The cleaner fish, also known as the scavenger fish, is not a well-known animal and often receives less praise than other similar colourful and tropical fish. He is considered a sort of vacuum cleaner of the seabed, the jack of all trades of the aquarium. However, he too needs special attention. Let’s get to know him in greater depth.
Every self-respecting aquarium must have one or two cleaner fish, whose task is to maintain the aquarium floor clean, freeing the tank of all the leftover food given to the other fish and also of other small organisms. However, contrary to what you might think, these fish are not capable of removing all of the waste substances, like faeces and floating leaves, which is a job we must take on ourselves.
Furthermore, most people are convinced that these little fish are able to feed themselves and survive thanks to what they ingest when cleaning the tank alone, but this is not so: they are, after all, living creatures that also have their own needs and they require specific food, otherwise they risk falling ill.
The most common scavenger fish for aquariums are:
1) the “glass cleaners” or those fish that have a suckermouth, which allows them to stick to stones, objects and, of course, glass too. The Ancistrus are the best-known specimens. They are particularly attracted to seaweed and have a flat body, from which well-developed fins stick out, and a large head adorned with strange extensions;
2) the “floor cleaners” are much calmer and spend most of their lives resting on the floor of the aquarium, scouring it constantly, like the Corydoras. This species lives in waters with temperatures no higher than 25-26°C and it is a fish that loves being with others of its own kind, so it is essential to find him a friend of his own species.
All the cleaner fish carry out a unique role in maintaining the perfect health of the aquarium’s ecosystem. However, it is fundamental not to neglect them and to indulge their needs, both with regard to food and to the temperature of the water, by trying to regulate it based on their requirements.
Before taking one home, it is very important to obtain information on how to handle the integration of this fish into the tank, in order to avoid unpleasant incidents with the other residents. For what concerns space, these animals with fins are not particularly demanding, but it is nevertheless important to choose an aquarium that is not too small: those in the Dubai range, for example, are excellent, because they guarantee that all the fish will have plenty of freedom of movement. They are equipped with a Bluwave internal filter, an integrated three-phase, mechanical, biological and absorbent filtering system that ensures pure, crystal-clear water. We mustn’t leave all the “dirty work” to our cleaner fish, so let’s choose the right aquarium!