Many fine-leaved, grasslike, foreground plants will trap debris between their leaves. In nature, this debris would be
Above: Although the popular red-tailed black shark (Epalzeorhynchus bicolor) can get quite large, it is a useful addition to a planted aquarium. This attractive, lively, and strikingly colored fish spends most of its time grazing algae from rocks and plant leaves.
swept away by water currents and scavenging fish. Small scavenger fish can be introduced to a planted aquarium for the same purpose. Removing trapped debris will allow the plants to receive more light and the foraging activity also helps to move debris toward the filter, where it can be trapped and removed from the aquarium. Corydoras catfish are ideal scavengers and can be kept in small groups in the planted aquarium. Although scavengers will find many food items among the substrate, you should also feed them on sinking pellet or wafer foods to ensure that they receive the correct diet.
Some loaches, such as kuhli loaches (Pangio kuhlii), or horse-face loaches (Acanthopsis choirorhynchus), are excellent scavengers that also bury themselves and move underneath the top layer of substrate. This helps to turn over the top layer of substrate constantly, preventing algae growth and removing trapped debris. Fish like these spend most of their time hidden under
Below: Corydoras catfish are useful shoaling fish that will gently disturb the substrate in their constant search for food. These are Corydoras trilineatus.
Above: The hatchetfish group of fish will spend virtually all their time at the top of the aquarium, looking for items of food on the surface. These fish will appreciate the cover provided by tall or floating plants.
Above: The beautifully patterned sailfin molly (Poecilia velifera) enjoys grazing on algae as part of its diet and may also eat some small snails. This confident fish will actively display its finnage in a planted aquarium.
the substrate, under wood and rocks or between fine-leaved plants. Although they may not be seen very often, they are doing an important job in maintaining the aquarium.
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