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Brine Shrimp Hatching - Troubleshooter

Brine Shrimp Not Hatching ?

The cysts (eggs) we import are tested out in our breeding set up & should give good hatches. As with any live product things can go wrong & sometimes you might have difficulty hatching them out. This page hopefully will help sort the problem out.

Brine shrimp are found all over the world in differing salinities & water parameters. Water is usually where the problem lies. It's a good idea to invest in a hydrometer to measure salinity. Normally most eggs hatch around SG 1·020. Siberian eggs don't mind it slightly less salty & can hatch well at SG 1·013. You may find eggs from Siberia for example which fail to hatch in the same water you used for a previous batch. We believe this is due to the time spent in dry storage with eggs stored for short times being more dependant on a hard alkaline hatching water.

The pH is very important. Again most eggs prefer a pH of around 8 to 8·4. If you come from an area where the tapwater is soft it's a good idea to add Sodium Bicarbonate & Epsom salts to the hatching water to buffer up pH & hardness. The amount to add will depend on the water used but a little is better than none at all in soft/acid water.
A good example of this was found in a batch of Siberian eggs which would not hatch in soft water. We would remind customers to check the pH & hardness of the hatching water if they fail to hatch.
Eggs should be hatched in clean tapwater & not taken from a tank or pond.

Temperature is important. Some eggs hatch quickly (18 hours) whilst others can take up to 36 hours. Generally if you hatch at 80°F + the eggs will hatch fast & die fast as warmer water carries less oxygen. We hatch at about 60 - 65°F (on a concrete floor). It takes a little longer but the eggs hatch better & stay alive longer. If you get an orange mush 24 hours after you hatch you missed the hatch & the naplii have decomposed. Lower the hatching temperature or harvest as soon as they hatch (18 hours?).

Bugs in the water - The biggest bacterial killer in the hatching jar is Vibrio. This is usually present on hatching & quickly multiplies at a high rate. Freshwater fish are not affected by this. On harvesting we always recommend rinsing the nauplii in fresh water before feeding.
When feeding saltwater fish/shrimps etc we recommend using Artemia disinfectant in the hatch & rinsing with water before feeding.

Pollution will quickly kill a hatch. Ammonia builds up fast from the waste material produced by the nauplii & the decomposition of shell casings. Every living item produces ammonia on decomposition. Normally this is converted through the nitrogen cycle but their is insufficient time in a hatching jar to remove it.

Storage of eggs is also something you should consider. Whilst freezing is thought to be OK in some publications we don't recommend it. You can't take it out of the deep freeze & expect good hatches the next day. Nature doesn't work like that for Artemia eggs. We recommend storing in a normal fridge temperature of +3°C. Taking out enough eggs for a weeks hatch & keeping in a sealed airtight container at room temperature to let the cysts come to temperature gradually.
A common quiery we get in eggs not hatching is caused by customers taking eggs straight out of the fridge & hatching. Eventually they will hatch in a few days but leaving some out at room temperature for a few days before attempting a hatch is much better.
Also please be aware that posting during winter months can cause delays in hatching if the package is caught in a cold spot en route. This is a common feedback point in eggs not hatching. Eggs will take 60 hours to hatch from deep cold.
Airtight containers are a real must for proper storage. Oxygen is the biggest hazard & will kill eggs off quickly. Our Siberian eggs are unlike US packed eggs in that they are nitrogen flushed to drive out oxygen & have a preservative for increased shelf life. This preservative is used extensively in the human food chain so is completely safe. It is commonly mistaken for salt.
Eggs will last for years if stored correctly.

January 2012 - We have noticed a few customers experiencing problems hatching Siberian eggs. After extensive experimentation this was due to trying to hatch too many eggs in too small a water volume. The water was cloudy & frothy. Orange blobs of unhatched nauplii were seen in the hatch with no live nauplii. The excuse of 'I have done it like this in previous batches' has been given.
Look guys - these are living things in dry incubated storage & sometimes they don't hatch to order.

Remember the golden rules - Hatch in harder water with a pH of above 7 (slightly alkaline). Salinity around SG 1·020. Higher temperatures mean a shorter hatching time. If they don't hatch reduce the amount of eggs you try to hatch.

Fishkeepers will always have other ideas which work for them. The principles above have been learned through experimentation over many years. If something else works for you - keep doing it.