5 Genius Ways To Get Fish Out Of Your Tank Without A Net!

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Having trouble catching your aquarium fish with a net, or maybe you don’t have a fish net and need a quick alternative?

Then luckily, you’re in the right place because in this guide, I’ll be sharing five effective and practical tips for getting your fish out of the tank without a net.

And make sure to read till the end, because I’ll also be sharing some handy tricks for catching those speedy swimmers in your tank. So, let’s dive right in and make your fish-catching experience a whole lot easier!

1. Cupping Your Fish: An Easy Way To Get Them Out Of The Tank


Another smart way to get fish out of a tank without using a net is by using a cup. This method is especially useful if you only need to remove one or two fish from the tank.

To use this method, you will need a clean and clear cup that is big enough to hold the fish comfortably. Start by scooping up some water from the tank into the cup. This will help to acclimate the fish to the new environment and reduce the risk of shock.

Next, carefully approach the fish you want to catch and place the cup in front of it. Gently guide the fish into the cup using your hand or a fish food pellet. Once the fish is inside the cup, slowly lift it out of the tank and transfer the fish to its new location.

It is important to be patient and gentle when using this method, as fish can easily become stressed or injured if they are mishandled.

If you need to catch multiple fish using this method, it may be helpful to have a second cup on hand to transfer the fish to once they are caught.

2. Using A Fish Trap To Catch Fish From The Tank

A fish trap is a useful tool to have if you’re having problems reeling in a particular species of fish. Generally, fish traps are made to attract and catch fish without hurting them. Using a fish trap is as easy as:

  • Choose a fish trap that works for the number and size of fish in your tank. There are a wide variety of fish traps to choose from, so pick the one that works best for you.
  • You can either make your own DIY fish trap or check out fish traps like these ones available on Amazon. Whatever fish trap you choose, it’s essential to ensure it is safe for the fish and catches them gently without causing any harm.
  • Put the fish trap in the tank where the target fish tend to congregate. Finding the ideal area may require some trial and error.
  • Put food that your fish enjoys into the trap to catch them. The fish will be drawn in this way.
  • Be patient and the fish will eventually swim into the trap. It could take some time to complete this.
  • Once the fish is caught in the trap, it should be carefully removed from the tank and placed in a holding container until further notice. If you don’t want to hurt the fish, be careful when handling it.
  • Release the fish back into the tank once you have completed any necessary maintenance or cleaning.

A fish trap can be a useful tool for capturing target species with minimal collateral damage. However, use a trap that is safe for your aquarium and be careful when handling the fish to prevent any harm.

3. The Hands-On Approach: Grasping Your Fishy Friends Gently

If you don’t have any tools or containers nearby, you can try using your hands to catch the fish. However, this method is only recommended if you have experience handling fish and if the fish is small enough to be safely held in your hands.

In my home aquarium, once in a while, I find my Dad using his hands to transfer small or medium-sized fish from one tank to another. Sometimes, it can be tricky to maneuver with a fish net, and that’s when hands come to the rescue!

Trust me, fish are more hardy than you might think. As long as you’re gentle when holding them, they should be just fine.

PRO TIP: One important thing to keep in mind, though, is that when you try to catch a fish with your hands, some of them may start to secrete a slime layer from their skin. This can make it difficult to maintain a grip on the fish, as their skin becomes slippery and the chances of dropping them increase.

So, catching fish by hand does require some practice and experience, but it’s entirely possible to master the technique.

But if you have access to fish nets, it’s best to avoid using the hands-on method to ensure the safety and well-being of your fish.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get fish out of the tank using hands:

  • Before attempting to catch the fish with your hands, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any oils or contaminants that could potentially harm the fish.
  • Then, slowly and gently reach into the tank and try to scoop up the fish with your hands.
  • It’s important to be very careful and gentle when handling the fish, as they can easily become stressed or injured if mishandled.
  • Try to avoid squeezing or gripping the fish too tightly, and support its body with both hands to prevent it from flapping around and injuring itself.

If you’re having trouble catching the fish with your hands, you can try using a small container or cup to let it move into a corner of the tank before scooping it up. This can help prevent the fish from darting away and make it easier to catch.

All in all, using your hands to catch a fish should only be attempted as a last resort and with caution.

4. Using DIY Aquarium Fish Net To Catch The Fish

If you have the time, you can also make your own DIY aquarium fish net at home. Here’s a detailed guide about the process.

What You’ll Need:

  • A flexible plastic or wire mesh with small openings (around 1/8 – 1/4 inch). You can find this at a craft store or even repurpose an old onion bag.
  • A wire coat hanger or a sturdy piece of wire.
  • A pair of pliers or wire cutters.
  • A strong adhesive, such as hot glue or super glue.
  • Optional: some electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing to cover the handle for added comfort.

Step 1: Create the net frame

First, let’s create the frame for your net. Take your wire coat hanger or sturdy piece of wire and bend it into a loop using your pliers or wire cutters. The size of the loop depends on your preference and the size of your fish; a 5-6 inch diameter is usually a good starting point. Remember, the smoother the curve, the better your net will be!

Step 2: Attach the mesh

Next, lay your plastic or wire mesh on a flat surface and place the loop you just made on top of it. Cut the mesh so that it extends about 1-2 inches beyond the loop on all sides. This extra material will be used to attach the mesh to the frame.

Step 3: Secure the mesh to the frame

Now, fold the excess mesh over the wire frame and secure it with your adhesive of choice. Make sure to spread the glue evenly and press firmly to ensure a strong bond. Give it some time to dry, as recommended by the glue’s instructions.

Step 4: Trim the excess mesh

Once the glue is fully dry, grab your scissors and trim any excess mesh that’s still sticking out. Be careful not to cut too close to the frame, as you don’t want to weaken the bond between the mesh and the wire.

Step 5: Create the handle

Finally, let’s create a comfortable handle for your DIY fish net. Use the remaining straight part of the coat hanger or wire as the handle. If desired, wrap some electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing around the handle for added comfort and grip. Make sure to leave some extra length at the end to bend into a small loop, which can be used for hanging your net when it’s not in use.

And there you have it! Your very own DIY aquarium fish net, ready to help you catch your aquatic friends with ease.

5. Lowering The Aquarium Water Level: Catching Fish Made Easy

If all else fails, there’s a super easy way to get your fish out of the tank, and it’s especially handy when you’re about to perform a water change!

All you need to do is lower the water level in the tank. As the water level goes down, it becomes much easier to catch your fish in whichever way you prefer. No more fumbling with your hands, because now your fish won’t have enough space to dart away.

Just a small note, though: this method is best used when you’re already planning to change the water in your tank. Lowering the water level just to remove one fish might be a bit too much!

How To Catch FAST Fish In An Aquarium?

As an avid fishkeeper since childhood, I totally understand how tricky it can be to catch those speedy fish in your aquarium! But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some helpful tips to make the process a little easier.

#1. Be patient and strategic:

Remember, catching fast fish takes time and patience. Observe their swimming patterns and try to anticipate their movements. Instead of chasing them around, position your net in their path and let them swim into it.

#2. Remove tank decorations:

Sometimes, catching your fish can be a bit tricky if there are lots of decorations in the way. If necessary, consider taking out a few tank ornaments or rearranging them to create some open space. This will make it much easier for you to maneuver while you’re trying to catch your fishy friends, and you’ll have a smoother experience all around.

#3. Use two nets:

Sometimes, having an extra net on hand can make all the difference. With one net, gently guide the fish towards the other net, creating a little trap for them. This way, you can catch them more efficiently without the frantic chase.

#4. Dim the lights:

Fast fish can be more relaxed and less skittish in dimly lit environments. Turn down the aquarium lights or catch your fish during their less active hours, like early morning or late evening.

#5. Create a barrier:

Use a transparent divider or a piece of plastic to create a smaller section within the tank, making it easier to catch the fish. Once the fish is in the smaller area, it’ll have less room to escape.

#6. Hide and seek:

Place a small container or a cave-like ornament in the aquarium. Some fish might see this as a safe place to hide when they feel stressed. Once they’re inside, you can gently lift the container out of the water

Final Thoughts

Getting fish out of a tank without a net can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the five smart ways I shared in this article, you can easily and safely remove your fish from the tank without causing them any harm.

Remember, the key to successfully getting your fish out of the tank is to be patient and gentle. Rushing the process or being rough with your fish can cause them unnecessary stress and even physical harm.

Whether you choose to use a cup, your hands, a homemade aquarium net, or lower tank water levels, make sure you follow the steps carefully and monitor your fish closely throughout the process.