Pleco handling for vent photos.


Global Moderators
Staff member
Apr 22, 2009
Burrum Heads, Queensland, Australia
A small container with a little water in will get you a good overhead shot for head shape.

If you want to take vent and cheek shots get your camera set first focussed on the spot you are going to hold the fish up for pics.

You will need to take the photo with one hand so perhaps a bit of practice on that would be good before you are handling the fish.

A soft floor like rubber matting or a towel is a good idea just in case the fish slithers out of your hand.

Put your hand in the container over the fish and you want the head which is more armoured to be pointing to the palm of your hand. That way the tail which is the propulsion is left just hanging out from your fingers and it is less able to slip out.

Never grab the tail and if they are young, don't grab the side fins either as they are softer than an adult and may break.

I like to have my thumb over the mouth as somehow it makes the pleco feel more secure. They are sucker fish so I guess it makes sense that they feel better with their mouth suctioned onto something.

The other two fingers you place not over the gills where they cannot breathe, but one either side of their dorsal fin.
Use your other hand to get the fish into a nice secure position in your holding hand and grab your camera which should be on, set and focus ready.

Catfish can breathe a little air so you have an easy minute or more where the fish will not be overly distressed at all (apart from that annoying hand holding them and the flash going off on the camera).

Take your time, don't rush and have it all set up ready and you should be fine.
Also not a bad idea to have a little ruler handy to measure the fish. Well you might as well while you have it out of the water.

Put the mouth down on the end of the ruler (the suction thing again) hold the head in place on the ruler with one hand and use the other to lay the tail straight on the ruler.