Review: Sampling nets and plankton nets from EFE and GB Nets

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I feel like I've waited my whole life to find these nets, and I just had to try and tell other fishkeepers about them, writes Jeremy Gay.

It's good...

In short, EFE and GB Nets produce nets for collecting plankton or for catching fish fry and invertebrates in fresh and saltwater. They are used in the field and approved by the Environment Agency. But what does this mean to us fishkeepers? In a word (or two) — live food — be it Daphnia or mosquito larvae for freshwater or Calanas and Mysis for marine.

These nets are specifically designed to catch tiny planktonic life from natural waters, be they pond, stream or ditch, river, estuary or the ocean. Free live food! And they come in every shape, size and application you can imagine from sticking on poles to dredging or dragging behind boats.

I spoke to the manufacturers, told them about the sorts of applications us fishkeepers would have for them, like Daphnia collecting for example, and they sent me two samples, one for throwing out and dragging back in via a cord (or behind a boat) and one which you could use on a handle in much closer quarters. So as you can see, the white bags are made from fine nylon mesh, fine enough to trap tiny inverts, yet large enough to allow the truly microscopic stuff and phytoplanktonic algae through. Then at the bottom you have a gauze with a screw cap, called the filter; though if you wanted to, you could add optional filter tap, closed end trap, extension tube or even a flow meter.

A very useful bit of kit for the fishkeeper indeed — especially for fish breeders.

But…

They’re quite expensive, more expensive than your average fish catching net or landing net, although they are handmade by a small business, do a very specific bespoke job, and hopefully will last a lifetime.

And, an untrained live food scooper may risk bringing in unwanted aquatic organisms like Hydra or parasites.

The verdict

Ecologists, scientists and professionals in the commercial sector have known about these for ages and use them all the time, so I’m surprised they haven’t broken more ground in the aquatic hobby. Still, I’ve found them now so fill your boots with all that live food...

Good:

  • Help yourself to abundant natural live food

Bad:

  • More expensive than a fish catching net of equivalent diameter

Price: 25cm wide 250 micron mesh 0.5m long Plankton Net £59.01; Chironomid Water quality Sampling Net Bag only 250 micron £33.96. More info: www.efe-gbnets.com

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