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How to Make a Spawning Mop for Fish (6 Easy Steps)

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By Lindsey Stanton


We are familiar with the expensive and latest equipment to encourage fish to spawn and provide the fry with a hiding place. This can be pricey. To make fish spawning easier for you, we will guide you on how to make a spawning mop using a new household mop.

Unfortunately, fish will eat their fry if the fry does not have enough small places to seek shelter in the aquarium, the spawning mop provides excellent hiding opportunities without the use of plants.

Most of us are unable to keep up with the changes and prices regarding fish spawning products. We have put together this article to guide you into making an affordable, DIY spawning most using materials currently in the house!

aquarium plant divider

Why Use a Fish Spawning Mop?

A spawning mop replicates the use of bushy aquarium plants in nature. It is a man-made breeding system that has the same effects a plant will provide for the breeding pair and fry.

The breeding pair of fish will lay their eggs on the ends of the mop. When the eggs hatch, the fry will have a secure place to seek shelter from their parents who will see them as a potential food source.

If the spawning mop is kept in the main aquarium, the parents are unable to swim through the bristles quick enough to catch the fry.

Image Credit: Gabor Horvath, Shutterstock

Comparing Mops to Plants for Spawn

Using plants as a hiding source for fry is tricky in the sense that the plants require daily maintenance and expensive equipment to grow the plant bushy and large enough for the fry to hide within. The bristles catch the eggs released by the fish, who will lay their eggs amongst plants in nature.

Finding plants suitable for this job takes a lot of research and time from your busy life schedule. The plants will need to be perfectly clustered and grown in such a way that is ideal for fry.

A spawning mop is found in most stores and ready to be used! We recommend a brand-new mop rather than an old one which is dirty and will kill the fry and parents.

Is Wool or Nylon the Better Alternative?

Image Credit: Gabor Horvath, Shutterstock

Mops can come with different fiber bristles, namely nylon or wool. Nylon bristles are tougher and are rough. It can be a problem for the delicate bodies of fry but is still an option. The benefit of nylon bristles is they do not absorb a large amount of water to add weight to the breeding tank.

Wool bristles are softer and clump together easily. The bristles will need to be spread in such a way to allow small fry to swim in between but not the parents.

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To complete this task, the following is required-
  • An old-school mop with dangling cords at the end
  • A square piece of cardboard
  • Scissors
  • A breeding tank with dechlorinated water

To summarise, brine shrimp are high in natural proteins, high in fat, and provide a decent amount of fiber for most species of fish.

Image Credit: Gabor Horvath, Shutterstock

Tutorial on How to Build a Fish Spawning Mop

Building your very own spawning mop for fish is doable for novice and seasoned aquarists alike.

We will provide you with a step-by-step tutorial on how you can build a fish spawning mop.
  • Step 1: Begin by snipping the bristles off a newly bought nylon or woolen mop. Make sure the length is appropriate and long enough to be tied and still have a decent length for the fry to swim through.
  • Step 2: Snip a piece of cardboard and cut 2 slits at the top and bottom.
  • Step 3: Tuck the individual strands between the slits of the cardboard. Start by winding it around the cardboard starting at the top slit and winding downwards with every strand.
  • Step 4: As you proceed to wrap the last strand, tie it together tightly, and then cut a strand that is sticking out from the top. Cut the top part of the whole winded mop.
  • Step 5: Tie the mop to a piece of polystyrene to float in the water. Another option is to use a cork. Use a leftover piece of cord to attach the mop to the floating device.
  • Step 6: Place the mop in the breeding tank. Let it absorb the water by swishing and squeezing it inside the tank. The mop should stay in the middle of the water closer to the surface.

The spawning mop is now complete!

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The spawning mop is just as effective as plants in nature. The fry will now be given a place to protect themselves from predators. We hope this article has helped you successfully create a spawning mop for your fish!

See also

Featured Image Credit: Bos11, Shutterstock

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