6 Great Fish That Burrow In Sand To Spice Things Up!

Bottom-dwelling fish that burrow in the sand often spend most of their time on the substrate, typically cleaning up food that the top dwellers miss. 

That doesn’t mean you can stop feeding bottom dwellers since they have specific dietary needs that aren’t met by food falling to the ground only.

Freshwater fish that love digging into the sand are diverse, but we found these six spices the most attractive. If you meet their standards, you can get some lovely fish to highlight your tank. 

We will spill the tea!


Fish That Burrow In Sand: 6 Best Species

1. Loaches

Clown Loach

When in large numbers, Clown Loach is pretty active. You’ll feel their vigor if you keep ten or more of them together. Adults, however, average between 12 and 14 inches in length. 

To find food, they scrub and rummage through the substrate. Large tanks are needed for them.

Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach is a substantially shorter fish, measuring only around 3 and a half inches at its longest. Their bodies are long and thin, like an eel’s, and striped. These fish are nocturnal, so your best chance of seeing one is after dark. Daytime is when they hide under the sand.

They consume black worms but are better off being fed scavenges. Loaches like these don’t consume snails and are gentle on plants. You may add them to your aquarium without worrying about the snails you already have there.

Dwarf Chain Loach

This can be your go-to for aquariums with live plants. These fish are just as active as clown loaches and may swim to the surface. 

It’s best if they stay in school. Also, they’re all personable and cute and never trigger conflicts with your snails.

Zebra Loach

If you’re looking to round out your tank with a trio or more, the Zebra Loach is a decent choice. 

These fish may reach a length of 4 inches, making trios or schools of them ideal. Like many on this list, these fish do not harm the tanks’ living plants.

2. Corys

cory catfish

Small and tranquil aquarium cory fish are usually seen resting peacefully at the aquarium’s bottom, where they may search for food among the dirt and gravel.

They take great pleasure in burrowing and will utilize their entire bodies in a flailing motion to dig into the sand as deeply as possible.

While some burrowing animals prefer to spend most of their time burying themselves, Corys favor skimming around the sand’s surface.

They do well in small communities since they get depressed when alone. It’s ideal for them to reside in groups of six or more. Also, they flourish in a tank with other calm fish of the same size.

They are all small species measuring between 2 and 3 inches in length.

3. Geophagus


The Geophagus ranks among our three best selections. A sand-sifter or an eartheater is another moniker for a geophagous. 

These fish will sift through the sand at the tank’s bottom and then spit it out. All day long, they will repeat this procedure as a daily ritual. Based on the species, this fish might be anywhere from 6-10 inches long. There are countless varieties, and each one has its distinct attitude. 

There are calm species and more aggressive ones among these fish. The gravel vac may go unused as these fish undertake all the dirty work for you. You can rely on these hardworking small creatures to keep your aquarium tidy.

Still, remember that they could dig up your plants if you don’t notice. To keep your plants safe, arranging some large rocks around their bases is a good idea. 

4. Synodontis Lucipinnis

The Synodontis Lucipinnis are fun and specific fish. These little fish, at most 3 inches in length, swim lookalike the grace of sharks. These eye-catching creatures are notorious recluses that might tempt you at first sight.

As with other members of the catfish family, the Synodontis Lucipinnis prefers to forage at night. The bottom of your aquarium will be clean after one visit from these fish. 

They will float between the tank’s middle and upper levels when they are younger and smaller. Also, these fish thrive in schools of at least three.

5. Otocinclus


Otocinclus, or Oto, is a bottom-dwelling species that thrive in groups of six or more. They are little algae-eating fish with an adorable appearance.

These tiny sucker-mouth catfish can simulate their original environment. As such, wild-caught fish are harder to keep. 

A thickly populated tank with rocks, living plants, and a fine substrate is necessary for the species. Also, this herbivorous fish needs raw leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce, zucchini, and peas to supplement algae tablets.

Even though they consume algae, don’t expect them to maintain your tank algae-free.

6. Plecostomus


To clear up an algae problem in a fish tank, Plecostomus is often the first suggestion. Although they are great at preventing algae from growing on your aquarium’s glass, they do require frequent feedings. 

Plecostomus, depending on species, can grow huge and demand large aquariums. For a Pleco, a 55-gallon aquarium is a bare minimum. The rubber-lipped pleco may reach a length of roughly 5 to 7 inches. An adult Plecostomus can grow to be as long as 12 inches. 

Depending on the species, Plecostomus fish are docile and adaptable, allowing them to thrive in various settings so long as they have enough space to grow.

However, a Pleco can not tackle all algae inside the tank. Some green-horn enthusiasts don’t know until the severe algae overgrowth gets them on their nerves. 

The Bottom Line

Selecting a bottom-dwelling fish that burrow in sand is vital. Instead of buying a fish for cleaning purposes, you should get one to raise as a pet. 

It’s great to see your fish healthy and thriving, tidying up your space well. More than that, not just set your eyes on the fish’s practical and hygienic requirements; Your tanks should also satisfy their demands.