The Lawnmower Blenny: a Funny, Fascinating Fish of Unpredictable Utility

The lawnmower blenny, aka the jeweled blenny, jeweled rockskipper, or sailfin blenny (Salarias fasciatus), is commonly purchased not just for its comical behavior and only-a-mother-could-love looks, but also for the utilitarian purpose of controlling algae in marine tanks. While you can pretty much count on this droll little fish to provide interest and entertainment, its … [Read More]

What Gives When Herbivores Won’t Graze Nuisance Algae?

The practice of adding herbivorous fish and/or invertebrate species to marine aquariums for the purpose of nuisance algae control is quite commonplace. Hence the popularity of those herbivore packages known in hobby parlance as “cleanup crews,” or CUCs. But almost as common is the experience of adding a herbivorous species or CUC to eradicate algae … [Read More]

5 Ways Hobbyists Misuse Grazing Marine Snails

Of all the fascinating invertebrates available to marine aquarists, grazing snails are perhaps the most misused. Too often we treat them like expendable little lawnmowers, plopping them in our tanks with the express purpose of preventing or eradicating algae and then replenishing them as their populations inevitably wane. But if treated properly, snails can be … [Read More]

Does the Emerald Crab Earn Its Algae-Eating, Reef-Safe Reputation?

Among the various and sundry marine life commonly sold to aquarium hobbyists for utilitarian purposes is the emerald crab (Mithraculus sculptus). Oft touted for its propensity to gobble up bubble algae and other irksome algal forms, M. sculptus has become a proud, card-carrying member of many a marine aquarium “cleanup crew.” But before adding this … [Read More]