A New Brine Shrimp Hatchery

I have mentioned what a mess my brine shrimp hatching operation was in past years. This year I tackled the problem and came up with a design that I think is much better. Though the list of equipment that is needed is longer:

  1. a fully submersible heater,
  2. air pump,
  3. 20H aquarium with a fitted glass or plastic cover,
  4. at least four 1-gallon plastic milk jugs with screw-on tops,
  5. some Excelon polyethylene plastic tubing (semi-rigid, the kind used to hook up icemakers in refrigerators),
  6. some silicon rubber air line tubing.

How does it work? Take two milk jugs and cut out the bottoms. Take two more milk jugs and fill them all the way with water. Put caps on all the jugs. Put the first two milk jugs side-by-side at one end of the empty aquarium, caps down and open bottoms up. Then take the two water filled jugs and slide them, side-by-side, in the normal orientation (i.e. caps up) against the first two jugs, to hold the upside down jugs in place. Now pour saline hatching solution into the upside down jugs until they are full to within about an inch of the top. These will be the hatching containers.

With all the jugs in place, add water to the aquarium until the water level is about a half inch below the level in the hatching jugs. Put the heater on the bottom of the tank and slide it in between the jugs.

Cut an 18-inch piece of Excelon tubing for each hatching jug. Fit the air line tubing over one end of the rigid tube and attach the other end of the air line tubing to the air pump. Take the rigid tube and push it into the handle of the hatching milk jugs. With a little force, it should slide through and finally stop when the open end of the tube is in the cap of the milk jug. Friction will keep the tube in place, but it is still easy to remove for harvesting shrimp or cleaning the containers.

At this point, put eggs into the hatching jugs, turn on the air supply, and put the cover over the top. And you are in business. This setup can accommodate up to 6 milk jugs for hatching, or as few as one. When you stop feeding brine shrimp at a month or two of age, you can use the tank to help grow out fry.

Above: "Hatchery 1999" in operation. This setup worked pretty well.