Simply put, bottom feeders are different species of fish that like to dwell at the bottom of your aquarium. Living at the bottom of the aquarium, bottom feeders are usually more comfortable living in the dark, and generally like to have either plants are caves and rocks to hide and rest in. Some species of bottom feeders also like to have wood to rest behind.
Normally the diet of bottom feeders consists of living off algae and the leftover food from top eaters that makes its way down to the bottom of the aquarium. One notably difference between top feeders and bottom feeders, however, is that with bottom feeders they don’t have to eat their food in a hurry, they can take stock of where the food is and return to eat it a later time. After all, unless you decided to clean the fish tank, it’s not like the food is to be going anywhere soon in a hurry!
Top feeders are almost the exact opposite of bottom feeders. This species of fish like to dwell at the top of your aquarium and normally like to swim around near the surface of your aquarium where they can get exposure to lots of light and oxygen permeating through the surface of the water. Also, unlike feeding bottom feeders, when you feed top feeders you need to be careful because if you give them too much food all at one time, they will not have enough time to consume it all and the food will make its way to the bottom of the tank, where it may soon become harmful waste that causes the chemical balance of the water to become distorted – causing you additional cleaning services that the bottom feeders would have done for you!
Life in the aquarium between the top feeders and bottom feeders is not a vacuum. This space is taken up by what are known as the middle feeders, who dwell in the middle space in your aquarium. They tend to share some of the common traits found with both top feeders and bottom feeders – but feeding middle feeders still requires a little care as, again, if you feed them too much all at one time they’re likely to miss it and the food will simply sink to the bottom of the tank, where may never get eaten and will require your cleaning services.
Because of the different feeding habitats of the bottom feeders, top feeders and middle feeders, you still need to maintain a sensible diet. If you don’t you may well find that your top feeders and middle feeders are missing out on food while all your bottom feeders are getting too large and fat from the abundance of excess food available to them!
One additional comment should be noted. Although different fish species are known as top, middle and bottom feeders, this does not mean that these fish can only dwell in that part of your aquarium. It is possible for bottom feeders to come near to the surface of the tank. Likewise, top feeders can make their way down to the bottom of the aquarium without too much difficult. What the terms do, on the other hand, refer to is where in the cycle of your aquarium fish colony these different species of fish prefer to live.
As a result, when stocking your aquarium it is usually a good balance to have a nice array of top, middle and bottom feeders who can all co-habit and who can help each other with the joys of living in an aquarium, which is just like the natural habitat of their instinctive homes.