Leather Made of Janitor Fish Skin
In ancient times, animal skin has been used by our ancestors as their reliable clothing for cold climates. The time is evolving; many ideas came out for where to get other sources of leather since the usage of animal fur and skins is against the animal welfare law for some countries, especially if the animal is an endangered species. Many manufacturers are seeking for other alternatives that can be used as Leather. On the other hand, Janitor fish is considered a pest because it brings imbalance to the ecosystem in some parts of the world, especially in the Philippines. Considering Janitor fish as pest, we can benefit from a pest by making its skin into leather. Janitor fish or the scientifically known as Hypostomus plecostomus is also commonly called Suckerfish, Sucker mouth Catfish or Pleco. Janitor fishes feed on algae, aquatic weeds, small crustaceans and other aquatic creatures. Moreover, janitor fishes would easily adapt in an environment where there is food. These fishes are peaceful in nature, thus, in an aquarium set-up; they can live with other fishes but are aggressive with fishes of the same kind. It was called such because of its sucking-like mouth. This specie originated from the Tropical Central America and South America. It usually dwells in fresh running waters and salty waters of river mouths. This specie is of no value as food, yet it is in demand in the aquarium industry in United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and even in the Philippines. .
Here in the Philippines it is widely known as the Janitor Fish. It earned its name when it was first introduced here as an aquarium pet. It is usually seen in the sides of fish tanks sucking the growing algae. In the late 90’s, Marikina River was teeming with several freshwater species, some of which are the tilapia, carp, catfish, mudfish, and golden apple snail. Fishermen survived with just fishing in this river because of its abundance of fishes. .
But for quite a time now, this river is encountering a huge depletion because of the rapid growth of Janitor Fish. This causes much problem amongst the City Officials and the fisher folks. The janitor fish invasion was believed to have started with the sudden outbreak of this specie from their breeding pens in Laguna de Bay and have traveled from there to the river. Another root of this was those aquarists, aquarium enthusiasts, who are already tired of taking care of their janitor fish just releases them in the open waters, in this case, in Marikina River. Ever since, fishermen had problems with their catch since janitor fishes had outnumbered the species native to the river.
It was unlike before where the river was rich with fishes like tilapia, martiniko gurame, ayungin and biya. One reason for this is that the janitor fish doesn’t only compete with the food these other species eat but also suck the eggs of these fishes. Another reason is that the spiny and tough body of the janitor fishes bruise other fish species when the two get contact. This kills the fish. These fishes also contribute to the murky river in Marikina because these species are mud dwellers, thus causes commotion in the mud under water.
Janitor fishes create holes in the banks as their hatching area for their eggs. Eventually, after these eggs hatch, the seedlings leave the hole. Once a certain area in the bank has lots of holes then there is a higher tendency for this area to collapse. This is called an outfall. If outfalls would continue, the width of the river might increase and the lanes built near the banks would eventually fall down. Janitor Fish is a fast multiplying specie that can last 10-15yrs. currently, it is infesting the water systems in the Philippines. The most famous of which is the Marikina River. The presence of this specie has greatly...
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