Hatching Your Own Brine Shrimp
Brine shrimp are a very popular food for most species of fish, there are not many fish that can resist snacking on the shrimp as soon as they are added to the aquarium. Hatching your own brine shrimp is a very simple process and one that anyone can undertake.
There are many commercial hatching units available to purchase but these are often expensive so making your own brine shrimp hatchery can save you a lot of money and the home made versions are just as effective and will supply you and your fish a supply of food for as long as you keep the hatchery running.
The materials required are found around the house and the construction of the brine shrimp hatchery only takes a few minutes to perform.
Items require to build your Brine Shrimp hatchery
A 2 litre plastic pop bottle
A length of standard airline with an air stone fitted
Aquarium salt or crushed rock salt
An air pump
A sharp knife
The first step is to cut off the bottom third of the pop bottle, this will act as the stand for your brine shrimp hatchery. Turn the pop bottle over with the top still in place and slide this into the bottom piece so that you now have an open end at the top and the bottle will be stable. Fill the bottle with 1 litre of water and add 1 tablespoon (15ml) of salt, now place the airline and stone inside the bottle and using a regulator start the air pump but slow it down so that you just get a steady stream of bubbles without agitating the water too much.
Once all of the salt has dissolved you can add your brine shrimp eggs, I have had the best results with decapsulated eggs, brine shrimp eggs are normally sold with expected hatch rates, always buy the best eggs that you can, when not in use the brine shrimp eggs should be stored in the refrigerator and never allow them to get damp.
Add a teaspoon (5ml) of the brine shrimp eggs to the bottle and after 24 hours the water should have changed to a reddy, orange colouration. This means that the eggs have hatched and are ready for harvesting.
Turn off the airline and let the water settle for at least 5 minutes. What you now should see are the egg shells floating at the top of the water, the mid section will be relatively clear and all of the newly hatched brine shrimp will be at the bottom of the bottle.
The brine shrimp can be harvested quite easily by either using a turkey baster, a fine mesh net or syphoning out the brine shrimp with a length of airline into another jar. The brine shrimp are at their most nutritious when they first hatch, to keep them full of goodness you can feed them on Infusoria, this is know as loading the brine shrimp, after a few hours, the brine shrimp are far less nutritious for the fish and may need to be discarded.
If you are a keeper of many tanks, you may find that one batch of newly hatched brine shrimp may not be enough, this can be true for fish breeders who need a constant supply, the solution to this is quite simple, make 2- 3 brine shrimp hatches and add a new batch of eggs in bottle rotation, this will guarantee that every 24 hours you will have a new supply on newly hatched brine shrimp.
There are many variations to this method but they all work on the same principle, some hatcheries are fixed inside the aquarium, or floated in the aquarium, just experiment to find the best method for you.