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Brine Shrimp Eggs

Artemia is a genus f aquatic crustaceans also known as brine shrimp. It is considered by the aquarium industry as the single most important food item in the world simply due to the high levels of nutrition in brine shrimp. Brine shrimp can be quickly & easily hatched and grown at home with brine shrimp eggs (Artemia Cyst).

Helpful Hint:

Brine shrimp egg is sometimes very buoyant. To maximize the hatching percentage, it is sometimes helpful to swirl the water inside the hatching container with your finger once or twice at intervals in the first 4 to 6 hours of incubation to knock down eggs that have been stranded on the side of the container above the water-line. After about 6 hours, the eggs are usually well-hydrated and will stay in the water column.

Hatching Procedure

The following steps will achieve optimum brine shrimp hatch rates.

  • Set-Up:
  • Place hatching cone or similarly shaped vessel in a well-lit area. Cone should be semi-translucent for ease of harvesting and light transmission.
  • Add Water:
  • Fill the cone with water and adjust the salinity to 25 ppt (parts per thousand). Optimum hatching temperature is 82°F (28°C).
  • Add Cysts:
  • Add cysts at the rate of 1 gram per litre.
  • Aerate:
  • Provide adequate aeration to keep cysts in suspension.
  • Hatch:
  • Depending upon water temperature, cysts should hatch in approximately 18-36 hours.
  • Harvest:
  • After hatching brine shrimp, turn off or remove aeration and wait several minutes for the shells and baby brine shrimp (or nauplii) to separate. Newly hatched nauplii will settle to the bottom of the cone or move towards a light source; the shells will float to the surface. Once separated, the nauplii can be siphoned from the bottom with a length of air tubing or gently drained through the bottom of the cone through a valve, if so equipped.
  • Rinse:
  • The warm incubation temperatures and metabolites from the hatching medium create ideal conditions for a bacteria bloom. Rinsing of the baby brine shrimp in a fine mesh net or sieve using clean fresh or saltwater is important before feeding them to your fish.
  • Clean Equipment:
  • Tanks and brine shrimp hatching equipment should be cleaned and disinfected routinely.

Incubation Period:

  • Generally, the optimum incubation time is 24 hours. Egg which has been properly stored for more than 2-3 months may require additional incubation time — up to 30-36 hours. Oftentimes, eggs will hatch in as few as 18 hours. If a smaller size nauplii (Instar I) is desired, a harvest time of 18 hours is recommended after which Instar I (first stage) nauplii can be collected before metamorphosis into Instar II.

Harvesting or collecting brine shrimp

  • Harvesting newly hatched nauplii requires some patience and the method used depends upon your equipment and your needs. When collecting from an Imhoff cone or inverted soda bottle, one method is to remove the airline and allow the nauplii to settle to the bottom of the cone. This will take several minutes. As the nauplii accumulate at the apex of the cone, use the airline with rigid tubing attached to siphon the nauplii into a collection dish filled with fresh water. Do not allow the nauplii to become tightly packed at the bottom of the cone and risk suffocation. After siphoning, wait several minutes and repeat. Take care to avoid siphoning the unhatched eggs that normally settle first. If you have difficulty siphoning the newly hatched nauplii without siphoning unhatched eggs or shell, we suggest that you finish siphoning the majority of nauplii into the holding dish, rinse out the cone and then pour the dish containing nauplii and water back into the cone, add clean water to the cone and repeat the siphoning process as the nauplii again settle to the apex of the cone. It is a good practice to pass the nauplii and water through a small mesh to minimize the introduction of the hatching water into the aquarium.

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