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 acts like a small, transparent bucket for observing fish, holding aquarium supplies, and a million other uses. Discover the top 10 uses for catch cups in our personal fish tanks and at our retail fish market.
You may not be able to see the fish well if they are moving around in an aquarium. This allows you to examine the fish for any signs and symptoms, as well as pick the most healthy individuals for breeding or to sort out juveniles. The clear, flat walls make it easy to photograph 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. Your specimen container can be used as a temporary storage place until you catch all the fish. Then, move them together. 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
If you plan on selling your fish at a fish store, fish club auction, or online, you usually need to package the animals into fish bags. Scoop out some aquarium water and then place the fish you catch into the specimen container. Once you have the right number of fish, you can easily pour them from the catch cup directly into the fish bag and then seal them inside with rubber bands. Multiple containers can be used – one container to hold large quantities of fish, and another to separate the species and numbers for each 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. You can also acclimate small animals in the specimen container.
1. Take the fish bag out of its bag. Once the fish have been soaked, pour some water into the cup. 2. The catch cup should be filled with aquarium water. (If the water gets too high, just pour some out of the container.) 3. After 15 minutes, add aquarium water to make the water double. 4. After 10 minutes add more aquarium water until the water has doubled. 5. Set the fish aside in a container and net them.
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.
You can make your own DIY breeder box with a catch cup by adding an air stone, check valve, airline tubing, and air pump. 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. You can then place a few fish inside the aquarium to increase the likelihood of them mating. This simple setup can also be used to hatch fish eggs that need a few drops of methylene blue to prevent fungal growth. You can also temporarily raise your newborn fry in a catch container without worrying about them (or any small foods they eat) escaping. To provide shelter for them, add a clump java moss and other live plants. You should also regularly clean the water from their catch cup with a turkey baster.
There are several situations where you may need to temporarily separate one fish from the rest of the crowd. For example, female guppies, mollies, or other livebearers that are about to give birth may appreciate a quiet and peaceful environment to release their babies. The “birthing area” will prevent the fry being eaten immediately by larger fish and will also help the infants hide from their mother.
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. Read the entire article for more information about treating fish diseases.
Fish food should be varied to ensure that your fish receives a variety in nutrients. However, it can be difficult to manage all the jars and packages. You can use your catch cup to transport all the food items from tank to tank. To feed frozen foods, you can thaw the cubes inside the container. Then use a turkey baster or pipette to pour the liquid into multiple aquariums. This same method can be used for live fish foods such as blackworms, baby brine shrimp, daphnia and infusoria.
8. Water Transfers
The catch cup can be used to remove scum from aquariums or to replace water from nano tanks. You can test the water parameters by using liquid reagents. To do this, first take some tank water and fill it with the specimen container. Then use a pipette or a spoon to fill the test tubes. Some hobbyists use catch cups to place in their aquariums. They then stick the end or aim their Python hook into their container as they refill the fish tank. The catch cup gently overflows, protecting your plants from being damaged by the force of water.
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. A lot of people hang the catch cups on the side to save space and keep their fish food, fertilizers, or other supplies easily accessible.
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. To propagate your stem plants, place the trimmings of the stem plants in the catch cup.
Now that you know you need to have a specimen container in your life, make sure to 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.