Jump to content

Catching a fish in a heavily planted tank - Any Tips?


Recommended Posts

I am trying to catch a fish that needs to be moved from a heavily planted 20G tank.  I've tried netting him several times without success.  There are too many places for him to hide, and I don't want to pull out/damage plants in the process When I feed, there are too many fish in one spot and I can't isolate the one I want.  Cursing at the fish hasn't worked either.  

Does anyone have any tips or tricks for catching a fish in a tank with lots of hiding places?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several techniques but most do involve some cussing at some point.  I like fish traps but this can have variable success depending on the species you’re trying to catch and the other species in the tank.  The right bait is important as well as being able to hold it at the right level in the tank if you aren’t catching a bottom dweller.  They must still be attended and never left in the tank for hours without checking them.  Do NOT fall asleep and leave the trap in overnight.  Ask me how I know.  😢 

Some use a small net or hand to scoot the fish into a larger, stationary net.  Some use a clear container to “receive” the scooted fish, some use a large colander or strainer and coax the fish into it, then just lift.  Locating them with a flashlight after lights out, then catching them also seems to be popular.  I suspect if there was one perfect way for every species we would all be using that one.you may have to adapt for the species of fish you’re trying to catch.  Let us in on the species and we might be able to give better advice.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My go to is to make a trap out of a vitamin bottle and a sandwich baggie.

The vitamin bottles work well cuz they're usually very dark, like a hiding place. Then I cut a small corner off a baggie and push that part a couple inches in to the bottle. Then rubber band the rest of the baggie around the outside. So it's like a little lobster trap. Kinda.

You'll catch lots of fish, so it helps to put it somewhere the fish you're looking to catch likes to go. Put a little food in there. It'll probably take a few tries but it's worked for me.

Unless it's a placo. Then I just use a piece of zucchini with a net under it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It can be easier if you're doing a water change at the same time. Less volume for the fish to run around in.

As others have said. Use your hand to slowly scare them into the net. I like the coop nets for this because they are black and a deeper cut. The fish seem to mistake them for a cave to hide in.

I have some pygmy kuhli loaches that are a horrible pain to catch. I have to trap them or basically disassemble the tank.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Using a large net in one corner and having a smaller net to chase has worked best for me (as mentioned above). I had a pea puffer that I had to move out of a heavily planted 20 gal and it was awful. The whole time I'm worry about stressing out all my other fish as I try to catch the trouble maker. 🙄 How did go?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have come to depend on what I call the zen method. I dial up a podcast or a youtube video, pull up a chair, and sit motionless with the net in the water about 1.5-2 inches from the front glass for however long it takes for the fish I am after to swim between the net and the glass. I tell myself it might take the whole hour, and I'm down for that.

Then it usually takes less than five minutes and he swims up and I nab him. I guess saying "It's okay if this takes an hour" is what makes it seem quick when it takes less than that, and fewer other fish are scared in the process. Of course this won't work with a hiding kind of fish, only with the kind that will eventually bumble around the tank looking for things to do.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Planted or not, the best way I've always caught fish is to go incredibly slow. I know everyone else always says go slow, but I mean slower than slow. 
 

i put the net in the tank, and hold it there for a few minutes. Let the fish get used to it being in there. 
 

after that, just move like a sloth. Always aim for getting it close to a wall, vs a corner 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/22/2022 at 5:24 PM, PineSong said:

I have come to depend on what I call the zen method. I dial up a podcast or a youtube video, pull up a chair, and sit motionless with the net in the water about 1.5-2 inches from the front glass for however long it takes for the fish I am after to swim between the net and the glass. I tell myself it might take the whole hour, and I'm down for that.

Then it usually takes less than five minutes and he swims up and I nab him. I guess saying "It's okay if this takes an hour" is what makes it seem quick when it takes less than that, and fewer other fish are scared in the process. Of course this won't work with a hiding kind of fish, only with the kind that will eventually bumble around the tank looking for things to do.

@PineSongA sort of "give it up to the universe" method.  I like it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...