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Triops Behavior -- Why do they do that?!; Triops are people too.
Topic Started: Jan 31 2011, 11:06 PM (18,786 Views)
WillemV
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Wanderer
I am writing this in an attempt to document the reasons behind some Triops behavioral patterns. This is by no means comprehensive and I hope that the members of this forum can help amend and complete it as much as possible.

Treading Oxygen

Symptoms: Your Triops are at the surface for long periods, belly-up, and either in one spot or skimming along.

Cause: Lack of oxygen.

Details: The important phrase here is “for long periods.” Skimming the surface upside-down is not necessarily an indicator of problems. Many Triops do this occasionally to filter feed or just “because they can.” However, in a smaller tank with stagnant water it usually indicates oxygen levels have dropped below their comfort zone. This is not a reason for panic. Triops can live in water with as little oxygen as 1 part per million. To put this in perspective, hot desert pools rarely make it below 2 parts per million.

Remedy: As an immediate fix, change a quarter of the water in the container with fresh water. Although not required, it helps to oxygenate the fresh water by filling up a bottle halfway and shaking it for a couple of minutes. Longer term fixes involve transferring your Triops to a larger tank and/or adding a aerator (bubble rod/block) to your tank.

Swimming Sideways

Symptoms: Your Triops are kind of freaking out. Instead of grubbing in the sand they are swimming sideways a lot in open water and bouncing between the sides of the tank. They do not seem to be able to figure out where they are. Oddly, only some are doing this, while others continue their usual digging.

Cause: Most likely due to an additional light source at the front, back, or side of the tank that is stronger than the light source above the tank.

Details: Triops have three eyes. The neat, somewhat evil looking eyes at the front are usually black and apparently offer near-sighted vision with which they survey their immediate surroundings. Immediate is pretty literal here, as anyone who has ever raised Triops can tell you they tend to swim into just about everything in their way. Their third eye is usually silvery-white, dome-shaped, and located above and in between the other eyes. This eye is used to sense light. For Triops light generally indicates the surface of the pool. Since light diffuses and scatters in water we can assume that the strongest source of light indicates the surface. In cases where the light above your tank is dimmed or off and another light source is prominent your Triops may get confused and act accordingly. Triops with less or no exposure to the stronger light source, like those under rocks or digging in sand, will behave normally until the do get exposed. Sunlight is very strong and can easily overpower your tank light. This is not necessarily a problem if it enters the tank evenly and from a top angle.

Remedy: Make sure that the tank light is the predominant light source. If your tank stands in front of a window and you experience these problems, add a backdrop to your tank on the window side.

Immobilized but Alive

Symptoms: Your Triops are lying around or floating at the surface and all they do is move their legs, even when lightly touched.

Cause: This may be indicative of environmental poisoning and must be taken serious.

Details: Although adult Triops are massively adaptable to changes in temperature and water quality, there are levels where they can no longer function. Water that is way too alkaline or veers towards acidic will poison your Triops and cause the above symptoms. The same goes for rising levels of Ammonia, Nitrates, and Nitrites. Often, combinations of these appear.

Remedy: Especially if your water is cloudy and/or smelly, even before you test it or do anything else, immediately move your Triops to a holding tank with clean water (preferably the same kind of water they were raised in – never distilled water or tap water). Once in clean water they will recover, although this may take many hours. Add more oxygenated water when you can. Triops will go through various stages of recovery, including spastic freak-outs, back-looping, laying on their backs, and periods of “sleep” with minimal leg movement that may look like they won’t make it. Be patient. They will make it.

Back Looping

Symptoms: Your Triops is swimming in backward circles without any care for objects in its way. Even if it sometimes stops swimming, its tail remains curved upwards.

Cause: This may be a symptom of chemical poisoning, or a stage in the recovery of a more extensive poisoning.

Details: None.

Remedy: If recovering from environmental poisoning in a tank of clean water, nothing more can be done. It is a stage that can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. If this behavior occurs without any apparent reason, immediately isolate the Triops in a holding tank with clean water (preferably the same kind of water they were raised in – never distilled water or tap water). Test the water in the tank it came from for Ph, Ammonia, total Alkalinity, Nitrate, and Nitrite. If there is a problem, move the rest of your Triops to safety and fix it.

Spasms

Symptoms: Sometimes and for what looks like absolutely no reason your Triops go all spastic. This sometimes lasts only a second, at other times it lasts longer or happens intermittently.

Cause: This can be for a variety of reasons, so observation is needed to determine what exactly is going on.

Details: Here are some possible reasons for why Triops spasm:

When Triops molt, they start the process with disoriented movements, followed by a series of what look like sit-up exercises and a short burst of spasms that shake the skin off. After molting, Triops will appear disoriented and may still spasm every now and then. Look for floating skin nearby. Alternately, Triops Longicaudatus have light colored spots to the sides of their “face” that flush bright pink after molting. Other Triops species may show the same.

Triops tend to spasm and freak in the presence of toxins or as a stage in recovering from poisoning. If your drop something into your tank and your Triops go bonkers, take it out immediately and keep an eye on them. The same goes if this happens even when you just dip your pinky in the water. Example: if you add Broccoli (and likely any type of cabbage) to your tank, your Triops will react instantly. Leave the Broccoli in the tank and you will kill your Triops. Another example: wash your hands with soap, germ-killer, or detergent and rinse thoroughly. Then dip your finger in the tank for a second. Your Triops will react instantly. This happened for me with a 10 gallon tank.

Sometimes Triops just spasm for the same reason that they do a lot of weird things: because they can.

Remedy: Never underestimate your Triops’ sensitivity to chemicals of any kind. If anything chemical related is indicated, treat like an environmental poisoning. Do not hesitate to move your Triops to safety and, if need be, clean and re-do your tank.

Dive Bombing

Symptoms: Your Triops lazily swims upwards, seems to go into a coma and falls backwards in slow-motion like it’s in the Matrix. It regains composure somewhere halfway or when it bumps into something – most notably the ground.

Cause: Unknown.

Details: I have seen completely healthy Triops do this in a clean environment, without any bad side- or after-effects. On the other hand, I have also read reports of Triops dying shortly after this behavior.

Remedy: Unknown.
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triops master
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Triops Cancriformis
Seems great!
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Kannachan13
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Triops Australiensis
I'm pinning this. =]

The putting triops in a completely different tank being healthy is debatable, but it has worked for me and I'm sure they would have died otherwise. Every member seems to have their own opinion on that one.
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.
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WillemV
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Wanderer
It is a preventative move that should only be done if something indicates a problem that may potentially affect all Triops in a tank or kill them. I can well imagine that moving Triops to different tanks willy-nilly can cause problems of its own.

For emergencies however...

Therefore I nowadays always keep an extra gallon of Ozarka, the water they were hatched and raised in, at room temperature.
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Kannachan13
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Triops Australiensis
I'm of the same opinion. Some people believe it's better to change out 25% a day until it's clear, however. I think it depends on the severity of the poisoning.
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.
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WillemV
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Wanderer

With my broccoli disaster, changing 25% of the stinking cesspool per day would not have done the job. Clarity itself may mean little in cases of chemical imbalance. Murky water can be cleaner and healthier than acidic clear water with high levels of nitrate. The sensitivity to toxins that I have seen in my Triops is almost freaky.

Soap box time!!! :D

If all of the water is toxic then all of it needs to be changed. Incrementally diluting the water is not the same. Although some may intuitively assume that four 25% water changes make a 100% water change, this is not the case. It merely dilutes the toxins by a factor of a quarter. In other words, everytime you change 25% of the tank, you are left with 75% of the current toxic load. So after three changes you are down to about half the level of toxins.

Entertaining Zeno's Paradox, you could do this an infinite number of times and always have toxins left in your water. In reality, you can dilute a solution up to the number of Avogadro (6.02214179(30)×1023 mol-1). In perspective, if you would change 99% of your tank water at a time, it would still take you 12 changes to reach that number and get rid of all the toxins, what to speak of 25% at a time.

The 25% rule may work well for moving Triops over to a different environment with different water, where osmotic pressure may be in play, but not in cases of environmental poisoning.

So, now you can all take a couple of Aspirins and go to sleep. :P

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zaky9
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Triops Australiensis
:shock:
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Ducky
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Majorly addicted & want them all! :)
excellent explanation, well said, WillemV!

Do you have Triops that are different than those shown below? Please show me!
Posted Image
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v369
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absolutly not
Willem...you continue to suprise and delight me with well writen sound posts.
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hadla
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Egg
lol at the triops are people too!
yay for cool little crustaceans!
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socker
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Egg
Um, my triop is moving it's carapace upwards randomly and it is moving at the bottom really slowly and moving it's legs. Is this a symptom of poisoning? :(
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EmergencyLight
Egg
An emergency light battery might be just what you need. They provide 90 minutes of battery backup power when AC connection has been lost.

http://www.emergencylights.net/categories/...ight-Batteries/
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Watergeus
Triops Longicaudatus
Help!
Just released one of the four into the big tank.
The first hour nothing special happened.
But when i came home after shopping i saw him swimming up and after that it looks like it's falling down on its back.
Letting itself sink to the bottom of the tank and stay there for a few seconds. Also it's swimming upside down every now and then.
All of this i didnt see them do in the hatching tank.
Is this behaviour normal?
Greets
Watergeus
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saarlak
Larva
Watergeus, just posted something here that might be relevant.
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Watergeus
Triops Longicaudatus
Thanks!
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Kannachan13
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Triops Australiensis
Did you just pop it in there or did you get it used to the new tank water?
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.
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Watergeus
Triops Longicaudatus
No i didn't just popped them in there!!
I let them get used to it over 4 days. Just adding a bit more every day.
I kept adding water until the "hatching tank"was full and they could swim out by themselves. He's still acting strange (for someone with zero experience) but still full of energy... It also is starting to move spastic some times. I tested the ph and that seems ok, it was about 7,5. The water looks very clean. Don't know what to do, maybe it's the best to do nothing. Think i will just wait and see what happends to the rest of them.
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Alessandro8100
Egg
The page looks great and is already time really informative. Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this, I feel fervently about this and I like learning about this subject.

Pool Supplies | Pool Accessories | Above Ground Pools
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Cancry Formy
Larva
My baby triops started feeling very weak after three days with hermit crab sand. Is the limestone sand poisoning them?
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Cancry Formy
Larva
:confuzzled:
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Merlin
Egg
Hello,
What would be considered a spasm in triops? What does it look like?

Also if a triops curls (kind of like it's raising its carapace) and it lasts barely a second before it goes back to digging, what can that possibly mean? I notice this in my triops, usually at night, they don't shed immediately but I do find their shed skin in the morning? But this seems hours apart so I'm not sure if it is connected.

During this time, the triops seem to be less active and just dig around while occasionally doing the curls. They're a lot more active the next day and I don't think they curl as often or at all?
Edited by Merlin, Jul 18 2016, 12:54 PM.
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Merlin
Jul 18 2016, 12:36 PM
Also if a triops curls (kind of like it's raising its carapace) and it lasts barely a second before it goes back to digging, what can that possibly mean? I notice this in my triops, usually at night, they don't shed immediately but I do find their shed skin in the morning? But this seems hours apart so I'm not sure if it is connected.

From the description, I believe it just means their exoskeleton is a bit tight and they are due a shed soon :). Triops grow very fast, and when young are nearly always getting ready for another shed!

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Merlin
Egg
notostracan
Jul 18 2016, 07:01 PM
Merlin
Jul 18 2016, 12:36 PM
Also if a triops curls (kind of like it's raising its carapace) and it lasts barely a second before it goes back to digging, what can that possibly mean? I notice this in my triops, usually at night, they don't shed immediately but I do find their shed skin in the morning? But this seems hours apart so I'm not sure if it is connected.

From the description, I believe it just means their exoskeleton is a bit tight and they are due a shed soon :). Triops grow very fast, and when young are nearly always getting ready for another shed!

Thanks! Good to know I was fretting over nothing.
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BlueWanderer
Egg
About that dive bombing... I think there is one case that micro beings are growing in the water, and some shrimps are just feeding on them. One of my shrimp started doing so three days before. It swims a lot, and rarely digs. It just looks dying when it drops down and then lies on the bottom of the tank. I did changed water, but it didn't help much. And that little thing is still doing that trick now, alive...

Today I noticed that lots of paramecia had grown in the water. Since I saw its mouth kept moving when it was lying, I guess it was just eating.

But I'm still not sure if this is good at all. That one only molted once in three days and it's only 12 days old. It was a lot bigger than the others, but the others are catching up now.

----

EDIT

Never mind, it's dead today :'(

----

A Triops seem to be unable to keep swimming while holding too much food. So if one caught more than several particles of food while swimming, it would fall on its back.
Edited by BlueWanderer, Today, 11:14 AM.
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