Handling Koi Fish

How to Net, Bowl and Handle Koi Fish

To Net, Bowl and Handling Koi fish may sound simple but it’s an art unto itself. It might be a bit tiring or frustrating at the beginning with the fish fleeing or dodging, eventually it will be easy with practice and patience. The tools required in netting and handling koi fish process are

  • Your preferred Koi Fish Net
  • Viewing bowl
  • Poly/Plastic bags
  • Sock Net
  • Air Pump or Oxygen Canister
  • Elastic Bands

To Net a Koi

To net a Koi is not the same as catching any other fish, a Koi needs to be coaxed and gently guided into it.

  • To begin with, dip the net in the water and make sure it is nice and wet for the fish
  • Place the net at an angle that would prevent it from displacing too much water
  • Choose your desired Koi and gently glide the net in the water towards it. Do not make any abrupt movements as it can spook the fish which can make it hard to catch it
  • The movements of the Koi are driven by its head. Watch its head to predict its direction and use the net to slowly glide towards its head and guide the Koi into the net
  • Once the Koi is in the net, slightly tip the handle upwards to restrict its movements but do not lift up the Koi from the water as it may get entangled in the net
  • After guiding the fish into the net it can be transferred into a ‘Viewing Bowl

Using the Viewing Bowl

Set up the viewing bowl before you begin to use the net.

  • Place the bowl in the pond and fill it with 1/3 to 3/4 of water depending on the size of the fish
  • Move the net slowly and carefully with the captured Koi towards the bowl
  • When the net is near the bowl, carefully use the edge of the net to tip the side of the bowl and guide the Koi to move into the bowl
  • Make sure to not fill the bowl with excess water as the fish can swim out easily, once the Koi is in the bowl displace any excess water. Water present should be adequate to cover the fins and gills

Using the Sock Net to Transfer the Koi

Sock net is an open ended net which is used to safely remove or transfer the fish.

  • Prepare the sock net by soaking it in the water
  • Gently move the rim of the net with handle end towards the Koi and gently coax it in moving into the open end of the net
  • Once the fish enters the sock net use one hand to close the open end and other to close the tail end to prevent the fish from escaping
  • Before transferring it into another pond/tank/bowl/bag make sure to handle the net horizontally while lifting it up based on the position of the Koi to prevent any damage to it
  • Gently let go of the open end of the net into whatever the fish is being transferred into, the Koi will glide out of it

Using Poly Bags for Koi Transportation

Poly bags can be used to contain the Koi once it is captured in the sock net, or the bags can be used to capture the Koi from the viewing bowl.

  • Take two poly bags, depending on the size of the fish
  • Place one bag within the other to make it durable and roll the tops down
  • Setup the bag with water sufficient to cover the fins of Koi, before netting & handling koi fish
  • Once the bag is ready the Koi can be transferred into the bag from a sock net
  • If you want to catch the Koi directly using the bag from a viewing bowl, place the bag in the bowl and gently coax the Koi into entering the bag with sufficient amount of water
  • Lift the bag up and dispel any atmospheric air present in the poly bag by collapsing it from top to water level
  • Now hold the top of the bag and insert the hose of the ‘Air Pump’ or ‘Oxygen Canister’ to fill the bag with air. While holding the top use several elastic bands to seal the bag. Once it is sealed it is ready to be transported

Handling Koi Fish with Hand

It isn’t recommended handling Koi fish with your hands if you are not comfortable or confident with the idea. Use professional care instead. However if you want to handle it for any purpose like inspection here are some points to note

  • Koi is covered with a slime coat which acts as an armor in defending against bacteria and parasites, hence it needs to be handled very gently
  • Before picking it up you can subdue a Koi by spinning it, using one hand towards the head and other towards the tail and gently spin it
  • Make sure that the head of the Koi is facing your chest before picking it up, it is safer if the fish jumps it would be towards you
  • Use one hand to hold the beneath of its head and the other hand to handle its movement
  • Avoid holding its fins and gills which could cause them damage

Invest in good equipment, be gentle and patient while handling the tools.