Close-Up of Colorful Tropical Fishs in Tank Aquarium

Collecting Your Own Tropical Fish is a 7 part series that details how to collect your own tropical fish, including collection buckets, hand nets, collection nets, capturing fish, decompressing fish and transporting fish. Below is a list of the separate articles to read in this series. Also included in this series are several true stories of underwater encounters with sharks.

  • 01
    of 11

    Introduction to Collecting Marine Fish

    The first article in this series by your guides Debbie and Stan Hauter is an introduction to collecting saltwater fish, from their own perspective and experience of having done so for 10 years. It provides a basic outline of some things you need to do and know about BEFORE going out into the ocean and catching things.

  • 02
    of 11

    Catch Buckets

    Stan & Debbie Hauter

    Before you can start catching fish you have to have something to put them into under the water, as well as to transport them back to shore or your boat. This piece of equipment is referred to as a catch bucket. With the information provided in this article, your guides explain what types can be purchased, how to easily and inexpensively make your own, as well as how to use one "properly".

  • 03
    of 11

    Collection Nets

    DIY Collection Net

    Stan & Debbie Hauter

    Although you can choose to buy ready-made fence or barrier collection nets, many are made from materials that are not suitable for catching saltwater fish, and they can be quite costly. In this article, your guides discuss types of nets that are used for collecting and provide instructions for making your own, which is highly recommended to do for various reasons explained.

  • 04
    of 11

    Hand Nets

    Commercial Hand Nets


    Once you have managed to push a target fish into your fence or barrier collection net, you will need a hand net to capture it with. Some hand nets are a waste of time and are often made of materials that may injure your fish. Find out what types to choose, how to make one using pre-made fishing nets, or optimally build one from leftover collection net material.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.

  • 05
    of 11

    How To Capture Fish

    Debbie Hauter

    Here are the nuts and bolts of how to actually capture the fish. Once you figure out how to "read" the fish you will know how and where to place your net.

  • 06
    of 11

    How To Decompress Fish

    As with humans, fish may need to be decompressed before they can be brought to the surface if they are collected from deep water. Failing to properly decompress a fish can result in death or permanent damage. It's not hard to properly decompress a fish, it just takes a little time.

  • 07
    of 11

    Transporting Collected Fish

    Now you need to know how to get the fish you have collected from the ocean to your aquarium safely. Much of the information provided here pertains to how to put fish into the catch bucket without it escaping or getting damaged.

  • 08
    of 11

    A Hammerhead Shark Pays Us a Visit

    A Hammerhead Shark Pays Us a Visit – A Salty Story: A true story of an encounter with a Hammerhead Shark while collecting tropical fish in Hawaii.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.

  • 09
    of 11

    Surprised by a Big Gray Shark

    Surprised by a Big Gray Shark – A Salty Story: A true story of being surprised by a very large Gray Shark while collecting tropical fish in Hawaii.

  • 10
    of 11

    Don't Put Your Hands in the Water!!

    A Salty Story – Don't Put Your Hands In The Water: A true story about collecting your own tropical fish.

  • 11
    of 11

    Tropical Fish Collecting Quiz

    A fun quiz about collecting tropical fish with questions about sharks, eels, decompressing fish, anchoring the boat and more.

Article Sources

The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Munday, Emily S et al. The effects of venting and decompression on Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) in the marine ornamental aquarium fish trade. PeerJ. vol. 3, no. 356, 2015. doi:10.7717/peerj.756

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