Brine Shrimp Hatchery
by Loh Kwek Leong of Singapore
Visit Loh's www.killies.com for
information on killifish keeping.
To rig up your own brine shrimp
hatchery, these are the items you will need - A 1.5 litre plastic bottle (preferably, one
with many ribs and grooves on its sides), a one-way gang valve, a bit of string and an air
Cut off the bottom one-third of the
plastic bottle. Use a sharp object to make a small hole in the cap and then force the
one-way gang valve through it. It won't leak and you don't have to use silicon if the size
of the hole is slightly smaller than the gang valve. Punch 2 holes at the other end of the
plastic bottle and pass the strings through them. Fill the bottle with water and check for
To hatch brine shrimp eggs, fill up the
hatchery with about one litre of water. Add one tablespoon of salt and a small scoop of
brine shrimp eggs. Connect the valve to an air pump and aerate the solution for 24 hours.
The solution should turn a bright red colour, indicating that most, if not all, the eggs
Do not use kitchen salt or the hatch rate will be very low. Many fish shops in
Singapore sell brine shrimp eggs that will NEVER hatch no matter how long you aerate them.
I think this is because they are not keeping their eggs in the proper conditions. Brine
shrimp eggs should always be kept in the refrigerator (in the vegetable compartment, not
in the freezer) when not in use.
To harvest the baby brine shrimps, close
the gang valve and add half a litre of tap water to the hatchery. Disconnect the tubing
and wait for 5 minutes. If all goes well, 3 layers will form in the solution. Egg shells
will form the top layer; clear water will be in the middle layer and the baby brine
shrimps will congregate at the lower one-third of the solution.
Release the gang-valve and let the
solution flow into a bottle. As the water level in the hatchery drops, the egg shells
stick to the sides of the bottle and voila, what comes out through the gang valve are pure
baby brine shrimps.
You can either use a turkey baster or a
brine shrimp net to feed your fish with the baby brine shrimps. I find it's better to use
a turkey baster as dipping a net into one tank after another is a sure-fire way to
contaminate every tank if one is diseased.
The nutritional value of baby brine shrimps drops dramatically a few hours after
hatching. So do not leave your baby brine shrimps in the hatchery for too long. If
possible, feed them to your fish as soon as they hatch.