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Brine Shrimp for fry - very basic recipe


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Research how to hatch brine shrimp first. Learn as much as you can.

Buy some brine shrimp cysts. I use a small 6 gm vial from San Francisco Bay brand, I keep it in the freezer.

I use my (non-chlorinated) pond water at 8.1-8.3 pH and non-iodized salt to get an ideal salinity level of at least 1.011 (15ppt) and up to 1.030 (40ppt). I prefer the lower end of that scale (24 ppt), since I’ll dump the poor unfortunates into a freshwater tank. You don’t have a salinity meter? Don’t know what your pH is?

Here is an easy to follow recipe:

Start with 2 pounds=32oz=930g= 4 cups of water. BUT NO chlorine- that is, unconditioned tap water. If nothing else, let it sit out overnight first to dissolve the chlorine gas. Add 30g (1.5 Tablespoons) of non-iodized salt. That will get you 24 ppt or a specific gravity of 1. 018. Stir until salt is dissolved. Add about .5 grams of brine shrimp cysts. About ½ a jellybean, or as much as would fit on a penny without spilling. You can eyeball it. Mix well, and pour into a clean bottle, I use 2 16oz water bottles. Keep them warm, put them under a halogen light, float them in your fish tank, anything – but not hotter than 86 degrees F, that will kill them. Wait until they hatch. About 36-48 hours. You can feed your fish the brine shrimp, but strain out the salt water. Get a special brine shrimp net for less than $5.00 and use a (dedicated) turkey baster. That’s it! No aerating bubbler, no special container, no tubing. Your fry will thank you….perhaps not your significant other, however.

I'm sure there are more effective and better ways to hatch brine shrimp, but this is the basic version. Tested over a few months - my fry love it.

Edited by mysterygirl
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Nice, thank you! I purchased a San Francisco Bay brine shrimp hatchery from my LFS. It worked great the first time but not the next time. I kept the hatchery by a window as opposed to under a halogen light. Could they have stopped hatching because of this, or possibly because the water wasn't dechlorinated (it didn't say to do these things on the box)?

I eventually gave up and just fed my fry Hikari frozen BBS, but I will try your way next time as I think the live BBS are better for them.

Thanks again!

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

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  • 1 month later...
  • Regular Member

Good luck with your next attempt. The chlorine was the most likely problem. Artemia salina (BBS) do better in alkaline waters above pH 8.0. You might want to get a salinity meter.


I kept a thermometer in my hatchery water to make sure that the temperature didn't rise above 86F. I was surprised that moving my light source just 1/2 an inch higher or lower made such a difference. I kept a straw nearby to occasionally aerate and stir the water. Here is a photo of my down-home hatchery.


One more thing: it is important to separate the hatched shells from the newly hatched BBS. You can use a light source to attract the shrimp and a chopstick to move the cysts out of the way of your syringe or baster. Or, like Tyler from my LFS, use a syringe and tilt it in such a way that the shrimp swim out but the hatched cysts remain in the syringe.

I float the bottles in the fry tank (for temperature control) about 36 hours, until I see the hatchlings. It amuses the fry.


Why take the trouble to hatch live baby brine shrimp?

I was concerned that my little fry weren't getting enough food. Food that floats or sinks wasn't getting their attention. Tyler explained that very young fry are expecting their food to be moving, they want to catch it. It sounds very natural and sensible. I should encourage Tyler to join this forum apparently, heh.

The nutritional value of newly hatched Artemia nauplii are about 50% protein, 20% fat and 12% Carbohydrate, which is excellent for fry.

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Could they have stopped hatching because of this, or possibly because the water wasn't dechlorinated (it didn't say to do these things on the box)?

It is hard to tell. The chlorine sounds like it was fatal. But if it wasn't an issue the first time the entire batch might have overheated in shipment. I had that happen to my 2nd bottle of Ich medicine, it was just inert for some unknown reason and we returned it for a replacement.

The other important variables are the salinity levels, the pH of the water and water temperature. Try a thermometer and let me know how it goes.

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  • 10 months later...
  • Regular Member

I'm just going to start, bought dry artemia cysts from ArtemiaDirect online store and found the feeding instruction there, but dont know if it is right. please take a look:

Artemia cysts are soaked in special solution under the specific temperature, light and air flow. Under these conditions you will receive up to 95% of nauplia.
Incubation conditions:
1. Incubator
2. Constant air-supply
3. Water temperature 26 - 29 ° C
4. The necessary volume of salt water (30 g salt to 1l of water)
5. The level of illumination - 2000 lux
6. The incubation period - 24 hours
The process of incubation:
1. Before the start of incubation, soak for 1 hour dry cysts (brine shrimp) in fresh water. The best proportion of dry cysts and water is 1:2.
2. Place the soaked cysts in the incubator and add salt water.
3. Turn on the aeration of the incubator.
4. The best time for artemia cysts under these conditions is 24 hours.
5. In order to maintain the pH in the water, you can add 0.5 g sodium hydrogen carbonate (soda) to 1 liter of water.
6. For getting more biomass, incubation period can be extended to 36 hours (in this case the size of some nauplii can be increased).

so should I do as they say?

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so should I do as they say?


Hi Dmuratova,  I’m just noticing your question tonight.


My method is a completely different way to hatch them than the instructions you’ve listed above. Here are some of the differences highlighted.


  1. You don't need to soak the cysts in fresh water first. 
  2. A 1:2  cysts to water ratio is too high if you want to use a larger container of water like I did in my photos
  3. I didn’t use an electric aerator, just a straw
  4. I used a lamp and my tank for warmth, not an electric incubator
  5. hatching will take more than one day using my method


I used my non-chlorinated pond water - you can use your tank water, or conditioned tap water at 8.1-8.3 pH and non-iodized salt to get it up to an ideal salinity level of at least 1.011 (15ppt) and up to 1.030 (40ppt). I prefer the lower end of that scale (24 ppt), since I’ll dump the poor unfortunates into a freshwater tank.


If you don't have a way to measure how salty the water is (a salinity meter) you can use my recipe: 

For every 930 g non-chlorinated water add 30g (1.5 Tablespoons) of non-iodized salt


You’ll only need 5 grams cysts (enough to fit on a small coin without spilling over) and it doesn't matter how much water as long as the salt levels/temperature is correct. I used enough to fill a bottle and float it upside down. The recipe I’ve stated fills two small bottles as you see in the photos. 


Keep the temperature warm: drop the closed bottle in your tank AND/OR place the half bottle under a halogen light but not warmer than 86F/30C until they hatch.



I didn’t use aeration: just agitated the bottles you see in the photos manually with a straw. Once the bottle was closed and floating in the tank I might gently agitate them- but plenty of eggs will hatch without any agitation at all.  It is not clear if you have or purchased an incubator with aeration as mentioned in your listed instructions.


My method results in a slower hatching then your instructions.  I averaged 36 hours or less. You'll see them swimming around once they’ve hatched- check after 24 hours and often until you see a large population to harvest.


You'll need to separate the salt water from the shrimp: I used the sieve in the photo above.


Good luck!

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