Artemia (Artemia Salina). Artemia belongs to the Crustacean (Crustacean) class, the subclass Branchiopoda (Branchiopoda), from the Fairy shrimps (Anostraca), the Arterniidae family, and the genus Artemia. They exist worldwide, occasionally found in brackish lakes.

A quick table of notes about Artemia:

Scientific nameArtemiidae Grochowski
Shrimp nameArtemia
Common namesArtemia, shrimp, brine shrimp
Rangeeverywhere in the world in inland saltwater
Size8-12 mm or 0.3-0.5 inches
Tank size1 gallon can hold up to 1000 artemia
Life spanup to 6 months
Temperaturerange between 20°C–25°C or 68°F–79°F
Colorbrown, orange
Foodplanktonic algae, yeast, wheat flour or egg yolk
Breedingvery easy
Temperamentit is only for food(live/dried/frozen)
Maturity8 days
Shrimp eggsBreeds very fast, up to 250 naupilus every 5-6 days.

A brief description of the species and color forms

Relatively large Artemia crustaceans, reaching 8–11 mm. Coloring, depending on the food consumed and the concentration of oxygen dissolved in the water, varies from green to bright red. The egg bag in females is located on the abdomen. The average fecundity is 50-60 (max, up to 250) eggs, litters every 5-7 days, during their life 15-18. The juvenile becomes sexually mature after 18-30 days. Under conditions that prevent the formation of hemoglobin, and with a lack of chlorophyll, artemia becomes viviparous. In nature, the main food of crustaceans is the microalga Dunaliella salina. Vitamin Bi2 in it provides up to 7.2 mcg per 1 g.

Artemia contains a large amount of hemoglobin, which is indicated by the red color of its nauplii and adult crustaceans. This is possible without much effort – it’s enough to have eggs (cysts), artemia, a suitable vessel (jar) of water, a compressor with a spray, and table salt. Young artemia is an excellent food for fry and small fish species.

Artemia larvae/cyst or brine shrimp eggs

The yield of larvae is highly dependent on the particular batch. For a good yield of nauplii, it is better to take relatively fresh eggs that have been stored for no more than 5 years, and preferably 2-3 years. Artemia eggs should be stored in airtight packaging in a cool dark place. Artemia can be stored in plastic bags in the lower section of the refrigerator. In the ideal case, up to 95% of crustaceans can hatch. But 40% can be considered a normal result.

Artemia eggs

Nauplii and decapsulated brine shrimp eggs often contain salmonella bacteria, which cause enteritis in the digestive tract and liver damage in fish. To kill the Salmonella bacteria, often found in Artemia eggs, they must be kept in the refrigerator at a temperature of 2-5 degrees. Dried cysts (artemia eggs) should be stored in a waterproof container. Despite the high viability, improper storage of cysts can lead to the death of embryos. Cysts are very hygroscopic and absorb moisture in the open air, which leads to increased activity of internal metabolic processes and, as a result, to depletion of energy resources.

A short video about how artemia cysts look like and how nauplii look like.

Sep-Art Artemia Cysts - Ocean Nutrition
There are several rapid methods to quickly determine the quality of cysts. Here are some of them. Cysts rubbed with fingers. In dry form, dead cysts and shells scatter into powder, and in the wet form, they slide into “spindles” while living ones remain in the form of grains. You can put cysts between thin glasses and, crushing, viewed in a magnifying glass. Fatty spots form around the living. Another way is treatment with sodium hypochlorite. After 5 minutes, the cyst membrane dissolves, and live orange embryos become visible. Thus, using a small number of cysts, it is possible to approximately determine the percentage of “germination” of existing brine shrimp eggs.

The cyst shell is multi-layered. Under a thin surface membrane, is a chorion – a hard spherical shell of dark brown color. Its main function is to protect the embryo from mechanical damage and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Chorion is not destroyed by the digestive enzymes of fish, so the swallowed cyst leaves the intestine undigested. However, chorion can be dissolved using preparations containing active chlorine: chlorine dioxide, sodium or calcium hypochlorite, and bleach. This procedure is called decapsulation: the embryo loses its protective membrane while remaining alive. Decapsulated eggs stick together in lumps. Such eggs (just because of the deprivation of the shell) are much more demanding on storage conditions. This food can be stored for a long time in a cool, dry place in a tightly closed jar. Decapsulated cysts can be immediately fed to larvae or incubated in the usual way. Incubation of decapsulated cysts has its advantages: • there is no need to separate the shell and undeveloped cysts from nauplii since they do not enter the incubator; • the possibility of introducing bacteria dangerous to fish into the aquarium disappears; • nauplii that were born are more nutritious since they do not expend energy on breaking the shell and leaving it; • doubled the “germination” of cysts; • the survival rate of juvenile fish fed by decapsulated artemia almost doubles.

A short video, 24 cyst to nauplii hatching timelapse:

Hatching brine shrimp (Artemia salina) time-lapse

Decapsulated washed cysts can be immediately fed to fish or be canned. Feeding decapsulated artemia should be extremely metered, preferably in several stages. Since decapsulated artemia is forcibly deprived of its chitinous shell using special preparations, and with a simple look it is very difficult to determine how high-quality a single cyst is, the dosage of feeding should be decisive and reasonable, and the use of this type of feed should not be regular. This food, as a rule, sinks to the bottom of the aquarium and if it is uneaten, then it must be removed immediately.

If necessary, the larvae are grown a bit, giving them yeast cells (0.2 million / ml) or microalgae (1 million cells per 1 ml). After 5-7 days, artemia that has matured can be fed to medium-sized fish. For conservation, they are placed in a saturated solution of sodium chloride at room temperature. For 3-4 hours, the cysts are dehydrated (with stirring or purging), after which they are drained and placed in a fresh saturated solution of sodium chloride. In this form, they can be stored for up to two months in a freezer, at a temperature below minus 4 ° C. As needed, cysts are removed from the solution, washed, and fed to fish or incubated.

Decapsulation of artemia eggs

Unencapsulated eggs must be activated before incubation. Before the start of the incubation, the eggs are removed from the freezer and left for 3-4 days at room temperature. Before incubation of cysts, they can be processed to promote interruption of diapause and increase “germination”. Cysts are decapsulated after one-hour “swelling”. Here are some ways.

  • Freezing: The best results are obtained by keeping cysts in saturated salt water for 1–2 months in the refrigerator’s freezer (at minus 25 ° С).
  • Treatment with hydrogen peroxide: 50 grams of dry cysts can withstand 30 minutes in 1 liter of a 1.5-3% hydrogen peroxide solution, followed by drying before incubation. Hydrogen peroxide can also be added directly to the setter. It is possible to dry part of the eggs and store for several days for a portion laying.
  • Mixing with fresh water and salt: Dry cysts are soaked in fresh water at a temperature of 25-30 ° C for two hours. Then they are drained and incubated for 24 hours in a saturated salt solution. This procedure is repeated three times, after which the cysts are incubated. Do not use purified iodized salt. It is better to carry out double activation – first with cold: dry eggs are poured with saline (50 g / l) and frozen in the freezer for 7-10 days, which gives an increase in hatching of crustaceans. Even one day in the refrigerator’s freezer, shortly before incubation, they can increase the yield of crustaceans. If you plan to spawn, it is better to freeze artemia longer – a couple of weeks or months.
  • A mixture is very effective in which 30 grams of calcium hypochlorite and 16 grams of anhydrous soda ash are sequentially dissolved in 1 liter of water. The ratio of eggs and solution 1:10. The components are thoroughly mixed for 1-1.5 minutes. After dissolution, the mixture is left to stand for 15 minutes and water is drained out to the residue.
    To destroy the shells of eggs freeze it or after 1 hour of swelling in water, having fitler the water, throw into the solution for 20-30 minutes: • 3% calcium hypochlorite; • 5-6% bleach; • 9% sodium hypochlorite; • Can be activated with soda or acetone.

Artemia eggs decapsulation:

Hatching Brine Shrimp Eggs. Decapsulating Artemia Cysts.

The ratio of the volume of swollen cysts and solution is 1: 5. Decapsulation lasts up to 1 hour with constant mixing of cysts manually or with air from the compressor. The process of dissolution of the chorion is easily controlled visually: the initial brown color becomes whitish, and then turns into orange. It is necessary to wait for decapsulation of all cysts, after which they are washed with running water to remove residual chlorine. The washing process can be accelerated by immersing the cysts in a solution of sodium thiosulfate or sodium sulfite. All strainers should be made of nylon and other materials resistant to chlorine (polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, vinyl plastic, rubber, glass, porcelain).

Methods of breeding artemia

1. The 0.5 liters of salt solution (20 g. Of table salt per 0.5 l of water) is poured into a 1 liter bottle, a teaspoon (without a slide) of artemia eggs is placed and closed with a stopper in which 2 holes are made with plastic tubes passed through them. On one of them, on the end immersed in water to the very bottom, put on a spray, and the other end is connected to the compressor. The other tube, short, does not reach the surface of the water and serves to vent air.

A strong current of air provides mixing of the eggs, and so that they do not accumulate at the neck of the bottle, it is shaken from time to time. Maturation of the first batch of artemia at a temperature of 24-25 ° C occurs after 36-40 hours. To collect them, turn off the air supply and put the bottle with a slight slope for 4-5 minutes, so that the crustaceans have time to settle to the bottom. Then another cork with 2 tubes is inserted into the bottle, one of which is connected to the compressor and does not reach the surface of the water. One end of the second tube fits to the bottom of the bottle, and the other is brought up to a glass jar covered with a fine mesh. Then turn on the compressor, and the water drains into a jar, and the crustaceans remain on the grid.

Rinsing them with water can be fed to fish. The solution from the can is poured back into the bottle, and the operation can be repeated another 1-2 times. A new solution is prepared for each new batch of eggs. The disadvantage of this method is not a very high percentage of the release of crustaceans from eggs and the inability to completely get rid of the egg shells, which, remaining in the net and getting into the intestines of the fry, can cause unpleasant consequences.

2. The breeding bottle is glued from an opaque material (vinyl plastic or colored plexiglass) and only the side and back walls of the chamber are made of transparent plexiglass. Eggs are loaded into chamber and crustaceans emerging from them through the lower slot and holes in the intermediate wall, they penetrate into the illuminated chamber, from where they are caught with a net. This transition occurs especially intensely if aeration is turned off for a few minutes.

3. In a three-liter jar of aquarium water dissolve 3 tbsp. tablespoons of non-iodized salt and 1 tbsp. a spoonful of drinking soda. Place there 0.5-2 teaspoons of eggs, depending on the need for feed. Cover with a plastic cover with 2 holes for introducing the hose from the compressor and the air outlet pipe. The water temperature is maintained at 26-30 ° C, if the temperature is lower hatching of crustaceans is delayed a bit, and germination is lower. It is advisable to round-the-clock lighting and weak blowing by the compressor through the atomizer, so that the eggs are constantly in motion and do not accumulate at the bottom. It is possible to constantly introduce new portions of brine shrimp eggs into the incubator. Hatching begins after 18-20 hours if the jar is in a warm place. 15 minutes after the compressor is turned off, the shells accumulate at the surface, eggs on the bottom, and live brine shrimp in the bottom layer. When catching them, one must use their reaction to light, obscuring most of the bottle. They are sucked off with a siphon – a glass tube , washed with water in a very tight nylon net, and fed to fish.

It is very important to visually understand what is going on. I recommend you read the paragraph and then watch this video!:

How to Culture Brine Shrimp | Artemia
4. One of the simplest and most convenient in operation is the Weiss hatching jars, into which air is supplied. The Weiss apparatus is easy to make at home from 2-3 liter plastic bottles. The bottom of the bottle is cut off, which will serve as a lid. A tube for supplying air is passed through an opening in the lid.

For continuous production, one or more bottles can be mounted on a tripod. A sampling of nauplii is made by a siphon or through a tube with a tap hermetically embedded in the cork of the bottle; for this, you can use silicone sealant. The optimum temperature for hatching nauplii is considered to be 28 ° C, although it occurs faster and more amicably at 30-31 ° C. The bulk comes out in a day or two after the start of incubation. To enrich the incubation medium with oxygen and remove carbon dioxide, intensive air purging through a sprayer is used. The air flow should be such that the cysts are constantly in the thickness of the solution.

On the first day, the cyst absorbs water 1.4 times its own initial weight, after which the embryo comes to life and its development resumes. A gap is formed in the cyst through which the embryo gradually emerges, surrounded by a hatching membrane. After a few hours, it is completely released but is still in the hatching membrane, which is connected to an empty shell hanging with a ball over a drop-shaped embryo (“paratrooper” – this is the name given to this very characteristic developmental stage, which serves as a reliable sign of a successful incubation process). Soon the hatching membrane ruptures and the nauplius passes to free swimming. Before the first molt, within 10-12 hours, the nauplii is not fed: the mouth and anus are closed, the digestive system does not work. After half a day, he passes into the second larval stage and begins to filter and absorb unicellular algae, bacteria, and detritus. In the course of growth within 8 days, up to 15 moultings are made. Artemia lives up to 6 months.

5. Incubator for brine shrimp. It is a rectangular vessel glued from plexiglass. The bottom is very sloping. A solution of sodium chloride is poured into the vessel. Concentration – a full tablespoon of salt per 1 liter of water. Aeration is carried out using an air pump. The aeration intensity is selected so that all the eggs are evenly mixed and not settled to the bottom. In 1 liter of saline, pour from 0.2 to 0.5 teaspoons of eggs. Depending on their quality and the tasks of the aquarist, more can be poured, however, in this case there is a danger of poisoning the incubator with metabolic products. The incubator must be illuminated around the clock. In this case, it is advisable to place an incandescent lamp of 15-25 watts on the side. Then it works as a heater. If the room is cold, incubators are placed in a warm box. By moving the bulb closer or closer, you can select the desired temperature in the incubator and do it without a special temperature regulator. The optimum incubation temperature is 28-30 ° C. At 28 ° C, hatching of the larvae begins after 1 day, the mass appearance of nauplii suitable for feeding after 30-48 hours. At higher temperatures, the process is faster, and the larvae hatch amicably and, accordingly, end faster.


6. Three liters of clear old aquarium water is poured into a bucket or bottle. Then in a separate bucket- one and a half liters of fresh tap water, heated to a temperature of 50-60 degrees. Salt is diluted in this water – six tablespoons without top. The salt solution is filtered through a strainer. The filtrated artemia eggs are poured into aquarium water, after which the bucket is placed in a warm place so that the water temperature is constantly kept at 24-26 degrees. When the water level has completely calmed down, half a tablespoon (or less) of eggs drops to the surface. It is advisable to place them in a floating feeder for dry food, in this case the eggs do not stick to the walls of the can, and in the future, it will be easier to catch them.

The first larvae hatch after 22-24 hours, and here many aquarium lovers make a mistake. They move the jar from the place, and they completely transfer it from place to place. At the same time, the mass of larvae that started hatching, but have not yet freed themselves from the eggshells, sinks to the bottom and dies there (probably from a lack of oxygen). The larva should hatch on the surface, in direct contact with air. After 1.5 days, the vast majority of the larvae have already hatched, and to better supply water with oxygen through an aerator, the bottle can be moved to a cooler place and a weak blowing of water by air should be arranged.

Feeding fish with Artemia

For feeding, artemia is used alive, in dry (decapsulated) and frozen form, as well as in canned form, in which artemia nauplii is in a special, preserving solution. Artemia crustacean at different stages of development is one of the best types of live food for aquarium fish. Artemia in the form of hatched nauplii feed the juveniles of almost all fish, starting from the first days, and older crustaceans can be fed to large fish. With a well-established method of keeping artemia serves as a feed conveyor for fish of different species and ages.

A good video explaining how to prepare artemia eggs to feed your fish:

Prepare Brine Shrimp before Feeding Betta
The newly hatched larva does not immediately release from the egg membrane. It is still impossible to feed the fry – the shells can clog their intestines. However, the parachute stage does not last long. The crustaceans are released from the shells and begin to move actively, thanks to the sharp swings of the antennas. To detect this, you must turn off aeration. You can also light one corner of the incubator. Artemia nauplii have positive phototaxis and gather in a bright corner. You can catch the larvae for feeding with a net, but it is best done with a rubber enema with a glass tube inserted into it. The larvae gather to the light, therefore, if you bring a lit light bulb to one side of the mold or can, they quickly gather near it. Thus, it is possible to collect them for feeding fry. Especially if you are not sure that you can distinguish active crustaceans from “paratroopers”.

It is not possible to separate crustaceans from shells by 100%. The whole question is the concentration of inedible impurities. In practice, the method of filtering crustaceans is usually used. With purge off, most empty eggshells pop up, and non-hatching eggs drown. Crustaceans also gather in the bottom layer, but above the egg layer. From there they are collected by a thin siphon. Due to the sloping bottom, the cross-sectional area of ​​the vessel at the level of the crustacean layer is reduced, and they are concentrated in a small volume of the solution, from where it is easy to assemble. Collected crustaceans are filtered through a gas net.

You can wash the crustaceans in fresh water, but not necessary. It all depends on which fish will need to be fed. If this fish does not tolerate salt, it is necessary to rinse. If you know that light salting of water due to the regular introduction of brine shrimp is not a problem, then it is better not to rinse. In this case, the crustaceans will remain alive longer. Artemia nauplii can live in fresh water for 6-8 hours. Of course, this period is quite enough for the fry to eat them. In salt water, the larvae grow, growing slightly, for about two weeks.

If necessary, you can grow crustaceans by introducing baking yeast until the medium is cloudy, or microalgae. After 4-6 days, you can start to feed adult fish only with grown crustaceans.

Special words deserve canned artemia, the nutritional properties of which are akin to live brine shrimp. A special solution, in which the hatched and preserved nauplii of artemia are located, allows you to save artemia in its original form for a long time. Canned artemia can satisfy the needs of juvenile fish of almost any size, because Available in a wide range of nauplii sizes. Indicators of good quality of frozen brine shrimp are saturated red-brown color, the integrity of most crustaceans, the ease of “scattering” during thawing. If a certain mucousness is observed during thawing, then this only indicates poor quality of this feed, i.e. that some of the crustaceans before the freeze were dead, or that this artemia was already thawing and freezing again. The dark or almost black color of frozen crustaceans also indicates their very low quality.

Hatched Artemia is maintained at a temperature of 1-4 degrees. Storage at room temperature and a high density of planting leads to significant death of crustaceans within a few hours, especially with insufficient aeration. In the refrigerator, the survival rate of 90% of crustaceans is ensured for 48 hours.