Although hatching the brine shrimp eggs was a success and I had live food to feed my fish for a few days, growing them on has not been so easy. It was the first time I had attempted this so am quite certain I made more than a few mistakes. The first thing I did was to place them in a plastic tank with fresh water and bicarbonate of soda without enough salt. I did add the salt a little later but the fresh water would not have been good for my Nauplii. I did not heat the plastic tank but hoped they would grow on at room temperature, nor did I light it artificially, I merely left it in front of my south facing window with an airline running in the hope that it would get enough natural daylight and warmth. I fed them tiny amounts of spirulina powder but did not do water changes as the Nauplii were so tiny I was worried about how to do this without extracting them from the tank at the same time.
Today I noticed there wasn’t the same evidence of orange shoaling movement towards the light and when scooping out cups of water it seemed a lot of debris fell to the bottom of the cup and I found it difficult to find one tiny swimming brine shrimp among it. I believe the water quality may have been responsible for many of them not surviving which in turn will have polluted their water even more. It is possible that the heat and light were also more crucial to their survival than I believed.
I still have my pair of Neon Tetras in my breeding tank and wanted to condition them on live food only but as I no longer have a live food source readily available it will be another two days before I can successfully hatch more Nauplii for them. I believe it is time to get another hatch going again and perhaps this time if I make some changes I will successfully grow some on to a slightly larger size.
The Brine shrimp hatched successfully. It took two days immersed in water at a temperature of 28 C under a bright light in a plastic drinks bottle with an air line.
They have not lasted long as I harvested most of them immediately to feed the fish in my community tank. Even the larger mature Platys and Guppies hoovered up the tasty snack. I had thought they may be too small for the larger fish to be interested in them but they all loved the tiny live food.
The remainder have been placed in the plastic water change tank with an air line and a tiny amount of bicarbonate of soda. I am hoping to grow some of them on to maturity using Spirulina powder as a food source.
If this experiment is unsuccessful I can always hatch more Brine shrimp and try again until I produce a constant live food source for the fish.
If I do have Neon Tetra eggs that could produce fry the difficulty will be in providing them with enough microscopic food to grow them. There will already be some present in the breeding tank but it will not be enough for several days. I have ordered an infusoria culture and kit to help with this but as soon as they are big enough most breeders recommend feeding them newly hatched Brineshrimp or”Artemia” as it is called. An order of Artemia eggs and salt mix should be on it’s way now. I could have bought them already hatched suspended in water and was tempted to do so but would like to learn how to hatch them myself. They are a fantastic first food for fry and my other adult fish will love them too if I manage to grow some on a little.
It is possible to get a hatching kit that includes everything but the air pump, again tempting but discovered many people use homemade kits using an old plastic drinks bottle. As I am all for recycling and saving money wherever possible I have decided to give it a go. So I will need to thoroughly rinse and disinfect a drinks bottle. I will then place the egg and salt mix inside and top it up with water and place an airline in attached to the pump only,(I read no airstones several times in the course of my research). The bottle will need to be left in the sun or near a heater and light for a day, as they need heat and light to hatch.They should hatch after about a day, it can be done faster at a higher temperature. Growing the Artemia to a large enough size for the adult fish to relish will be the tricky part, like the fry they need clean water and microscopic nutrients to grow them on.
So I am about to embark on yet another experiment. The live food produced will help condition my adult fish for breeding and feed any fry I may have been lucky enough to hatch. Wish me luck.