I don't mean 'catching' really, rather I mean sorting! The adults are dead easy to catch as you just wave your hand about in the tank a bit, all dive for their shells, and you remove them in their shells. You tend to catch the tiny fry who stay in the shells this way too, and the larger juveniles, but many of the older fry like to hide under and between shells and so they are left behind in the tank.
I have moved the adults on to a new tank a couple of times and grown on the left behind fry to give away. However now I need to do it again and I haven't got another big tank to set up and move the adults on to - so I want to find some way of separating them out more easily. Really I just want to catch and remove the older juveniles for the lfs.
The easiest way I can think of is to set up my QT tank and find a floating net with mesh that is too small for adults to pass through but big enough for the older juveniles. Then I could put the shells in that and hope that the smaller fish would swim out leaving the adults inside to be returned to the main tank.
I've had to read this several times! So you have four sizes, is that right? Adults, juveniles, big fry, little fry? Adults, juveniles and little fry can be caught by the shell removal method but you only want to 'contain' the juveniles.
I've been trying to think of some cunning means of a sort of 'ever decreasing circles' way of moving them from one container to another using different catching methods to selectively catch but I can't! I feel there must be something though!
What sort of size are we talking? Would something like a salad spinner basket do the trick? Or a colander?
Thank you you are helping me clarify in my mind ... Yes, 4 sizes. Tiny fry tend not to come out of shells so they are not a problem. Big fry tend to get left behind in main tank as they don't rush into shells so they are not a problem. It's really separating the juveniles from the adults: both of these will dive into shells then swim out of shells when you put them elsewhere. Salad spinner is quite a good idea but the holes may not be big enough, might give it a try first. Otherwise I have been been looking at carp landing nets, something like this, but I'm not sure whether all but adult males could get through this mesh without trying it.
I can rely on my adult females diving back into their hard won shells, the males tend to retreat into the rock caves for protection as they are a tad big for the shells plus the females scare the life out of them. All my juveniles hide in and amongst the shells. I?ve been wondering how to sort them out if ever I needed to move them but gave it up as a bad job when the headache set in.
You could always email the seller and ask them what diameter the holes are? Or, I just googled 'plastic basket' on google images and there were all sorts of sizes? Have you got a Wilkinsons near you? They tend to sell plastic baskets and the like for storage
Plastic baskets, that's a very good idea ... the ones I have got, I have used floating in the tank before now to isolate a fancy goldfish, must go and check size of gaps and that they are nice and smooth, otherwise I see there is a Wilkos near work though I havent been there (Lidl is my bargain outlet of choice, accidentally bought 2 waffle makers yesterday) so will go and have a look tomorrow.
Mind you I am still waiting for my bro-in-law to reseal Q tank, it was promised for half term but didn't arrive ...