Is window cleaner fish edible? All about fish to clean windows

Cá lau kiếng có ăn được không và tại sao không nên nuôi loại cá này? - 4

The glass cleaner is a fish that is often kept in aquariums for the purpose of cleaning the tank, as they will eat debris, moss, and leftover leaves. However, raising fish or using them for food is controversial.

Follow the article below to find out. Can you eat cleaning fish? and detailed information about this fish.

About glass cleaning fish


The window cleaner is a tropical catfish, with the scientific name Hypostomus plecostomus, a species in the family Loricariidae. In foreign countries, people often call them suckermouth catfish because of their appearance, and in Vietnam, they are often called window cleaners or tank cleaners because they often clean the water tank and eat debris such as algae, green moss , etc. in the aquarium

Glass cleaner |  Chau Tong Fish Farm

The glass cleaner fish is a breed of fish imported from South America in the 1980s, then this fish was bred and developed in the country during the 1990s. Over the years, this fish has become popular and aquarists know better.

When kept in aquarium fish, glass cleaner fish will be quite modest in size and weight. However, while living in the wild, they can grow up to 70 cm long and weigh several kilograms. In terms of lifespan, this fish can live for 10-15 years.

At first glance, the window cleaner fish will be dark brown or black, light brown or gray or dark brown, etc. These days, there are also some fish that have easier-to-see colors that are added to the tank by the owner. to keep the room clean, rich and lively.

The skin of the tank cleaner is usually quite tough, rough and rough, and can also be combined with different stripes or patterns. Its body is flat and flat, the dorsal fin is upright and the pectoral fin extended, and the caudal fin is small and thick. The mouth of the fish that cleans the glass has many different shapes.

Are window cleaner fish edible and why shouldn't they be farmed?  - 4

Personality traits




Glass cleaner fish generally spawn in tanks or in earthen ponds to burrow and lay eggs. At each spawning stage, tank cleaners can lay up to 5,000 eggs. The percentage of fry at birth and alive is around 70% and even without food for about 1 month.



Window cleaner fish are fish that have the ability to reproduce quickly and strongly. They can be found anywhere such as rivers, lakes, ponds, streams,… and they create a great impact on the ecosystem of the area. Therefore, this fish has become an invasive and harmful species for the environment.

Due to their tough skin and sharp scales, they easily break people’s fishing nets when caught by mistake.

Are window cleaner fish edible and why shouldn't they be farmed?

Glass cleaner fish, if they grow at too fast a rate, can disrupt the environment. They feed on algae, algae,.. and cause other fish species to lose their food source and quickly run out.

Many ordinary people, when they catch this fish by mistake, often throw it all over the place, making it even more powerful. Therefore, it is necessary for anglers to take active measures to limit the growth of this fish.

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The food of the window cleaner fish is mainly algae, moss and long-lived algae. This fish is considered an expert in cleaning the walls and the bottom of the tank due to its amazing absorption capacity. Sometimes they can eat the mucus that accumulates at the bottom of the tank and some insects, crustaceans or plant remains that help keep the environment cleaner.

Popular types of glass cleaners in our country


the common ladybug


The ladybug is usually the most popular window cleaner fish in our country today, its size varies from medium to large and many can weigh up to 3 kg.

Are window cleaner fish edible and why shouldn't they be farmed?  - 5

This fish is omnivorous, preferring to live in calm waters and can change its body to adapt. Therefore, when breeding these fish, you will often find them swimming to the bottom of the tank to eat tank slime and algae.

butterfly fish


This is a glass cleaner fish with a flat body and a conspicuous outer shell. They often cling to aquarium glass to suck up moss and slime around the tank. This fish is small in size, so it is very suitable for keeping in aquariums.

Are window cleaner fish edible and why shouldn't they be farmed?  - 6

In fact, in the wild, the butterfly fish usually hangs from the cliffs in the streams, areas of rivers with strong currents to eat the mosses that grow in it.

panga fish


This type of window cleaner fish has a foreign name, Zebra Pleco, also known as zebrafish cleaning the tank.

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They are quite small in size, just a few centimeters, and are called by our people as panther fish or river fish, etc. This fish is priced quite high in the market today because it is rare, so only people who specialize in breeding ornamental fish can invest to buy it.

rat fish


The ratfish is a window cleaner fish with a small, colorful body and beard. There are black stripes or dots on the body of the fish that appear on a silvery or bluish-gray background.

Are window cleaner fish edible and why shouldn't they be farmed?  -8

Ratfish usually live in the middle and bottom layers of the aquarium and eat the leftovers, algae that accumulate in the tank. They are quite benign species, so they can live in harmony without affecting other fish.

Is window cleaner fish edible?


Most people hearing this question think that glass cleaner fish is inedible. Because this fish has a sharp appearance, hard and rough skin and very little meat. Also, with its appearance, it can make many people feel unappetizing, leading to not wanting to eat this fish.

Dr. Nguyen Kiem Son, an expert from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, said that the body structure of the glass cleaner fish is mainly bone and hard shell, the fin and outer shell are quite sharp, so it is difficult to convert them. in food. In addition, the amount of nutrients in its meat is very limited and poor, so it is not a suitable food to supplement human nutrition.

Are window cleaner fish edible and why shouldn't they be farmed?  - 3

However, in fact, glass cleaner fish can still be eaten. Deciding whether or not to eat this fish depends on individual preferences. In particular, in the southwestern regions, window cleaner fish is also considered a delicious “specialty” that those who have the opportunity to eat once will remember forever.

People can process this fish into different attractive dishes such as: Lemongrass Steamed Fish, Beer Steamed Fish, Grilled Fish, etc. Many people find the taste of this fish to be quite chewy, sweet and delicious. what chicken.

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So, to the question “Is window cleaner fish edible?”, it’s absolutely yes. However, due to its hostile appearance, most people are still afraid to eat this fish.

Not only do they make food for people, some ranching households take advantage of window cleaner fish to make food for animals. Thanks to the fast reproduction rate and low feed cost, this fish can be a food that helps people save a lot of money.

Some plates with window cleaner fish


Grilled Glass Cleaner


To make this dish, you can follow the recipe as follows:

Step 1: First, do the fish processing step. Remove the guts, gills, and fins from the fish. You can also remove the outer skin of the fish so that the fish can absorb the spices more easily. At the same time, it is necessary to wash the glass cleaner fish.

Step 2: Marinate the fish. Prepare lemongrass and chili, then mix with a little soy sauce and seasoning powder. Then marinate the mixture evenly over the glass cleaner fish. You need to leave for half an hour so that the fish absorbs the spices.

Step 3: After marinating the fish, prepare the charcoal stove. Or you can also use an electric grill to grill fish. Place the fish on the grill, being careful to turn it while grilling.

Step 4: When the meat of the fish has turned yellow, it means that the meat is cooked. At this time, prepare some greener vegetables, cucumbers… to enjoy with grilled glass-cleaning fish.

3 Ways to Make Fresh, Rustic, and Delicious Grilled Fish Cleaner at Home

Steamed Crystal Clean Fish with Lemongrass


To make steamed fish with lemongrass, you can follow the following recipe:

Step 1: First, prepare the fish. Remove the guts, gills, and fins from the fish. The outer part of the skin of the fish should also be removed so that the meat of the fish more easily absorbs the spices. At the same time, wash the glass cleaner fish. To be more careful, you can boil the fish with boiling water first.

Step 2: The next step is to wash the lemongrass, then crush the lemongrass body and cut it into pieces. As for the lemongrass leaves, combine them to steam with the fish. The remaining ingredients are garlic and chili, wash and chop.

Step 3: Next, put some cooking oil in the pot. Next, add the minced lemongrass and garlic from step 2 into the pan. Then put about 1 liter of water in the pot, use the lemongrass leaves and the fish to steam together.

Step 4: Cook the fish for about 20 minutes. You can add salt, seasoning powder, sugar… or seasoning to your liking.

Steamed fish window cleaner with lemongrass, a drinkers favorite

Some notes on processing


Although it is possible to eat window cleaner fish, in the process of processing and eating it, you need to keep a few things in mind:

The body of the window cleaner fish has a lot of mucus and has a bad smell, so it can be uncomfortable for those who have never eaten this type of fish. Therefore, before cooking, use boiling water to clean the fish first.

Fish scales are quite hard and difficult to eat. Therefore, use a knife to remove clean crusts first, and then cut and process food, avoiding crusts that can scratch and damage the oral mucosa.

You can combine the processing of fish with spices such as chili, lemongrass, papaya, green banana, … to create more aroma for the dish.

The above article is information to help readers answer “Can you eat cleaning fish?“. In general, this fish can be eaten, however, keep in mind some precautions when eating this fish to avoid unfortunate consequences for the digestive system.