Freshwater Fish and Resources
© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008
, J. Atchison
Most people who will read this will be planning on spawning one of the hundreds of types, species and varieties of plant spawning Killifish. Plenty of other uses can be found for this device besides the Killifish spawning medium. We use them with livebearer, providing cover for both females and fry. We have used with with labirynth fish, providing cover for the females as well. Some Corydoras will spawn in a mop and some routinely spawn behind mops hung on the side of the tank.
To make a mop is easier to show than to explain. I will attempt to show the process and provide a minimum of anecdotal dialog to explain. However, a material and tools list is included at the end of the article.
We use mops without a floatation device to provide cover in fry tanks as well as cover for females in spawning tanks of any number of fish, including non-plant spawning Killies. We like to use the mops for cover rather than plants because the plants break down in the condition we keep the fish in and when the plant breaks down, the water quality goes down also. Some of the fish we keep are maintained in water that has about 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon added as a preventative measure for fungus control. The added salt has seemed to make the plants even more likely to break down in our conditions and also to kill the snails that we would normally use to take care of the extra foods on the bottom of the fry containers.
So what is it about our conditions that makes the plants break down? The fry and some of the breeding adults are kept in darkened shoeboxes...not total dark, but just enough so that even the most hardy of the low level light requiring plants don't do too well. We use this technique for Apistogramma fry, Guppy fry, Gudgeons, Gobies, and of course Killifish. Although we use the shoebox concept for Corydoras, we don't use the mop idea. Corydoras get caught up in the yarn too frequently.
Wrap the yarn around the book approximately 40 to 50 times. Thicker mops are a little more effective than thinner mops.
Tie a short piece of yarn around the wound bundle in the middle of one of the book's face covers. This knot should be sturdy. We tie it twice. Leave the ends of the now knotted piece dangling.
Cut the wrapped and tied yarn from the book by cutting on the opposite side of the wrapped and tied bundle...as near exactly opposite the knot as possible
Gather up the yarn in one hand and with another piece of yarn, wrap the bundle approximately 5-6 times about 3/4 inch from the knotted end, forming a "head" on the mop.
Tie the wrapping off with a good knot or two and you're almost done with the mop
You can now make a decision to make this creation into a floating mop for those fish which spawn near the surface or into a sinking mop for those fish that spawn on the bottom of the water column or to simply use the sinking mop for cover.
Attaching the cork (or other similar floating device) can be done in several ways. By simply tying the mop head on you eliminate the need for more tools. In the beginning I felt that I needed to drive a piece of yarn through the cork with a stiff needle and attach the cork with the yarn.
Trim the bottom of the mop so that all of the lengths are approximately the same length. This is strictly optional. We just like to be a little neat.
Boil the mop. Some of the die that may come from the mop during the boiling process is pretty nasty stuff. Some of the brands will bleed lots of die, some less. If you find a brand that bleeds less, use it. We boil our mops for half a day. We like to change the water about half way through the process. Rinse the mop after boiling and you're ready to use the mop. We make a couple of dozen at a time to that we have spare ones for emergencies.
Synthetic yarn with a color fast die
We get about a dozen mops per skein of yarn
A wine bottle cork (or equivalent)
A pair of scissors
A heavy duty needle (optional)
A pair of pliers (optional)
A book of the proper dimensions (total circumference of 16 inches or so)