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Artemia 101

In this article I will explain the technique I use to hatch brine shrimp eggs without hiding any secrets.

Equipment:

Let's start with the required materials:

  • Brine shrimp eggs
  • Bleach
  • A small round container
  • Timer
  • Filter
  • 2 Liters conical container like Coke or Pepsi bottle
  • Air pump with hose
  • Salt water (between 1.015 and 1.025)

Decapsulation:

In the small dish, put the desired amount of brine shrimp eggs. Fill with bleach for 5 minutes.

This process is called 'decapsulation'. Basically it removes the protective layer from the eggs. It also kills bacteria and parasites that may be present between this layer and the egg. And finally it increases the hatching rate of eggs. So no need to buy the premium grade since the economic grade will have substantially the same hatching rate which is extremely important.

At 3 minutes, take the container and stir gently for 2 to 3 minutes until the eggs turn brown to orange. Then we empty the contents in the filter and go under tap water for 2-3 minutes There should no longer be a smell of bleach.

And finally we empty the filter in the cone and leave for 16 to 24 hours with lot of swirling from the air pump.

Harvest:

So 24 hours after putting the "brine shrimp" in the hatching container, it's time to pick up the babies (NHBBS). So, I stop the air pump, I put a light above the container. The light will attract NHBBS.

Usually I wait about 15 minutes for the eggs to settle on the bottom and the babies rise to the surface, towards the light. With a filter and a hose, I vacuum the NHBBS. I vacuum until only 2-3 inches of water remains at the bottom of the container. I use NHBBS for 3 uses:

  • as food;
  • to enrich them;
  • to make adults.

In a second container, I empty the deposit of my main container and I fill this container again. In short, I try to collect as much NHBBS as possible. In the container depot, there is a lot of NHBBS, putting them in a second container allows me to collect them. Finally, I start a new batch immediately.

The NHBBS term means "newly hatched baby brine shrimp". We are talking about babies less than 24 hours after hatching. It is only then that they are nutritious, because they are born with a reserve of energy allowing them to survive 24 hours without food. You should know that an NHBBS has no mouth or anus. It is only after 24 hours that the NHBBS develops them.

Enrichment:

Enrichment consists in significantly increasing the nutritional value of the brine shrimp. In your mind, imagine brine shrimp like a rice cake. In itself, not very nutritious. Enrichment allows you to add lots of condiments to the rice cake to increase its nutritional value. So after hatching, I reserve them in another container for 24 hours. The time to develop a mouth and an anus. As soon as they past 24 hours, I transfer the babies in a new container with salt water.  I add my enrichment. 12 hours later, I do the same thing again, so two periods of enrichment. Then I collect them to feed the fish larvae.

 

Growing:

To grow adults, just put them in a container with air bubble and phytoplankton. With practice and technique, it is possible to reduce the 30-day period for having adults to less than 14 days, or even less than 10 days. Adults have no nutritional value, but are ideal for medicating a fish. Since they are filter feeders, they absorb the drug in the water and by feeding the fish, the fish at the same time absorb the drug. Otherwise it's nice to watch a fish eat these little shrimps.