Handling stress is when you:

  • try to catch your saltwater fish with a net
  • try to catch them with your bare hands!
  • spook them
  • bag them
  • move them
  • remove them from the water

You become the stressor in this situation.

Long-term stress is called chronic, while this kind of stress is called acute, meaning short-term. Either acute or chronic, these are both lethal to your fish.

Fish and many invertebrates have a protective mucous layer. It acts as their first defense mechanism against infection or disease.

When it is damaged, their defense is compromised. Pathogens then enter and lead to saltwater fish disease or infection.

Unfortunately, handing stress CANNOT be avoided. The only way to deal with it is by minimizing it. Try to follow and keep these in mind:

  • Buy fishes that have had a chance to recover from handling stress – capture, and transport to the dealer. They should have been in the dealer for at least a week or so. Feeding is also a good sign that they’ve already recovered.
  • Reduce the amount of chasing with the net when you try to move them. Chasing your fish will exhaust them. Try using food as your decoy to an area where you can easily catch them or can be quickly cornered. When they are captured, move them as quickly as possible to a container or bag.
  • Keep the travel time short. They will be more stressed out if they are in a container or bag for a long time.
  • Use a soft net and large enough to accommodate the whole fish. This way the protective mucous layer won’t be damaged.

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