Is Your Pool Stagnant? Bring in the Janitor Fish

An interesting little tale found in the Palm Beach Post

Sign _ pool cleaning fish photo copyright Palm Beach Post

Wellington officials are installing catfish from the Amazon in the swimming pools of foreclosed houses to see whether the 18-inch fish, called Pterygoplichthys and commonly known as ‘plecos,’ will be a cost-effective, eco-friendly method of cleaning stagnant pools.

Most bottom feeders don’t make it past the guard gate. But Amazonian catfish, fashionably leopard-spotted and wearing fins as flamboyant as pool party caftans, are living the good life in several upscale Wellington neighborhoods hard-hit by foreclosures, including Olympia and Versailles.

For those not familiar with Palm Beach County, Wellington is a town in the western part of the county that is well known amongst international equestrian circles for its polo tourneys and horse shows.

The nice kicker to the tale of the janitor fish – the scheme is saving the town several thousand dollars

With nearly 9 percent of the village’s homes in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure – the highest rate in Palm Beach County – the village is struggling to keep up with the maintenance of vacant properties. Pools behind foreclosed houses have become swamps, overflowing with stagnant rainwater .

The fish are $15 each, plus the cost of delivery and installation. [b]A year of pleco pool service will cost the village about $700, Mitchell estimates, compared with $7,000 a year for chemical treatment.[/b] The costs, in the form of liens, must be paid by a home’s new owners. Keeping liens low may help foreclosed homes sell more quickly.

Wonder what they taste like?

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