Author Topic: Moving spiny fish  (Read 973 times)

Offline Bruce

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Moving spiny fish
« on: April 05, 2015, 06:35:39 PM »
The first of April and the end of October are significant times on my annual calendar -- this is when fish are added or removed from my outdoor tanks.  My three and a half year old bullhead catfish (which I often leave outside to over-winter in my ~600 gallon pond) had the 'privilege' of coming inside this winter where they moved into the 80 gallon plexiglass tank (see DIY thread on LED lights for pictures of the tank).  I got these fish on a collecting TBAS collecting trip when they were less than an inch long and now the 4 catfish range from about 8" to 13".

Now that it is April I decided it was time to move them back outside to the pond - I am always unsure how to move these catfish with the least amount of stress to them and me!  :-\  Getting chased around the tank and/or have their spines stuck/removed  from the net doesn't seem like a good time for them and the stress involved with trying to avoid their spines is not a good time for me!  Yes, I know that bullhead don't 'sting', but the spines can hurt if you don't grab them correctly (don't ask me how I know)  :-[ 

I decided to try something different this time.  As I look around my garage I spotted a scrap piece of plywood with some water damage that was left over from another project.  I cut the board to size (about 15" wide) just slightly smaller than the inside width of the tank (circular saw) and cut a circle in the middle (with a jigsaw) big enough that a 5 gallon bucket would fit in to (about 11.5" diameter) and still catch on the top lip of the bucket.  After slowly coaxing the fish to one end of the tank I put the board/bucket combo slowly into the tank (open end of bucket toward the fish) and slowly moved it toward the fish.  After situating the board about 8" from the end of the tank, I gently directed the fish into the waiting bucket that was in the hole in the board.  After tilting the bucket up and placing a lid on top, I was able to uneventfully move the fish back to the pond.  After floating the bucket for a while with a few water changes the fish are now back in the pond.

So what do you think - an interesting DIY solution or a waste of time?