the other fish living there. So, besides being lovely to watch, slim-bodied goldfish also play an important role in keeping the aquarium clean and balanced, and that’s why they are valued and loved by everyone in the aquarium community.

9. Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp are amazing little creatures that are great at keeping algae under control in the aquarium. They love to eat algae and do it all the time. When algae start to grow, these tiny shrimps get to work right away, eating it up and stopping it from taking over the tank. Their constant munching is a natural and effective way to keep the algae in check. 

This makes the tank look clean and nice for all the other fish and animals living there. Amano Shrimp are like little algae-eating champions, making sure the aquarium stays healthy and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.

10. Aquarium Snails

Aquarium snails, like Nerite and Mystery Snails, are great helpers in keeping your aquarium clean. They are experts at eating algae, and they take their job seriously! As they move around the tank, they happily eat up the algae that might grow on the glass walls and plant leaves. 

By doing this, they stop the algae from growing too much and making the tank look messy and unattractive. Their constant work of eating algae acts like a natural cleaning crew, making sure your aquarium stays nice and beautiful. 

Having these snails in your tank not only adds variety but also gives you reliable and effective algae cleaners.

11. Goby

Gobies have a special ability to find and eat any leftover food and mess that might be floating in the water. This is super important because if that stuff stays in the tank, it can make the water dirty and harm the fish. 

But Gobies are like little detectives, always on the lookout for these scraps, and they make sure to clean them up quickly. Their hard work in tidying up the tank stops the water from getting dirty and helps maintain a healthy environment for all the fish and plants.

12. Siamese Flying Fox

Siamese Flying Fox fish are really stunning with their eye-catching appearance, and they have more to offer than just looking good. These fish are really good at eating algae and they’re experts at it! When algae start to show up in the tank, the Siamese Flying Fox gets to work right away, eating up the algae and stopping it from spreading.

Their constant efforts to eat algae help keep the tank water clear and clean. With these hardworking algae-eaters in the tank, you can have a beautiful and spotless aquarium without any worries about algae taking over.

13. Cichlids

Cichlids are really cool fish with bright colors and interesting behaviors. But there’s something even more amazing about them – many cichlid species actually help keep the tank clean. They eat tiny insects and algae in the tank, stopping them from getting out of control and causing problems. 

This keeps the aquarium healthy and balanced. So, not only are cichlids fun to watch, but they also act like natural cleaners, making sure the tank stays neat and the other fish stay happy and in good health. They are fantastic additions to any aquarium.

Now that you’re aware of the fish that can help keep your aquarium clean, let’s delve into other important factors to consider for maintaining a clean and healthy aquarium

Additional Considerations for Maintaining Aquarium Cleanliness

1. Filtration 

Having a good filtration system is really important to keep your aquarium clean and healthy. It works like a cleaning machine, getting rid of extra waste and bad stuff in the water. This helps to keep the water clear and safe for your fish to swim in. 

The filtration process is like a purification process that constantly works to maintain good water quality. It gets rid of any harmful stuff that could make the water dirty and harmful to the fish. 

When your aquarium has a clean and effective filtration system, you won’t need to change the water as often, and taking care of the tank becomes much easier. It’s a win-win situation for both you and your fish friends, ensuring a happy and healthy environment for everyone.

2. Moderate Feeding

Feeding your fish in moderation is very important for their well-being and to keep your aquarium clean. It’s best not to give them too much food because that can lead to problems. If they don’t eat everything, the leftover food can turn into waste and pollute the water, which is bad for the fish. 

By giving them the right amount of food and making sure they eat it all, you can prevent excess waste and keep the water cleaner and healthier for your fish.

3. Regular Pruning

Regularly trimming the plants in your aquarium is really important to keep your underwater environment healthy. Taking care of the plants is just as necessary as caring for the fish. If you see any dead or decaying parts of the plants, it’s crucial to take action right away. 

Cut and remove these unhealthy plant parts because if you leave them in the water, they can release harmful stuff that pollutes the water and makes your fish sick. So, remember to give your plants some love and care because they play a big role in keeping your aquarium beautiful and balanced.

4. Partial Water Changes

Even if you have cleaning fish in your aquarium, it’s still really important to do regular partial water changes. These water changes are necessary to keep the water quality in your tank healthy. 

Even with the help of cleaning fish, pollutants can build up over time. But when you do partial water changes, you get rid of these built-up pollutants and give your tank a fresh and clean environment. It’s like giving your aquarium a brand-new beginning.

Can cleaner fish reduce the need for regular water changes and maintenance?

Having cleaner fish in your aquarium can help you do fewer water changes and maintenance, but it doesn’t mean you can skip them altogether. Regular water changes are still really important to keep your aquarium in good shape. 

They have many important jobs, like putting back essential nutrients that might have been used up, getting rid of built-up waste and harmful stuff, and making sure your fish have a healthy and balanced place to live in. 

So, even though cleaner fish do some of the work, don’t forget to do regular water changes – they are crucial for your fish to stay happy and your aquarium to stay healthy.

How to remove fish poop from an aquarium?

Cleaning up fish waste is an important and regular job to keep your aquarium clean and your fish healthy. During water changes, you can use a siphon or a gravel vacuum to gently remove debris and fish waste from the bottom of the tank. 

This simple practice not only makes the tank look neat but also plays a big role in keeping the water quality good. When you get rid of the waste, it won’t decompose and make the water dirty, which could harm your fish and other aquatic buddies. 

So, task regularly as part of your aquarium maintenance routine. It helps create a clean and safe home for your fish to live happily and healthily.


To sum up, I have explored the wonderful world of owning an aquarium and the happiness it brings. Owning an aquarium comes with the responsibility of keeping it clean and safe for our aquatic friends to be happy. 

We learned about 13 fish species that act as natural cleaners, helping to keep our aquariums tidy and full of life. We also received helpful tips on managing fish waste. As caring aquarium owners, it’s our duty to take care of our underwater buddies, and these cleaning fish can be great partners in doing so. 

Having an aquarium lets us experience nature in our own homes and supports a healthy ecosystem. So, enjoy this magical and educational journey, and may your aquatic companions continue to amaze and inspire you for years to come.


Do Algae Eaters Keep an Aquarium Clean?

Keeping your aquarium clean and algae-free becomes a breeze with the help of algae-eating fish like Bristlenose Plecos, Flagfish, and Siamese Flying Foxes. Acting as diligent clean-up crews, these fish play a crucial role in controlling algae growth, ensuring your tank remains visually appealing and healthy. 

Their voracious appetite for algae keeps the green menace in check, preventing it from becoming a nuisance. With a sparkling and clear aquarium, your fish and aquatic companions thrive in a happier and low-maintenance environment. These algae eaters are the perfect fishy friends you need to maintain a beautiful and flourishing aquarium.

Do Snails Help to Clean a Fish Tank?

Snails like Nerite and Mystery Snails are valuable allies for maintaining a clean fish tank and a healthy aquatic ecosystem. Their natural appetite for algae makes them efficient algae grazers, helping to keep unwanted algae growth in check as they glide across the tank surfaces. 

By preventing excessive algae growth, these snails contribute to a clearer and more visually appealing tank environment while promoting a healthier balance within the tank. They also help reduce algae-related issues, ensuring that your fish and other aquatic creatures can thrive in a stable and harmonious habitat.

Can Fish Waste Be Used as Fertilizer for Aquarium Plants?

Fish waste can be a valuable and natural fertilizer for your aquarium plants, supplying essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, crucial for their growth. As plants absorb these nutrients, they flourish with healthy foliage and strong root systems.

However, it’s vital to find the right balance, as excessive fish waste can cause nutrient imbalances and harm your aquatic ecosystem. Regular water changes are essential to keep things in check, diluting excess waste and preserving water quality for a thriving and harmonious environment.

With proper care, you can harness the power of fish waste to nourish your aquatic plants while maintaining a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

Is it bad to use soap for cleaning a fish tank?

Yes, using soap or any chemical cleaners in the aquarium can be harmful to your fish and other aquatic life. The soap residues can contaminate the water and cause serious health problems for your fish. 

To keep your aquatic ecosystem healthy, it’s best to clean aquarium items only with water and avoid using any substances that could harm your fish. Stick to natural methods to ensure your fish and other aquatic creatures stay safe and happy.

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  3. How To Add Co2 to Aquarium
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