TIP from FNM: Fish Handling and Restraint

All the fish in the tank have to be physically handled at times. Handling and disturbance is stressful for the fish, hence they should only be handled when necessary and the number of times they are handled should be minimised. The person tasked to handle the fish should undergo training to ensure appropriate methods are used as well as to minimise injury and death of fish in their care. 

Some key points to consider include:

  • Fish should undergo fasting prior to handling
  • Handling method should be the least damaging to their mucus-skin barrier,
  • Handling should be carried out in a manner such that it minimises visual stimulation - Fish should be protected from direct light and rapid changed in lighting while being restrained.
  • In general, fish should not be kept or hold outside water continuously for more than 30 seconds.
  • Temperature, pH & O2 level of transport water should not vary from water that the fish is taken from
  • Plastic bags and styrofoam boxes is used for transport
  • Shipment requires water oxygenation system
  • Use of anaesthetic for long-distance shipment

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