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Mowers – fish. Allies of all aquarists

Lawn mowers are fish that many breeders keep in their aquarium. The reason is in their colloquial name. Mowers perfectly “mow” the aquarium, cleaning it of algae, even those that are often overlooked by other voracious species of animals. What else distinguishes mowers? These fish are highly appreciated by both aquarium amateurs and professionals. In our text, we describe everything there is to know about lawnmowers and fish that only resemble them. Get to know the mower fish closer!

What are mowers (fish) really called?

The lawn mower is, of course, the common name of the species of the fish described in the text. It is not accidental, because the animals can perfectly clean the aquarium of residual algae. The official Latin name for these fish is the most common Crossocheilus siamensis or Crossocheilus langei. Both of these fish have similar characteristics, although the former is slightly less popular than the latter and is less common in stores and breeders.

What is the Polish name of mowers (fish)?

The Polish name of this animal is “Siamese fathead”. It comes partly from the appearance, that is, the characteristic lips of the creature, and partly from the place of origin, which we mention below.

Mowers – fish of non-European origin

Where do mowers come from? The fish are naturally found in Asia. You can meet them:

  • in Malaysia;
  • in southwestern Thailand;
  • na Borneo.

There are still studies conducted that would confirm the presence of this species in other places as well.

In which tanks do the lawn mower fish live?

Mowers are found primarily in flowing waters, i.e. streams and their tributaries. They like sandy or gravel and stone bottoms. These fish live close to submerged branches and roots. The most frequently inhabited waters are very clear. Sometimes, however, animals move to cloudy and deeper waters. They live in shallow waters, where a lot of biofilm is formed and that is why they feed on it.

Lawn mower – a fish with a characteristic appearance

The animals we describe are not large, although they cannot be called tiny either. They are about 15 centimeters long. Is it possible to recognize the gender of the mower? Fish known as Siamese thick lips are hard to tell apart. Males and females look almost the same and can only be recognized when they are right next to each other. Females are slightly thicker than males. What do they look like, regardless of gender?

  1. They belong to the catfish family and are distinguished by a pair of whiskers by their mouths.
  2. They also have a very distinctive black streak along the body that distinguishes the species from other similar fish.
  3. It is worth mentioning that the characteristic features of coloration appear only in slightly older individuals.

The most distinctive features of the fish mower

Some growers sell mower-like fish to their customers, so you need to know the characteristics of the Siamese thick-lipped well. No other species will clean your aquarium as effectively as a lawn mower, so you can’t buy a fish that is just like the one we are describing. The aforementioned features that distinguish a thick lipstick include, first of all:

  • upper edge of the side strip with a zig-zag end;
  • one central black stripe (may fade in a stressful situation), which extends all the way to the caudal fin and does not end at the base of the tail;
  • transparent dorsal fin. This feature, however, does not always have to be so pronounced in young fish. Adults, on the other hand, may have a slightly colored fin;
  • exactly two mustaches (not four). The complete absence of a mustache is unacceptable;
  • clearly darker rimed dorsal scales creating a characteristic pattern that resembles a fine mesh.

How to distinguish fish mowers from similar species?

You already know what mowers look like. Fish that resemble them are also worth getting to know. It will be much easier to see the differences between different species. Below, we list the most commonly confused fish from the family Crossocheilus in inside.

Crossocheilus atrilimes

A characteristic feature of this species is the change in color of the black side belt depending on emotions. Under the influence of anger or stress, the belt definitely pales and becomes wider. In addition, these fish have a curved side line and the fins are light yellow. It is also worth noting that the reproductive organs are much closer to the anal fin than in other varieties.

Crossocheilus langei

A distinctive feature of these fish is a red-gold eye at the top and white at the bottom. They can also be distinguished by the brownish color of the fins. During stressful situations, the girdle turns pale, but does not change in size, which distinguishes this fish from the species described above. In addition to the anal fin, you can also see a characteristic dark spot.

Crossocheilus citripinnis

How to distinguish a fish of this species from a lawn mower? Characteristic for them are, above all, fins taking on an intense lemon color. It is also worth noting that the dark stripe on the side of the body of these fish never changes either thickness or color, even under the influence of strong emotions.

Channa obscurus

This species can be easily confused with others, as it has, in principle, all the characteristics of a lawn mower. It is therefore a strip on the side of the body, one pair of whiskers at the mouth, no dark spot at the anal fin, and a wide mouth. Some scientists speculate that this species was introduced to the market once before, but under a different name than the mower.

Crossocheilus nigriloba

These animals will be easy to distinguish as in their case the characteristic dark stripe on the side ends in spots. When experiencing strong emotions and during sleep, the lower lobe of the caudal fin turns dark red. A fish similar to this variety, i.e. Crossocheilus burmicanus additionally, it has a bluish color at the bottom of the pectoral fins.

Claw cambodgiensis

Even though she doesn’t belong to the same family Crossocheilus, it is often sold just as a lawn mower. The fish, however, can be easily distinguished from the Siamese thick-tailed fish in that the characteristic strip on the side of the body does not extend over the entire tail, but ends at its base. You can also notice a very small mustache, as well as a bright red color of the outer lips of the animal.

Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus

The untrained eye can also mistake this species for a lawn mower. In the case of this fish, the breeder will be distinguished by red and black fins with white edges.

Lawn mowers – an aquarium that must be provided to fish

Even though mowers are quite small animals, they require quite a large tank. Here are some tips.

  1. The aquarium should be at least 120 centimeters long.
  2. The substrate should have the addition of gravel, as well as stones that will differ in size.
  3. The tank can contain decorations and plants. Mowers are fish that do not damage equipment.
  4. However, you must remember that the described creatures often stick to the bottom. Therefore, it is not worth taking their space too much.
  5. A suitable aquarium lamp will be a good choice. It promotes the formation of algae, a delicacy for the lawn mower. Fish will be able to remove them on an ongoing basis and thus have food provided.

Mowers – the aquarium and its parameters

Water with a strong current is best for a mower. In such conditions, he lives in the wild, so it is worth moving what he likes to the aquarium as well. The water should be well oxygenated and you need to change it regularly. The optimal temperature is between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius. This must be taken into account when purchasing the appropriate lamp. What should the pH be? It is best if it is around 6.5-8.0. The desired hardness is between 5 and 20 degrees dGH. It should be noted here that mower fish do not tolerate environmental changes well, so it is best to always maintain similar conditions all the time.

What to feed the mowers (fish)?

Algae will, of course, be the staple food for a mower. However, if there are not enough of them in the aquarium, it is necessary to take care of other animal food. You should also give them additives when there is a lot of algae. Mowers need a richer diet. The most important thing is to supplement with spirulina. It can be administered in the form of granules, tablets or flakes. Avoid giving your lawn mowers excess protein. Fish will not be able to metabolize it. This will cause health problems and degeneration of their internal organs.

Lawn mowers – fish that eat vegetables

Vegetables are a great food for lawnmower fish. It’s best to serve them from your own home garden. Mowers are eager to eat:

  • blanched spinach;
  • peas;
  • zucchini;
  • chopped fruit;
  • eggplant;
  • lettuce.

Lawn mowers – fish with social characteristics

The animals we describe in our article feel good in the group. In the wild, they swim in small herds of about 10 individuals. It is best to provide them with similar conditions in the aquarium. Why you shouldn’t keep there too many mowers? Fish can get into conflicts and fight with each other. Lonely animals quickly become skittish and reluctant to show themselves. It is worth noting here that mowers do not show aggression towards other species of fish. Therefore, they can complement a home multi-species aquarium, in which there will also be other creatures that will beautify the surroundings.

What is the most common behavior of a fish mower?

The Siamese Lobster Fish is a fish that has a very small and relatively poorly developed swim bladder. For this reason, it is in constant (even slight) movement. The exception is, of course, sleep. The way mowers rest is also quite characteristic. The fish lean against plants with sufficiently large and wide leaves with their pelvic fins, pectoral fins and tail. It is therefore important to provide them with this type of “infrastructure” so that they can sleep well. If it is missing, the animals will most likely rest at the bottom.

Protect the mower fish from falling out!

In addition, the tendency of these fish to jump out of the aquarium can be quite a nuisance. So you need to remember to always put on a suitable cover that will not allow them to make dangerous trips. Don’t forget that you are responsible for your aquarium creatures and must keep them safe.

Lawn mowers – fish that are extremely difficult to breed

Unfortunately, we have to disappoint those who would like to start their own mower farm. Their reproduction at home is practically impossible. These fish are kept in special breeding farms. People who run such plants provide them with special hormonal stimulation that helps the creatures to spawn. Unfortunately, the same conditions cannot be created at home. In their natural environment, mowers have no problems with producing more individuals. Breeding conditions, however, are governed by different rules.

Mower fish – price for one individual

How much do these fish cost? Mowers in pet stores cost from 5 to 10 zlotys. The most common price is PLN 8. To this small amount, you should also add the costs of purchasing the aquarium, as well as all equipment. When visiting a store or grower, the first thing you should pay attention to is whether you are actually buying a mower. These fish, as we have already mentioned, can be very similar to other species, so watch out for mistakes or dishonesty. Their big advantage, apart from their low price, is also their relatively longevity. With proper care, the species will live for about ten years.

Mowers are fish appreciated by many aquarists, both professional and amateur. They are animals that should be kept in tanks because they are extremely efficient at removing algae. Thanks to this, the owners can enjoy the beautiful appearance of the aquarium for a long time. The price of a Siamese big lip is not high. You just have to be careful not to confuse it with other species. We hope that our article will help you avoid the mistake!

Fot. aleander2137 via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0