10 Smart Ways to Use an Aquarium Catch Cup or Specimen Container
Have you ever seen those clear rectangle boxes hanging on the outside of tanks at your local fish store? This is the aquarium specimen or catch cup. It’s one of the most versatile tools available in the fishkeeping hobby. It acts like a small, transparent bucket for observing fish, holding aquarium supplies, and a million other uses. Discover the top 10 uses for catch cups in our personal fish tanks and at our retail fish market.
Fish can sometimes be difficult to see when they are zooming about an aquarium or darting behind decorative items. To get a closer view, you should catch a group of fish with a net and place them in a water cup. The smaller space allows you to inspect the fish for disease symptoms, pick the healthiest individuals for breeding, or sort out male and female juveniles for sale. You can also use the flat, clear walls to take photos of your favorite species.
Although aquarium nets are fine for moving small numbers of fish from one tank, they can prove inefficient when you have large schools of fish to move. Your specimen container can be used as a temporary storage place until you catch all the fish. Then, move them together. You can relocate fry to a grow-out tank to prevent them from getting eaten by predators, bring pond fish indoors for the winter, or remove pest snails in one tank to feed to your pufferfish aquarium.
3. Fish Selling
If you plan on selling your fish at a fish store, fish club auction, or online, you usually need to package the animals into fish bags. Then, fill the aquarium with water. Place the fish into the specimen container. Once you have the proper number of fish you can pour them into the catch cup and seal them with rubber bands. Multiple containers can be used – one container to hold large quantities of fish, and another to separate the species and numbers for each bag.
New shrimp and fish may be used to different water parameters than you. If this is the case, you might want to slowly adjust them to your aquarium water. You can also acclimate small animals in the specimen container.
1. The fish bags can be opened and poured into a catch cup. 2. To double the water level, add aquarium water from their new homes to the catch cup. (If the water gets too high, just pour some out of the container.) 3. After 15 minutes, add additional aquarium water. 4. After 10 minutes, add aquarium water to make the water double again. 5. Place the fish in the net and add to the aquarium.
If you want to make the transition even easier, try “drip acclimation” with a length or airline tubing. You can calm fish that are running around in the catch cups by covering them with towels or darkening the room.
An air stone, check valve and airline tubing can be added to your DIY breeder box. Hang the specimen container inside the aquarium to keep it warm if needed, and add the air stone to make sure the fish get enough oxygen in the water. If you want to increase the chance that a particular male or female will mate, then place a couple of fish inside. This is a simple way to hatch fish eggs. The catch cup can be used to temporarily raise the newborn fry without fearing that they will escape with their tiny food. A clump of javamoss or other live plants can be added to provide shelter. Make sure to clean out the water with a turkey baster.
There are many situations in which you may need temporarily to separate one fish and the rest of the group. A calm and peaceful environment is helpful for female guppies or mollies who are about ready to give birth. The “birthing area” will prevent the fry being eaten by larger fish and will also help the babies hide from their hungry mothers.
You could also isolate fish with unusual symptoms or injuries. If you have a fish that is sick or injured, it’s a good idea to keep them in a container with an airstone. This will allow you to closely monitor their health and treat any problems with medication. The full article contains more information on treating fish diseases.
To ensure your fish have a wide variety of nutrients, we recommend that you feed them a variety fish foods. It can be difficult to keep all those jars and fragile packages in order. Use your catch cup as a portable food tray to carry everything as you move from tank to tank. You can freeze food, so thaw them in water and then use a pipette/turkey baster to inject the liquid into several aquariums. The same process can be used to feed live fish such as infusoria, blackworms or baby brine shrimp.
8. Water Transfers
The catch cup can be used to remove scum from aquariums or to replace water from nano tanks. You can test the water parameters by using liquid reagents. To do this, first take some tank water and fill it with liquid. Then use a pipette or a spoon to fill the test tubes. During water changes, some hobbyists will place their catch cups inside the aquarium and then stick the end of the hose or aim their Python hook into the container while refilling the fish tank. The catch cup collects the water from the faucet and gently flows out. This protects your plants and substrate.
9. Equipment Storage
Whenever using fish nets, algae scrubbers, or other tools in the aquarium, a specimen container is the perfect place to put them afterwards so they don’t drip all over the floor. They can also be used to store fish food, fertilizers and other supplies.
10. Planted Tank Maintenance
One of the best uses of specimen containers is in maintaining planted aquariums. They can be used to remove unwanted floating plants like duckweed from your aquarium. Put your stem plant trimmings into the catch cup and then replant them in their substrate.
Now that you are aware of the importance of having a specimen container, you should get the Aquarium Co-Op Catch Cup. The walls are extremely clear to allow you to see your fish and the plastic is shatter-resistant so it won’t fall if dropped. You can hang it on large fish tanks that have thick walls thanks to the extra-wide handle.