Saturday, January 12, 2019

3 Ways to Catch Aquarium Fish

Need to catch some fish from your aquarium but you’re dreading it because of how fast and wily they are? Keeping watching as I follow the preferred methods of 3 famous FishTubers to see which one works the best!

Recently I recently decided to rehome all the fish in my 20-gallon community tank, so I wanted to try some different techniques that I’ve seen online on how to catch aquarium fish. In today’s line-up, we'll be comparing the methods used by Lucas Bretz from LRB Aquatics versus Rachel O’Leary (aka Msjinkzd) versus Cory McElroy of Aquarium Co-Op.

Lucas Bretz vs. Rachel O'Leary vs. Cory McElroy
Lucas vs. Rachel vs. Cory – Who has the best fish catching technique?

Method 1: Amateur Hour

Before we begin, let’s first see how most people catch fish – using a net and dumb luck. If you’ve got derpy, slower fish like cory catfish, this method will probably do just fine. However, if you’re trying to catch fast, little fish like green neon tetras, I’m telling you right now that you ain’t never catching nuthin’. Especially in an aquarium that’s heavily planted or has lots of décor as obstacles.

catching aquarium fish with a net in a planted tank
There's no way I'm going to catch those zippy, nano fish!

Method 2: Ninja Mode

So I was watching Lucas from LRB Aquatics who boasts a fish room of 200+ tanks, and he mentioned catching fish at night when they’re sleepy. The two bonus tips he also utilizes are 1) moving slowly as to not freak the fish out and 2) bringing two nets so you can use the little net to corral the fish into the bigger net. I didn’t have great luck with this method since my cory catfish were already awake at 6 a.m. when I tried to catch them, so maybe next time I'll need to try 4 a.m. 😩

Lucas Bretz using two nets to catch rainbowfish
Lucas using two nets to catch rainbowfish (source)

Method 3: Shotgun Approach

Rachel O’Leary of imports and sells nano fish for a living, so she has lots of practice netting them out. When she’s moving fish during summer tubbing, I see her lower the water level, remove all the plants and hardscape in the way, and then just sweep a large net back and forth in the remaining water. I didn’t feel like tearing down my aquascape, so I settled for just lowering the water.

Rachel O'Leary clearing out a tank
Rachel O'Leary clearing out a tank (source)

I think this method is great if you need to move all the fish in a tank, but it’s not as useful if you want to catch 1 specific nano fish. (Although I suppose you could always remove all the fish into a smaller container and then pick out your intended target.) Also, bonus tip: don’t lower the water too much or your fish may have problems swimming into the net.

Method 4: The Trapdoor

Cory Elway from Aquarium Co-Op owns his own fish store, and he has a very effective fish catching tutorial. Rather than using two nets, he recommends using one large net and your hand to corral the fish, since your hand can move much faster than a net with lots of water resistance. All you do is set up the net in a corner with one end open like a trap, slowly guide the fish in with your hand, and then close the net so that the fish are sealed inside against the tank wall. Using this technique, I was amazingly able to scoop out two specific green neon tetras that were diseased and needed to be treated.

Catching green neon tetras using the trapdoor method

Last Ditch Effort: Combining All Methods

However, when I had to catch all 14 green neon tetras in the tank, I got every single one of them except one particularly sneaky tetra, who was just impossible to nab. Eventually, I had to combine Rachel’s and Cory’s methods. I lowered the water, disassembled almost my entire aquascape (😭), and used the trapdoor technique.

Also, I added my own little twist and enlisted the help of my husband and eagle-eyed son as extra sets of eyes to spot the fish. From above, these little stinkers are dark grey and are invisible on my black substrate. Together, the Gamer’s Wife family proceeded to defeat the last remaining green neon tetra so he could join his brothers and sisters!

Personally, I like Cory’s fish store method because it’s highly effective and usually doesn’t involve removing decor, but as you can tell with the tiny green neon tetras, there was no way I was going to catch that last one without combining all available techniques.

Question of the Day

What’s your best trick for catching fish? Comment below to share your experiences because I’d love to hear them . Take time to enjoy your aquariums and I’ll see you next time!

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