A convenient way of arranging fresh food for your pet aquarium fish is to hatch brine shrimp on your own. It may seem to be a daunting task, but it's exactly opposite of that.
Brine shrimp constitute a major chunk of the staple food of several aquarium fish. In fact, newly hatched brine shrimp are not just preferred by aquarium fish, but are also preferred by aquatic larvae. They contain loads of lipids and unsaturated fatty acids. Unfortunately, their nutritional value has a short lifespan, which is approximately 6 to 8 hours. Owing to this, many people prefer hatching brine shrimp by themselves. It is an inexpensive way of finding healthy food for your pet fish. There are quite a few popular methods that are used for this. Amongst them, hatching the eggs with salt and water is said to be the best.
How to Hatch Brine Shrimp?
Before we get to the actual procedure, you need to know that brine shrimp are metabolically inactive and can retain their inactiveness for years when they are stored in a dry and oxygen-free condition. (This is called cryptobiosis, which means ‘hidden life’.) In course of this, brine shrimp eggs can survive temperatures in the range of -190°F to 105°F. It is very important to use properly stored brine shrimp eggs. You will easily find these eggs at a local fishery store. As for the unused eggs, you can store them in proper airtight containers or a ziploc plastic bag, so as to utilize them the next time.
- Brine shrimp eggs
- Sea salt or aquarium rock salt
- Flexible airline tubing
- Turkey baster
- 2 or 3 way gang valve
- A hammer
- Rinse a mason jar well with clean water and air dry it. Now, screw the lid on the jar. Once you are done, make a hole in the center of the lid using the hammer and screwdriver. Make sure the hole is big enough to insert the air pump in it.
- Now make four smaller holes on each side of the lid for ventilation. Cut the tubing to the exact length to enable it to reach the gang valve and down the mason jar. Now adjust the air pressure, until you find a steady stream of bubbles at the bottom of the jar.
- Make sure that the pH level of water is above 8. If not, then you can raise it by adding a bit of Epsom salt or baking soda to it. You can use natural daylight and an overhead 100 watt lamp (at night) while hatching brine shrimp eggs. For colder regions, use a 60 watt lamp throughout the day.
- Fill your mason jar with regular tap water to its neck (till the curve) and add baking soda or other buffer to raise its pH. When the water pH is 8+, you may add 3 teaspoons of salt in it. After adding the salt, secure the jar with the lid and turn on the air pump.
- When the salt gets completely dissolved, open the lid of the mason jar and add half teaspoon of brine shrimp eggs in it. Now, lap the jar a bit, so that no eggs get stuck at the sides of the jar or away from the water. Now tightly close the lid of the jar.
- Leave the jar there for 14 to 18 hours and then turn off the air pump. After the water is completely settled, you will find the empty brine shrimp eggs floating on the water surface. The baby brine shrimp, on the other hand, must be residing at the bottom of the jar. You can suck them out using a turkey blaster.
You can wash these brine shrimp with cold water before feeding them to your aquarium fish. Remember that the hatched shrimp have a really short lifespan so hatch them only when you want to use them. Make sure to wash and clean all the used tools of your egg hatchery on a timely basis.
Note: The time required for hatching depends on the temperature and salinity that you maintain.