Beautiful Brine Shrimp!

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.

Feeding Time!

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.

Products:

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:

https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product/brine-shrimp-hatchery-dish/?v=3e8d115eb4b3

Want to Learn More? Take A Look at Our Sources Below!:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/animal/brine-shrimp
  2. https://odinaquatics.com/hatch-brine-shrimp
  3. https://www.thesprucepets.com/diy-hatching-brine-shrimp-2924618
  4. http://solidgoldaquatics.com/2013/11/10/easy-diy-brine-shrimp-hatchery/
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0TJBGQMhk4

To Feed A Jellyfish

The Question

I remember going to my first convention. It was the first time I had seen customers face-to-face. I was amazed by how many people were there, and eager to answer all of their questions. The grand display tank was filled with large moon jellyfish pulsing around the tank. People adored them. I adored talking to them. As I talked to them, I noticed a pattern. Many of the same questions came up, time and time again. One of the most prominent ones was this:

“But… What do they eat?”

Answering this question, again and again, I just knew I had to write this blog.


The Wild Truth

Itty bitty zooplankton is the beginning of the food chain in the ocean.

Well, first things first, all jellyfish are predators. But jellyfish aren’t just any predator, they’re lazy predators. They’re completely opportunistic. They eat whatever happens to drift by and become entangled with their tentacles. They then they use their oral arms to take the captured prey from their tentacles up to the very center of their bell, and into their (very tiny) mouth. Incidentally, this mouth also happens to be their anus. They’re rather fortunate that they don’t have taste buds.

In the wild, most jellyfish feed on plankton, which is made up of thousands of microscopic species of swimming animals. Jellyfish only eat zooplankton (animals that eat plants or other animals), not phytoplankton (plants that produce their own energy from the sun). Some species of jellyfish, such as the Upside Down Jelly, host symbiotic algae within their oral arms. This algae provides extra nutrition to the jellyfish by producing organic material through photosynthesis. Many species of jellyfish feed on other species of jellyfish. For example, the Sea Nettles feed on Moon Jellyfish.

Jellyfish can also be fed live food, such as baby brine shrimp. This food is highly nutritious and recommended especially for sick or struggling jellyfish. Public aquariums have a full time staff, so they almost always hatch their own baby brine shrimp daily to feed to jellyfish. Depending on the species of jellyfish, sometimes public aquariums also feed the jellyfish rotifers, blended krill, chopped fish, and other foods. Public aquariums rely on these time-consuming foods because they often keep exotic species, breed jellyfish and run experiments.

However, hobbyists can use Jellyfish our dry and live food to suit their jellyfish’s needs.

But What Do I Feed Them?

The daily special? Freeze-dried zooplankton.

We provide a dry jellyfish food specifically formulated for jellyfish made from plankton high in HUFAs (Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids), which are essential for proper nutrition. We strongly suggest only feeding jellyfish with our recommended food.

Other fish foods that claim to be suitable for jellyfish are often low quality. Follow the feeding guide to properly feed your jellyfish with special care not to overfeed which can cause water quality issues. 

Our high quality Jelly Food includes a small scoop included inside the food bag! For 3-4 jellyfish feed 1/4 scoop of dry Jelly Food in total once per day. Feeding amounts may be adjusted gauging that minimal food is left on the aquarium floor.

During feeding you should mix the dry food in a small container with a small amount of aquarium water, this solution can be dispersed into the aquarium.

Using a container of any sort (I often use a neglected egg cup), I fill it with a bit of water from my jellyfish aquarium using a baster. I wouldn’t take out more than a cup of water from your aquarium for this procedure, as that’s just unnecessary. Then, I pour in a measured amount of dry food into the container of tank water (there is a spoon included in our food packages to do this). I personally just use the spoon itself to mix the food and the tank water, and then leave it. Take this time to thoroughly dry off the measuring spoon if you’ve used it to mix the water. Let the food sit a bit in the water for some time. Not too much to float, and not to much to sink. That’s what you’re looking for.

A large moon jellyfish will need more than a small moon jellyfish.

Once my dried jellyfish food has been prepared, I slowly squirt the food back into the tank with the baster, making certain to avoid any bubbles in the water. Contrary to popular belief, it is best to avoid squirting the food directly at the jellyfish. Instead, squirt the food into the current so that the jellyfish can exercise their tentacles and oral arms. And now, watch. The food should be slowly drifting into the water current. Some will go through the vents, but the filter sponge will take care of that. The majority of the food should be flowing through the current in the tank, allowing the jellyfish to catch it in their tentacles. As time goes on, you may start to notice your jellyfish’s stomach slowly turning a brownish colour as it is filled with food!

Though the jellyfish are not very active, watching the jellyfish feed is a soothing activity. Just be certain not to overfeed your jellyfish! This will cause your water to get polluted by the uneaten food that will rest on the bottom of the tank. Your jellyfish will be unable to eat this, as it is not in the water current. If you have fed your jellyfish too much, simply siphon out the excess from the bottom of the tank.

But Is Dry Food Enough

Look familiar? You might remember these eggs as ‘Sea Monkey’ eggs!

Ah, the question I’ve been waiting for! Is the freeze-dried zooplankton enough? Simply put, no. Not on its own. It does need supplementing. We have thought over this, and has taken action to provide the proper supplementation to our dry food. The supplement? Brine shrimp.

The reason that we don’t just use frozen brine shrimp is because it simply isn’t as nutritious as live. In addition, though frozen brine shrimp is readily available, it’s often the wrong size for jellyfish. Jellyfish have small mouths, and the frozen brine shrimp on the market is often too large for the jellyfish to eat. What jellyfish need are freshly hatched brine shrimp.

To hatch brine shrimp is simple. To make it simpler, we provide the Brine Shrimp Hatchery Disk, which makes hatching brine shrimp easier than ever before. Simply put diluted salt water into the disk, a spoon full of eggs, and place the hatchery disk in a warm area. The brine shrimp will hatch within the next 12-24 hours, and you will have live, freshly hatched brine shrimp ready to feed your jellyfish with!

Expect to see a cloud like this when feeding brine shrimp. It’s really a sigh to behold!

The process of feeding the brine shrimp is much the same as with feeding live food. Using a baster, transfer the amount you need from a container of tank water and brine shrimp, and slowly push the brine shrimp into the current.

Feeding live food to your jellyfish helps them live longer, look better, and keeps them more active. In addition to being much healthier for your jellyfish, it also means there’s less mess to clean up, as the brine shrimp stay in the current longer for the jellyfish to catch them. For these reasons, at Jellyfish Aquarium, we like to feed freshly hatched brine shrimp more often than dried food.

Of course, this does not discount the dried food. Often, it’s best to use a bit of both to give your jellyfish the best lives possible. And not matter what food you use, your jellyfish still poop. So you will still need to do weekly maintenance on your aquarium.

Bon Appetit

Today we covered what jellyfish eat in the wild, what we feed them in captivity, how to feed them and how often to feed them. It’s a food for thought when purchasing your jellyfish supplies, but maybe you’re still looking for dessert? In which case, below is linked a variety of sources on what jellyfish eat, and how they eat. If you’re interested in learning more about brine shrimp, feel free to reach out an email us through our contact page, or wait for us to post a blog all about brine shrimp, and how to make your very own brine shrimp hatchery!

Best of luck with your jellyfish, and don’t forget to check in next week for more news on the Jelly Roll!

Next Blog: To Care for Jellyfish

If you want more jellyfish content, a certain topic addressed, or you saw a really cool article on jellyfish, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Purchase Jellyfish Food!

Jellyfish Food: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product-category/jellyfish-supplies

Brine Shrimp Hatchery: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product/brine-shrimp-hatchery-dish 

Sources:

What Jellyfish Eat-

  1. http://www.whatdojellyfisheat.info
  2. https://animalinfoworld.com/what-do-jellyfish-eat/
  3. https://animalsake.com/what-do-jellyfish-eat
  4. http://www.whatdojellyfisheat.info

How Jellyfish Eat-

  1. https://animalhow.com/how-do-jellyfish-eat-and-what-do-they-eat/

The Nitrogen Cycle

What it Is, and Why It’s Important

What is the Nitrogen Cycle?

Well, to answer the question of how the nitrogen cycle is important, it’s important to know what the nitrogen cycle even is! The nitrogen cycle is essentially the process of breaking down waste in your aquarium using something known as ‘beneficial bacteria’.

Ammonia

It starts with ammonia. When waste is introduced into an aquarium, it will slowly build up.If the pH is not at 7 or above, something called ammonium will form, which is non toxic, but also not essential to the nitrogen cycle. What you want is ammonia, which is toxic to form. It sounds counter-productive, but it makes sense, as the bacteria that you want to develop only wants to eat ammonia, which is only formed at pH levels of 7 or more. This bacteria is crucial for the next stage of the nitrogen cycle to occur.

This bacteria, known as ‘nitrosomonas’, will slowly eat away at the ammonia. Soon enough, you will have a colony of nitrosomonas living in your tank. As the colony grows, and more bacteria eat and poop, they oxidize the ammonia. This oxidization process of the ammonia produces the next stage of the cycle: Nitrites!

Nitrites

So, you have a bunch of bacteria chowing down on ammonia, and they’re producing a waste called nitrites. This is good! However, the nitrites that the nitrosomona bacteria produced is still highly toxic, just not as toxic as the ammonia that the nitrosomonas are dealing with. You don’t want to have this nitrite in your tank. So what do you do? You wait. See, as the nitrite levels begin to rise, another form of bacteria will form. This bacteria is known as nitrobacter.

As nitrobacter forms, they will start converting the nitrates in your tank into nitrate.

Nitrates

Nitrates are the final products of the nitrogen cycle. These are least harmful to your jellies, but they still pose a risk if they get out of hand. You’ll want to keep a close eye on these.

So How Do You Start the Cycle? How Do You Monitor It?

Starting the Cycle

To start the nitrogen cycle in your tank, you first have to make the water for your jellyfish tank. We have a blog post on how to mix saltwater for your tank, so, you know, check it out (please). Or there’s plenty of youtube videos, wikihow articles, or just generally informative websites that can teach you how to mix water for your tank. In fact, before reading on, please go and check out a source on how to make the water. I can wait. Trust me, I have time.

You’re back? You know how to make saltwater? Good because you’re going to need it. Fill your tank with it, and introduce a source of ammonia. Now, some people would encourage you to throw a fish in your tank, but this is considered by most inhumane. Not only that, but as you (better be!) dealing with saltwater, you may notice that saltwater fish are very expensive. Not only that, but once your tank is cycled, you can’t exactly keep jellyfish and regular fish together. So, putting a fish in your tank just isn’t a viable option. So what next?

Well, you can use a method known as ‘fishless cycling’. To do this, you introduce ammonia by adding in some fish food. Just as much as you would add if you had fish in the tank. If someone is confused by what you’re doing, just tell them you have invisible fish. When you leave the food in the tank, it decomposes into ammonia. You can add some extra food (again, as much as you would use in a regular feeding) about every twelve hours.

And with that, you have started the cycle! Congratulations! But, you aren’t finished yet, as you know! You have to maintain the cycle!

Maintaining the Cycle

So, you have ammonia in your tank. Now you have to figure out how much ammonia is in your tank. How? By using a test kit! You can use a test kit from our starter kit, or you can purchase a test kit online or in your local pet store. We like to use the Seachem Marine MultiTest kit to test our tanks, but the API test strips are just fine as well. What you’re looking for is to have the ammonia levels at around 3ppm (parts per million). If you see the ammonia levels drop, add some more fish food, and try to keep the readings stable for about a week. It’s okay if the readings aren’t always at 3ppm, but that’s what you’re aiming for.
So a week has passed, and you’ve been trying your best to keep ammonia levels stable. Now, it’s time to start testing for nitrites! As soon as you get your first reading of nitrites, you’ll know the cycle has begun.

At this point, you’ll want to keep adding the fish food occasionally, but you’ll notice the levels of nitrites will steadily rise. However, after another week or so, they’ll start dropping. Now is the time to test for nitrates. I’d also take this time to celebrate, as at this point, the cycle is nearly complete! You’ll have jellyfish in no time!

But, you have to keep testing the water! Do this every day, and be patient. This process could take another week or so. However, your patience will be rewarded! Once the ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0, your cycle is complete! That said, if your nitrates are over 40ppm, you’ll want to do a partial water change to bring the levels down.

So What’s Next?

So now your tank is reading 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and less than 40ppm of nitrates. What’s next? You have worked hard to get your tank set up for over two weeks now. It might have even been a month by this point! But, your work has paid off.

At this point, it’s time to visit JellyfishAquarium.ca to pick up your new jelly friends!

Our Sources:

  1. http://www.bioconlabs.com/nitribactfacts.html
  2. https://modestfish.com/how-to-cycle-your-aquarium/#What_is_the_Nitrogen_Cycle
  1. https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/jellyfish-info/tips-for-keeping-jellyfish/establishing-a-new-aquarium/?v=3e8d115eb4b3

Our Kits and Packages

Jellyfish Aquarium believes that customers deserve the best quality items to maintain their jellyfish tanks. For this reason, we have created two separate packages that we consider essential for caring for your jellyfish.

The Pro Maintenance Kit includes all the equipment you need to clean your jellyfish tank.

The first package to cover is the one that is essential for cleaning your tank. This package is the ‘Pro Maintenance Kit’, which you can find on our website store under the ‘Kits’ category. This kit includes a small siphon, an acrylic-safe algae scrub pad, an acrylic-safe cleaning cloth, and something we’ve coined the ‘Jelly-Thing Tool’. All of these tools are used together to keep your tank spotless. These tools are also all available individually under our Cleaning Equipment tab, located under Equipment in the shop categories. This kit is needed to care for the tank, and maintain the water quality. Thankfully, this package is generally a one-time purchase, as you’re only purchasing tools.

The Quarterly Supply Package has everything you need to feed and care for your jellyfish friends.

The second package includes all the supplies to care for the jellyfish themselves. Our ‘Quarterly Supply Package’ for a 2 gallon tank includes 25g of dry jellyfish food, 10 gallons of jellyfish salt, 1 pack of Chemipure Blue (Nano Sized), and 100ml of Seachem Pristine for biomaitenance. There is a variant of this kit that also includes API 5in1 test strips to check how healthy your water is for your jellyfish. These kits are absolutely essential for caring for your jellyfish, from feeding them to giving them water. We strongly recommend that you purchase this kit to give your jellyfish the best life possible.

At Jellyfish Aquarium, we take care of our jellyfish to the best of our ability. We know that with these packages, you will be prepared to give your jellyfish a long and healthy life as well.

Pro Maintenance Kit: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product/pro-jellyfish-maintenance-kit/?v=3e8d115eb4b3

Quarterly Supply Package: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product/quarterly-supply-pkg/?v=3e8d115eb4b3

Quarterly Supply Package with Test Strips: https://jellyfishaquarium.ca/product/quarterly-supply-pkg-water-tests/?v=3e8d115eb4b3