Introduction: Fish Frame for Taking Photographs of Live Micro-fish

Picture of Fish Frame for Taking Photographs of Live Micro-fish

My friend and I are on a quest to catch and eat every species of freshwater fish in New Hampshire, we are writing a book and have a website and blog; One of the problems with the quest is that we are catching a ton of small fish, minnows, dace, sculpins etc... and it is really hard to get a picture of the fish with it's fins showing, so I came up with this! Enjoy!

Step 1: Get Your Stuff Together

Picture of Get Your Stuff Together

Here's what you need"

2. 8x10 pieces of plexi-glass

6 to 8 one inch wing nuts, screws, and screw sets

1 2 foot section of 3/4 inch hose

Tools needed:


Bits to match your screw

screw driver


Total cost for materials should be under $10, if you already have the stuff it will be much cheaper.

Step 2: This Is Easy, Get to Work

Picture of This Is Easy, Get to Work

I think the pictures speak for themselves, but for those of you who love words, here they are

Peel off the protective layer of plastic from the plexi-glass.

Now place the piece of hose in between the two pieces of plexi

Clamp them together and drill holes close to the hose, evenly spaced so it will hold tight.

Step 3: OK Time for the Big Finish

Picture of OK Time for the Big Finish

While everything is clamped together, install the screws, wingnuts and screw sets.

The reason for using wing nuts is so you can control how much pressure is on the hose, you do not want to break the plexi, but in the field you might want to fix a leak or something.

Well I am glad you've made it this far, so now it's time to cut the extra hose off and get to work...

Step 4: So Get Some Fish!

Picture of So Get Some Fish!

This is the hard part, go catch a small fish, stick it in the frame with some water and take some pictures!


buck2217 (author)2015-07-01

Don't know why but the first photo reminds me of ack Nicholson in The Shining "WENDY - I'M HOME"

buck2217 (author)buck22172015-07-01

* Jack (godammit!)

Stark Ideas (author)2015-06-18

This is crazy and were have you been for the last 39 years

Fish Nerd (author)Stark Ideas2015-06-20

39 years ago I was 3... I could have used one of these then...

EurekaFactory (author)2015-05-31

This is a great idea! When our kids were little, we were always netting fish and seining to look at stuff, and this would have been a great way to see things even better! Also love your website - good luck with The Quest!

Fish Nerd (author)EurekaFactory2015-06-20

I should update, we've completed the quest and had a great time. Thanks for the comment

EndureReclaimRebuild (author)2015-04-21

Awesome idea, studying marine life will never be the same :)

can't wait to see your results please share them

script_coded (author)2015-05-29

Interesting how this was posted in 2011... But simple and good design. I just hope you don't keep the fish in there for longer periods of time...

Fish Nerd (author)script_coded2015-06-20

nope a few minutes, but it gives you the time to take a nice photo without killing the fish

CandyLove11 (author)2015-06-07

That's fun!

sheraz14 (author)2015-05-29

so cruelty... :(

Flurra (author)sheraz142015-05-29

Uhhh, no? This is not cruel. I'm sure the fish are only put in for just long enough to take a few pictures. Better than being held out of water where they can't breathe right. It would be cruel if this was used as a home for a fish, but that is clearly not what is happening. I wonder if people like you even read these things.

Fish Nerd (author)Flurra2015-05-30

thanks Flurra

Fish Nerd (author)sheraz142015-05-29

Is it the fishing you find cruel or the photography? The hope for this is that this is a gentler way to photograph fish.

Just4Fun Media (author)2015-05-29

Cool idea! I have never tried to photograph fish out of water before. This seems like a great method compared to chasing them with a camera while SCUBA diving. LOL ;-)

Have a great day! :-)

R.JStorey (Rodders) (author)2015-05-28

i like the idea of a small fish photo taking dealy (I enjoy fishing, but I've never really chased big trophy fish ), but I wonder if one could expand the idea with thicker hose for a fish tank (or sea monkeys, haha) . also, I would be interested to see some sort of pattern with the hose (like an ant farm or something). simple idea, but cool, well done :)

Tipple (author)2014-03-06

Great idea! (last pic is perfect)

darrenhall (author)2013-04-06

This is a really cool idea - I bet loads of folks will find it valuable - this should be a featured item.

Fish Nerd (author)darrenhall2013-04-06

It's been featured, but I couldn't agree more! It should be featured everyday! Thanks

Fish Nerd (author)2011-12-10

Glad you like it! Be careful though it does scratch easy.

Ray from RI (author)Fish Nerd2012-05-11

Any way to protect the plexi w/ some kind of coating of some kind???

Fish Nerd (author)Ray from RI2012-06-16

probably, but I don't know it

ThatKnottyguy (author)2012-06-15

Would you want to sell one of these?

Ray from RI (author)2011-12-09

WOW, and I was doing to buy a commercial one of these so I could take photos of critters I caught at the next RI Natural History Survey Bio Blitz Survey. Thank you!!! This is an absolutely and outstanding design!!! I am going to share this with some of the other biologists.
Thank you!!!

Eye Poker (author)2011-06-19

Gotta catch em all, like Pokemon but tasty.

Fish Nerd (author)Eye Poker2011-06-19

Boo to Pokemon, but point taken, thanks!

Kozz (author)2011-06-14

Very nice and creative. Brook trout can be very small, but ounce for ounce, in my humble opinion, they're one of the most delicious freshwater fish you can find, and you can't believe the fight you'll get out of the little guys.

Great website, too. I hope you'll perhaps provide some of your favorite fish recipes here on Instructables, too. :)

Fish Nerd (author)Kozz2011-06-15

Thanks Koz, maybe we will include some recipes, I hadn't considered that! We're having a good time, and are almost half-way done with this quest!

nanosec12 (author)Fish Nerd2011-06-16

I think it would be great to include some recipes with your catch. Some fish taste better when prepared differently, so you could provide 'proven and tested' recipes for each major type of fish.

Great picture frame, and I like the idea of the plain white background with size markings on it. No need to 'simulate' a natural background with all that beautiful 'real' background available.

Fish Nerd (author)nanosec122011-06-16

Right on nanosec, I agree

cloudifornia (author)Fish Nerd2011-06-17

Just thinking about fresh Trout coated in cornmeal and fried makes me drool. ;-p~

nanosec12 (author)cloudifornia2011-06-17

You should try some fresh trout, split and gutted but skin on, salt the insides liberally and add a dash of whatver seasonings you like (I just use black pepper, and some garlic powder if its on hand) close it up and grill on a stick over an open campfire. You will know its done when the skin starts to peel back on its own, just finish peeling the skin off and enjoy your trout kabob !!

cloudifornia (author)nanosec122011-06-18

You're bringing back some of my great childhood memories!

Fish Nerd (author)nanosec122011-06-17

We've eaten four of the five New Hampshier trout species, in this quest to catch and eat every kind of fish, I recommend you try a fish that most won't eat, like a Sea Lamprey or Golden Shiner. Check out our blog for more

cloudifornia (author)Kozz2011-06-17

If you ever get a chance, try landing a Trigger fish on light tackle. Holy you-know-what! ;-O)

cloudifornia (author)2011-06-17

I can relate to your quest. I've spent the last 3 years trying to catch every food species of saltwater fish in the Sea of Cortez. Good luck to you!

Fish Nerd (author)cloudifornia2011-06-17

Are you writing about your quest? How many species? How far have you gotten?

cloudifornia (author)Fish Nerd2011-06-17

Nope. Not writing about it, but we sure are loving the heck outta saltwater fishing! My wife keeps a camera on board so we can photograph and release the little or inedible guys. We check off the catches in our Fish Bible. All species caught, edible or not. The Bible is in our Baja casa, but I'd guess we've caught 40-50 different species so far. There are hundreds more to go!

Fish Nerd (author)cloudifornia2011-06-17

The coolest thing about what you're doing and what we're doing is that most people catch less than 20 species of fish in their lifetime! We chose freshwater because the number of fish is finite, in the ocean there are so many species that we would be fishing our whole lives and we wanted to get it done in a year.

We are eating all species including inedible fish! MMmm good

cloudifornia (author)Fish Nerd2011-06-18

hahaha! That's just what I plan on doing: Fishing the rest of my life!

Oh, you sound like my wife. "Honey, you won't know if you like it unless you try it! as I'm staring down through the gills of an ugly, slimey lizardfish. ;-O)

mr.incredible (author)2011-06-15


Fish Nerd (author)mr.incredible2011-06-15

I am waiting for people to start recommending that I install windshield washers...

framistan (author)2011-06-15

A very creative idea! You could further improve your pictures by placing an opaque white background on the rear side of the small fishtank. This would eliminate backgrounds scenes that distract with picture quality of the fish. Wipe off the water droplets to eliminate those on the front side.... and always angle the fishtank so sunlight & glare does not cause reflections. If you WANT a natural background... go to a petstore, they sell background scenery for fishtanks that would make it look like the fish is in it's natural habitat.

Fish Nerd (author)framistan2011-06-15

Hey Framistan, I totally agree with you, I did this in a hurry so I didn't take the time to clean the water from the plexi or put up a background. I may add 1 inch graduated grid marks to the back pain then do an opaque cover, since I am collecting data and it would make it easier to estemate the size of the fish.

The other thing I want to try it to apply Rain-X to the outside of the plexi so the water will shed cleaner without having to wipe....

Additionally I plan on building a stand so I can take my time taking good pictures.

Thanks for the comment.

jeffeb3 (author)Fish Nerd2011-06-15

White spray paint will stick to the outside of the plexiglass. Rain-x is good for overall visibility, but it will make it impossible to remove all the water.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm just a regular guy trying to do extraordinary things. In addition I produce a weekly podcast, write and garden. I love to look ... More »
More by Fish Nerd:Ten Dollar TenkaraMacGyver Style Indestructible Maple Sugar Evaporator from Filing CabinetUnder-Ice Camera Mount for Muvi or Go Pro style Helmet Cams
Add instructable to: