From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Jump to: navigation , search

Life cycle of Artemia, from cysts to adult brine shrimp. Photo Collage by Matthew Wittenrich.

Family: Artemiidae

Species in Genus Artemia:

Reference: The Complete Illustrated Breeder's Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: MLW
Text credit: JL


Brine shrimp are small marine crustaceans that belong to the genus Artemia.

Their dry cysts (essentially eggs encased in a leathery protective shell) are collected from salty marshes and bays worldwide for use in aquaculture and the aquarium trade. They can live in a dry, dormant state for a number of years and will hatch within 24 hours of being re-introduced to water, usually in an aerated hatchery vessel.

When newly hatched, they are known as Artemia nauplii and are an excellent food for captive-reared young fishes and have a high content of desirable fatty acids. They are an important first food for the rearing of many freshwater fishes, but larval marine species are generally too small to be able to eat Artemia until they have grown.

Brine shrimp grow rapidly and lose their value as fish food unless enriched (fed a pulverized ration of fatty acids) before being offered to fishes.