How to Hatch Baby Brine Shrimp for Fish Fry
Baby brine shrimp is one of the most cost-effective live foods when it comes to raising baby fish. This nutrient-dense food maximizes the survival rate of fry and significantly speeds up their growth. To condition them for breeding, you can even give them to adults. Keep reading to learn how to easily hatch your own batch of baby brine shrimp at home.
What is a Brine Shrimp?
Have you heard of pet “sea monkeys”? These tiny saltwater crustaceans are part of the Artemia genus. They reproduce by laying eggs or cysts in encapsulated shells. The cysts can survive on dry land for many years. These same creatures are also used frequently in the aquarium hobby to feed fish. Baby brine shrimp can be hatched by placing the cysts in saltwater for between 18 and 36 hours. The yolk sacs are full of healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins. 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
The Ziss brine shrimp hatchery is one of the best hatcheries we’ve found 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. You can make your own hatchery, but if you don’t have a lot of spare materials and tools lying around, this pre-built hatchery will make your life a lot easier.
– 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. The clear plastic “blender”, which is the transparent plastic part, should be inserted into the black stand. Screw the black blender valve into its base. The blender and stand should be placed near an outlet or power strip.
1. You should add approximately 1.75 Liters of room-temperature tap water to the blender. The water level should be between 1.5-1.75 inches (3.8-4 cm) and the top of the blender. You can avoid brine shrimp eggs sticking to the blender lid by not filling it up to the top. You don’t need to dechlorinate water as it dissolves the brine shrimp eggs’ 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 allows the rigid tube to reach the bottom. It is not necessary to attach the airstone at the end rigid tubing. We want larger bubbles for increased circulation and oxygenation, which will result in 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. If you’re using a heater, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. After it has cooled, place it under water for at least 30 minutes.
Make certain that the heater plug fits through the largest hole in 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: Use a plastic coffee spoon to measure exactly 2 tablespoons. The salt won’t get rusty. If you don’t have marine salt, you can add to 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to raise the pH or add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt to raise the GH (for 2 liters of water). 2. You can add up to 1 tablespoon brine shrimp eggs. For increased longevity, store the rest of the eggs in the refrigerator (or in the freezer if you don’t plan on hatching the rest of them in the near future).
1. Find a location for the air pump so that it can reach a nearby power outlet. Connect the longer length of airline tubing to the port at the top of your blender lid. To prevent water from flooding the hatchery, cut this airline tubing in two. Plug in the air pump and make sure the water in the hatchery is bubbling. (If the pump is running but you can’t feel any air, flip the check valve around.)
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 using the lid. Place the O-ring in red on the top of the thermometer and then insert the thermometer into its port. Adjust the height of the O-ring so that the thermometer reaches the water and you can read the temperature.
How to harvest baby brine shrimp
The baby brine shrimps will be ready to collect after 18 to 36 hours. If there are no pink, moving particles in the water after the pump has been turned off, then the setup may be incorrect. You could have too many eggs, too much salt, or too low temperatures. Once you figure out the issue, rinse the hatchery and start with a new hatching mixture.
1. After the brine shrimp hatch, it’s time for you to separate the eggs 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, collect the brine shrimp in a container and place it underneath the base of your blender. The blender valve should be removed and the brine shrimp collected. The darker-colored eggs that remain on the surface of the water should not be collected. To stop water from flowing, tighten the blender valve. 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 like to rinse the brine shrimp in fresh water and filter it out with a brine shrimp Sieve. However, we simply pour the brine liquid into our tank to feed the fish. (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.
You can tell if your fry are eating baby brine shrimp by the way their bellies turn pinkish-orange.
1. Thoroughly rinse the blender and the lid after every hatching because rotting eggs and bacterial buildup will pollute the water. Also, don’t forget to open the blender valve to flush it clean. You can now wash out any salt deposits and eggs with hot water and hatch more brine shrimp eggs.
How Long Can Baby Brine Shrimp Live in Freshwater?
Since they are saltwater creatures, they can only survive in freshwater for a few hours. If you hatched too many baby brine shrimp, refrigerate the liquid and use them within the next two or three days. You can freeze them in ice cube trays if you have excess.
Remember that baby brine shrimp hatch out at 450 microns in size, so if your fish fry are too small to eat them, try culturing live vinegar eels first with this easy, step-by-step tutorial.