Hatching brine shrimp eggs (or cysts) is a simple process and using a DIY brine shrimp hatchery makes it easier to harvest the small brine shrimp (or nauplii) that result.
- Buy only high-quality (“premium”) eggs.
- Eggs not stored below 50°F (eg eggs on LFS racks) will have significantly lower hatchability.
- All brine shrimp eggs should be stored:
- in an airtight container.
- No moisture.
- At or below 50°F (freezing not recommended) for maximum hatchability.
Set up the hatchery:
- Hang the DIY brine shrimp hatchery in a convenient location.
- Mix 2 quarts of brine to a SG of 1.018 (recommended pH 8.0 or higher).
- Connect the air tubing to the air pump (located above the hatchery) and hatchery air tubing (in the cap).
- Fill the hatchery with brine to within about 1 inch of the drilled hole.
- Add 1 teaspoon brine shrimp eggs to the hatchery.
- Let the eggs soak for about 15 minutes, occasionally “swirl” the eggs with your fingers to help absorb water and sink to the bottom of the hatchery.
- Turn on the air pump and adjust the bubbles to where they are active and the eggs are in constant motion.
In general, the optimal incubation time is 24 hours. However, depending on the quality of the eggs and the incubation environment, a full incubation can take up to 36 hours.
When hatching is complete, turn off the hatchery’s air supply. After about 15 minutes, the empty shells (brown) should float on the water, the unhatched shells should be in the bottle caps at the bottom of the hatchery, and the live brine shrimp (orange) should vibrate around the neck of the bottle.
Disconnect the air line from the air pump and do not shake the bottle, this will mix everything again. Lower the end of the air line to the level below the bottle and drain the water into the container through the brine shrimp net. Stop draining when the shrimp is drained and the empty eggshells reach the end of the rigid tube.
Pour a little clean fresh or (preferred) brine through the net to rinse the brine shrimp. You can move the clean shrimp to the growing container or feed it directly to your tank critters.
Rinse the brine shrimp hatchery and store it, or reset it for another hatch the next day.
- The optimum temperature for hatching brine shrimp eggs is between 80°F and 82°F.
- Lower temperatures will result in longer incubation times.
- Light is also required during the first few hours of hatching to trigger the hatching mechanism.
- Maintaining a light source throughout the incubation period will help maximize hatching results.