I recently performed some maintenance on my tank which required me to move all of my fish from one tank to another holding tank for a short period of time.
The most difficult part of this entire process was successfully capturing the fish before and after the maintenance. I figured I must be missing some kind of trick or technique which led me to ask:
What is the best way to catch my fish with minimal stress for them?
I used a few different techniques to eventually catch them all but it took a while. The techniques I tried were:
- For anything with spikes / spines (Bristlenose Catfish, etc.) I used a jug to transport them in because I didn't want them to catch their spines in the net. On the whole, this worked well but would be harder with faster, smaller fish.
- I used a largish net to catch the tetras (cardinal / rummy nose) and most were relatively easy with a bit of corralling.
- The most difficult to catch were the Zebra Loaches which seemed both suitably fast and clever to completely outwit me. The net I used was almost as wide as the tank but they were seriously impressive in their evasion attempts.
My primary concern is stressing the fish out. I don't want to endlessly chase them around the tank because I don't think it does anyone involved any good. I deliberately caught the fish which is normally quite jumpy (Opaline Gourami) first, so I had the element of surprise. After a few fish had been taken out, the rest knew what was happening and upped their game.
- I could probably have drained more water out of the tank. It was still about 1 third full so there was room for them to evade me still.
- I tried to balance 'sufficiently gentle' and 'fast enough' so maybe I need to go for more speed?