The Clean Up Crew

7th Jun 2023

The Clean Up Crew

Aquarium All-stars: An Introduction to Clean-Up Fish and Invertebrates

G'day, future aquarists! Today, let's dive into the wonderful world of clean-up fish and invertebrates. These industrious critters, from Corydoras to snails, perform essential duties to maintain a healthy and clean aquarium environment.

Corydoras Catfish

Small, sociable, and diligent, Corydoras Catfish, or "Corys," are famous for scavenging leftover food from the substrate. They thrive best in tanks with soft, sandy substrate and plenty of hiding spots.

Corys prefer temperatures between 22°C to 25°C and a pH of 6.0 to 7.8. They are peaceful fish and do well with a variety of tank mates, given they're not too large or aggressive.


Known as "Plecos," these fish are celebrated algae eaters. They appreciate plenty of hiding places and a piece of driftwood, which aids their digestion.

Plecos can manage in temperatures between 23°C to 27°C and a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. Be careful about the size and species of Plecos you choose; some can grow exceptionally large!

Siamese Algae Eater

The Siamese Algae Eater (SAE) is a versatile clean-up fish known to consume a variety of algae, including the tough Black Beard Algae. As they age they will get lazier with algae and just go for fish food instead. 

SAEs prefer temperatures from 24°C to 26°C and a pH level between 6.5 and 7.0. While generally peaceful, they can be a bit boisterous at times.


Aquarium snails, like Mystery Snails, are exceptional algae eaters and detritus consumers. They're peaceful and can be kept with a variety of tank mates.

They prefer temperatures between 21°C to 27°C and a pH of 7.0 to 7.5. Remember, snails can reproduce quickly, especially if overfed, so keep an eye on their population.


Shrimps, such as Cherry or Glass Shrimp, are fantastic clean-up invertebrates that eat algae and detritus. They need plenty of hiding spots, especially during molting periods.

Shrimps prefer temperatures between 18°C to 27°C and a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. They are generally peaceful and do well in community tanks with small, non-aggressive fish.


Known as "Otos," these diminutive fish are excellent algae eaters, especially for smaller tanks. They're peaceful, social fish that should be kept in groups.

Otos thrive in temperatures 22°C to 26°C and a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. They do well with peaceful tank mates.

Final Thoughts

Clean-up fish and invertebrates are fantastic contributors to a healthy aquarium