Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: California for school, Arkansas for home
Thanks Foxtrot, those links were really useful for me to read, so thanks for sharing! I do need to post pictures, but they'll probably be sometime in spring of 2015 as I finish up college applications, academic competitions, etc. don't be surprised at the horrible quality, as I'm stuck with iPhone 4 camera quality...
So there are a few main reasons why I'm growing out Artemia:
First, is that I'm trying to get some practice at growing filter feeding free swimming invertebrates like Artemia, as practice for future culturing of small calanoid copepods used in marine fish breeding. Since Artemia can withstand ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates better than most other saltwater culture organisms, this makes them ideal for practice.
Second, is that I go to college next year. Since the Artemia can produce resting eggs, sometime in the summer I'm going to experiment on how to make them produce the cysts that they're famous for, so that I can reuse them the next summer or so.
Third is availability. Artemia are the one reliable source of live food that I have in the form of cysts available at pet stores. Grindal worms, blackworms, daphnia, I can't find any of these in any LFS that I've been to. I could buy some other cultures off the internet, but it's much less of a hassle just buying cysts from a store.
Fourth, is nutrition/feeding. Adult Artemia might have to be enriched, but if you look at an analysis of frozen adults, they have about 5% minimum crude protein, in comparison with bloodworms 4% and mysis shrimps 6% (all taken from elive frozen food data). Their exoskeleton of chitin also serves as a form of dietary fiber for purely carnivorous fish. Finally, if I culture Artemia successfully, then I can have a variety of food sizes, from incredibly small Instar I, to much larger adults, and a few stages in between.
Fifth, is that we all have odd fish. That one fish that only eats live food. The brine shrimp can be a source of weaning for the fish, as we gradually phase out live foods like brine shrimp and introduce frozen foods like frozen brine shrimp and mysis. Live foods have historically been used to breed fish, and I can feed the broodstock the adult shrimp, while the fry get the nauplii.
I'm a bit confused on why you say they're prone to crashing and a lot of hard work? Sure, there was that time when almost all of the nauplii died from lack of oxygen, but aside from that, I have yet to see major die-offs in the culture bucket after the nauplii reached bigger stages, and with Artemia's natural resilience combined with reasonable water changes, I see no reason that the same will happen... I'm also not sure about the whole labor part as well. I just stuck'em in a bucket, fed'em, and left'em alone with a source of surface agitation, and they seem to be thriving.