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Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

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Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:03 pm

I have been recently reintroduced into the hobby (actually it is about one year this week). Unfortunately after over 20 years I only have my 20g, lids, some Aquaclears and Pennplax heaters and UGF. Sadly, no diatom filter, piston pumps ... and my trusty brine shrimp cones. Well, being aquarium challenged (on many levels, not just space), I have been hatching brine shrimp in a very low tech way, with very simple tools.

Don't get me wrong, the 2L pop bottles work well and probably are more efficent and productive. For me, and what I have, I have been hatching in "shallow pans"; a low tech way. If you need large quantities, like the large breeders and fishroom types, then this is not the most efficient method for you. If you are like me, with very limited space and aquaria, then perhaps this is a good way to access some live food. Here is what I do :


These are 2L storage containers bought from the dollar store. They are shallow enough to provide a large surface area (and are cheap). What I needed was a large surface area, so these fit the bill. I am sure that you can find other semblences of shallow pans. The key is the large surface area to allow for air circulation and for the brine shrimp eggs to spread and not clump.


Last edited by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:11 pm

Brine Shrimp Eggs

I have tried several types. I have bought the little glass vials full of eggs (about $8 or less )(left side of pic) as well as the foil packed eggs (about $8 or less )(middle). However avoid the plastic bagged types that some may sell you since I have never found them to have a good hatch. In fact, I think they may be stale since the plastic is not a good sealant from moisture. When I tried them they were smelly ...

The best hatch has been from the foil packs but they are expensive. I have recently bought the larger 1 pound cans, great hatch rate but I have broken the eggs down into smaller containers so that I only keep one out at a time, the rest are refrigerated.

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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:17 pm

Other sources of Brine Shrimp

Well, there are Golden Pearls, decapsulated brine shrimp eggs, live rotifers / daphnia (as a shrimp) and brine shrimp flakes. I use the flakes and I prefer the live hatch of BBS. Not to say that these others are not great food sources, just my preference.
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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:21 pm

I use regular Sea Salt (yes, with iodine)

I am trying to be a low effort BBS hatcher so I just take my pan and add two tables spoons of sea salt ) or any type of table salt to the pan. I use about 2 L or less of water, not really too picky on water level as it seems to work each time. The key is more about cleanliness and ensuring that no soap or detergent is used, and that the pans are cleaned well after each use.

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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:25 pm

Tools

Pretty simple and easily available. The pans are from the dollar store, about $1 each. The sea salt, same place, about $1 a box. The nets are fine seive, about $4 at the pet store. A neck lamp is essential in getting the shrimp to gather in the pans to collect, once they have hatched.

I am trying to get rotifer seives but that is more expensive. The nets allow you to wash out the BBS before you put them into the tank. I just dip the net in a let the BBS drop out as the net rinses in the tankwater.
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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:28 pm

Pipettes

These are the suction instruments which I find are a great tool to collect the BBS from the salt pans. Once the light concentrates them in a spot, it is very easy to suck them up. BBS are photropic (photo = light, and tropic = attracted to) and will "herd" towards the light. A good lamp with a CFL bulb will do a great job.

You can see the brown egg casings which float at the top. The lamp light is focused away to draw the BBS from the shells. The bright orange mass are BBS teeming by the light
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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:32 pm

Pipettes with BBS

You can easily draw the BBS up. I get the medicine droppers from the pharmacy, which should cost about $3 for a package. A plastic syringe would work well also. I have a plastic bulb syringe that sucks larger volumes. You can see the orange BBS in the pipette

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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:34 pm

Using a fine net to drain the salt water

I never introduce salt water into the tanks. I filter the pipettes through a fine mesh net to collect the BBS. You can see the concentration as a deep orange.
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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:36 pm

I have dipped the net into the tank. The BBS will collect by the canopy light and will survive several hours in freshwater. Here are some pics of the BSS herding, attracted by the light. In the first pic, these are the survivors after the Tiger Teddies have had their fill. The second pic is a full fish, pretty well ignoring the BSS until later ...

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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:41 pm

The Setup

I have two shallow pans set up. One is actively hatching the eggs, which is about 24 hours after adding the eggs to about 3 days. After the third day, I clean the pan and start a new hatch. With two pans I have a good steady supply.

It will take some trial and error to get your own system going to suit your food needs. For me, I have a good cadence with two pans. The amount of shrimp eggs will very but I only add a few sprinkles and never very heavily. I find that the more eggs, the worse the outcome in this method. This is for a low volume output, vs the inverted bottle method.
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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by GaryE on Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:20 am

It seems a lot of work that way. With my pop bottle hatchery, I simply connect an airline to a pump, add a tablespoon of salt and the cysts I want to hatch, and let it bubble. When it's ready, I disconnect the air, wait 10 minutes and drain via the airline into a brine shrimp net.


No pipettes, lights.. I rinse the pop bottle, using bleach once every few weeks and let it run. A ten cent pop bottle is good for several years.

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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by l_l_l on Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:19 am

Vert nice, this might be something that I'll try in the near future..

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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:26 am

There are several ways to get brine shrimp to your fish. Fortified flakes, freeze dried, decapsulated brine shrimp eggs and pearls.

For live brine shrimp, the options are setting up an inverted pop bottle, as Gary mentions in his post, or a shallow pan hatchery. There are commercial kits that will offer the same as the inverted bottle, and a "black box" hachery.

For those who desire the "little jerks" (referring to the jerky movement that attracts the fish and instigates a frenzy) BBS cannot be beat. However you hatch the eggs, whether the highly efficient inverted bottle, or the low tech shallow pan method, the benefit is directly observable in the health of your fish.

BBS adds to breeding conditioning, fry growth and improved health. If you are looking to breed fish, then BBS is a great live food to have steadily running to offer your fish.
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Re: Low Tech Brine Shrimp Hatching

Post by alexmtl on Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:31 pm

The most recent editions of the Aquarium Association that I I pay yearly memberships dues to, had articles on brine shrimp. I think they were great write-ups on the practical aspect of BBS. Not only did they cover the basics but they were well rooted in experience and years of trial and error, unlike some articles that you may stumble upon where the author did it once and wrote about it (ooops, that sounds like me... Shocked )

Bleach
I have been recently changing my formula and I now add bleach to every hatch. I use about three pipette drops when I add the eggs, way before they even begin to take in water. The rationale is that BS eggs are harvested and a lot of detritus is captured. Bacteria, moulds and waste are often part of the package whether you buy the cans or the packs. This has certainly made a much cleaner hatch and I don't get the die outs, spoilage and bacteria growth.

What the authors do not specify is the type of bleach. Use unscented, plain jane type bleach, like the stuff you find at the dollar store. Not only is it cheap but it is usually the best for our purposes. The primary ingredient in bleach that we want is the chlorine. At 2 or 3 pipette drops it is enough to create a weak disinfectant solution and then evaporate. When you read the label, look for sodium hypochlorite. This is the salt form that will activate, releasing chlorine (gas) in solution and forming salt. Do not use the other types of bleach, as they contain peroxide or other non gaseous forms. You want chlorine since it will evaporate before you feed t o your fish.

Salt
I find that I am tending toward one tablespoon per 2L (half tablespoon per litre). I use straight tap water (with chlorine) and use as hot as I can get to dissolve the salt and disinfect the container. Cleanliness is important and cleaning (bleaching) the container prior to each use serves with better hatch rate.

Brine shrimp eggs
I purchase the can and divide into baby food jars and store in the fridge. My thinking is that the fridge allows the eggs to remain fresh. Baby food jars are inert and they do not allow the transfer of atmospheric air or humidity. Protect the eggs from air exposure and humidity to keep them viable. I have had experience in ordering from a supplier that we sending eggs in plastic bags. Plastic bags are permeable and do not keep the eggs fresh.

Any other tips ?

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