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How To Build a Simple DIY Aquarium Trap


DIY Aquarium Trap Graphic by Debbie Hauter
Here is a simple do-it-yourself aquarium trap you can build and use to easily capture and remove fish, as well as modify to catch common saltwater aquarium pests with, such as problem crabs, bad type errant bristle or fireworms, and mantis shrimps.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 1 hour or less

Here's How:

  1. Cut a piece of PVC of suitable diameter and length. (Refer to Tips 1 & 2 below)
  2. Looking at the PVC pipe vertically, drill some 1/2 inch holes, spaced out around and 3/4's of the way down the length of the pipe.
  3. Using medium grain sand paper, sand and smooth the cut and drilled hole edges of the PVC pipe.
  4. Stick the end cap onto the end of the PVC pipe that does not have the drilled holes near it. (Refer to Tip 3 below)
  5. Tie a suitable length of rope or string on to the open end of the PVC pipe. (Refer to Tip 4 below)
  6. Place the trap horizontally on the bottom of the aquarium, with the rope sticking out of the tank.
  7. Watch and wait. Once the fish or animal has gotten used to the trap and adopted the pipe as a place to hide, when it goes inside, pull on the rope and raise the trap. (Refer to Tip 5 below)


  1. Choose a diameter for the PVC pipe that allows the fish or other animal to move and turn around in comfortably.
  2. For PVC length, cut it equivalent to at least one and a half times the body length of the animal to be trapped.
  3. If the end cap does not attach tightly and stay on by itself, glue it on with PVC glue, allowing to cure for 24 hours.
  4. The rope needs to be long enough to attach to the trap positioned on the bottom of the aquarium, and be pulled on to raise the trap.
  5. Don't expect instantaneous results. It may take some time for the animals to get used to the trap being in the tank before they will enter it.

What You Need

  • 1 piece of PVC pipe
  • 1 matching PVC end cap
  • Some rope or string
  • A drill
  • Medium grain sand paper
  • PVC glue (optional)
  • Patience!

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