THE RIGHT AND WRONG WAY TO CATCH FISH

The Right and Wrong Way to Catch Fish
Updated
Stop chasing your fish around the tank with a net and learn the right and wrong way to catch aquarium fish!
Have you ever experienced the frustration of trying to catch a fish in a net who simply does not want to be caught? You wouldn’t be an aquarium hobbyist if you hadn’t. There are many occasions when it may become necessary to remove one or more fish from the tank but sometimes the task of actually catching your fish can be a headache. In this article you will learn about the dos and don’ts for netting aquarium fish as well as some of the reasons why it might be necessary to remove fish from the tank.
 

The Dos and Don’ts of Netting Fish

How does your typical method for trying to catch aquarium fish go? Do you chase the fish around the tank with the net or do you try to force him into a corner? If you have large décor items or aquarium plants in your tank, having to maneuver around them can be very difficult and frustrating. It is also worth noting that the more long and drawn-out the process becomes, the more stressful it can be for your fish! When your fish become stressed it actually depresses their immune system and puts them at risk for disease. Below you will find some simple tips for catching your fish quickly in a net:

  • Place the net in the tank and move it slowly around without disturbing your fish to get them used to it being there for a minute or two – when the fish you want approaches the net, simply scoop him up slowly and remove him from the tanks.

  • Try placing some sinking pellets or a wafer in the net and hold it in the middle of the tank – when the fish you want comes to eat the food, maneuver the net gently so he can swim into it to get the food then lift him out of the tank.

  • Use the net to herd your fish into a corner and try to trap him against the wall of the tank or against a tank decoration – if you can’t get him on the first or second try, wait a little bit for him to calm down before trying again or move on to another method.

  • If you are also performing a water change when you need to remove a fish, wait until the water level in the tank is lowered so your fish don’t have as many options to escape the net – they can still swim around it but they are unlikely to jump over it.

  • Take two nets and place one in the tank and use the second net to herd the fish you want into the other net – choose a net with coarse mesh because it moves faster through the water, giving you the maneuverability you need.

These are just a few of the many things you can try to catch your fish quickly and safely in a net. Just be sure that you do not catch or remove your fish from the tank more often than you absolutely need to. There are, however, several occasions when it might be necessary to remove your fish. For example, if one or more of your fish starts to display signs of illness you may want to remove the affected fish to a quarantine tank for treatment. If you have purchased new fish, you’ll need to quarantine them for 2 weeks before adding them to the tank and, when it is time, it is best to net the fish rather than pouring them into the tank along with some of the other tank water. You might also need to quarantine one of your fish if it is being bullied or being a bully, or if he seems injured or particularly stressed and needs some time to recover.
 

Tips for Creating a Quarantine Tank

Whether you have one fish or one hundred, it is always a good idea to have a permanent quarantine tank set up and running. A quarantine tank is also sometimes called a hospital tank and all it requires is a separate tank that can be used to temporarily house tank in habitants. The quarantine tank does not need to be as large as your maintain, though it should be an absolute minimum of 10 gallons with 20 to 30 gallons being ideal. The easiest way to set up a quarantine tank is to purchase a 20- or 30-gallon aquarium kit that comes with the basics such as a tank heater, filter, and hood light as well as some necessary supplies like water conditioner and a water test kit.

The important thing to remember about a quarantine tank is that it needs to mimic the conditions in your main tank as closely as possible – this will reduce the stress for your fish when you move them from one tank to another. It should be fairly easy to maintain close to identical water conditions in each tank as long as you use the same tap water and water conditioner. The water quality in your quarantine tank may actually be higher than in your main tank because it will be running without fish a lot of the time – this is a benefit because you want sick fish to be in a clean tank so they can recover more quickly. Just be sure that the tank is fully cycled before you try to use it.

Another important thing to think about with your quarantine tank is filtration. Filtration is essential for high water quality and that is important for relieving stress and speeding recovery in sick fish. However, you do not want your aquarium filter system to produce water currents that are too strong for your sick fish to fight against and if you have to use your quarantine tank to raise fry you don’t want to run the risk of your fry being sucked up a filter intake tube. To solve these problems, many aquarium hobbyists use sponge filters in their quarantine tanks. A sponge filter provides both mechanical and biological filtration which is all that a quarantine tank really needs – if you dose the tank with any medications you would have to remove chemical filter media like activated carbon anyway. Sponge filters also provide gentle filtration that doesn’t produce much suction or current.

Now that you understand the right way to catch your fish and the reasons why you might have to, the benefits of having a permanent quarantine tank setup should be obvious. You may not need to use your quarantine tank very often but, when you need it, you will be glad that it is already set up and completely ready to use. 

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