Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Hatching brian shrimp?

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  • #1810

    Hi Peter,

    I have just purchased a brine shrimp hatchery kit online. Can you give me a little more info about this.

    I have purchased:

    What do you think about this product?
    Rena Air Pumps 50 <;

    I have used this one before:
    Shrimpery Kits Brine Shrimp Hatchery Kit <;

    Artemia Food 11.5 grams <;

    Brine Shrimp Eggs 80% Hatch/6 grams <;

    Continuous Hatch ‘N Feeder 2-1/4" x 4-3/4" x 8-1/4" high <;

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear Smith:

    Okay, it looks like you are ready to do some serious brine shrimp hatching, judging from the list of items you have ordered.

    First of all, the Rena air pump should certainly be more than sufficient for operating a brine shrimp hatchery, so you’ve got that covered. No problem there.

    Secondly, the brine shrimp hatchery kit featuring the inverted liter bottle is an effective design and should produce good results. It is fairly straightforward and relatively easy to operate. Most of the brine shrimp hatcheries available nowadays do a pretty good job, and this is a tried and proven design.

    If you want to raise the newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii to the adult stage, then the OSI brine shrimp food should be useful. Use it sparingly — a little goes a long way, and it is easy to pollute a small volume of water by adding too much of it. I can tell you that Ocean Rider ArtemiaGro (available online from produces excellent results when used as follows:

    <open quote>
    Ocean Rider ArtemiaGro

    This dry product is also a trade secret and has been specifically formulated for growing and/or maintaining healthy populations of artemia (brine shrimp) and/or rotifers. It is very high in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and digestible proteins that optimize growth and survivability.

    Please store in a cool dark place (refrigerator or freezer is fine).

    For fast and efficient feeding: Blend for 2 to 3 minutes 1 tablespoon of Ocean Rider Artemiagro into 1 cup of fresh water. Store any unused portion in the refrigerator. Add to artemia/rotifer grow out vessel until water turns slightly murky. When the water has cleared you may add more. Store any unused portion in the refrigerator in a container that does not allow light to penetrate. For slower and alternative feeding : Simply sprinkle a small amount directly into artemia vessel until water turns slightly murky. Re-apply when water has cleared. (Be careful not to stir up the bottom of vessel.)
    <Close quote>

    Regarding the brine shrimp eggs or cysts, San Francisco Bay brand brine shrimp eggs are generally high quality and should serve you well.

    Finally, the in-tank Continuous Brine Shrimp Hatchery is an item that I have not tried personally so I cannot advise you as to its efficacy from my own experience, Smith, but in theory it certainly could work as advertised. The design appears to be sound and I find this to be an intriguing product, something that would be worthwhile trying in a nursery tank or rearing tank for seahorse fry or in a dwarf seahorse tank for keeping the ponies continually fed. I would not hesitate to experiment with the Continuous Brine Shrimp Hatchery and, if you do so, please report your results back to the group. I am sure all of us would like to hear how well this particular gadget performs because if it works as advertised it could be very useful for the home breeder…

    Here is some additional general information on hatching brine shrimp you may find helpful, Smith:

    Artemia Brine Shrimp Dry Cysts

    Artemia/baby brine shrimp cysts need to be hydrated in saltwater for 24-48 hours before hatching into live swimming baby brine shrimp called Nauplia Instarr.

    Here are some simple guidelines for hatching brine shrimp.

    Salinity: 25 parts per thousand (ppt) salt solution, or approximately 11/2 tablespoons of salt per quart (or liter) of water. This equates to around 1.018 specific gravity as measured with a hydrometer. Be sure to use marine salt or solar salt.

    pH: Proper pH is important in hatching brine shrimp. A starting pH of 8.0 or higher is recommended. In areas where the water pH is below 7, Epson salt or magnesium sulfate can be added at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon per quart of solution to buffer the hatching solution.

    Temperature: Optimum water temperature for a 24-hour complete hatch is 80-82°F or 26-28°C. Lowering the temperature would result in a longer hatching time. Do not exceed 30°C.

    Light: Illumination is necessary to trigger the hatching mechanism within the embryo during the first few hours of incubation. Maintaining a light source during the entire incubation period is recommended to obtain optimum hatch results and for temperature control.

    Aeration: Constant aeration is necessary to keep cysts in suspension and to provide sufficient oxygen levels for the cysts to hatch. A minimum of 3 parts per million dissolved oxygen during the incubation is recommended. Strong aeration should not damage or hurt the brine shrimp cysts or nauplii.

    Stocking Density : 1 gram per liter or quart or approximately 1/2 level teaspoon of cysts per quart is recommended. A higher stocking density will result in a lower hatch percentage.

    Hatching Vessel: Flat-bottom hatching vessels should be avoided. Cone or "V" bottomed containers are best to insure that the cysts remain in suspension during hatching. Be sure to thoroughly wash the hatching cone with a light chlorine solution, rinse, and allow to air-dry between uses. Avoid soap. Soap will leave a slight residue which will foam from aeration during hatching and leave cysts stranded above the water level.

    Incubation Period: Generally, the optimum incubation time is 24 hours. If you want to enrich with Vibrance you will need to incubate them for 36-48 hours. This gives the baby brine shrimp enough time to develop a gut that can be packed.

    In addition, here are some other tips for hatching out brine shrimp:

    Brine shrimp are hatched in saltwater, not freshwater. Be sure to set up an array of at least two brine shrimp hatcheries so you can hatch out more baby brine shrimp each day before you run out. Many commercially made hatcheries are available or you can easily improvise your own from 2-liter soda pop bottles or quart jars. Fill the jars or bottles about 4/5 full with saltwater and equip each container with an airstone connected to a length of rigid airline tubing that reaches all the way to the bottom. An inexpensive vibrator air pump with a set of gang valves with put out enough air for the entire battery of hatching containers. Add 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of brine shrimp eggs to each container and adjust the valves so the airstones bubble vigorously, keeping the eggs in suspension at all times. Shine a light directly on the hatching bottles and keep them illuminated 24 hours a day.

    The eggs will begin hatching after 18-24 hours, and the emerging nauplii should be harvested and used as soon as possible after incubation while they still retain their full nutritional value. (The yolk supply lasts about 1-2 days after hatching, and the food value of the nauplii deteriorates steadily as the yolk sac is consumed. Once it has been exhausted after about 12-48 hours, the nutritional worth of the nauplii drops drastically.)

    However, before they can be used as food, the nauplii must first be separated from the indigestible egg shells. Otherwise the empty shells may be accidentally ingested by the seahorses, which has been known to cause intestinal blockages and death.

    The brine shrimp nauplii can be separated from the eggs simply by turning off the air for a few minutes and allowing the water to settle. The unhatched eggs will sink to the bottom of the hatching jar while the empty egg shells will float to the top. The nauplii can then be concentrated in the center of the jar by darkening the room and shining a flashlight on the jar’s midsection. (Brine shrimp are attracted to light and will be drawn together in midwater where the light is focused.) Harvest the nauplii by using a siphon or turkey baster to suck up the concentrated mass of shrimp. The shrimp-laden water can then be strained through a plankton screen or fine-meshed brine shrimp net.

    Return the strained water to the hatching container, add more eggs, and readjust the aeration. The same hatching solution can be used for a week’s worth of hatchings before it has to be replaced.

    Alternating the hatching container from which you harvest each day’s supply of nauplii will assure that you have a nonstop supply of newly hatched brine shrimp available at all times. For best results, you should decapsulate the cysts before hatching them, as explained below.

    If you’re still uncertain about how to proceed, the information at the following links should make everything perfectly clear:

    Click here: Brine Shrimp Technical Information 1


    Finally, here are some additional tips for raising and growing out the brine shrimp, and enriching it with Vibrance, Smith:

    BRINE SHRIMP (Artemia spp.)

    Pros (Giwojna, Oct. 1996):
    · Adult Artemia are readily available from your fish store or through the mail.
    · Easily raised from cysts to provide nauplii of all sizes and stages of development.
    · Excellent tolerance for saltwater: feed and forget–survives until eaten.
    · Easy to gut-load and enrich.
    · Accepted greedily by most seahorses (except Hippocampus reidi and H. ingens).

    Cons (Giwojna, Oct. 1996):
    · Poor food value–good source of protein, but lacking in other essential nutrients.
    · Must be fortified or enriched to increase nutritional content.
    · Cannot be used as staple diet.

    Collecting Tips:

    Culture Instructions:
    Specific gravity: 1.020-1.026; pH: 8.0-9.0;
    Temperature: 77 degrees F (25 degrees C)

    An easy way to raise small quantities of brine shrimp is to set up a 10-20 gallon tank in a location where it receives natural sunlight to promote the growth of green algae, and provide gentle aeration using a length of airline tubing as a bubbler (avoid fine bubbles and the use of airstones; Giwojna, Oct. 1996). Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of eggs on the surface of the water. The nauplii will hatch 24-36 hour later, and the day after they emerge, they can be fed sparingly with various additives and enrichment products (Giwojna, Oct. 1996). Adjust the amount so a slight haze barely clouds the water for a few hours each day. Do not feed again until the water is crystal clear, and avoid overfeeding at all costs. Maintain constant aeration to keep the food in suspension, and feed very small amounts fairly often — never a large quantity at any given time (Giwojna, Oct. 1996). The first generation of brine shrimp will reach maturity after 2-3 weeks, and the culture will then be self-sustaining (Daleco Aquarists Supply Manual, 1995). Add more eggs as needed to supplement natural reproduction and bolster the population of brine shrimp. Top off the tank with freshwater regularly to make up for evaporation, and replace about 25% of the culture water on a monthly basis (Giwojna, Oct. 1996).

    It’s a good idea to set up 2 or more culture tanks for adult Artemia at the same time so you can harvest a little from each culture and prevent the population of shrimp in any one tank from being depleted to the extent it can no longer sustain itself.

    Rearing Artemia this way makes it easy to select nauplii at just the proper stage of development and size for your sea horses (Giwojna, Oct. 1996).

    Brine shrimp are no doubt the most widely used live foods for sea horses. They are convenient, always available, easy to hatch and raise, and adults can be bought by the pint or quart at many fish stores (Giwojna, Oct. 1996).

    However, commercially raised brine shrimp have one big drawback. By the time they are purchased and released in the aquarium, they usually have not eaten for several days, and starved brine shrimp are nutritionally barren. It is therefore imperative that brine shrimp be fortified before they are fed to your sea horses. (As discussed earlier, unfortified adult brine shrimp are useful for feeding to captive-bred seahorses on a staple diet of enriched frozen Mysis on their fasting days precisely because the brine shrimp have nonexistent nutritional value.)

    Fortunately, brine shrimp are filter feeders and will take in whatever is suspended in the water with them that has a manageable particle size. This can be yeast cells; unicellular algae; rotifers; micronized rice bran, whey, wheat flour, or egg yolk; dried Spirulina algae; water-soluble vitamin and mineral formulations designed for marine fish; or whatever else the aquarist cares to add to their culture water (Daleco Aquarists Supply Manual, 1995).

    I recommend using one of the concentrated food additives or enrichment products that have recently been developed specifically for mariculturists. The best additives are rich in lipids, especially highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA), and vitamins such as stabilized Vitamin C and cyanocobalmin (B-12) (Giwojna, Oct. 1996). Adding such enrichment products to a 6-ounce portion of brine shrimp, and then allowing at least 12 hours for the shrimp to ingest it can fortify store-bought adult Artemia (Giwojna, Oct. 1996)

    Liquid vitamin formulations can also be added, and the ability to enrich their lipid and vitamin content this way allows us to treat brine shrimp as animated vitamin pills for seahorses (Lawrence, 1998). The savvy seahorse keeper should regard enriched Artemia as bio-encapsulated food for his charges and take full advantage of every opportunity to fortify the shrimp (Lawrence, 1998).

    The survival rate of marine fish fry improves dramatically when they are fed lipid-enriched brine shrimp nauplii, and the importance of fortifying Artemia in this manner cannot be overemphasized (Forrest Young, pers. com.). In fact, the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco has successfully raised Hippocampus erectus from birth to maturity on a diet consisting solely of brine shrimp (Herald and Rakowicz, 1951). For best results, however, brine shrimp should be considered only a dietary supplement, with of the bulk of your sea horses’ diet consisting of hard-bodied crustaceans such as Mysids, feeder shrimp or Gammarids.

    Growing Out Brine Shrimp (Culturing Artemia salina)

    Under ideal conditions, Artemia reach adulthood in 8 days after molting 15 times. The easiest way to raise brine shrimp is to set up 5-30 gallon tanks (indoors or outdoors) in a sunny location that will encourage an algae bloom, seed these tanks with freshly hatched Artemia nauplii, and let nature take its course. [Note this is essentially the bucket technique for raising brine shrimp, which Alisa and others have found to be so successful.]

    Here is how Robert Straughan describes this simple culture method: "Fill the culture container with fresh seawater or salt brine solution and let it age for a week or two in a sunny location. Then add a good hatch of live brine shrimp from your regular hatching jar and if conditions are right, you will soon be a full-fledged brine shrimp grower. In a few weeks, the shrimp will mature and even reproduce in the container. By siphoning off just a portion of the shrimp at a time, you will have a continued supply of this superb food. Green algae will form along the sides of the container and will furnish food for the growing shrimp so that all you will have to do is check the salinity occasionally and add a little freshwater when necessary. About every three or four months, replace about one-fourth of the solution with fresh saltwater and, if all goes well, the growing process will go on indefinitely. If the container is left outside, cover the top partially with a piece of glass so that just a little rain will enter the container during storms. Aeration is helpful where a large quantity is desired, but it is not necessary if clean water is used and the container is not too crowded. Evidently the growing algae gives off oxygen for the author has raised large quantities in the method described above and used neither aeration nor food" (Salt-Water Aquarium in the Home, pp 103-104).

    The grow out containers for this low-maintenance method of raising brine shrimp can be buckets, large Rubbermaid vats, or old aquaria, but I find transparent containers work the best for promoting the growth of algae and observing the culture as the brine shrimp grow.

    However, this simple system for culturing Artemia is inadequate if you need to provide enough nauplii to feed hundreds of hungry juveniles. This is often the case when you’re dealing with a large, healthy brood from a prolific species such as Hippocampus erectus or H. reidi, or when you have several mated pairs and more than one male gives birth within a short period.

    A more sophisticated Artemia culture system is called for under these circumstances. This can be achieved by modifying your conventional rectangular culture tanks to form closed brine shrimp ”raceways” with improved circulation patterns that boost productivity. The modification involves installing a central partition that is equidistant from all four sides of the tank and then mounting 4 or more airlift tubes on the sides of the partition (see diagram). The air lifts are positioned so they provide optimum circulation and aeration by producing a circular flow with sufficient upwelling to keep the food particles and shrimp evenly distributed and in a state of constant suspension.

    The converted raceway tanks are then stocked with nauplii at the rate of 1000-3800/liter and maintained under optimum conditions that will maximize brine shrimp production (pH = 8.0, specific gravity = 1.022 to 1.035, temperature = 80-82 F, and low light levels). (See the Plankton Culture Manual by Frank Hoff and Terry Snell* for complete instructions on this high-productivity, raceway culture method.)

    If you live in an area with a favorable climate, there is an easier method for culturing brine shrimp in large quantities that might be just right for you: raising them outdoors in wading pools or small ponds. Simply install the pond in a suitable sunny location of your yard, fertilize the water with manure, and inoculate it with a starter culture of unicellular marine algae. Once the algae takes hold and the weather is right, the pond is seeded with brine shrimp eggs and nature is allowed to take its course. Voila! If all goes well, after a few weeks, you can begin harvesting large amounts of brine shrimp in various stages of development on a daily basis. For a more detailed discussion of the pond culture method, see William Gant’s article in the October 1996 issue of FAMA (”The Brine Shrimp, Part IV”).

    Likewise, here is Sissy’s preferred technique for growing or adult brine shrimp (something along the same lines should work well for you, too, Smith):

    "I do things different from most. I take decaupsulated BS eggs and hatch them, use as many as I can for a day or two. Then I take whats left and pour them water and all into a fish shipping styro outside, that has saltwater already in it from water changes on tanks.Add a air stone,I feed algae paste and selco from BS Direct everyday. The results is full grown BS in a few days, and they lay eggs and the eggs hatch,I have a constant supply of all sizes of BS. I use different size mesh nets to seperate adults from BBS. I have 3 styros going most of the year, except winter. This gives me food for all sizes of seahorses and fish."
    Sissy Sathre

    Always remember that unfed adult brine shrimp are virtually nutritionally barren, and it is therefore vital that they be enriched improperly before you offer them to your seahorses. It is a great idea to enrich the brine shrimp with Vibrance, but make sure you use the lipid-rich Vibrance I rather than the low-fat formula (Vibrance II) for the Artemia. Adult brine shrimp are a good source of protein, but they have very little fat content. The lipid-rich formulation in Vibrance 1 (the original Vibrance) is thus ideal for enriching brine shrimp, transforming them from nutritionally barren, empty calories into a high-fat powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients that’s loaded with color-enhancing carotenoids. As an added benefit, enriching brine shrimp with Vibrance is also an excellent way to get your seahorses to ingest beta-glucan, which will boost their immune systems and help keep them healthy.

    So in your case, Smith, I recommend that you start growing out brine shrimp outdoors as described above. The algae growth from sunlight will help to feed them, but for best results I would also provide them with ArtemiaGro on a daily basis as well. That will assure that they grow into the adults, which are the only brine shrimp your H. abdominalis will be interested in, much faster and are much more nutritious. Then, before you feed the adult brine shrimp you have grown out to the seahorses, be sure to enrich it with the lipid-rich Vibrance I, as described below.

    Enriching Artemia with Vibrance I

    For enriching or “gut packing” live Artemia (brine shrimp), or other live shrimp or live food of all sizes. Blend 1 teaspoon of Vibrance into 1 cup of water for 3 minutes. Add this to the live food vessel for 30 minutes, or until you see the gut of the animal turn red. Rinse the animals with clean salt water and feed immediately to your seahorses or other fish.

    Best of luck hatching out in raising brine shrimp!

    Happy Trails!
    Pete Giwojna

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