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Step 1: Hatching
Ok, first I'll assume you've got a bag or small container of Triops eggs and what looks like pieces of dark brown dry plant matter (we call this the 'detritus') either mixed in with the eggs or as a separate 'teabag'.
- Triops eggs.
- Detritus (small brown dry plant pieces).
- Triops food.
- A small tank of some kind big enough to hold at least three litres of water.
- small tank heater.
- One litre of distilled (de-ionised) water. You get this at any supermarket.
- A small thermometer.
- A small stick or straw to help you stir the water.
- A piece of black cardboard big enough to cover one side of the outside of the tank.
Take the water and pour a little into the tank leaving an air gap in the bottle. Re-seal the bottle and violently shake the bottle for at least five minutes. This ensures there is oxygen dissolved in the water.
Pour enough water into your tank to ensure there is around 5cm of water depth. No more.
Triops don't need a lot of water to start life off in. 0.5 litre is fine.
Place thermometer into the water so you can read it from the outside of the tank.
Position the lamp so that it shines down from above onto the surface of the water. But keep the bulb at least 15cm away from the surface.
Switch on the lamp and allow the water to heat to 20-25C. If it goes over 30C then you'll kill the Triops.
Open your Triops eggs and pour them into the tank slowly. Note: some kits advise to only pour in half the amount. If yours is such a kit then first shake the bag thoroughly for a minute, then add half the contents.
Take your stirring stick and ensure that the detritus doesn't stick to the sides of the tank. I advise lots of small circular stirring motions around the edge of the tank. Look carefully to see if any Triops eggs are sticking to the sides. These are tiny pink spheres. Ensure they get into the water.
Come back to the tank every half hour for the first two hours and repeat this stirring motion to ensure the detritus gets really wet and any eggs are not left stuck to the walls of the tank.
Leave the lamp on for 24 hours for at least the first three or four days.
Ensure that you leave the top of the tank with access to the air. Oxygen needs to get into the water.
Within 48 hours or less you'll see tiny creatures swimming in the water.
Identifying The Creatures
Very often the suppliers of the kit will include other creatures with your Triops. For example water fleas, cyclops and fairy shrimp. These are harmless and will eventually be food for the Triops.
To aid you in identifying your creatures, take the piece of black card and put it around the outside back of the tank. Larvae Triops are very small and white in colour. They tend to perform a repeating action of swim upwards for a few seconds, then resting. See this gallery for video clips of hatched Triops.
On no account feed your Triops before the third day after hatching. Then use only the smallest amount, baby Triops are very small and need even less food to fill their stomachs!
You should have been given a sachet of baby Triops food, basically very fine tropical fish fry food. However some kits supply black and green pellets. If so you'll need to take 2 pellets and ground them down between 2 spoons and then throw half away. Do this each day.
Baby Triops don't need much. If you over feed at this stage you'll kill them within a few days.
By the fourth or fifth day you see the Triops getting bigger each morning. If you see any creatures you think are Triops but don't seem to be growing then these are probably cyclops. They look similar but will not grow any larger.
If you've got this far and have lots of Triops swimming around your tank!
You'll need to start feeding them a touch more food as they'll get bigger every day.
You'll need to start adding some more water. You can't keep using distilled water as it's too pure and continued use will kill the newly hatched Triops. Tap water can be used if there is no Chlorine or Copper in the water. Just ensure that when you add it, that it is at the same temperature as the tank water. Otherwise you'll kill them.
Only add about 25% of the tanks volume a day to get them slowly adjusted to the tap water. Some people use cheap bottled water. I suggest picking the one with the lowest 'dry residue' rating on its label.
By the end of the second week you'll need around 1 litre of water for each Triops to live in.
To make your Triops at home they need a covering of sand on the tank floor, this is called the 'substrate'. I suggest Coral Sand as it is of the right grain size for them. They love to dig and so providing a covering on the floor of the tank will allow them to do what comes naturally.
Remember - overfeeding is the number one killer of tank reared Triops. Do not feed more than they can consume in an hour. If there is still food on the substrate, either remove it before it rots or skip feeding until it is eaten.
The water will start to go a kind of cloudly white. This is bacteria and waste building up in the water.
- If there appears to be fluffy white clumps (bacteria) in the substrate, try and remove it. I suggest a cheap plastic Turkey Baster to do this. You can get one of these at most stores.
- If it is starting to go green, cut back on the amount of light and food. You've got Algae growing in your tank and its eating the leftover food! 12 hours of light is enough once 6 days has gone by since they've hatched. Please note, if you're heating the Triops with the lamp then don't let the temperature drop below 18C as you'll kill them. You may have to leave the lamp on.
You will need to start performing water changes once the water seems to cloud and this is where people accidentally start killing their Triops.
Do not under any circumstances perform more than a 25% water change in a day. The stress of doing more than this will kill your Triops in a few hours.
Ensure the water is of the same type and temperature of the tank water before you add it. Temperature shock can kill.
If your Triops are in a small tank supplied by a kit. Then realise that this tank isn't suitable to keep one full sized adult Triops alive let alone 3 or more!
I suggest a 3.5 litre container for a single Triops. A cheap 'microwave' type food 3.5 litre container is ideal. Remember the height of your tank isn't important as most Triops don't usually do a lot of swimming upwards. A tank height of 8cm is a minimum though.Last but not least tip: Don't spray any air fresheners or fly killers in the same room as the tank. These toxic chemicals will get into the water and kill your Triops