How to remove striped raphael catfish from decoration?
I want to remove some artificial driftwood from my aquarium. It is hollow inside and has become the home of two striped qnd one spotted raphael catfish. The problem is, I can't get them out. I could remove it if they were all out at the same time, but these catfish rarely come out, even at night. Now I have a small black ghost knife fish and a spotted leaf fish that both hide inside the driftwood too. I want to see the fish and there are plenty of java ferns for them to hide in. The fish are never all out at the same time. I know the catfish haven't died in there because when I tried to take it out a while ago, I heard them squirming and croaking inside (they make little clicking, croaking noises outside water). How can I get them out?
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The java ferns cover the majority of the bottom of the aquarium and 9" above that. Those give them plenty of security, plus easier access to food (I'm sure it's pretty cramped inside the decoration).
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You should leave the wood in, if you want the fish to be healthy. These fish need hiding places in wood, and without it they will be stressed. And this means unhealthy and they may even waste away and die.
Maintaining nocturnal or semi-nocturnal fish is not always easy for this reason. Reducing the light on the aquarium by having less intense light and floating plants will usually help. Once the fish feel "safe" they will come out of their hiding places a bit. But understand that nocturnal fish are nocturnal, and they will never be out and about during the light. Nature programmed them to be active during darkness, and you're not going to change that.
As Byron said, these are nocturnal fish and will spend a majority of their life hiding until the lights go off. I highly doubt the Raphael would stay in the cramped decor if he didn't feel safe and comfortable.
I have a couple species of catfish that are very nocturnal and spend their days in wood. When I needed to move them to a different tank, the easiest way was to move the wood they call "home" and indeed this worked fine. I had things ready, and just picked up the chunk of wood, held it over a pail in case the fish fell out between tanks, and moved it into the other tank. The fish didn't even seem to notice. "Home" for them is likely the same as it is for us, a place of security.
my cat fish do the same,the hollow wood is home,and again i did the same as you Byron
when i had to strip down the tank,they were just fine.
you wouldn't know the two of them were in the tank,apart from the accessional glimpse.
my clown loaches pretty much did the same,and would cram themselves into the smallest
place you wouldn't imagine.
no need to worry if they are eating,as they will scavenge during the night,you could always
pop in some catfish pellets at lights out time,and see if they'll come out.
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