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Artemia, Sea-Monkeys and Aqua-Dragons; Brine shrimp!
Topic Started: Aug 19 2016, 12:32 AM (3,037 Views)
notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Hey forum,

I've been doing some reading about Artemia recently, so have decided to raise some myself... be prepared for a long blethering post ;) .

I'll be dumping random pictures, information and links relating to Artemia sp., Sea-monkeys and Aqua-dragons here, feel free to post any comments or questions :) .

I've had Sea-Monkeys a couple of times as a kid and used to hatch Artemia on a daily basis when I worked in an aquatics store, so I'm not exactly new to brine shrimp. I understand raising them in a small container long-term does pose some challenges however! I'll be using a slightly more calculated approach than when I had Sea-Monkeys as a kid...

To start off, I'll be posting about Aqua-Dragons and Sea-Monkeys (I'm an adult so can buy toys if I want! :lolD: ).

Aqua-Dragons currently seem to be a better option than Sea-Monkeys for anyone wanting to grow their own brine shrimp pets.

Sea-Monkeys were originally produced in the USA by Transcience Corp., but have recently been produced in China and distributed world wide by the company Big Time Toys, after Big Time Toys violated their licensing agreement and got away with it. From what I can gather from at least from Amazon reviews, the kits produced by Big Time Toys possibly have quality control issues.

I'll make a separate Sea-Monkey post in this thread about Transcience vs. Big Time Toys and the history of Sea-monkeys, which I find quite interesting. I'll also probably end up impulse buying a Sea-monkey set lol.

The Australian company World Alive produces Aqua-Dragons, not to be confused with Itsy-Bitsy Sea Dragons from another Australian company called Little Aussie Products. Itsy-Bitsy Sea Dragons do not appear to be available anymore, and Little Aussie Products haven't replied to any of my emails sent in the last couple of years, which is a shame as they were the only online source of Parartemia sp. - the brine shrimp genus native to Australia.

Aqua-dragons are stated to be A.salina (not native to Australia) although the current advice/convention is not to try identify Artemia to the species level and to use the collection location instead of species name. I have no idea where World Alive source the cysts for their kits, so Artemia sp. "Aqua-Dragons" it is.

Here's a picture of the Aqua-Dragon tank before filling:
Posted Image

Day 1

I decided to go for the Jurassic Eggspress kit (despite the terrible name) partly because the tank design does a great job at magnifying tiny shrimp, and partly because I'm a big kid who couldn't resist the dinosaur-themed design :rofl5: . Having been around for over 200 million years, I imagine they have been an important food source for many dinosaur species over this time, just as they are an important food source for modern dinosaurs.

The tank has a hole/pit in it's base that I presume is there to hide any dead shrimp/exoskeletons/waste from young kids view. I filled this death-pit in with coral sand, so I can actually see if any shrimp die and remove them. Also the bacteria in the tiny amount of substrate may help with water conditions.

After emptying the egg sachet into the tank and adding pure water (deionised), I used a refractometer to test salinity, and found it was lower than I expected at 25ppt. From my reading, the optimum salinity for Artemia is higher than this, so I will raise the salinity over time using some natural Cornish sea salt (containing none of that pesky sodium ferrocyanide found in most table salt). Strains of Artemia from different locations can have very different optimum salinities, but everything I have read indicates 35ppt+ is best for long term growth.

I suspect the lower salinity is to increase hatch rate and also maximise dissolved oxygen, as saltier water holds less oxygen. My windowsills can get a bit chilly at night, and downright cold during the winter, and due to the fact cold water holds more oxygen than warm water, I'm not concerned raising the salinity slightly will cause any oxygen issues.

It's summer here, and the past couple of days have been pretty warm (for Scotland), so the tank is currently sitting at 21*C.

Day 2

The instructions say to wait 48-72 hours for them to hatch, but was actually less than 24 hours before I had easily over 100 nauplii swimming around in the tank! I am very impressed with the hatch rate, but was instantly worried I had too many, such a contrast to hatching triops! To try and avoid a big die-off, I removed approximately 30 of them and put them in a separate jar of 35ppt salt water I already had on a different windowsill from a recent failed attempt to breed A.parthenogenetica. I'm a little bit worried it will be too cold for them on this windowsill on some nights, but it's better than being cramped in the Jurassic Eggspress (JE) tank! I will move some more over each day until there are only 20-30 in the JE tank.

I also fed them using the supplied food, which seems to be great stuff, extremely finely powdered. I will probably use this stuff as a first feed for triops in the future. I mixed half a feeding spoon of the powder in some salt water and injected it using a syringe to avoid a surface film forming that could slow oxygen diffusion. Temperature still around 21*C.

Quick video to show the movement in the tank: https://youtu.be/VHV1TwTtfLo


Day 3

I have now moved most of them into the windowsill jar and left 20-30 in the JE tank. To transfer the shrimp I used regular 6mm airline tubing attached to a 10ml syringe. In the process I ended up removing about 150ml of water from the JE tank, which I have replaced with 45pppt salinity water, to start bringing the salinity up to a target of around 35ppt.

I resisted the temptation to feed the JE tank, as the water was still a bit cloudy from the transfer and water change, but fed the windowsill jar a heaped tablespoon of Auqa-Dragon food. While I don't have enough space for over 100 Aqua-dragons, I cant let them starve, so hopefully many will survive in this jar.

Day 4, (18.08.16)

When I got home tonight the water was clear and I can see 20-30 of them happily swimming about so I decided to feed them again with one level feeding spoon mixed with water, injected with syringe. It's very hard if not impossible to do an accurate count at this stage, due to the shape of the tank and their small size. Temperature is at 20*c. Will test salinity tomorrow evening.
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Peronopsis
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Larva
I love your writing style, it's very clear and full of interesting facts, detail, and trivia! You've got me interested in aqua dragons, if I wasn't high on Triops right now, I'd give them a try. Looking forward very much to seeing more of your tank blog! I've always like the 'fairy shrimp' look, and Artemia looks to be a splendid alternative to the fresh water types.
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trioplover
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Triops Longicaudatus
Good job on hatching them :D , I've never seen so many brine shrimp in my life! :) ,but as good as they are i think ill still stick to triops (for now) and will eventually move onto fairy shrimp/brine shrimp since i love the look of them. ^_^
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trioplover
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.
Edited by trioplover, Aug 19 2016, 04:51 PM.
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Thanks for the comments Peronopsis and Trioplover, always very much appreciated.

Day 5 (19.08.16)

Quick update and picture on the Aqua -Dragons - the temperature was at 18*C this morning and they still seem to be thriving. I haven't seen any dead, and still have approximately 20-30 in the Jurassic Eggspress tank, as well as 100+ in the jar. The ones in the JE tank have been growing fast and water is still clear, so I'm going to feed them half a feeding spoon of food. I also put a full heaped feeding spoon of food into the jar with the 100+.

Quick full tank shot:
Posted Image
Crop from above image showing two Aqua-Dragons:
Posted Image

As mentioned in the previous post, I will now ramble on about...

Transcience Corp. Vs. Big Time Toys and the History of Sea-Monkeys

Harold von Braunhut, creator of the Sea-Monkey brand, had the brilliant idea of marketing regular Artemia as the novelty toy "Instant Life" in the 1950's. In 1962, he changed the name to "Sea-Monkeys" to avoid anybody associating his product with the failed "Instant Fish" product from rival company Wham-O. The new name was a great success, as was the marketing strategy of advertising extensively in comic books with colour illustrations by comic illustrator Joe Orlando.

Another contributor to the success of the Sea-Monkey brand was the work of marine biologist Dr. Anthony D'Agostino, who formulated the egg, conditioner, growth food and other packets. The patented trick to Sea-Monkeys is that the owner is fooled into thinking they hatch "instantly". On day one you are meant to add the "conditioner packet" , which actually contains both salt and eggs. On day two, the egg packet is added which contains more eggs, some food and a blue dye that suddenly highlights the tiny white nauplii already hatched from the day one eggs. Personally I feel this deception is a waste of time which just confuses matters for any kids taking the instructions to heart. Artemia cysts are amazing enough without believing they hatch "instantly" - I mean they can easily go 20+ years dry then hatch in under 24 hours, what more could you want from evolution?

The other dubious claim made by Transcience Corp. is that their brine shrimp are a specially developed hybrid strain named Artemia "NYOS" which is claimed to live longer, grow larger and be more hardy in general. There is no further information provided by Transcience regarding this strain, and no evidence of this being true is available anywhere, though it's not impossible. However, even if Transcience Corp did create a hybrid strain called Artemia "NYOS", this hybrid wouldn't magically be any better than natural strains refined by hundreds of millions of years of natural selection. In any case, the current brine shrimp being sold in Sea-Monkey kits by Big Time Toys are just a regular Artemia sp. supplied by a Chinese company.

Harold had invented/marketed many other novelty toys and products, including X-Ray Specs, the Kiyoga self-defense baton and the Invisible Goldfish (no picture). Given the nature of these products and their associated marketing, it's probably wise to take any claims about his products with enough salt to hatch Sea-Monkeys (more than a pinch ;) ).

Many sources also claim that despite his own cultural heritage, he was an admirer of Hitler, supporter of white-supremacy groups including Aryan Nations and even that some Sea-Monkey profits went to such groups. It's impossible to verify the truth of these allegations and I'm wary they are the result of ill-intentioned gossip, however the idea of a Jewish neo-Nazi is so curious I thought it was worth mentioning.

Previously, Transcience Corp. had a deal with Big Time Toys where the egg, food and other packets were produced in the US by Transcience Corp., while the plastic tank, and accessories were produced in China by Big Time Toys.

The intellectual property rights for the Sea-Monkey brand passed to Yolanda von Braunhut, wife of the late Harold von Braunhut, upon his death in 2003. Yolanda isn't a boring character either, as well as helping out with the Sea-Monkey business including fulfilling mail orders, she was an actress in some interesting looking films. I have yet to watch any of these films as part of my continuing Artemia research, but may do soon...for science! :whome: . She is also the model/inspiration for some of the female Sea-Monkeys illustrations created by Joe Orlando.

I should note here that with regards to her late husbands alleged controversial beliefs, Yolanda stated in a New York Times interview that "Harold and I never really talked about things like that. We just really loved each other, and I didn't question him or interrogate him", which seems like a good enough answer to me. When directly asked about her own beliefs she said "I am very inclusive with everybody that's why I live on a farm with all kinds of animals and try to impact the Earth in the least possible way and try to live a peaceful, happy, loving life". Again, this is a good answer to me, and I don't think it's appropriate to speculate any further on her personal beliefs.

Currently I understand the licensing agreement violation has significantly harmed her finances, click here to see Yolanda's Go Fund Me page.

You can also view the court case at this page: https://casetext.com/case/transcience-corp-v-big-time-toys

I assume Yolanda still manages the mail/online orders made via the official Sea-Monkey website, which proclaims to be the only place genuine egg, conditioner and food packets with the original formulas can be purchased. Presumably this means it's also the only place to purchase the alleged hybrid Artemia "NYOS". As I am skeptical and curious about Artemia "NYOS", I'm tempted to place an order and grow them side-by side with a known Artemia strain, to see if there is any observable differences. I can only have so many jars of brine shrimp at one time however :lolD: . I also already have other Sea-Monkey plans that I will share soon. To confirm any difference, genetic sequencing may be needed anyway.

Even more on Sea-Monkeys to follow.
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Peronopsis
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Larva
I found the history of the development of the instant pet business and the marketing of the Sea Monkeys fascinating. Like all of you I remember the ads in comic books back in the day, your tale of behind the scenes and the people involved is very interesting! My appreciation for Sea Monkeys and Aqua Dragons increases daily with your posts. Thank you!
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Update on the Aqua-Dragons...

Day 13

I think all is going well, but I have made a bit of a mess :lolD: .

After some reading into which is the best phytoplankton species to feed Artemia, I thought I would treat the Aqua-Dragons to some live marine Tetraselmis on day 10, but I added way too much, so now both the Jurassic Eggspress tank and the jar are totally green. Next time I won't add all the phytoplankton at once, I'll keep it in the fridge and feed sparingly. I am a bit worried that because I added too much, the algae might die and pollute the water. The shrimp love it for now though, they have put on a good growth spurt since the addition!

The numbers in both the JE tank and jar had been gradually declining, on day 10 I had just 3 in the JE tank and maybe 30 in the jar. I think this is normal and to be expected with this kind of set up however, even in the Aqua-Dragons instruction manual it says "Itís also natural and normal that some of them donít survive; this is part of the natural life cycle". While I wouldn't consider death due to overcrowding "natural", I can't see any way it would be possible to raise 100+ to adulthood in such a small container without some dying. My guess is the manufacturer figures it's easier for kids to start off with 100+ and only have some survive to adulthood due to starvation, than it is to start with just the 10-20 shrimp and not kill them due to overfeeding. It's basically impossible to feed 100+ brine shrimp enough in a small container without polluting the water.

Since adding the phytoplankton the 3 in the JE tank are still growing and the numbers in the jar don't seem reduced from about 30.

Here is the JE tank now, looks like pea soup:
Posted Image

Here is a terrible and blurry video from the jar, just to show they are still alive and growing: https://youtu.be/v1HnL1qyXM4

I may upgrade their their tank to a 1 gallon jar with an air stone at some point, or start an additional batch in this jar using different Artemia cyts. Also I'll be starting a couple of different Sea-Monkey tanks soon, including a viability experiment with very old Sea-Monkey eggs from the 70's (may do that in a separate thread).
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 16

The Aqua-Dragons are doing great ^_^ . All 3 are still alive in the Jurassic Eggspress tank, and the 30ish in the jar are growing even faster, I can tell that some of them are males now. I may move the 3 Aqua-Dragons from the JE tank into the jar to save on windowsill space.

Tested the water in the jar with an aquarium refractometer, its sitting at 38ppt, only just slightly saltier than seawater. I did a 1/4 water change on the jar yesterday with roughly 35ppt water to remove the surface film, I just pour a bit of water into a jug, removed the Aqua-Dragons from the waste water and put them back in the jar before topping up with fresh water. For salt I am using natural Cornish sea salt as shown in a previous post. The surface film seems to form when
flies (attracted by the light on the windowsill) fall into the jar, so I made a lid from the clear plastic on an old picture frame and it's working well.

I haven't fed them since day 10 when I put the phytoplankton in, the water is much clearer now so I will give them half a feeding spoon of Aqua-Dragon food. I just purchased some Sea-Monkeys from a local pet shop, so will be comparing the Aqua-Dragon and Sea-Monkey foods and use which ever seems best for all my brine shrimp.

I finally dug out my DSLR for some slightly clearer videos, I've no macro lens at the moment though, so had to use my telephoto lens zoomed in from across the room :lolD: . Still a bit better than the other camera. The video is very shaky, and I am having a tough time focusing on them, but it's just to give an indication of progress (you can see their adult shape now): https://youtu.be/k9ze6-C72mU

Here is the jar now, with the Sea-Monkey tank that I'll probably set up later tonight:
Posted Image
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Before I fed the Aqua-Dragons tonight, I compared the Aqua-Dragon food with Sea-Monkey "Growth Food" (packet #3) to decide which to use.

There was a huge difference and the Aqua-Dragon food seems much better. Note however, that this particular packet of Sea-Monkey food is made in China by Big Time Toys, so genuine Sea-Monkey food made in the USA by Trancience Corp. may be better (I will compare soon).

At the bottom of this post is a (somehow glitchy) comparison picture also showing the feeding spoons supplied (same size scoop). If the picture below isn't clear enough, check out this closeup of the uniformly finely powdered green Aqua-Dragons food with this closeup of whiteish mixed grain-size Sea-Monkey food. Some of the grains in the Sea-Monkey food just look like grains of commercial instant yeast for breadmakers, not even ground down.

Looking at the Sea-Monkey food, unfortunately it's unsuitable for brine shrimp, most particles are too large to be filtered by the shrimp and would simply fall to the bottom and decompose. The products of this decomposition may feed edible algae and bacteria for the shrimp to eat though, so it would be better than nothing.

Needless to say, I fed them the Aqua-Dragon food, and will also use this for any Sea-Monkeys I hatch out. I mixed one feeding spoon worth with water and used a syringe to feed most of it to the Aqua-Dragons in the jar and put a tiny squirt from the syringe into the Jurrasic Eggspress tank that has only 3 shrimp.

Posted Image
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 21 (Aqua-Dragons)

Only 2 Aqaua-Dragons left, the pair are still growing and healthy in the jar though. The Jurassic Eggspress tank has no shrimp in it, but the water has gone green so I am saving this as an emergency food source for now.

Whenever I feed the Aqua-dragons, I notice a bacterial film forming on the surface on the water the next day, and a few dead ones at the bottom. The water is nearly always clear and I often see them scraping along the side and bottom of the jar, presumably trying to collect algae, so I had been feeding them very frequently due to fears they were starving to death. I fed them on day 16, 17 and 18. Then on day 19 I thought I may have been overfeeding and polluting the water :ermm: .

I currently only have 2 left, though they are still growing and seem very healthy. I've decided not to feed them until the next batch of live phytoplankton arrives from Ebay, so they haven't been fed since day 18 and it will probably be a couple more days until I do.

So...not a failure yet, but I haven't kept as many alive as I hoped to. I'll keep trying to look after the remaining 2 and if they survive a week or so, I'll purchase more Artemia sp. 'Aqua-Dragon' cysts to hatch beside them.

In the meantime, it's finally time to set up the Sea-Monkeys Ocean Zoo! :hyper:

Day 1 (Sea-Monkeys)
My Sea-Monkey kit seems to have been produced in 2013, by Big Time Toys in China. The packet still makes reference to Transcience Corp., I'm not sure if more recently produced packs do.

Given that these packs are produced in China, the Artemia species included are not the alleged Artemia "NYOS"', but are of an unknown species. Possibly a Chinese species, but also possibly just A.franciscana from Great Salt Lake (cysts of this species are one of the cheapest types to buy in bulk).

Faced a bit of a dilemma - do I follow the instructions, or not? The instructions say to add packet #1 "water purifier" first, wait 24 hours, then add packet #2 "instant life".

However, I know that packet #1 contains eggs and salt, while packet #2 contains more eggs, salt, food and blue dye. Given the option, I normally wouldn't want to add random blue dye under any circumstances, but I do want to add all the cysts in so I have a decent number hatch...

I don't see the point in waiting 24 hours to add more salt, cysts and food...however at the same time I don't really want to add the food in packet #2 when there is nothing to eat it.

Adding packet #2 after 24 hours would also suddenly change the salinity, potentially harming any nauplii. I decided to follow the instructions this time, but will test the salinity before and after adding packet #2 for curiosities sake. When setting up the tank, I will add a few ml of the green water from the JE tank, hopefully adding some live phytoplankton early will help the water conditions in the tank.

So now packet #1, 330ml deionised water, and about 10ml of green water from the old Aqua-Dragons tank have been added. I will keep it under a light for 48 hours and add packet #2 after the first 24 hours, here's a quick picture:

Posted Image

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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 2 (Sea-Monkeys)

Unfortunately, life happened and I was unable to add packet #2 after exactly 24 hours :o . It's been around 43 hours and I've only just added the packet now.

No Sea-Monkeys sighted, and I had a very thorough look, so none must have hatched from packet #1. I never noticed any floating cysts when I added packet #1 either, perhaps this a quality control issue with the Chinese produced packets.

Packet #2 contained dozens of cysts which are now floating at the top of the Ocean Zoo tank and I never noticed any blue dye when adding it, which is good, but I remember the dye being very obvious when I had Sea-Monkeys years ago so the formula in the packet must be different now. I have some genuine Sea-Monkeys on the way from Transcience Corp in the US as well as a vintage pack from 1971, will be interestinfg to see how they compare to the Chinese produced packets.

Will report back after 24 hours or as soon as I see any hatched!

Day 22 (Aqua-Dragons)

Still 2 of them thriving in the jar, and they are developing into females. They are slightly pink-tinged too ^_^ . What I've learnt so far is that overfeeding is very easy to do. However I've also learnt that they don't need fed for days once algae has started growing on the surfaces of the tank and that live phytoplankton seems to result in faster growth than dried algae/yeast. Hopefully these observations will help me with the Sea-Monkeys and any future Artemia I try to raise.
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 3 (Sea-Monkeys)

The Chinese produced packet #1 definitely contained no eggs, packet #2 probably contains about 100. As with the Aqua-Dragons, too many Sea-Monkeys have hatched for such a small tank. Going to try and learn my lesson from the Aqua-Dragons and not overfeed. I should have some live phytoplankton arriving either today or tomorrow, I will wait until this arrives to feed them.

The 2 Aqua-Dragons are still doing great on day 23.

Here's a quick video to show the movement in the Sea-Monkey Ocean Zoo tank: https://youtu.be/SBf3LWbqhvA
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 6 Sea-Monkeys - Day 26 Aqua-Dragons

Here's a shaky video showing 6 day old Sea-Monkeys feeding on a "cloud" of live motile Tetraselmis phytoplankton purchased from Ebay:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZejNyBJZSY

The algae is motile (can move using flagellum) and has gathered at the top corner of the Ocean-Zoo tank where there light intensity is highest, you can see the Sea-Monkeys swarming around it as well which is pretty cool to watch.

As mentioned before I have removed the opaque lid of the Ocean-Zoo tank and replaced it with a piece of clear plastic to allow light in.

Here's a close up picture of Tetraselmis from this site showing the flagellum sticking out the back that are used for movement:

Posted Image

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this many Sea-Monkeys, I might try to put most of them in a new jar to avoid a big die-off due to overcrowding, or I may see how they do. I am only feeding live phytoplankton and things are going very well so far...maybe the die-off wont be so big? This is probably wishful thinking though, there's about 100 in there and I really can't see this small tank supporting even half that many adults :ermm: .

Also in the video blurry shot of the 26 day old female Aqua-Dragons. I really need to clean the jar so I can actually see them lol. The algae is good for water conditions and food however, so I'll only clean a section of the glass. I just received a new packet of Aqua-Dragon eggs in the post today and I plan on adding some new cysts from this pack to the Aqua-Dragon tank a day or two after cleaning. I don't want to add too many though, so I will be opening this packet and separating 20-30 cysts from the salt. The two older females should have some friends soon ^_^ .
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 9 Sea-Monkeys - Day 29 Aqua-Dragons

The live phytoplankton is very effective at feeding brine shrimp without polluting the water as much as dry powder food. I haven't spotted a single dead Sea-Monkey and they are growing very fast. Almost too fast :blink: .

Within the next few days I'm going to do a small water change on the Sea-Monkey tank and in the process remove at least 50% of them to a new jar with some phytoplankton on another windowsill. I also still have the Aqua-Dragons original Jurassic Eggspress tank on the other windowsill, I'll probably put some in there too. While I've not actually counted and I'll get a more accurate estimate when I attempt to move them, I estimate there are about 60-80 Sea-Monkeys in the Ocean-Zoo tank.

Things are going great in the Aqua-Dragon jar too, the two adult females are as lively as ever and about 10-15 nauplii hatched out from the 30 or so cysts I put in. I simply dissolved about 1/5 of the new Aqua-Dragon egg packet in some deionised water and added the dissolved mixture and floating cysts into the tank. Hopefully they

One thing I've noticed about the jar however is that the water very quickly clears after adding the phytoplankton, the two adult Aqua-Dragons in the jar might be eating more than all the Sea-Monkeys in the Ocean-Zoo put together :o . So hopefully the baby Aqua-Dragons will compete OK and get enough food to catch up with the adult females fast.

Quick video before I move some Sea-Monkeys (notice the cloud of Tetraselmis has been consumed):

https://youtu.be/i5DDSBnHuLk
More in-focus video - https://youtu.be/9rwuAz2T5gY

Edit:

Don't know why I never tried this before, my cheap phone takes slightly clearer, less shaky videos than my unwieldy DSLR with kit lens.

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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 18 Sea-Monkeys - Day 38 Aqua-Dragons

Not much to report but I'm going to ramble on more about phytoplaknton...quiet day at work, limited internet access ;) .

Everything is going very well for both types of brine shrimp, I haven't spotted a single dead Sea-Monkey or Aqua-Dragon :D .

The shrimp from the Aqua-Dragon cysts added on day 8 are growing fast and now that they are larger I can see there's probably 20-30 in the jar. The two females look like giants compared to the young ones but cause no harm when they bump into each other. Very refreshing to see after recently experiencing triops cannibalisation lol.

I haven't separated any Sea-Monkeys into a separate jar to prevent overcrowding yet, although I intend to do this later tonight. I'm pretty surprised the tank is supporting so many larger shrimp with no issues and attribute this to the benefits of feeding live phytoplankton. This consumes CO2 and nitrogenous waste produced by the shrimp, oxygenates the water when the lights are on and doesn't decompose and pollute the water unlike uneaten dry foods. It is also highly nutritious, I believe more so than dried foods.

As I've been adding phytoplankton faster than the water is evaporating, I usually have to remove 5-10ml of water before each feeding, so in effect am doing very small frequent water changes, which can't hurt either.

The downside, naturally, is that it's relatively expensive to use long-term (I've not tried culturing my own yet). Still, it's only £2.99 inc. p&p for a bag 200ml bag from ebay , which could last up to a month if stored in the fridge. Bigger bags/bottles are better value. I feed about 5ml per day, and have missed a couple of days in a row with no issues. When people are spending £5-£10 on single pouches of "Sea-Monkey "Banana treat", "Red magic vitamins" or "Gro-Kwickly" I think £2.99 for live phytoplankton is a bargain.

I am thinking about experimenting with Dunaliella salina- a salt loving motile algae species most commonly found in Artemia habitats that often gives the water, the shrimp themselves and even the flamingos that feed on them a pink to red colouration due to its abundant carotenoids. Flamingos would be white without D.salina and Artemia spp. This algae is hard to find for sale online and consequently more expensive, I finally found it here though: http://www.sciento.co.uk/catalog/item/135/

I'm having great success with Tetraselmis sp. though - I chose this species (already stated?) as it is used commercially to culture various invertebrates including Artemia. As mentioned before, it is motile so will move towards light rather than settle to the bottom without water circulation. With so many brine shrimp in a small tank, they move the water around so much while feeding that this possibly int necessary, but it may have been important when they were small. I worried that if I used a non-motile species, it could sink to the bottom of the tank and decompose, polluting the water just like dry food does.

I probably have the most spoilt brine shrimp in the world :lolD: .

While not much has changed, here's a quick video to show their growth (not vertical this time!):

https://youtu.be/0LCjZhgq_-8
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 35 Sea-Monkeys - Day 54 Aqua-Dragons

The two large female Aqua-Dragons in the jar are now about 54 days old! ^_^

Things have gotten much colder on the windowsill now, at night it can drop down to 12*C if the window is open and during the day it varies between 16*C and 18*C, up to 21*C max if the heating is on for a while. The cold temperatures are having no visible negative effects though.

On 23.09.16 I noticed the first breeding pairs swimming in the "riding" position. The older females still haven't bred with any of the younger male shrimp, who are slower and not strong enough to grab the large females with their antennae claspers. The small males do try to hold on, but are easily shaken off by the comparatively giant females. Both older females look very healthy, however one seems to have a moulting issue at the moment. As you can maybe see in the video link below, it is dragging around some semi-shed skin which has turned green due to algae growth. Looks like she is wearing a green skirt :lolD: . It does have me a little worried for her next shed though, I've thought about catching her and trying to gently pull it off with tweezers but I could cause more harm than good if clumsy, so will wait until it causes her issues before attempting this.

On 03.10.16 I did a 50% water change on the Aqua-Dragon jar with 45ppt salinity water...this was a terrible idea. The salinity of the water was about 30ppt before the change, so I think 50% was too much to change at once with a 15ppt difference. The next day the water was white-cloudy with a few dead shrimp on the bottom and the live shrimp were moving in weaker unsteady/jerky motions :( . I actually left the dead shrimp in and added about 50ml of live Tetraselmis phytoplankton, the dead shrimp have acted as fertiliser and the water was tinted green the next day, so far I haven't had to add any more phytoplankton and the living shrimp have regained their normal lively behavior. I haven't tested the salinity again yet but will shortly.

Now for the Sea-Monkeys, on 22.09.16 I relocated half of them from the Ocean Zoo to the Jurrasic Eggspress tank (that the Aqua-Dragons were originally in), so there are now about 50 Sea-Monkeys in each tank. I've been feeding the Ocean-Zoo tank 5-10ml of live phytoplankton daily, while I've been feeding the JE tank one measured feeding spoon of Aqua-Dragon food weekly and only occasionally giving 5ml live phytoplankton a couple of times a week. All of the Sea-Monkeys in both tanks are doing great, with no deaths. The ones in the Ocean-Zoo tank are a bit larger, more pink-coloured and have been giving live birth and producing cysts. The ones in the JE tank are white coloured and move around a little slower. The Ocean-Zoo tank is under a lamp at least 8 hours a day and the sides are now covered in spots of growing algae, so this probably helps a lot.

Here's a quick phone video of the Ocean-Zoo and Aqua-Dragon jar: https://youtu.be/kt5LJKKycvo
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Day 49 Sea-Monkeys - Day 68 Aqua-Dragons (end)

Just a quick update, the two big female Aqua-Dragons are no more :rip: . One of the two females died a few days ago after looking like she couldn't complete a shed and I've just found out the other female met a similar fate this morning.

I don't think 68 days old is too bad for a brine shrimp IMO, the Aqua-Dragons had to put up with inconsistent salinity, feeding and temperature so overall I think Artemia sp. "Aqua-Dragons" is pretty hardy.

I will give the jar a good rinse out with salt water to remove any Aqua-Dragon cysts while leaving some live algae in the jar, I will probably use it for a different strain/species of Artemia soon. Maybe I'll try Siberian Artemia as they could be more cold tolerant.

The Sea-Monkeys are still going strong on day 49 and are breeding like crazy despite the low and fluctuating temperatures (14*C-21"C depending on the time of day and if the heating is on). I have still been feeding live phytoplankton every couple of days, when I run out I use NT Labs Brine Shrimp Food, which I much prefer to dry Sea-Monkey/Aqua-Dragon food as it makes less mess when feeding (dry powders tend to clump, so the food just falls to the bottom when added straight to the tank unless pre-mixed in a syringe).

I also have some 1950's Sea-Monkeys I'll be trying to hatch so I'll probably make a new separate Sea-Monkey thread for that soon. Still brine shrimp crazy at the moment lol :lolD: :hardcore: .
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Just popping in to say both the Sea Monkeys and Aqua Dragons are doing great!

I never ended up cleaning the Aqua Dragon jar, and many more have hatched since the big females died. I've been feeding very sporadically with NT Labs Brine Shrimp Food only (good stuff, better than Sea Monkey food).

I'll post a proper update soon, just been busy with stuff ;) .
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notostracan
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Triops Newberryi
Still not done a proper update, or tried to hatch those vintage 1950's Sea-Monkey cysts, been too distracted lately.

The Sea-Monkeys and Aqua Dragons are still going strong though, the Ocean Zoo and jar are green with thick algae growth.

Will post soon.
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Werner
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Life cycle
Hi, got some Artemia to try will get back to you later no time now. Bye.
Overview of Species
Triops longicaudatus


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Triops cancriformis


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Triops australiensis
Queensland


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Triops granarius


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Triops cancriformis
Beni-Kabuto albino


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