When designing the layout of an aquarium a lot of aquarists will opt for a planted one. This is all very well, but what happens when it comes to knowing how to catch a fish in a planted aquarium? You will find that the fish will be experts at avoiding capture, mainly hiding amongst the plants. The last thing you want to do is damage any of the beautiful plants that you have cared for so long.
A net is usually the first thing that comes to mind when sussing out how to catch fish in a planted aquarium. This technique isn’t always as easy as it looks, and is sometimes worth considering another way. Whichever technique you decide on you will have to be patient. The last thing you want to do is cause any stress to the fish, or any damage to your plants.
Why Catch A Fish In A Planted Tank Anyway?
At some stage of being an aquarium owner, you will find you will have to catch and remove some of your fish. The reasons for this will vary, but one of the most common reasons is that your fish isn’t well. Your average fish is quite good at letting you know it is under the weather. Here are a few signs that your fish may be unwell.
Loss Of Appetite
Usually, when you feed your fish they will all switch on to ‘feeding mode’. If any of your fish don’t look like they are joining in and feeding, the chances are there is something wrong with them. This could be one of the first signs your fish is stressed or caught some sort of disease.
Fish Not Able To Swim Upright
If your fish is not able to swim upright it is showing signs of distress. This could include swimming on its side, swimming in circles, or even swimming upside down. It is worth isolating your fish if this is happening.
Fish Has Damaged Fins
If the fish has damaged fins or injuries to its body, the chances are it is getting bullied by other fish. If this is happening it is worth keeping an eye on it and suss out which fish is bullying it. Then you will have to remove either the bully fish or the injured fish from your aquarium.
Social Fish Not Socialising
It is worth noting that if you see ANY of your fish showing signs of distress it is worth checking your water parameters. This can cause distress in all fish breeds and every living thing in your aquarium.
How To Catch Fish In A Planted Aquarium
Now you have figured you need to catch one of your fish out of your planted tank, how do you go about it? As I mentioned earlier you will need to be patient. Fish don’t always do what you want them to and you do not want to be stressing them out too much. Try not to cause too much disruption in your tank and take things slow and steady. In time you will catch the fish that you are after. Here is a few ways on how to catch your fish from your planted tank.
Catch The Fish With A Net
A small soft mesh net is usually most people’s ‘go to’ method. If the fish is poorly it may be fairly easy to just gently scoop up with one net. If the fish still has a bit of energy, it will be worth using two nets. Use the second net to entice the fish into the first net from behind the fish. You can also use one net to gently prod about in the plants if the fish is hiding in them and have the other net waiting to scoop it up.
Lowering The Water Level
To enhance your chance of catching the fish, it may be a good idea to lower your water levels. Take about 25% of your water out of the aquarium. This will give the fish less space to swim around in. You will still need a net to scoop the fish, but it may make things easier. Just be sure to check your water parameters when you have removed the fish.
Make A Bottle Trap
If you are still unsuccessful in catching your fish, it may be worth making a small bottle trap. To do this take a small plastic bottle. Give it a good thorough clean and cut around the bottle just below the shoulder. With the top part of the bottle turn it upside down and place it back on the bottom half. This should create a funnel that the fish can swim into, but will struggle to swim back out of. Staple the two parts together and drill some small holes in the bottom of the bottle. Add a little food inside it and place it on the bottom of the aquarium. If you have any fishing line, attach that to the trap and overhang the top of the tank. This will make it easier to pull out.
I have come across some posts on the Internet saying to use your bare hands or catch them using fishing hooks. Personally, I would not recommend either of these ways of catching your fish. Both ways will almost certainly result in damaging your fish.
There is no secret way of catching fish in a planted tank. It is sometimes difficult and awkward regardless of what method you decide to use. One sure thing that is needed with all methods though is patience. Without patience, you don’t stand much of a chance of catching your fish without stressing them out. Be calm, be patient, and eventually you will get the fish that you are after.