Habitat for
Cleaner Fish

The Natural Environment for Cleaner Fish

Cleaner Fish

Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) and ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta) are commonly used as cleaner fish in salmon aquaculture. Both fish species can efficiently eat lice of the salmon, however, keeping cleaner fish healthy and getting them to thrive in the salmon cages is a challenge.

Shelters are necessary in the cages to provide livelihood for the cleaner fish. AkvaNest is a natural choice and a sustainable solution to enhance animal welfare in the aquaculture cages and it is a good way to minimize the use of plastic in the aquaculture cages.

Seaweed – The Natural Solution

AkvaNest is a living shelter for cleaner fish. It is made of seaweed and offers an alternative to the traditional plastic-based shelters. AkvaNest provides a natural seaweed habitat for the cleaner fish inside the salmon cages and with AkvaNest the risk of releasing micro plastic into the environment is minimized.

The shelter has been tested in the Faroese salmon aquaculture industry and the results are promising. The AkvaNest attracts the cleaner fish and it is a natural place for them to stay and the animal welfare is much improved with AkvaNests in the cages. Results so far indicate that the mortality of the cleaner fish is lowered, less bruises are on the skin and more food is in their stomachs.


The AkvaNest is a sustainable, carbon neutral and natural choice of shelter for cleaner fish. The risk and when the AkvaNest has served it’s shelter purpose it can be transformed into energy through biogas production.

A few words from our customers

We have used AkvaNest on several of our aquaculture location and the results are promising. Underwater recordings show that the lumpfish seek towards the AkvaNest and it seems natural for them to stay there. We also have some indication that the mortality of the lumpfish in the cages is lowered with fully functioning AkvaNest
Martin Luther
Product Designer at Uber.INC
Marner Nolsøe
Veterinerian, Bakkafrost
Our research shows a significant correlation between seaweed growth on the pens and bruises on the lumpfish skin and there is also significant correlation between seaweed growth on pens and empty lumpfish stomachs. The more seaweed growth there is on the pens the less bruises on the lumpfish skin and fever empty lumpfish stomachs. Using AkvaNest is an additional way to introduce seaweed into the salmon cages and to offer the lumpfish a natural habitat to thrive in.
Martin Luther
Product Designer at Uber.INC
Esbern Jóannes Patursson
Biological development, Hiddenfjord