Lake Malawi Species • Are Mbuna easy to catch?

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Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby Ryanblackheart » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:59 pm

Removing problem fish, removing excess males, collecting fry from holding females, it seems like you have to net these fish pretty regularly, in a tank is already filled with rocks it’s all quite daunting are Mbuna easy to net? Do you take all your hardscape out every time you need to catch one :p
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby Ralph493 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:32 pm

No their not. I lower water level and have device to isolate the fish I want to net. The white often use two nets to net them.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby Dooner » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:28 pm

Not for me! Maybe for others, but I only get lucky once in a while. Actually it isn’t limited to Mbuna, but all of the Malawi’s. I often just give up. Best solution for me is to have the net ready at the top of the tank when I feed them and when they are in a flurry I grab what I can.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:54 pm

I often end up taking out the rocks...it isn't so bad if you just accept it up front.

But just as often if I have the rocks in piles I can remove one pile, shoo the fish to that end and divide off the section. Lowering the water by half and two nets are a given.

You are done with excess males between year one and year two. Don't collect fry and there you go. Never net a fish.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby ironspider » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:33 am

It's not at all easy for me, I had to take out all of the rocks to catch healthy fish to rehome.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby ken31cay » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:58 am

Make the tank completely dark: turn off tank & room lights and/or cover tank with a blanket. Do this for 2 hours and the fish will be sleeping. Turn on dim room lights and catch them easy.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby DJRansome » Sat Feb 29, 2020 12:59 pm

You must have open sand the size of the net ken31. I have only a python-width of open sand...a net will not fit.

I also tried the sleeping method with holding cyps. It would work great if you knew which cyp was holding before you turn on the light. For me as soon as I turn on the light the fish wake up before I can decide which one I want to catch.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby ken31cay » Sat Feb 29, 2020 2:18 pm

DJRansome wrote:You must have open sand the size of the net ken31. I have only a python-width of open sand...a net will not fit.

I also tried the sleeping method with holding cyps. It would work great if you knew which cyp was holding before you turn on the light. For me as soon as I turn on the light the fish wake up before I can decide which one I want to catch.


Taking out the rocks is still necessary but with the sleeping method you can leave all the water in. If the light is 'dim' then the fish won't wake up and will be easy to catch for several minutes - the times I've done this it more than enough time. The key is the dim light. And you don't want to startle the fish by splashing or quick movements.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby noki » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:08 pm

Sometimes you can catch Mbuna quick before they realize what is happening, always try surprising at first, you may get lucky. Once they realize that you are trying to catch them, Mbuna can be very difficult, they understand the 3D space of their tank well. Mbuna even learn quickly who you are trying to catch. Try to chase them into a corner with the net waiting, and if that doesn't work, you usually have to start removing rocks. Catching them while they are "sleeping" can work, and it takes a minute for their eyes to adjust to light, but in tank with a lot of rocks you may still have to remove rocks.
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby lambretta » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:59 am

when i first stocked my tank all the mbuna spent all the time hiding in the rocks
then eventually they settled down and swam around in the open
last week i spent 3 days trying to catch a bullied fish that was showing some damage
now all the fish are back to hiding in the rocks at the first sight of anyone going near the tank,not even coming out to feed
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Re: Are Mbuna easy to catch?

Postby marten » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:08 pm

If it’s a hap or a peacock I usually try catch them without removing rocks, but with mbuna I don’t bother. I just remove the rocks. It always takes me longer to catch one without removing the rocks, because whoever I’m trying to catch seems to know I’m after them right away.

I use two big nets and it’s not too difficult to herd the fish into a corner and catch it.


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