TROPICAL FISH: A simple guide to hatching brine shrimp
I HAVE found existing guides for hatching brine shrimp on the Internet overly complex. I have been hatching brine shrimp for tropical fish since I was a child and can confidently say that it is not a complicated process.
Brine shrimp are a great live food source for tropical fish, especially if you are breeding fish and want to raise healthy fish spawn. They are also great for varying the diet of smaller tropical fish species.
Brine shrimp generally come in small plastic containers. Some brine shrimp guides will tell you to keep these in the fridge, but this is not necessary. So long as the container is kept sealed so that moisture cannot enter and glue the eggs together, brine shrimp eggs can be kept at room temperature.
Some brine shrimp guides suggest using a cone-shaped device for hatching the eggs. What I find works best is a small rectangular tank or transparent container of about five litres. The corners are useful for getting the brine shrimp to cluster together so that more can be extracted at once.
Add two cups (500mls) of fish tank water to your breeding tank – diluted with a teaspoon of salt. Some brine shrimp guides will urge you to use aquarium salt or non-iodated salt. This is best, but I’ve found that ordinary table salt works just as well. It’s cheaper too.
You want the salted water level to be between 2-3cm. Gently sprinkle some brine shrimp eggs over the water surface and allow them to spread out. It doesn’t matter whether or not the eggs sink or float but you want to ensure that none stick to the sides of the tank and dry out.
Other brine shrimp guides may also argue that the water needs to be aerated and heated. You can do this however you see fit if you wish, but it is not essential. In the summer months you can keep your hatchery in the sunlight near a window. During Winter, room temperature should be adequate. Also bear in mind that if your brine shrimp hatchery is in the sunlight more water will evaporate and more eggs will stick to the sides, dry out, and won’t hatch.
After about two days you should see little orange movements. Your brine shrimp have hatched and are ready to be fed to your tropical fish! Brine shrimp are attracted to light and will swim towards it. Use a small torch or light source to attract them towards one of the corners. Once they have mustered together, suck them up with a plastic syringe or eye-dropper and slowly eject them into your fish tank.
A little salt in your tank is good for your fish. It helps ward off parasites and keeps your fish healthy. Just don’t overdo it! One syringe full of tasty brine shrimp per day is ample depending on the size of your tank. Your tropical fish will love you for the treat!
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