During one of my last Kayakfishing trips I tried something new. Plankton trawling.
I bought this Plankton net for kids, it was all I could find that wasnt ridiculously expensive. Didnt expect anything from it to be honest but it worked absolutely brilliantly.
I thought I would be trawling this around for half an hour with the kayak but that isn’t really possible. The net has so much drag you literally paddle on the spot. Usually I use a sea anchor for fishing which is like an underwater parachute that slows down the drifting of the kayak due to wind. So instead of the drift anchor I just used the plankton net as my sea anchor while fishing. The drift over ground was really slow at around 0.5-1.5kph I think its critical to use the net very slow as otherwise the pressure inside the net is so large that it squashes the plankton. I would be interested (and please feel free to comment) if anyone has experience with plankton netting as to what speeds are used commercially or for research in larger nets.
Anyway now to the interesting stuff. After every few minutes or drifts I check the net. A small plastic inspection bottle is attached to the bottom with built in “magnifying glasses” its better than nothing but obviously rather useless. Its enough to see that you are catching something and I added all the catches in a container to bring home.
Here some pictures of the haul. Keep in mind this was only roughly half an hour of drifting with this net close to the surface in 12m of water. Its totally mindblowing how much I was able to catch!
One creature that always stood out looks to me like a Lobster, it had (with bare eye inspection) all its features. There was also tiny jellyfish, tons of copepods and some worm like moving things and tons of other things I just couldnt identify, it was amazing, felt like a child 🙂 The amount of live from just trawling for half an hour at ~1kph seemed unreal to me.
If I had the chance I would love to just leave it all in a tank and feed phytoplankton to see if any of them will make it to their next stage.
One in particular looked really cool and as Roxanne (my girlfirend) pointed out most likely a Siphonophore (An Animal colony closely related to jellyfish and corals), propulsion in the top part and tentacles in the lower section, which was about 5cm long but broke apart when transferring.
My humble, very boring to the above, plankton breeding culture is working great but I have to be more vigilant in feeding and cultivating phytoplankton. If you keep feeding it to them they just keep multiplying and are a good foodsource especially for those picky feeders and fish with small mouths like pipefish etc. This is about half of the copepods from the 10 litre culture I have going. The culture is just a big (15l) plastic container with a heater, IKEA reading LED light and an airstone.
The Kelps and other seaweeds are doing great at the moment and its so great to finally actually having to trim and remove big pieces to keep the tank tidy.
Red microalgea still around but definitely kept in check compared to last year.
Some Reds shooting up but growing very slow.
The Rainbow Wrack is also growing slowly but older parts are being taken over…
The Sugar Kelp grew from L15cmxW6cm to over L90cmxW22cm which is just fabolous! Kelp has slowed down a bit and is being eaten in parts.
and here a cutoff piece of a sugar kelp…its nice to remove that amounts of biomass from the tank (removed about twice that amount previously)
Also most excitingly (as I havent added this species) new shoots of Felty Fingers Codium Fragile (one of my favourites) coming up in rather weird places.
On top of the Turban Snail…poor fella is going to regret not keeping his shell clean once the Felty Fingers grow bigger 😉
On the Powerhead…(yes this IS a powerhead 😉
And finally on old rock that is there since nearly two years and never had Codium on it…
Keeping this short, soon another post to come on updates of animals…