Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hatching Brine Shrimp Made Simple

Freshly hatched brine shrimp eggs are one of the best foods available for fish fry, reef tanks and small aquatic organisms because they provide proteins and fatty acids which accelerate growth and increase survival. As you will soon discover, nothing stimulates the appetite of baby fish like baby brine shrimp!

Setting up the Hatchery:

1. Hang the Brine Shrimp Hatchery in a convenient location.
2. Mix Aquarium Salt with clean water to SG (specific gravity) of 1.018 (pH of 8.0 or higher is recommended). Hydrometer or refractometer can be used to ensure proper salinity.
3. Attach airline to the air pump (pump should be placed above water level to prevent water siphon in case of power outage) to the hatchery air tube.
4. Fill the hatchery with saltwater.
5. Add 1 level teaspoon of Brine Shrimp Eggs to the hatchery.
6. Let the eggs soak for about 15 minutes, "swirling" the eggs occasionally with your finger to help absorb water and allow to sink to the bottom of the hatchery.
7. Turn on the air pump and adjust the bubbles to where they are vigorous and the eggs are in constant motion.

Generally, the optimum incubation time is 24 hours. However, depending on the quality of the eggs and the hatching environment, it may take up to 36 hours for a complete hatch.

Helpful Hints:

Keep it Clean!
The cleaner you keep your hatchery the more likely your hatch will be successful, time and again. After each use, scrub your hatchery with a coarse nylon sponge and dilute household bleach. Don’t forget to rinse it with plenty of tap water.
Don’t Over Hatch
Avoid the temptation to over hatch. In fact, you should never hatch more than 2.5 grams of eggs per liter of water. By using fewer eggs, a greater percentage of the eggs hatch which means you get more baby brine shrimp for your dollar.
Watch the Temperature!
The rate of hatching brine is very sensitive to temperature. Most of your eggs should hatch in 24 hours if the temperature is roughly 82°F (28°C). If the temperature is only 70°F (21°C), you might have to wait up to 36 hours to get a good hatch. By increasing the temperature, you increase the rate of hatching. But be careful. As the temperature exceeds 86°F (30°C), you become more likely to loose the whole Hatch. Be safe- hatch between 82°-86°F (28°-30°C)!
Salinity & pH
Like Temperature the rate of hatching also depends on salinity and PH. The less salt in the water, the easier it is for brine shrimp to absorb enough water to burst through their protective shell. But, specific gravity should be at least 1.011 (15ppt) and can be as high as 1.030 (40ppt). This means that if you're Hatching in 1 quart, or liter, of ordinary tap water you should add somewhere between 1/2 and 2 level tablespoons of salt. The pH of the water should also be between 8.0 and 8.5. If your pH is below 8.0 your hatch rate will drop drastically.

Air & Lighting

A continual source of aeration and good illumination increases the rate of hatching. Fluorescent lamps are best for the light source, but any 60-100 watt bulb placed a few inches from your hatch cone will work fine. Be cautious of any source of light, which might overheat your hatchery!

Harvest and Feed Your Fish
When hatching is complete, turn off the air supply to the hatchery. After about 15 minutes, the empty shells (brown) should be floating on the surface of the water, the unhatched shells should be in the bottom of the hatchery and the live Brine Shrimp (orange) should be vibrating around by the neck of the hatchery.

Disconnect the air line from the air pump, without shaking the hatchery. Lower the end of the air line to a level below the base of the hatchery and drain the water through a Brine Shrimp Net into a container. Stop draining when the shrimp have been drained out and before the empty egg shells reach the end of the rigid tube.

Pour a bit of clean saltwater through the net to rinse the Brine Shrimp. You can either move the clean shrimp to a grow out container (Brine Shrimp Hatchery works great for this, too) or feed directly to your tank critters.

Rinse out the Brine Shrimp Hatchery and either store it or set it up again for another hatch the next day.

No comments:

Post a Comment