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Axolotl Eggs, Larvae & Breeding>Brine shrimp hatching and harvesting tutorial
yellowpebble 02:23 1st August 2011

I have had a lot of questions lately on the specifics of setting up and harvesting baby brine shrimp. There are a lot of tutorials on the internet already but they are all different and I have had varying success with each of them. This is simply the way that I find works best.


1. What you will need:

- An empty 2L plastic bottle with the top cut off, I have found round ones work best.

- An air pump

- Some airline tubing

- A straw

- Non iodised sea salt (does not have to be anything fancy like aquarium salt)

- Brine shrimp eggs (available from ebay)

- Tap water. No dechlorination necessary.

- A power point

- A lamp (optional)

Click the image to open in full size.

2. Set up:

- Cut the top off the bottle if you haven’t already.

- Attach the straw to one end of the airline tubing. You might have to seal the straw to the tubing depending on the size of your straw, I have used electrical tape.

- Attach the other end of the tubing to the pump

- Stick the straw in the top of the bottle, so it is sitting on the bottom. I cut a small hole in the top of the bottle to put the straw through and hold it in place, but this is not necessary.

- Plug in the pump and turn it on. Air should now blow through the end of the straw into the bottom of the bottle.

Click the image to open in full size.

This is the basic set up for hatching the brine shrimp. Now for the brine shrimp!

3. Hatching:

- Fill the empty bottle with 2/3rds luke warm water. The warmish water will help them hatch faster.

- Stir in 1 heap teaspoon of sea salt. This should make the water about as salty as a potato chip.

Click the image to open in full size.

- Stir in 1 flat teaspoon of brine shrimp eggs

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- Mix together and hook up to the tubing. A steady stream of bubbles should come out of the straw and the eggs should be constantly moving around.

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On close inspection the eggs will look like this, brown in colour.

Click the image to open in full size.

- The hatchery needs to be left for a minimum of 24 hours in a warm, well lit spot. Ideal temperature is 25C, but it is winter here so I have put my hatchery in front of a lamp for light and heat. When using a lamp for heat, make sure you have an old fashioned filament bulb, because the energy saving fluro type do not generate heat.

- Leave for 24 hours for the shimp to hatch. You can tell hatching has occurred because the hatchery will change colour, from brown like the image before to rusty orange brown like this:

Click the image to open in full size.


1. What you will need:

- A tall glass

- A paper coffee filter

- A turkey baster

- The hatchery

- Plain tap water

Click the image to open in full size.

2. Harvesting:

- Let the hatchery settle in a dark spot for 10 minutes. A cupboard is ideal.

- The hatchery will separate into layers, egg shells on top, water in the middle and hatched brine shrimp on the bottom. The shrimp will look like an orange wriggling mass, although I have heard their colour depends on how much salt is used.

Click the image to open in full size.

- Fold the top of the paper coffee filter over the top of the glass to hold it in place

- take the turkey baster and suck up the shrimp from the bottom of the hatchery.

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- Squirt the contents in the paper filter. This will filter out the shrimp from the salt water which will pass through and be collected in the glass.

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Click the image to open in full size.

- Keep squirting in the brine shrimp (try to avoid any eggs) while the water drains out.

- You may have to pour the water out sometimes if the glass gets full. Just pick up the filter without spilling any and tip out the water. Put the brine shrimp filled filter back on the glass afterwards and continue.

Click the image to open in full size.

- Once you have your desired amount of brine shrimp, keep topping off the filter with plain tap water, until the brine shrimp mixture in the filter no longer tastes salty (yes you have to taste it). This might take a few basters full of water.

Click the image to open in full size.

- the end product in the coffee filter should look like this:

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- Suck out the brine shrimp/water mixture and feed to your hungry babies!

Click the image to open in full size.

That is my process. I have so many babies I usually empty one of these containers each feeding, however it will depend on how many babies you have. One hatchery will usually only last 2 days, so it is recommended to have 2 going at once at different stages of progress so you will always have a constant supply.

Make sure you store the brine shrimp eggs in the fridge.

I do not keep my babies in sepperate containers because they have not reached the cannibalising stage yet. It has worked very well. Keeping them well fed also stops them nomming each other!

To be extra carfull you can de-salt the brine shrimp filter with aquarium water or dechlorinated water, however it is so little in the end i do not bother, and my babies have been fine.

Good luck

Aimzs Lotties 06:39 6th August 2011
Thanks Rach! LOVE the pictures!

yellowpebble 08:16 6th August 2011
my boyfriend took them

xxianxx 12:20 7th August 2011
Thanks, i was using nylon tights for filtering but i was losing a lot of shrimp , im just about to give the coffee filter paper a try.

yellowpebble 03:23 9th August 2011
the coffee filter is good, it will not let any shrimp through at all unless it is broken, but they are quite fragile and do break sometimes! Make sure you do not fill it all the way, let it filter slowly, and only squirt the shrimp in lightly and it should be fine! also be paitent with it, the mesh is so fine it trickles through very slowly! I find if there is heaps of BS in there, it can get a bit clogged, but bubbleing it a bit with the turkey baster or giving it a gentle stir will get the flow going again :)

katie11122 01:25 12th August 2011
i have been using way more salt! maybe thats why i have been having so much trouble and my shrimp are not as bright as yours maybe thats why my babies dont have the bright orange bellys.

yellowpebble 01:44 12th August 2011
hey, i have heard the less salt the better actually. I tried a few different mixture strengths and this is the one that worked the best for me. Try lowering it and compare

BoGyesz 00:08 14th August 2011
Great tutorial! My first hatchery was based on the instructions of this video, but the coffee filter seems to be very practical. I use water from my saltwater aquarium.

yellowpebble 03:23 17th August 2011
how are your babies going?

jospajo 08:31 9th September 2011
thank you so much for the tutorial, your set up is so much easier than how i was told to do it. Cant wait to try again, and the straw idea is awesome..I have new babies nearly ready to hatch and was really not looking forward to having to deal with shrimp again but will go and get the necessary tools and see how it goes

yellowpebble 05:36 21st September 2011
Hey guys,


I have purchased a different type of salt because they were out of the regular sea salt.

I now have rock salt, which IS sea salt its just in big lumps instead of being fine.

I have found it takes a lot les of the rock salt for the shrimp, I used the same amount of 1 teaspoon and they all died. *shudder, it smelt terrible.

If you are using rock salt 1/4 - 1/2 a teaspoon will do. The same amount of water and eggs is used.

swimupstream 01:30 23rd September 2011
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I just hatched my first EVER successful batch of BBS (just a practice run, to be sure I don't get caught out again with new babies and no food). It's all thanks to your tutorial, specifically the part about the right amount of salt to use!

I was using too much rock salt and killing all my shrimp, without realising what I was doing...

Thanks again - I feel so much less anxious about the babies now :-)

JessKB 05:07 17th October 2011
Thanks Yellowpebble! My baby axolotls are gorging on their first meal of bbs!

kiathepooch 13:21 17th October 2011
I'm might be brave and try this!!your explanation was brilliant!

ZombieAxolotl 01:16 21st October 2011
Awesome Tutorial!

yellowpebble 23:17 21st October 2011

Francesca 21:23 12th November 2011
Dear Rachel
Absolutely fantastic method, I have been having a bit of trouble sourcing live brimeshrimp for my babies, while I managed to get 3 bags yesterday, after a 4 hour journey out of the city...... I will definitely be following your instructions. Your always a source of great information.
Grateful Thanks
Francesca :-)

yellowpebble 05:59 6th December 2011
thank you so much

esn 06:34 6th December 2011
I'm expecting baby fish soon, so I looked at this. This makes the brine shrimp method so much clearer! I had no idea what to do from just worded instructions. Brilliant.

axolotl lvr 22:34 1st May 2012
Just wanted to say thank you I used ur technique today and Im super excited.. Your directions and pics totally helped so thanks!!@!!!!!

Tags:axolotl, babies, baby brine shrimp, brine shrimp, pictures, tutorial
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