How to Hatch, How to Feed
What are Brine Shrimp?
You may have heard of brine shrimp before. Maybe from an aquarium-loving friend, or through poking about online. You could be like one of my friends, who found the brine shrimp aquarium in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Or, most likely, you knew about (or maybe kept!) Sea Monkeys as a child! That’s right, brine shrimp are more often known by their other name, Sea Monkeys! But, what are they?
Brine shrimp (Artemia Salina) are a group of tiny crustaceans that are known to be farmed in Great Salt Lake, in Utah. They are hatched from eggs, which can be purchased from us here: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product/brine-shrimp-eggs-25g
They are incredibly small, reaching only a maximum of 15 millimeters in length. Brine shrimp in the aquarium world are highly sought after, as they are incredibly nutritious and a fantastic source of food for jellyfish.
Why Hatch Your Own Brine Shrimp?
Brine shrimp are some of the most nutritious food for jellyfish, and all aquatic life. They are available in many forms, ranging from being a crucial ingredient in dried food all the way to being available in frozen cubes. However, Jellyfish Aquarium prefers to use freshly hatched brine shrimp, and encourages you to do the same. Why? Because of water.
But it’s not just water quality that we’re speaking about this time. The reason Jellyfish Aquarium uses live brine shrimp isn’t just about nutritional content, but also because live brine shrimp stay in the water current for a longer period of time. Dried flakes and frozen brine shrimp settle to the bottom of the tank quickly, and thus are more detrimental to the water quality in the tank. Hatching your own brine shrimp prevents this though. Hatching fresh brine shrimp allows the brine shrimp to swim in the tank water, and thus be more easily eaten by the jellyfish.
The other benefit is that the freshly hatched brine shrimp are small enough to actually be eaten by the jellyfish! Most stores sell adult brine shrimp in frozen cubes, but this is far too large for jellyfish mouths. Remember, jellyfish have absolutely minuscule mouths! The tiniest of the tiny! They simply aren’t big enough for most foods in the ocean! This is why they feed on microscopic zooplankton to sustain themselves. To avoid this, Jellyfish Aquarium uses brine shrimp that’s been hatched within 24-48 hours. The freshly hatched brine shrimp are the perfect size for tiny jellyfish mouths. This means they eat all they need, and they get all the nutrition they need!
How to Hatch Brine Shrimp
After all this talk about how important brine shrimp are, you may be biting at the bit to try your hand at hatching your own! Luckily for you, it’s incredibly easy. In previous years, people have had to use odd and complex ways to get brine shrimp, but these days, you can buy a simple, pre-made brine shrimp hatchery off of our website here: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product/brine-shrimp-hatchery-dish/?v=3e8d115eb4b3
However, it’s important to understand a few steps about hatching brine shrimp. For one, you do need a mixture of saltwater and freshwater. At Jellyfish Aquariums, we find the best hatch rate is a 1:1 ratio of fresh to saltwater. So for us, we use about half of a 2L pop bottle of fresh water, and fill the rest up with salt water. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be perfect water. In fact, it’s often easiest to just use salt water that’s left over from after a water change on your jellyfish. Not only that, but you needn’t touch your precious RODI water reserve! For fresh water, you can simply use the water from your tap. It makes no difference to the brine shrimp.
The other important factor with brine shrimp is heat. Most people use a hot light to warm the water of their brine shrimp, and some use a tiny water heater to raise the water temperature slightly. Most find that a consistent temperature is far more important than a consistent light source, and that increases your hatch rate.
Now, there are many ways to set up your own brine shrimp hatchery. One way is to purchase a premade hatchery kit from the link above, or build your own. There are many youtube videos online detailing how to make a brine shrimp hatchery. One video we strongly encourage you to watch is by youtuber Mark’s Aquatics, an english fishkeeper: https://youtu.be/m0TJBGQMhk4
If watching a video isn’t for you, there’s an excellent tutorial online from fishkeeper Solid Gold Aquatics, who has a tutorial here: http://solidgoldaquatics.com/2013/11/10/easy-diy-brine-shrimp-hatchery/
After you’ve set up you hatchery and made up your water, you can add your brine shrimp and leave them for up to 48 hours. After you’ve left them for this time, you can drain your hatchery into a coffee filter. This allows the water to seperate from the brine shrimp. Be sure to rinse the freshly hatched brine shrimp with a bit of tap water, or RODI water, it depends on your preference. After the brine shrimp are rinsed and in the coffee filter, you can safely feed them to your jellyfish.
Once you’ve hatched your brine shrimp, you may be tempted to simply pour all the brine shrimp into the tank. However, there’s another way that enables you to control how much you feed, and determine how much you need to feed, far more easily.
The best way I’ve found is to take a small cup, and fill it with a bit of water from the jellyfish tank. Then, put the brine shrimp into the cup of tank water. From here, you can take a baster or syringe of some sort, and slowly add brine shrimp from the cup into the water. When you think your jellyfish have eaten enough, you can either save the brine shrimp in your fridge overnight for later, or discard them.
That said, I do recommend adding some nutrient supplements to your brine shrimp after storing them in your fridge. A great product I highly recommend is Boyd Enterprises’ VitaChem. I’ve noticed my jellyfish are healthy, and live longer when I provide them this supplement with brine shrimp (after I’ve left the brine shrimp in the fridge overnight).
Try it Yourself
Though hatching brine shrimp may seem intimidating, it’s easier now than ever. Feeding freshly hatched brine shrimp to your jellyfish ensures they have the best life, and the longest.
If you were interested in any of the products mentioned in this blog, please take the time to look into them more!
Jellyfish Aquarium provides many different sizes of brine shrimp egg packages, and can be found here: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product-category/jellyfish-supplies/jellyfish-food/?v=3e8d115eb4b3
Jellyfish Aquarium is passionate about getting people to hatch their own brine shrimp. If building your own hatchery is too time-consuming, try buying a premade hatchery! You can purchase a premade hatchery off our website at the link below: