How to Catch Aquarium Fish Like a Pro
One of the more frustrating parts of the aquarium hobby is trying to catch or move your fish. You can chase slippery fish around with a small net and tons of aquarium decorations. We’ve been in the business of selling aquarium fish for many years so we know how to manage fish. This is our favorite method for netting fish. It not only saves you time, but it also prevents your fish getting stressed.
Before you get started…
There are many aquarium nets on the market, and not all of them are the same. This is why it is important to choose the right tool for your job. Check the net for any holes or rips that would allow the animals to slip out. Select a larger net that covers more surface area and makes it easier to capture your target. Think about the kind of fish that your net will catch. To prevent shrimp and baby fry from escaping, use a net made with fine mesh. For faster fish, such as rainbowfish, African cichlids or loaches, you may need an aquarium net that has a coarse mesh or small holes. This will reduce drag through the water, which allows you to move more quickly if needed.
Aquarium Co-Op fish nets are designed with coarse mesh for reduced water drag, strong carbon fiber handles that won’t flex, and no metal parts to eliminate rusting.
The easiest way to catch aquarium fish
Let’s now discuss the correct technique. Keep calm and composed. Fish will be more likely to stress if you get too excited.
1. You should not be a tower or stand over the fish tank. Some fish may consider you a predator and fear you. A stool will allow you to reach the tank from the ground if the tank is very low. 2. Keep the net closer to your net rim, and not at its end. This position will give you greater control and allow for faster movements. 3. Set up a trap to ensure that the net faces one side of the tank. 1. This example uses the left corner. Place the net so that the right edge is flush against the glass, and the bottom against the ground. 2. This arrangement creates a gap at the net’s left edge so that fish can swim in it. 3. If it’s more convenient, you can also use large pieces from fish tank decorations to set your trap.
To set the trap, place the net in the front left corner and hold the right side against the tank wall. Fish can only enter from the left side.
1. Because a fish net tends to be slower than your hand, the key is to use one of your hands to “chase” the fish into the trap while the net stays mostly fixed in place. 1. With your fingers extended to look larger, place your hand in water and gently move the fish around the aquarium. 2. The sweep ends. Move your hand towards the tank’s left side so that the fish get into the net. 3. You will have to hold your hand higher in the water if you have a tall aquarium. This will prevent fish from jumping off the top edge.
One hand holds the net handle, while the other uses the other to move behind the net and sweep fish from one side to the next. When the fish reach the aquarium’s left wall, move your hand towards its front corner.
1. Once the fish have entered the net, close the trap so that the left edge is flat against the front window.
Once you have placed the desired fish in the net, close it so that the net edge is completely flush with the front wall.
1. The net should contain the desired fish, while the unwanted fish can be let loose. 1. Move the fish into the net. Place your hand against the glass to cause the desired fish to swim further into the mesh. If necessary, gently shuffle the net side to side so that they are tucked away. 2. Lift the net rim slightly away from the glass (in a corner of the net that is furthest away from the desired fish) so that you can release the unwanted fish. 3. If the fish, including unwanted ones, keep swimming further into the net you can push them out with your finger or hand.
In the above case, we would like to keep the powder-blue dwarf gourami and release the red platy. We opened the right side net slightly and gently guided the platy out with our hands.
1. Keep the net in the water for as long possible. 1. Avoid rotating the net horizontally when removing the fish from the water. It can cause panic and increase the chances that they will jump. 2. Instead, you should pull the net straight vertically up out of the water. This causes the mesh of the net to drop down, trapping the fish. 3. The more you raise the net into the water, the more afraid the fish will become. This makes it more difficult to catch them.
Slide the fish net vertically from the water, so it is flush against the tank wall as long as you can. This causes the net mesh of the fish net to drop down, trapping them in it and decreasing their chances of escape.
A video of how we catch fish in our fish store is provided to help you better understand the process.
To make it easier to net your fish tanks, remove any ornaments and hardscape. This will allow you to have more room to move. You can lower the water level to a few inches if you have a planted tank. This will prevent the fish from swimming over the net. Last but not least, make sure to get the aquarium net that is best for you.