Salarius fasciatus - Lawnmower or Algae Blenny
Family - Blennidae
Order - Perciformes
Length - 1 to 5 inches
Minimum Tank Size - 30 gallons
Recognition - Grey body with large, circular eyes and dark or white markings. May also have small "antennae" on the head.
Habitat - Tropical saltwater in shallow reefs
Behavior - Herbivore
Residency - Pacific and Indian Oceans
Life Span - Up to 10 years in captivity
Of Special Note - The lawnmower or algae blenny is named for its ability to "mow down" hair algae that can infest aquariums. Once introduced to an aquarium, this species will do an excellent job of controlling the growth of said algae, while providing great entertainment at the same time. This species is very popular with aquarists and can be kept in a tank of 30 gallons or more.
This species should not be kept with other blennies since it can be territorial and attack them. It is difficult if not impossible to breed this species in captivity and is best kept singly. This species enjoys having plenty of rock to hide behind and explore.
The lawnmower blenny is not aggressive towards tankmates and is well equipped with camoflouge. The skin coloration of this species allows it to blend in with the rockwork, making it difficult to see unless you are looking for it. It also has little antenna-like growths on its head that appear to help it break up its outline.
I recently purchased one of these and it has been a lot of fun watching it in the aquarium. It is a very weird fish and will often hide when it sees humans. However, it is easy to observe it sneaking out of the rockwork to munch on some algae and perch on the rocks. When I see mine swimming, it reminds me of the Creature from the Black Lagoon because of its bizarre movements. When it eats, it uses a very violent lunging motion, which is rather interesting to watch as well.
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