Live Food: Artemia salina - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Live Food: Artemia salina

I've taken a 2.5 gallon tank, and added ~3 grams of Sally's brine shrimp cysts. I plan on starting a culture of brine shrimp, not just harvesting the nauplii upon hatching
Questions:
How long do the cysts take to hatch at around 71 F?
The brine shrimp eat small particulate matter, so I plan on feeding phytoplankton. Will Reef Nutrition Live Phyto-Feast work?
Recommendations for how to get rid of unhatched cysts and hatched egg shells in the culture?
How do I change water in the beginning, when the nauplii are small and there are still unhatched cysts?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Anybody? Here's what I've got so far if anybody's looking at it...
The cysts hatch by at least 36 hours at 71 F
Since they're alive after 24 hours, I can conclude that they will eat RN Live Phyto-Feast, I still have to check in order to verify that they are eating the RN by checking water clarity tomorrow.
I've been skimming the top of the water in order to remove hatched cysts, and will top off soon to bring the salinity up.

New Questions:
Should I wait until night to clean the culture and then have the brine shrimp congregate at the top so I can siphon off bottom debris, then move the light to the bottom to siphon off the stuff at the top?

Has anybody experimented with spirulina powder to see if the shrimp will eat that as well?

Still wondering about siphoning off debris and such...should I use an airstone to keep the shrimp from leaving while they are still growing?
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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And...the culture crashed. Don't unplug the airtubing for more than a day, or else you'll come back to a fishmarket-smelling, brown tank of horror. Going to restart this by rehydrating 2 grams of cysts, and adding in any nauplii that I find.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2014, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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So, I after feeding the RN live phyto-feast, I get this brown algae. Added an astrea snail and two asterina stars to combat the algae. Also started a slow drip water change, I hope that this will get rid of the bacteria smell and help reduce the brown algae growing everywhere.

Surely I'm not the only one actually culturing brine shrimp just for brine shrimp, right? Somebody give me feedback or a PM or something please!
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-01-2014, 05:07 AM
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Hopefully someone with experience posts, I'm curious too something I've thought about doing for awhile now just haven't read up on it but this has sparked my interest. I'd like to hatch and then grow the brine shrimp to adult sizes for my tetras ram and apisto pairs. Also have been considering starting either a grindal or white worm culture. Seems pretty simple to do
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
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Culture at room temperature (approx. 71 F) and about 2-3 hours of indirect sunlight each day, seems to lend to slow growth. The culture is at still rather small lengths (ranging from newly hatched to about 2 mm long X1 mm wide X1 mm tall). A benefit of just tossing cysts into the culture tank is that a week after the initial mass hatch, there seems to be many cysts still hatching. Of course, this is offset by the initial 4 days of stinking water, and skimming off cyst shells from the top of the water when collecting. In order to minimize Artemia thrown when skimming, I've taken to cutting the air pump off, and using a small bright light to lure the Artemia to different sides of the tank. Then after skimming the egg shells off, I let the container sit for a while on top of another light and collect the Artemia in that. They usually get back into the culture tank...unless I feel like feeding my danios or damsels. I should also mention at this point that I'm giving heavy biweekly feedings and still having high survival rates. I'm not sure if it's due to the heavy bacteria bloom in the tank upon resetting of the culture, or that I dose massive amounts of the live phytoplankton. Maybe a mixture of both? The culture seems to go from brown-opaque (can't see to back of the tank), to tea-clear (possible to see out of the other side) after about 3-4 days. Additionally, it seems that there are two types of Artemia in the tank. One is positively phototaxic (attracted to light), and the other is negatively phototaxic (flees from light). I saw two giant balls of Artemia, one was close to the light, the other was more of a ...splat... of Artemia pasted against the wall furthest from the light. Interestingly enough, there were very few positively phototaxic Artemia in comparison to negatively phototaxic Artemia...and I haven't even harvested that many from the culture tank!

Last edited by ichthyogeek; 12-05-2014 at 04:42 AM. Reason: Additional information
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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It would seem that I've been doing things kinda funny. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria a few weeks ago, I siphoned off all the hatched egg shells, and quite a bit of culture water into a 5 gallon bucket, which I proceeded to forget about. I just took a look at the bucket, and found Artemia that were 2x as big as the ones in the culture tank. No aeration, next to no food added, and somehow I get bigger shrimp? What gives? Now back to your regularly scheduled update:
Decided to clean the culture tank today, because I can't see past the walls. I cleaned with a toothbrush and RO/DI water. All the brine shrimp, the two asterina stars, and the snail got tossed into a bucket with SG of 1.021. I think that I will stick the stars and snail back into my reef tank, as they seem to have absolutely no effect on the gunk on the walls. The only positive effective I've seen, is that they seem to have brought in some sort of harpacticoid copepod. I tossed the pods into the bucket of Artemia. I will aerate the bucket of Artemia/pods and rinse the culture tank tonight, and tomorrow, will disinfect the culture tank with sodium percarbonate (Oxy-clean), which makes sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

On a side note, does anybody know the composition of brine shrimp chorion?
Finally, for those who use DT's live Phytoplankton, have you noticed that it tends to clump? Or did I just buy a bad bottle? The clumps are small and look like the mush that comes out of a blender filled with spinach.

Last edited by ichthyogeek; 12-14-2014 at 12:08 AM. Reason: additional question.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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So after looking at the bucket vs. tank look, I permanently switched the culture to a white bucket. It's an old one that used to hold Reef Crystals. So far, it seems that I'm experiencing a lot less problems that I had with the aquarium. I can also compare algae density quicker, since the bucket's white. In adding the brine shrimp to the bucket, I also added half a cap each of Seachem Vitality and Nourish. I've adjusted the air flow to about 2 bubbles/second, and just added more RN today. The brine shrimp population seems to have disappeared over the last few weeks (from a few hundred to about 75 ish or so), so I'm hatching more right now to supplement the population in the bucket. More questions about the Reef Nutrition have arisen. I mix the phyto with RO/DI water, and sometimes there are chunks of algae in the cup. The culture is also starting to smell like cut grass. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Also, is the algae supposed to be an overall brown? Still wondering what brine shrimp chorion is made out of, and whether those pellets in the algae are normal...
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 11:37 PM
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Just responding to say hang in there. I have no info nor anything to contribute but see noone else is helping. If nothing else, people can learn from what you have tried. Please keep posting
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-22-2014, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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thanks fish jihad!

The clearing rate for the RNPF has gone up from a clearing rate of every four days to every 2 days. Assuming that there will be an exponential need for food as the culture grows, with a reasonable asymptote as the culture reaches maturity and maximum stocking volume, I need to start looking into either culturing phytoplankton or feeding other foods like spirulina powder before feeding RNPF all the time becomes too expensive. There is gunk beginning to form on the bottom of the bucket, so I also need to figure out a way to clean the bucket without losing too many shrimp, or maybe I'll just feed the shrimp to the fish. I've increased the bubbling again to help keep more food in suspension, it is a constant stream of bubbles now, enough to get the water's surface to ripple, but not enough to make the water "boil". I'm beginning to see shrimp swimming together, breeding perhaps?
I don't think I ever posted how I feed the brine shrimp, so here goes. For feeding half a "Reef Crystals" bucket worth of brine shrimp: take a small clear plastic cup, and fill halfway with RO/DI water. Add about 120 drops of RNPF to the cup, mixing with something (I use a 3 mL pipette). Set this mixture on top of something warm to warm up the food and allow the heavier particles to settle. After about an hour, feed the entire mixture, sans the heavy particles, to the culture. Use a light to see if you can see the bottom. If you can, add more phytoplankton, if you can't ,you've fed enough. I'm going on a limb here and assuming that the live phyto-feast is actually alive and doesn't rot in the water upon addition. Finally,if the water still looks green/brown, but the brine shrimp are scurrying around the perimeter of the bucket, then add more food. I don't know where I read this, but there was something about brine shrimp skimming the walls of containers when they require more food.

I think I finally found the composition of the chorion. Trehalose seems to be present in lots of organisms that undergo suspended animation (like brine shrimp). Now that I have an idea of what it is, I need to figure out if this trehalose is actually what the shell is made of. Any ideas?

For all of you with questions: ask them! if you have questions but are too shy, shoot me a PM so I can answer it in the next post (I won't mention who asked what).

Last edited by ichthyogeek; 12-22-2014 at 05:58 AM. Reason: too many finally's
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-22-2014, 06:49 AM
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Very interesting I'm glad you're posting (not sure why nobody is really responding I'm sure there are some out there who raise brine shrimp). I'm still contemplating on raising them.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-27-2014, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I did the first water change since switching to a bucket. I siphoned off about four Gatorade bottles full (about a gallon, I think). The first Gatorade bottle is full of black gunk that I'm hoping has a few copepods in it. The second bottle has a little bit of gunk. The other two just have water. All have a few Artemia in them, as the airline I used to siphon the culture bucket is just the right size to allow subadult Artemia through. The bottom of the bucket is now clear of most debris. I replaced the culture water, as well as doubled the culture volume with water at S.G. 1.021. The water is not 100% clear, so I'm hoping that the RNPF live that I added actually is live, and can replicate at rates that make addition of RNPFL less or even redundant! At this point, I shall start adding enough RNPF so that I can no longer see the bottom of the culture bucket (approx 10 inches). I shall also start waiting longer after mixing the RNPFL so that the gunk inside the bottle can settle after being mixed with the RO/DI water. If 2 weeks from now (the supposed growout time from Artemia nauplii to subadults), I find nauplii, I'll consider this a success, and begin small feedings of all Artemia into the fish tanks. I've seen brine shrimp literally hook up and swim together for some time, and am assuming that this action is the act of mating for Artemia. As for the Gatorade bottles with Artemia, I'm going to wait 24 hours before attempting to remove as many Artemia as possible from the bottles, then leaving the bottles fallow for a few days to see if I still have copepods. If I do, then I'll see what to do about making a copepod tank. In other news, my parents bought me a microscope for Christmas! Now, I can ID the mystery pods in the bucket, and also see if any live algae are growing, as well as isolate which strain!
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-28-2014, 12:45 AM
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Really well written posts on the process you have been trying, good job! I've done this at times over the years and long ago decided growing BS to "adult" size is a ton of unnecessary work. Hatching brine is easy once you get the hang of it, one key point is learning how to decapsulate properly which boosts the yields exponentially while taking care of the eggshell issue. Here's a link if you are not familiar with the process. Seahorse keepers have been raising BBS for years and this article has pictures which I think help a lot

http://www.seahorse.org/library/arti...miaGuide.shtml

However growing them out to "adult" size is not easy due to the feeding requirements and the constant threat of the culture crashing-as you are finding out. May I ask why you feel they need to be grown out to feed your fish? Unless they are gut loaded before you feed they have very little nutritional value. Here's a good article that talks about that point:

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2004/1/inverts

However, gut loaded BBS at instar stage 2 are readily accepted by most every fish and a good sized culture can be done with 3 or 4 bottles at various stages of production. I liked to use Selcon (fish food supplement) or a live phyto added to the culture bottle within 24 hours after hatching. Let the BBS eat on the selcon or phyto for a 12 hours then drain, rinse and feed. Having 3 bottles going (one pre hatch, one newly hatched and one 24 hours old) meant I always had food available.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-28-2014, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-28-2014, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
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.
Awesome plans, best of luck to you. I'm going to link an old, but very good article written by an aquarist that was among the first to captive breed saltwater clowns.

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2002/12/breeder

In the article he outlines several reasons for crashing/failure that can be avoided. Biggest issue I had when I was doing this a decade or two ago was keeping the phyto cultures at an adequate density to do large scale production. But there are more commercially available options for that now which is nice.
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