10 Smart Ways to Use an Aquarium Catch Cup or Specimen Container
Have you ever seen those clear rectangle boxes hanging on the outside of tanks at your local fish store? You are looking at one of the most versatile tools in the fish keeping hobby – the aquarium specimen container or catch cup. It is a transparent, small container that can be used to observe fish or hold aquarium supplies. Find out the top 10 reasons we use catch cups daily at our fish tank and retail fish shop.
You may not be able to see the fish well if they are moving around in an aquarium. You can inspect the fish for signs of disease, select the best individuals for breeding, and sort out the juveniles. Plus, the clear, flat walls are perfect for photography so you can proudly show off your favorite species.
While aquarium nets can be used to move a few fish between tanks, this method is not efficient if there are many fish to move. Instead, use your specimen container as a temporary holding pen until you finish catching all of them and then move them together afterwards. To prevent fry from being eaten by predators, you can move them to a grow-out aquarium, or bring the pond fish indoors to enjoy the winter. You can also remove pest snails from one tank and feed your pufferfish aquarium.
3. Selling fish
Fish bags are required if you plan to sell your fish at an auction, fish shop, or online. Scoop out some aquarium water and then place the fish you catch into the specimen container. Once you have the correct number of fish, you will be able to pour them directly from the catch cup into the fish bag. Then seal the bag with rubber bands. You can even use multiple containers – the first one to hold a large netful of unsorted fish and the secondary ones to separate out the right number and species for each fish bag.
If you are buying new fish or shrimp, they may be accustomed to water parameters that are very different from yours, and therefore you may want to slowly acclimate or get them used to your aquarium water. If your animals are small enough you can allow them to adjust in the container.
1. Take the fish bag out of its bag. Once the fish have been soaked, pour some water into the cup. 2. To double the water level, add aquarium water from their new homes to the catch cup. If the water level gets too high, pour some water out of the container. 3. After 15 minutes, add more aquarium water so the water is doubled again. 4. After 10 minutes, add more aquarium water so the water is doubled again. 5. The fish can be netted from the container and added to the aquarium.
You can also do drip acclimation using lengths of airline tubing. This is a slower process. If fish are racing around in the catch container, you can help calm them by making the room darker and/or covering it with a towel.
By adding an airstone, check valve, airline tube, and an air pump, you can create your own DIY breeder container with a catch-cup. Hang the specimen container inside the aquarium to keep it warm if needed, and add the air stone to make sure the fish get enough oxygen in the water. To increase the chance of a male and female mate, you can place one or two fish in each container. This setup is also useful for hatching fish eggs. Finally, you can temporarily raise newborn fry inside a catch cup without worrying that they (or the tiny foods you feed them) will escape. Add a clump of java moss or other live plants to give them shelter, and make sure to frequently clean out the dirty water inside using a turkey baster.
There are several situations where you may need to temporarily separate one fish from the rest of the crowd. Female mollies, guppies and other livebearers who are about to give birth might appreciate a calm, peaceful environment for their babies. A “birthing room” can be set up to protect the fry from being eaten by larger fish immediately. Additionally, a clump or plants will help the babies hide from their momma.
You could also isolate fish with unusual symptoms or injuries. If you have a fish that is sick or injured, it’s a good idea to keep them in a container with an air stone. This will allow you to closely monitor their health and treat any problems with medication. The full article contains more information about treatment of fish diseases.
It is a good idea to feed your fish a variety of fish foods. But it can be cumbersome to handle all those jars, slippery packages and other items. Use your catch cup as a portable food tray to carry everything as you move from tank to tank. If you are feeding frozen foods, thaw the cubes in water inside the specimen container and use a pipette or turkey baster to squirt the liquid into multiple aquariums. The same technique can also be used with live fish foods like baby brine shrimp, blackworms, daphnia, and infusoria.
8. Water Transfers
The catch cup acts as a mini-boiler, and we use it often to clean out an aquarium’s surface or replace water that has evaporated from a nano tank. To test water parameters with liquid reagents, you will need to first scoop some water from the tank and then fill the tubes with test water. During water changes, some hobbyists will place their catch cups inside the aquarium and then stick the end of the hose or aim their Python hook into the container while refilling the fish tank. The catch cup collects the water from the faucet and gently flows out. This protects your plants and substrate.
9. Equipment Storage
If you use fish nets, alga scrubbers, or any other tool in your aquarium, a specimen container can be used to keep them from dripping all over the floor. They can also be used to store fish food, fertilizers and other supplies.
10. Planted Tank Maintenance
One of the best uses of specimen containers is in maintaining planted aquariums. Use them to remove duckweed and other floating plants that have taken over your aquarium so you can spread them to other tanks or feed them to your goldfish. Put your stem plant trimmings into the catch cup and then replant them in their substrate.
Now that you are aware of the importance of having a specimen container, you should get the Aquarium Co-Op Catch Cup. The walls are extremely clear to allow you to see your fish and the plastic is shatter-resistant so it won’t fall if dropped. The extra-wide handle makes it easy to hang on fish tanks with thick walls.