The perfect little gardener that every aquarium needs is the Lawnmower Blenny. This entertaining fish makes a nice addition to your aquarium if you need a little help keeping the algae under control. Before you go to get some, though, make sure that you learn a little more about this fish’s needs and care. If you jump right into things without doing proper research, you could end up with a huge problem on your hands, but you’ll find out why later.
The Basics of the Lawnmower Blenny
The Lawnmower Blenny’s scientific name is salarias fasciatus. They serve as part of your tank clean up crew by taking care of algae growth.
These guys are a mottled tan, and they practically blend right into their environment. They are long and slender with a single dorsal fin that runs the length of the body. The Blenny has a blunt head with bulging eyes and a flexible jaw that holds teeth that look like little combs. They also only grow to about four to six inches, meaning they are the perfect size for a home aquarium.
Meaning Behind the Name
Some other names you might know the Blenny Fish by are the Jeweled Rockskipper, Lawnmower, Blue Lawnmower, or Rock Blenny. Pretty neat alter-egos, right? Well, all of these names were earned. It could be called rock or jeweled based on its coloration. Rock skipper is because these guys like to live in rocks or hide in caves, and typically in shallow water, but they don’t always have enough food there, so to move to find more food, they skip across the substrate like a rock skipping on water.
The reasoning behind the name lawnmower is what makes these guys such good aquarium gardeners. They mainly feed on algae, scraping it right off the coral and rocks. Weeds and tall algae are not a problem when this guy is on the job.
Habits and Habitats
They are native to the tropical waters of the Pacific. This algae-eating saltwater fish likes to perch on corals and hide in caves or other nooks and crannies, grazing on the microalgae all day long. Since they mainly eat algae, they stay pretty close to the surface, where the sun shines the most. Plants don’t grow well in the dark after-all, not even underwater plants.
Now, you may be thinking Blennies sound like great additions to your aquarium. and you are probably ready to order ten of them, but there are some things you should probably know before doing that. Even though they live in groups in nature, they don’t do well in groups in captivity. Lawnmower blennies are typically peaceful, and usually, they are great tank mates. However, if another fish is similar in size to them, they can get a little aggressive. It’s best to only have one in a tank. Also, note that you should not put them with sea horses or pipefish as the Blenny tends to be aggressive towards them.
Another word of warning: These guys have a lot of energy, and as mentioned they like to skip across rocks and between tidal pools. This also means they will try and skip out of the tank, so be sure to keep them in a covered aquarium.
You should put them in a large tank with plenty of algae growth. Choose a 30-gallon tank or larger. You need to provide plenty of rocky areas and moderate to high water movement. Moderate lighting is fine. Keep the temperature around 72 to 78 degrees and the pH balance between 8.1 and 8.4.
Ideally, your tank will provide the Lawnmower Blenny with enough algae to keep it full, but sometimes the Blenny’s appetite is rather large and it eats the algae too fast, leaving nothing for it to dine on. In this case, you can feed it with algae pellets. You can also supplement with lettuce or other leafy, green vegetables chopped into tiny pieces. You should be able to notice if your Blenny is hungry because its body will start to look pinched in. It may also start eating coral or clams if you have them in your tank.
The Final Word
This is all you need to know to keep a Lawnmower Blenny in a saltwater aquarium. They are relatively easy to take care of, and since they are also fairly common, they are relatively cheap, too. Affordable and helps with the maintenance of the tank: what other reasons do you need to order one today?
I mean, come on, aren’t they adorable?