How to Catch Aquarium Fish like A Pro

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. Just try chasing around fast and slippery fish using a flimsy net with a ton of aquarium decorations in the way. Our years of experience in running aquarium fish stores have taught us a lot about how to catch the correct number of fish and what kind of fish they are. This is our favorite method for netting fish. It not only saves you time, but it also prevents your fish getting stressed.


Before you start…

Not all aquarium nets are created equal, so make sure you start off with the right tool for the job. Check the net for any holes or rips that would allow the animals to slip out. A larger net will allow you to catch your target more easily and cover a greater surface area. Consider the type of fish you want to catch. Baby fry and shrimp should be handled with care using a net that has a fine mesh to stop them from getting out. An aquarium net with coarse mesh, or tiny holes, is better if you’re chasing smarter fish like African cichlids, loaches and rainbowfish. This reduces drag in the water and allows for faster movement.

Aquarium Co-Op fishnets have a coarse mesh to reduce water drag and strong carbon fiber handles that won’t flex. There are no metal parts to prevent rusting.

The Best Way to Catch Aquarium Fish

Let’s now discuss the correct technique. Remain calm, collected, and cool. If you get too agitated, then your movements can communicate your anxiety to the fish, making them more likely to become stressed.

1. Avoid standing or towering over the fish tank as some fish might perceive you as a predator. A stool will allow you to reach the tank from the ground if the tank is very low. 2. Hold the net closer to the net rim and not at the very end of the handle. This position allows you to move faster and gives you more control. 3. Set a trap so that the net is facing one of the front corners of the tank. 1. In this example, we are using the left corner, so place the net at an angle such that the right edge of the net is flush against the glass and the bottom edge of the net is tight against the ground. 2. This arrangement creates a gap at the left end of the net for the fish to enter. 3. If it’s more convenient, you can also use large pieces from fish tank decorations to set your trap.

To set the trap in the front left corner, place the net on the ground and keep the right side of the net tight against the tank wall. Fish can only enter from the left side.

1. Fish nets are slower than your hands so use one hand to “chase the fish” into the trap, while the net remains mostly in place. 1. Place your hand in the water (with fingers stretched open to look larger) and sweep the fish from the right to left side of the aquarium. 2. After the sweep is completed, move your hands towards the tank’s front corner so the fish can enter the net. 3. Your hand must be higher than the aquarium’s top to stop fish escape.

While one hand holds the net handle in place, the other hand will be used to sweep the fish around the tank from the left to the right. When the fish reach the left side of the aquarium, move your hand towards it so they swim away from you.

1. As soon as the fish enter the net, swing the trap shut so that the left edge of the net is also flat against the front glass.

Once the fish have been caught, close the trap until the net is flush against the aquarium’s wall.

1. Keep the desired fish in the net while letting the unwanted fish swim out of the net. 1. Move the fish you want deeper 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 this case, we want the powder blue dwarf tourami to remain but the red platy to be released. We opened the net slightly on the right and gently guided the platy out with our hands.

1. For as long as you can, lift the net from the water and keep the net flat against the glass. 1. Don’t rotate the net horizontally before bringing the fish out of the water because it causes them to panic and increases the likelihood that they will jump out. 2. Instead, you should pull the net vertically up and quickly get out of water. This causes the mesh to drop down and naturally trap the fish in the net. 3. The more times that you bring the net in and out, the more fearful the fish might become.

Slide the fish net vertically from the water, so it is flush against the tank wall as long as you can. This will cause the net mesh to fall downwards and trap the fish, reducing their escape chances.

This video will help you to better understand the technique.

If your fish are still struggling to net their aquarium fish, you might consider taking out some fish tank ornaments or hardscape. This will remove any obstructions and allow for more movement. If you have a planted aquarium and it is difficult to move the aquarium plants, lower the water level so the fish can’t swim over the net. Finally, don’t forget to check out our favorite aquarium net that gives us the best advantage for catching fish.