Brine Shrimp or Artemia salina (lat. Artemia salina) is a relatively large crustacean that is found in reservoirs with brackish water. The size of an adult is 1 cm. Salina is widespread in different climatic latitudes, from the temperate Azov region to Transbaikalia, in North America. In aquariums, brine shrimp nauplii (larvae) are used as a nutritious food for fish fry.
There are several species of Artemy, they live in Eurasia and America. They can be found in reservoirs with a high level of ppm (300 grams of salt per liter of water). Such crustacean is a natural “cleaner”, passes through a large amount of water and silt, eats anaerobic bacteria, algae. The color of brine shrimp depends directly on its eating habits: from green to deep red. An adult crustacean is food for many birds and fish. In the aquarium business, branded frozen brine shrimp and nauplii are often used, but they can also be grown at home. Keeping brine shrimp is not very difficult, they are unpretentious, tolerate low oxygen content, temperature drops (+ 25-37 o C).
Crustaceans reproduce in a partogenetic or dioecious way. In the first case, males do not take part, and females lay eggs in a special bag that they carry with them. Such sacs can ensure optimal development of eggs, and after a while ripe brine shrimp nauplii hatch from them. When living conditions deteriorate, the female lays eggs, and some of them will survive. In some fossils, eggs of brine shrimp were found, which have lain for more than 10 thousand years. Now crustaceans are of industrial importance – the red accumulations of eggs, thrown on the banks of reservoirs, are collected, cleaned and sold on the market as future animal feed.
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Salina eggs can be stored under different temperature conditions, as they emerge over a long period of time. The basic rule of storage is dryness. The presence of a large amount of moisture leads to the fact that the cysts do not fall asleep, and are depleted. It is better to store cysts in the refrigerator, after placing them in a hermetically sealed bag. With such storage, they will be preserved for a long time, and the percentage of the appearance of live larvae is high. Artemia nauplii is an excellent food for fry of spawning fish, large fish from the first days of life.
Breeding Artemia Salina larvae at home
An easy way to get crustaceans as future fish food is to go to brackish water bodies (lakes, estuaries) and see if there are eggs rolled out by waves on the shore. They should be collected in a plastic bag, cleaned of debris and sand, and left for storage in the refrigerator. In addition to this method, you can choose another – go to the market and buy cysts of crustaceans, and then breed the larvae to feed the fish.
Bring the purchased eggs home and place them in a 5% salt solution, that is, 5 grams of salt per 1 liter of water. The container in which you need to breed Artemia should be 5 liters on average. In a solution of salt, cysts must be kept for half an hour, then rinsed under running water, and placed in a plastic container with water. The water in the container should also be salty – 60 grams of salt per 1 liter of water. You can use sea salt. This container needs to be supplied with round-the-clock aeration and lighting.
The level of aeration must be strong for the nauplii to mature normally and quickly due to the high concentration of oxygen. Also pay attention to the temperature of the aquatic environment – at temperatures above 27 degrees and above, the young will hatch on the first day, at temperatures below 20 degrees they will hatch only for 2-3 days. It is advisable to hatch the larvae at the temperature in which the aquarium fish are kept.
You need to feed the larvae with the help of baker’s yeast, which young brine shrimp are very fond of. For 1 liter of water, you need to take 0.1 grams of yeast. The growth of brine shrimp is rapid – after 7 days it will be possible to give them to adult fish. Getting brine shrimp out of the water is not difficult – turn on powerful aeration and collect crustaceans for fish food from the surface with an aquarium net. Rinse feed under running water before feeding.
The next way to grow salina is for those hobbyists who don’t have a quality refrigerator. Immerse crustacean cysts in 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for 15-30 minutes, then rinse them under water and place in an incubator. After the simulated rest time, the incubation period will come. Making an incubator is simple – you need a container made of glass or plastic, a salt solution, an aerator, a lamp, and sometimes heating.
As with the first method, the incubator requires the same proportions of salt and water. You need a 24-hour illumination with a 15-25 watt lamp, the lamp can perform a heating function. The lamp can be placed along the wall of the tank, as it approaches and moves away, the temperature of the aquatic environment is regulated. When the first Nepali appears, they will float in the egg sac. Such larvae cannot be used as food for fish, otherwise they will cause intestinal blockage.
After some time, young nauplii will free themselves from the shell and begin to actively swim in the water column. To avoid missing out on occasion, turn on the aeration or point the lamp at the corner of the tank. Artemia will gather in the place where the light gathers, and it will already be possible to catch them. If you collect crustaceans in this way, then newly hatched brine shrimp will not get into the aquarium with young animals, since only mature and active individuals will be exposed to the light.