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Author Topic: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)  (Read 2587 times)

Offline Vale!

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Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
« on: March 06, 2016, 02:50:42 pm »
This thread describes a way of producing Artemia nauplii (baby brine shrimp) in relatively-small numbers on the fly  - and without having to invest in elaborate equipment. 

There are doubtless numerous DIY methods out there, but this one works for me.  I'm indebted to DeepInPeat, a member on another forum, for the idea. I don't know whether it was his originally - although that wouldn't surprise me at all - and any modifications I've made are relatively insignificant.

I'm providing many more piccies than he did, though.  I also have people in mind that may not have done anything like this before, which is why the length of the description may fool you into thinking that this is very much more complicated than it actually is!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 03:09:28 pm by Vale! »

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    Offline Vale!

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #1 on: March 06, 2016, 02:53:59 pm »
    The first pic shows all the 'hardware' you need to make the hatchery bar scissors and gaffer tape.


    First, the hatchery vessel itself.  I use the clear plastic beer containers that you get at sports events, festivals etc., but normal pint glasses may be better because of their rigidity. You may have more pressing purposes for your pint glasses, however!  If the plastic variety comes with a lid that's great, but partial covering of the hatchery can be achieved very easily otherwise.


    The side and bottom of the hatchery is covered with gaffer tape but leaving  a narrow 'window' on the side.  If there's a lid, partially cover that with gaffer tape, too.


    Offline Vale!

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #2 on: March 06, 2016, 02:55:22 pm »
    Next, make a septum that will fit snugly into the hatchery vessel, dividing it roughly in half.

    I fashion mine from a sheet of 5mm non-toxic foam board that came originally from Hobby Craft, I think.  When inserted with a tight fit, it tends to distort the plastic vessel slightly, so future versions will include a thin strip of soft foam gooed to the edges of the septum to try to minimise that.

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #3 on: March 06, 2016, 02:56:45 pm »
    Arrange the septum such that there's a small gap, about half-a-centimetre or so, between its bottom and the bottom of the vessel.  I've shone torchlight down so that you can see the effect better in this piccie ...


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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #4 on: March 06, 2016, 03:00:11 pm »
    Make some culture water (it helps to have done this in advance).  I use RO and sea salt (Tropic Marin) but you could use dechlorinated tapwater just as well. Some sources say that table salt is OK and others that it's not ; I prefer to assume that it's not.  I use a salinity of around 30ppt, or 30 grams of salt per litre, but it doesn't matter if you overdo it a bit.


    The first pic shows 30g of Tropic Marin salt in a tablespoon ; I couldn't have 'heaped' it any more even if I'd wanted to.  The second shows 30g of API aquarium salt (if you happen to have that instead) ; it's barely more than a level tablespoon.


    It's necessary to prevent the pH from dropping below 8ish, so add also a quarter-teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda, not baking powder) per litre unless you're using very hard dechlorinated tapwater.

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #5 on: March 06, 2016, 03:01:34 pm »
    Now find a place to put the hatchery where you're absolutely sure that you won't have to disturb it at all during the hatching process : shaking it about encourages the cysts to sink.

    You need a source of light above it. I've used a table lamp here - though if you have a covered aquarium with an over-tank light unit, you could park it on the condensation plate, under the light.

    You don't need a heater - the ambient warmth of a living room plus the heat generated by the light will be enough. In the pic below, the ambient temperature was 18.6C and the temperature immediately above the surface of the culture water was between 26-27C  (estimated because once the thermometer got to 25.5, my arm gave up holding it!).
    « Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 04:52:36 pm by Vale! »

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #6 on: March 06, 2016, 03:03:27 pm »
    Wait awhile to allow all water movement in the vessel to cease : you want it to be absolutely still.


    Now grab your Aretmia cysts.  I'm using 'Ocean Nutrition' cysts at the moment, but other brands are of course available!  They tend to be sold in industrial quantities (compared with the amount that you use at a time) so I pour some into a small airtight container and freeze the rest to extend their longevity.


    Add Artemia cysts to one 'half' of the vessel. In the pic below I've added more than I wanted to ; and a few have escaped into the other half because of the distortion to the plastic 'glass' that I mentioned above.


    You don't need an airline : unhatched cysts will float on the water surface and atmospheric air will supply their needs. Because you're not adding huge numbers, once hatched there'll be enough oxygen dissolved in the water to keep them happy for the short time until they become fish food.

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #7 on: March 06, 2016, 03:04:47 pm »
    The batch that has provided these photos were started at around seven o'clock last night and the photo below was taken at around 11:30 this morning. The still pic doesn't do justice to the wriggling reality, but there's more than plenty nauplii already hatched for my needs. 


    The longer you leave them in the hatchery, the less nutritious they are to fish - hence the advantage of preparing them in small batches using cheap equipment that you can turn around quickly to ensure a regular daily supply.

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #8 on: March 06, 2016, 03:06:29 pm »
    To harvest, pop the partially-gaffer-taped cover on top of the vessel, or part-cover it some other way. The nauplii will be attracted to the light shining throgh the 'window' and will swim down under the septum and congregate in the half of the vessel that has the 'window'.


    Then just syphon them out and reset the vessel by washing and refilling with fresh salt water.  Because of the way the vessel is set up, the amount of empty shells collected is minimised.

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #9 on: March 06, 2016, 03:08:22 pm »
    If they're to be fed to freshwater fish, the syphoned-out napliii need to be strained ; and if you've very soft tankwater, rinsed to be on the safe side, so a brine shrimp net, or set of sieves, is a very useful equipment to have. 


    I use a set of 'Hobby' sieves, but you can buy the one with the finest mesh (180-micron) separately ; this is currently a great price for that one.


    That's about it : I'm off to do some syphoning!

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    Re: Baby Brine Shrimp (Blue Peter-style)
    « Reply #10 on: March 13, 2016, 05:05:54 pm »
    [It took me a minute or two to retrieve this thread - I didn't see straightaway that it had been 'stickied'!]


    I've found it convenient to use a turkey-baster to gently withdraw successive quantities of nauplii from one batch of hatchlings.


    Also : I've recently 'ugraded' to Windows 10 (after a long period of dithering) and I'm checking that all my software still works. To check the video editor, I've managed to upload a two-minute video to YouTube that shows you some nauplii in-tank, being harassed by a few two-weeks-old Apisto fry.   (If you already know what Artemia nauplii look like, sizewise, you probably won't gain anything from looking at the video).