Hatching Brine Shrimp....Our Method
by Norm Ruebsamen

There is really only one requirement to the successful hatching of baby brine shrimp... the eggs/cysts need to be kept suspended. Even light, other than providing some sort of heat source, is unnecessary. Newly hatched shrimp do not require food until they molt once and that occurs 12 hours or more after hatching at about 70oF. Once the shrimp hatch, agitation in the hatchery is important for supplying oxygen to the newly hatched shrimp.

Our fry diet is as follows: Microworms every morning, baby brine every evening, and vinegar eels a couple of times a week. In order to feed live baby brine everyday, we have two alternating hatcheries set up. At 70o, our eggs hatch in 48 hours, so we have a batch ready every 24 hours.

We use the standard inverted 2 liter soda bottle set-up with the airline coming from the bottom of the bottle. We fill each bottle 2/3rds full of water so that the contents doesn’t splash out and there is room for the cysts to collect up the sides of the bottle after hatching. We add 3 tablespoons of canning and pickling salt to each bottle along with 1/2 tsp. of eggs. The bottles are marked “even” and “odd” so we know which bottle will be ready on what day.

Enough air should be flowing to create a "rolling boil" much as you see when water boils. This is enough air to keep cysts suspended for hatching. At this rate about half way into hatching you will observe eggs/cysts at the top but not a lot of dispersion of cysts up the sides of the container. Once hatching begins, the lighter egg casings will start to form an encrustation a bit farther up the sides.

After hatching is complete, there is a 12 hour window in which most shrimp will be alive at harvest. Shrimp are separated from unhatched cysts and egg casings gravimetrically. To harvest, we drain the contents of the bottle through the airline into a brine shrimp net. We rinse the harvested shrimp in the brine shrimp net with fresh water to reduce the carry-over of sodium into tank and fry trays. Once the harvest is rinsed, we again suspend it in a jar of fresh water and it’s ready to feed.

As mentioned earlier, temperature is not a critical factor, but can be used as a tool to control hatching, to make your harvesting better fit your routine. At 700, brine shrimp hatch in 24 hours. If your set up is in a basement where the temperature is in the low 60’s, hatching may take 3 days (68-76 hours). Conversely, heating the hatching conditions will reduce the time it takes to hatch shrimp, but it will also shorten the window in which they remain alive without requiring food.

This simple set-up has served us well for many years. If you have other ideas or results, please contact the webmaster. I would be very interested to hear them and publish your experiences.