Pet store employee grabbed fish out of net with his hand, will they be alright?

  1. Akeath Member Member

    I just got 3 Golden Tetras from a pet store I've only gone to once before. There was an apparent volunteer there, probably no older than in middleschool, who got the fish for me. He caught them in a net and then grabbed them from the net with his hand and put them in the bag with the water in it. I was so shocked I didn't even say anything...his hand was wet at least, he'd been herding the fish into the net with it, but I'm still really concerned.

    The weird part was he did everything else so well. He double bagged them, added some pure oxygen after asking if they would be on a long trip to get home, he was gentle when herding them towards the net...you really shouldn't grab fish, right? I'm not mistaken here, am I?

    Will the fish be okay? I assume it must've compromised their slime coat, but is there anything else I should watch out for? I put some Stress Coat + in the water aquarium they are going in, is there any other steps I should take?
     
  2. I keep fish Well Known Member Member

    did he gently grab them? or just snap them into his hands.Yea if his hands where wet that's good at least.
     

  3. Akeath Member Member

    It wasn't snatching, but it looked quite...firm. He had them pinned between his fingers.
     
  4. I keep fish Well Known Member Member

    there may be internal damage i guess youll have to wait and see.
     

  5. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    I have a local store that does that quite a bit, while it may look firm most times they have a very gentle touch. Its hard sometimes to get them to come out of the nets nicely, the one store in question quite often will use a large net, and catch a number of fish and ask is there a specific one and then just catch and put into the bag. Mind you they just let the bag float in the tank instead of using those little plastic containers most of the box stores use.

    I have no issues with this store or their methods, they have been around for well over 20 years.
     
  6. Dino Fishlore VIP Member

    Almost all of my large fish are caught by hand.
    But then, they are used to having my hands in the tank, so they don't panic.
     
  7. snapper Well Known Member Member

    I grab fish with my hands all the time.
     

  8. Dlondon95 Well Known Member Member

    I try to touch my fish as little as I can, but I see no harm in doing so. One of my bettas hates the net, but he will just let me pick him right up out of the tank.
     
  9. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    I catch mine by hand frequently also :) Especially the Plecos.
    Carol
     
  10. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Good morning,

    I would prefer my fish be caught by hand compared to using a fish net.

    Add some Nova Aqua + or Prime or whatever you use to add body slime to the fish and reduce stress.

    Best wishes for your fish.

    Ken
     

  11. soltarianknight Fishlore VIP Member

    Agreed, with some fish i actually ask that they be hand caught, particularly my bettas should they be in a tank and not a cup.
     
  12. snapper Well Known Member Member

    I kind of like watching the plecos scoot up the net. lol
     
  13. Akeath Member Member

    Well, I'm relieved to hear that you have all done it and your fish are fine. Mine are not behaving oddly, they are schooling nicely and everything, so I'm not going to worry about them, especially since I've already put in the Stress Coat +.

    I guess I just baby mine when I catch them. I have fresh disposable cups that I use exclusively for aquariums - premixing chemicals, adding water to a filter to prime it after its been turned off, etc. I also use them for catching fish. That way they are never even out of the water, and their slime coat is not even rubbed, really. They also never seem to realize that the cup is in there to catch them, they don't even notice something is going on until they've already been caught (they never realize they should run from it), and since they aren't as tightly constrained or out of water they take it quite well, they don't even become distressed, they just kind've chill in there. I then pour them into a transport baggy (if they are going between tanks) to acclimate them, then let them swim out of that when they are done by just opening it, so its all very simple for them. I originally started doing this because I have catfish and I was concerned about their spines getting stuck in the net, or cutting me (I've had my bristlenose slash a finger when I've accidentally touched him before). I've also read in 5-6 different aquarium books that catching by hand is very bad for the slime coat, and 3-4 of those suggested the cup thing at least for catfish as being better than netting.
     
  14. soltarianknight Fishlore VIP Member

    Meh, the books are out dated. If your careful youll do fine. Pour some slime coat onto your hand before handling. DONT squeeze the fish obviously, just cup them with the water in your hand.
     
  15. iZaO Jnr Well Known Member Member

    i agree it does affect their slime coat, but nets often result in caught and torn fins or damage that is just about equivalent.

    I also prefer using my hands. While handling your fish might affect their slime coat, i feel that id rather have that small effect that is easy to recover from than damaged fins.

    One rule, hands must always be wet. As long as the hands are wet the fish will be perfectly fine :)
     
  16. Akeath Member Member

    Not all of the books are outdated. Sure, if you pick up an aquarium book published in 1985 or something you are going to find some weird information in it, but there are lots of aquarium books that are very relevant and there are tons and tons published recently to choose from. And most importantly, they are fact checked and many are written by people who not only have decades of experience with fish, are currently keeping fish, but also many are written by people who have degrees in Ichthyology, Biology, and Veterinary care. They are still some of the best resources you can get to learn info about fish. Fish magazines (Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Aquarium Fish International) etc. also have good information on fish. Online isn't the only relevant, up to date information around. In fact, if you read a lot of aquarium books and online sources, you'll notice that a lot of the online information is taken directly from aquarium books and then used in someone's care sheet or database.
     
  17. soltarianknight Fishlore VIP Member

    Ok ok calm down. I have plenty of books on the subject myself. I was reffering to the fact that certain facts are outdated, such as "dont touch your fish". Its generic and old, same as the 1inch per gallon rule which authors still seem to get stuck on even now.
     
  18. gremlin Well Known Member Member

    My goldfish will actually swim up and through my fingers. They seem to like being "petted" occasionally. I feel that the slime coat is there to protect the fish's skin. As long as the fish are healthy, and have a healthy slime coat, there really shouldn't be any "damage" from touching the fish. As long as you are gently and try not to rub the slime off, there really shouldn't be an issue. I agree that catching the fish with your hands seems to be much less stressful on the fish than using a net. I haven't tried the cup thing - I don't think they make cups big enough for my goldfish. I'd have to use a 5 gallon tank for the cup.....my hands are easier.
     
  19. Akeath Member Member

    Sorry for snapping. Yesterday was a rough day. You didn't deserve to be yelled at, I'm sorry.

    I guess I'm confused, because while I have read books that mention the 1 gallon rule, many then say that it only works for very small, slim fish like Neon Tetras, and then go into detail about stocking for bigger fish etc.
    However, I have never read a book that says touching a fish is okay. When they go into detail besides just saying "don't", its usually a discussion about slime coats, epidermis, the particular chemicals that make up the slime coat, what the slime coat protects from, etc. rather than "but this is an exception" or "this only applies to" I've also read in Aquarium Fish International (a magazine that I've had a prescription of for a year, so the article must've been within written within the last year) that if a fish jumps out of the water onto the floor is does less damage to take the time to get a net to scoop it up and let it lay there in the interval than grabbing it with even a wet hand will do. 2-3 of the books I've mentioned compared the slime coat loss of catching a fish in a cup, with a net, with wet hands, and with dry hands and the hands caused the most slime coat damage. I also read in the Manual of Fish Health exactly why its bad. It was in the section detailing how to remove large ectoparasites - such as fishlice - from fish by hand. It said to get disposable gloves and then get them wet to handle them rather than using your hand, and it explained that the reason touching them with even wet hands are bad has to do with the texture on your hands - the same texture that gives each person fingerprints - and that that particular texture rubs slime coat off much worse than a net or a glove. So that was why they were suggesting using gloves with the fish rather than your hand. I guess what I'm saying is that this statement seems to have more science and reasoning behind it then the 1 inch per gallon rule, and it still seems to be being used in recently published things, so I'm not sure that it is really outdated. And if it is outdated, I'd want to know what kind of findings would make it out dated - what would make, for example, the roughness of our hands actually less harmful than was previously thought?

    And I probably would have worried about the Gold Tetras less if I wasn't also factoring that immune systems of fish seem to be lower when they are moved, just from the stress of transport. I understand that the stress of transport can lower a fish's immune system enough that it makes quarantining more important. That the immune system lowers in that situation so that they are more likely to suddenly get a disease that they showed no signs of before being moved. I was thinking when they were doing that "okay, the immune system may not be functioning as well due to transport stress, and now in addition to that the slime coat, their first line of defense against illness, has also been compromised first by a small amount by getting it caught with the net and then by a larger amount by touching it with his bare hand." It was the combination of two different ways that the fish's immune system could be compromised that really bothered me. If it had just been one of the two I probably wouldn't have been as worried, but knowing that both the external slime coat protection and the internal performance of the immune system were both potentially compromised worried me.
     
  20. snapper Well Known Member Member

    The best way of learning is experience.

    In my experience, I have damaged fish by netting them but never by picking them up.