Review: Glass shrimp catcher from Aquarium Plant Food UK

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Fed up with chasing shrimps around your tank in a vain attempt to catch them? Nathan Hill checks out a new product that claims to provide an easy solution...

It’s good…

After spending more times cussing when trying to catch shrimp than I can count, I’m scornful of any method that claims to be a solution to rounding them up. But here I am, eating humble pies aplenty and rounding up invertebrates with the impunity of a man in an invisibility cloak.

All you need to do is submerge the long tube into the water, present the open end to any shrimp you want to catch, and in they go. No annoying backward flicks, no sudden scurrying for cover, they just crawl on in and await their fates.

Once herded, it’s just a case of lifting the tube back out, complete with thumb over the open handle end (unless you fancy a Sangria-style hosing) and move the shrimp to wherever you’re going. It’s that simple.

What makes it even better, is that the shrimp don’t panic once they’re secured. Like me, you’ll probably be used to your crustaceans scaling nets like soldiers in training and launching themselves onto the floor, but in the shrimp catcher, they just sit docile or at best have a bit of a bob about and enjoy the ride.

The catcher is open to some improvised technique action, if you fancy it, and with a little practice holding and releasing your thumb over the open end, you can get into the swing of creating small, sudden vacuums that suck up targets that are more resilient.

At 40cm/16" long, you’ll reach the bottoms of all but the deepest tanks. And for glassware, it’s actually not so pricey.

But…

It’s glass and that makes it brittle — especially when it’s a hollow 40cm/16" handle! Care needs to be taken when moving it about, as snagging against a branch or even just catching it at an awkward angle coming out of the tank could be the end of it. And it’s not like you can just buy a new stem.

Open-topped tanks are great with it, but tanks with fixed lids or tanks in racking systems are just asking for trouble. That said, there are more difficult ways to try to get shrimp from the likes of a Fluval Edge.

The verdict

Clever move, Aquarium Plant Food, and an item that I think many a shrimpkeeper will want. It might not become an overnight best seller, but I reckon that as more and more people try them and understand the virtues, we’ll see increased numbers in circulation. The other angle, of course, is that it’s one of those luxury items you can buy the aquarist who already has the major essentials. Slip the name in your diary for Christmas time, because you might want to consider one as a treat — maybe for yourself.

Pros

  • Catch shrimp in a thousandth of the time it usually takes.
  • Catch specific individuals with ease.
  • Stress-free (as far as I can tell).
  • An excellent gift.
  • Less tearing up the tank than with traditional nets.

Cons

  • As easy to break as other glassware.
  • Needs ample space above in order to work.
  • Not easy to catch multiples of shrimp at once.

Price: £14.99; www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk

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