Hatching Brine Shrimp - Inexpensive Method.
Here's a list of the items you will need to hatch your own, fresh Brine Shrimp.
You will need:
A one gallon clear jar or container and one gallon of dechlorinated water.
Brine Shrimp Eggs 90% + hatch rate.
Calcium Hydroxide (Kalkwasser Mix).
Salt: Pond, Aquarium or Sea.
Air Hose, Diffusers Control and Check Valves.
Take your one gallon jar of fresh, dechlorinated water, making sure it is at room temperature. 82F (28C) is optimal...
...and add one half cup of salt. Stir salt into water...
...and check it with your hydrometer for 36-38 PPT. While packers of the eggs (cysts) recommend 25 PPT, the great Salt Lake in Utah USA is much denser than this. You cannot sink in the lake due to the high salt content. I prefer 36-38 PPT, but you may choose to go lower. Also noteworthy, I usually make this mess in the back room where there is no air conditioning and day time temperatures exceed 100F on a daily basis for five months out of the year. The brine shrimp hatch in about 16 hours this way.
Next we add 2 to 5 coke spoons of sodium hydroxide as a nutrient mineral to aid digestion and increase survivability of the brine shrimp.
Warning Will and Penny Robinson! Warning!
Sodium hydroxide is a caustic substance and can badly burn tender flesh objects such as eyeballs. Take care to wash your hands at the end of this step to prevent injury to the nose, mouth, or eyes with contaminated hands.
A year back I blew up two of these expensive deep water air pumps while hatching brine shrimp. Because you will need to regulate the air down until the mixture is sufficiently agitated and flowing smoothly from bottom to top, the pressure caused by choking a line off can blow out your pump.
The double pumper I am using here has individual pressure chambers made from ABS Plastic, which can be made to withstand the impact of a bullet. Well, I cracked one chamber on one air pump, and then, blew both out of a second one before I realized my valves were in the wrong place.
While I say this is optional, a smart person will heed my warnings and make sure you set up similar to the way I have illustrated here.
I now employ this method on every airline I have connected on all three aquariums.
Now we add the Brine Shrimp Eggs.
I prefer to use cysts from Brine Shrimp Direct (www.brineshrimpdirect.com) because of their superior quality, prices and delivery times.
I recommend getting it by the one pound can 90+ hatch rate. Be sure to keep the unused portion in the freezer. A one pound can lasts me a year.
Adjust your air and check it once an hour or so until it begins to froth. Then make the final adjustments. You do not want giant bubbles or the water splashing a great distance up the side of the jar, as many of the cysts will stick to the sides and never hatch.
After 8 hours, shut down the pump and put one or two coke spoons of Artemia Food to give nourishment to the shrimp as they begin to hatch.
After 16 hours or so, check the bubbles again to make sure the adjustments are correct. You are in the last trimester of hatching and this is the point where you will notice how large they have become. This is a sign they are beginning to hatch.
After 24 hours, shut the air pump down and watch the husks as they float to the top. Wait a half hour for the turbidity to end and the brine shrimp settles to the bottom.
You will need to carefully skim these off as you try to keep the turbulence down as you bail. Slowly bail the water down to one third the original volume, stopping for five minutes or so when the turbulence from bailing causes turbidity. If you continue under this condition, you will be throwing out good brine shrimp.
After skimming and bailing down to 1/3 gallon, slowly refill the jar with tap water.
...and bail again using the same procedure as above.
You should now see the brine shrimp at the bottom of the jar. The less Calcium Hydroxide you used, the darker brown the brine shrimp will be. Whereas, the more Calcium Hydroxide used the pinker the shrimp will be.
You want the shrimp to be slightly pink to make it easier to identify how much of your shrimp is hatched. If you used 4 to 5 coke spoons of Calcium Hydroxide, the shrimp should be very pink, albeit some have been cooked in the caustic mix, but the fish and their fry will still consume them. This is why it is important not to use too much Calcium Hydroxide. If you do not have this caustic material and do not intend to buy it, there will be no great harm in omitting it from your list. We are using it simply to be able to tell for certain when the greater majority (90%) have hatched.
After two good bailings, the top of the water should look like this. nearly husk free. If the majority of your shrimp have not hatched, fill the jar again, replace the water (you may use tap water at this point), check the salinity, give them some more food, and hit it with air for a few more hours.
If you keep the hatched shrimp in the jar with air going and the proper salinity, they will live for days provided you feed them. Yes, if you do this correctly, there will be a rather faint, yet foul odor near the jar. This is normal. What you have recreated is the stinky Great Salt Lake in a jar.
When your shrimp are ready, pour them into your tank or feed them by the cupful into your tanks. Its completely up to you. Yes, you may need to change the water in your tank more often, however the trade off is spectacular!
If you keep cheap feeder guppies, within three days you should notice fry all over in the plants.
Introducing Brine Shrimp will give guppie fry a great source of protein that is not dry, and hence they will have a greater survival rate. If need be, my fish can go a week without food, like a cat to a mouse, they will survive off the guppies and their fry.
Brine shrimp will also cause some fish, like gold fish and Koi to try to spawn. You will definitely notice the difference in their daily habits.
I hope that this pictorial has helped you to understand how to raise brine shrimp as live food, and you are successful in your own attempts to raise this hearty health food for your fish.
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