How to Make DIY Spawning Mops for Breeding Aquarium Fish
Many aquarium fish like to lay their eggs by scattering them or sticking them onto plants and various surfaces. To protect the eggs from being eaten and improve the survival rate of baby fish, veteran breeders often make spawning mops for the fish to deposit their eggs. Unlike live aquarium plants, this artificial spawning media does not require any light or fertilizer, and they are quite easy to transport without breaking any plant leaves or roots. People even use them with livebearers (or fish that bear live young) because the many strands of the mop provide dense cover for the fry to hide between. These are the steps to make two types of spawning mop for your aquarium fish.
Instructions for Yarn Spawning mop
This popular type of spawning mop is commonly used with goldfish, rainbowfish, tetras, barbs, killifish, and more. Depending on the species you are breeding, you can make a floating mop, sinking mop, or a mop that attaches to the tank wall.
1. Gather the materials: 1. 100% acrylic yarn 2. For a floating mop, small rock (for sinking mop) or suction cup for a mop that attaches on the tank wall or bottom (for a mop with a suction cup). Hard, flat object that is the desired height of the mop (e.g., notebook, book, Blu-ray case, or piece of cardboard) 4. Scissors
1. Wrap the yarn around your notebook 40-100 times, then trim the excess.
1. Cut a 12- to 24-inch length of yarn and use it to tightly knot together the yarn strands wrapped around the notebook.
1. Slide the yarn strands off the notebook and cut the loops at the opposite end of the yarn knot. If the yarn strands are too long or uneven, trim the mop.
1. Securely tie the knot around the cork, rock or suction cup by taking the extra ends.
1. Place the mop in the aquarium by rinsing it with tap water. 2. Depending on the species, wait a few days to a couple of weeks after the fish have been spawning. Move the eggs from the mop into a container with an air stone or breeder net. Some people carry the whole spawning mop along with the eggs. Others prefer to take the eggs out with their fingers, tweezers or fingers.
Instructions for Ricefish Spawning mop
Regular yarn mops don’t work well for some species, such as the Japanese medaka or sailor ricefish. This is because the yarn strands can be too loose-flowing. Rice fish need stiffer bristles to rub against in order for the eggs to come off.
1. Gather the materials: 1. Make a pool noodle with a hole in the middle. Scotch-Brite pads (with no cleaning chemicals in them) 3. Cutlery and kitchen knife 4. Scissors
1. With a knife or a cutting board, cut a 1/2-inch circle from the pool noodle.
1. One pad can be used. Position it horizontally in landscape orientation. Starting from one of the bottom corners of the pad, make a vertical cut upwards and stop roughly 1/2 ” from the top. Make multiple vertical cuts every 1/4 ” along the bottom of the pad, thus creating the “strands” of the mop.
1. The pad should be rolled up so that the pad’s top half looks like a spiral and the bottom “strands”, like a skirt.
1. Stick the spiral end of the mop through the middle of the pool noodle disc.
1. Rinse the spawning mop without any soap and place it in the aquarium.
1. After spawning has taken place, you can move the eggs, whole spawning mop, into a separate grow-out tank, or breeder net.
All the best with your breeding endeavors. If you have hatched and raised too many fish, consider selling them to your local fish store or other fishkeepers to help support your aquarium hobby. Learn more in our article on How to Breed Aquarium Fish for Profit.