How to Hatch Baby Brine Shrimp for Fish Fry
Baby brine shrimps are the best food for raising baby fish. This nutritious food greatly increases the survival rate of fry, and also speeds up their growth. You can also feed them to adult to prepare them for breeding. Continue reading to find out how to hatch baby brine shrimp at your home.
What Are Brine Shrimp?
Have you ever heard of pet “sea monkeys”? They are actually tiny, saltwater crustaceans that belong to the Artemia genus, and they reproduce by laying encapsulated eggs or cysts that can remain viable on dry land for years. These same creatures are also used frequently in the aquarium hobby to feed fish. By rehydrating the cysts in salt water for 18-36 hours, you can hatch baby brine shrimp, which come with highly nutritious yolk sacs that are packed with proteins and healthy fats. Live baby brine shrimp is the best choice for fish breeding if you are serious about it. It’s used by major fish farms around the world and veteran fish breeders.
The adult brine shrimp swim upside down by waving their 22 swimming appendages rhythmically.
How to Make Baby Brine Shrimp
We have found the Ziss brine shrimp-hatchery to be one of the most reliable on the market. It’s made from strong and high-quality plastic, has built-in ports to insert a thermometer and heater, and is optimized for hatching brine shrimp around the clock if needed. This pre-built hatchery is a great option if your budget doesn’t allow you to build your own.
– Ziss brine shrimp hatchery (comes with rigid tubing, Celsius thermometer, air stone, air valve, pipette, and stand) Brine shrimp eggs Air pump Airline tubing Check valve – Small lamp with bendable neck – Aquarium salt or marine salt – Collection cup or container – Small heater (optional) – Baking soda to raise pH (optional) – Epsom salt to raise water hardness (optional)
1. Insert the clear plastic “blender” into the black stand, and screw on the black blender valve into the base of the blender. The blender and stand should be placed near an outlet or power strip.
1. Pour in roughly 1.75 liters of room temperature tap water, such that the water level stays about 1.5-1.75 inches (3.8-4.4 cm) below the top rim of the blender. To avoid brine shrimp eggs getting stuck to the blender lid, don’t fill the water up to its top. Dechlorinating the water is not necessary as it helps dissolve the brine shrimp egg’s outer shells.
1. Cut a 1″ piece of airline tubing and use it to connect the rigid tubing to the airline port on the inside of the lid. This will allow the rigid tubing reach the bottom hatchery. There is no need to attach the air stone at the end of the rigid tubing because we want larger bubbles to increase circulation and oxygenation for a higher hatch rate.
1. Heat the water to 74-82degF (23-28degC) either by heating the entire room, shining a small lamp with an incandescent or halogen bulb, or placing a small heater inside the water. Follow the instructions on how to use a heater. Wait for it to cool down for 30 minutes before you plug it in.
Make sure the heater’s plug can fit through the largest opening in the middle of the blender lid.
1. Add 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the blender, or use 2 tablespoons of marine salt if you have soft water. Tip: Get a plastic spoon that measures exactly 2 tablespoons. It won’t get stained by the salt. For 2 liters of water, you can either add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to raise pH or 1 teaspoon Epsom Salt to raise the GH. 2. You can add up to 1 tablespoon brine shrimp eggs. If you plan to hatch the eggs soon, keep the rest of the eggs in the fridge.
1. Locate the air pump in a place that is close to a power outlet. Connect a longer length of airline tubing from the air pump to the airline port on the top of the blender lid. To prevent water from flooding the hatchery, cut this airline tubing in two. Connect the air pump to the hatchery and check that it is bubbling. If you feel no air coming from the pump, flip the check valve.
This red check valve has the horizontal or colored bar facing the green pump. In the event of a power outage, the check valve prevents water from flooding out of the hatchery.
1. Cover the blender with the lid. The lid should be covered with the red O-ring. The O-ring should be adjusted so that the thermometer touches the water.
How to harvest baby brine shrimp
You can take the baby brine shrimps that have hatched after about 18 to 36hrs. If the water is clear and there are no pinkish particles (with the pump off), it could be that the setup is not correct. The temperature, eggs or salinity could all be wrong. Once you have identified the problem, rinse the hatchery to remove it and then start a fresh hatching mix.
1. Now that the brine shrimp have hatched, it’s time to separate them from the egg shells and unhatched eggs. Turn off the heater and air pump. Then shine a flashlight at the blender’s base to make the brine shrimp swim toward it while the eggs float towards the top.
1. After 10 minutes, get a collection container to collect the brine shrimp and place it under the nozzle at the base of the blender. Unscrew the blender valve and collect the brine shrimp. Do not collect any eggs of darker color that are floating on the water surface. Screw tight the blender valve to stop the flow of water. You can make a shorter DIY stand by using PVC pipes, if you find the stand too tall to reach the blender valve.
1. Some people prefer to strain the brine shrimp with a brine shrimp sieve before feeding the fish. We just pour the brine shrimp liquid directly into the tank. (In our experience, a little bit of salt added to the aquarium doesn’t affect the fish.) It may be easier to use the pipette included or a non-drip turkey baster to portion the liquid if you have multiple tanks.
It is easy to tell if fry are eating baby-brine shrimps by their pinkish-orange colored bellies.
1. After every hatching, rinse thoroughly the blender and the cover. Rotting eggs and bacteria can pollute the water. Also, don’t forget to open the blender valve to flush it clean. Now you are ready to hatch new batches of brine shrimp eggs by washing out the salt and egg deposits with hot water.
How Long Can Baby Brine Shrimps Live in Freshwater for?
They are saltwater creatures and can only survive in freshwater for about a couple of hours. You can freeze baby brine shrimp that you have hatched, and then refrigerate it for up to three days. You can freeze them in ice cube trays if you have excess.
Baby brine shrimp hatch at 450 microns. If your fish fry are too small for you to eat, this tutorial will show you how to grow live vinegar eels.