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Homemade Fish Traps or Shrimp Traps and a Warning | Home Fish Aquarium Guide

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Fishkeeping Information and Resources for the Home Aquarium



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Homemade Fish Traps or Shrimp Traps and a Warning


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I feel terrible…. I feel like an idiot….

So, in my struggle to get this mini-cycle under control in the ten gallon tank I’ve tried a lot of things. Including pulling out the (now browning) water sprite. I thought the dead leaves which were very hard to separate from the big mass of water sprite may be putting more ammonia in than the plant is currently able to suck out. So, I had those out and in a bucket and was going to set them outside, but I got to thinking that I may have pulled some shrimp with them. So, I used a plastic bottle and made a trap. Similar to one you can find if you google or do a youtube search on home made shrimp traps or fish traps. You cut off the top, take off the lid, invert the top half inside the bottom half, put in some food and place it. Well, there were apparently no shrimp in the trap from the bucket and so I had this bright idea that I might use it in the 10 gallon to help get some of the shrimp out in order to move them to the other (stable) tank until the ammonia issue is over.


Soooooo………………………. I set the trap and went to have dinner. When I came back in from having dinner I was horrified. There were at least 6 (maybe 7) fish IN THE TRAP. They were gasping and struggling trying to get out. They were desperate. It was a truly horrible sight. I had a very hard time getting the top out in order to release them. In fact a couple of the tetras appeared to be dead or almost dead. The platies looked better, but still looked to be gasping. I’m wondering if the platies just bludgeoned the tetras trying to escape. Since they’re bigger fish the little neons got hurt in the process.

I’m SOOOOO….. sorry that I just left that and went to the other room. I’m SOOOOOOO…. sorry that I didn’t put the lid back on the bottle and cut a smaller hole in it to prevent a fish from being able to make it in. I feel like such a horrible fish torturer….

I can’t help but keep thinking about how frantic and desperate they were to get out. UGGHHHHHH

So… what lessons can be learned.

A fish will fit into spaces that would surprise you. I really didn’t expect to see the platies in the tank. One I thought might be small enough to fit through the mouth of the container, but not all three. The tetras I thought might get caught in there. I don’t know if the ammonia was higher in the container than the rest of the tank (after the fish were in there) or if they depleted oxygen in there quickly because there was just one small opening, or if the big fish just thrashed and clobbered the little fish.

I do know that as of this moment all of the fish seem to be alive. There are a couple of tetras that look more stressed. I am suspecting that there may be some “mortal wounds”….. from this, much the same that there was the one that flipped out of the net at about 5 feet off the ground and then died a day or two later.

If you’re using a trap to catch something in the tank try to keep an eye on it if you’re not 100% sure what might be able to fit in.

If you want to trap shrimp use the lid of the bottle and cut a small hole. Shrimp will find a way to get in. Make certain that it’s too small for a fish to enter. (Unless it’s fish fry.)

I WILL NOT DO THAT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update 4-12-11

So far, everyone seems to have survived that ordeal. Which is truly amazing because a couple of the tetras looked like they were on the point of death as I was struggling to free them from the trap. I have since modified my trap to include the lid of the bottle with a small slit cut into it with a dremel. I’m thinking that fry might be able to enter along with shrimp and will definitely watch and keep an eye on it if and when I use it.

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April 6, 2011 - 8:38 PM
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