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What Do Brine Shrimp Eat? (Popular Items On Their Menu)

What do brine shrimp eat? Brine shrimp are the smallest crustaceans reported and they are capable of surviving in severe variations of water parameters. 

What do brine shrimp eat

More on “What do brine shrimp eat?” 

They are filter feeders. Brine shrimps forage for food while floating in the water bodies while wandering around. In their natural environments, they have little competition for food.

This is because they live in high salinity environments, such as the Great Salt Lake. These are unforgiving environments for most living things and hence the competition for food is less.

Being the filter feeders, brine shrimps heavily feast on a plant-based diet in the water. The feeding habit of brine shrimp includes ingesting the suspended plant particles in the sea.

The method of grabbing food is varying with their development stage. Their nauplii utilize their antennae to capture small bits of food. The adult brine shrimps have another appendage.

The appendage helps in capturing food particles which then transfer food to the mouth. If you intend on feeding newly hatched Brine Shrimp Nauplii then there’s no need to worry about feeding.

During their first 24 hours of life, Brine Shrimp have a rich egg yolk to sustain them and they don’t get food from outside.

Being the smallest shrimps, brine shrimps can’t eat bits of fruit or vegetables. Brine shrimps eat algae wafers, algae, phytoplankton, spirulina, and flakes.

Besides plant-related food, they eat other foods too. They eat yeast and egg yolk. Brine shrimps eat their eggs, baby brine shrimp, and they are young. Therefore, it is advised to feed them properly, when you raise them in captivity to avoid cannibalism.

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In captivity, they are fed rich foods like egg yolks, powdered spirulina algae, soybean powder, and yeast.

In fact, brine shrimps will eat just about anything offered to them if it is small enough. Since their natural food source is microscopic, they require food that consists of extremely fine particles.

What do brine shrimp like to eat the most?

Although they will eat whatever you provide, they prefer some foods. Newly-available enrichment formulas such as Selcon are highly recommended.

Other than that, you can feed the shrimp fish meal, egg yolk, whey, soybean powder, or wheat flour. Dried algae such as spirulina is another popular food among brine shrimp. 

What do brine shrimp eat

How often do brine shrimp eat?

Brine Shrimp of all ages are filter feeders and should be able to eat 24/7!. However, according to the experienced aquarists, it is enough to feed them twice a day.

Whenever you feed, feed them a small amount and wait until they consume all the food (two to fifteen minutes will be enough). Since the food particles are too small, it makes a cloud in the water. Wait until that cloud fades away and then feed them again.

Remember, the food amount they need at one feeding time and feed them with the same amount in the coming days. You may need to adjust the amount with their age.

Some aquarists experienced that, small amounts several times a day also work.

However, ensure you do not overfeed them as it destroys the water quality. It negatively affects the growth of the Brine shrimp and also quick die-off of the brine shrimp.

Further, try to feed live meal portion for every 3rd or 4th meal which is good for their health. 

How many days can brine shrimp go without food?

Brine shrimp can survive up to 3 days without food.

Do brine shrimp prefer light or dark?

Usually, brine shrimps like light and are attracted to light.  Especially, newly-hatched brine shrimp, or nauplii, are strongly attracted to white light or sunlight.

Adult brine shrimp may show different behaviors than the nauplii and may be either attracted to white light or sunlight or repelled by it. If you put a bright light near the aquarium, you can see they gather near the light source.

According to the experts, they spend much of their energy in an effort to remain near the light source. This will affect their health condition negatively and lowers their quality as a feed to other fish. 

Therefore, it is better to keep a light source with a low light level if you need to install a light source for them. Probably, A 60- to 100-watt light will suffice for them under normal conditions. 

In the wild,  they stay near the surface of the water with their appendages pointed upward, because the sun is a natural light source. There are two reasons for this behavior. 

One reason is that they are attracted to white light (sunlight) because their main food source in the wild, phytoplankton, lives near places that can get sunlight easily.

Therefore, if brine shrimp are attracted to those places, they can get food easily. The other reason is to get rid of their predators.

What about smaller once

Juvenile brine shrimp are particularly attracted to other light colors such as blue and green light too. This is because when sunlight travels through water, red and yellow light is absorbed, leaving only blue and green to be transmitted.

Like many water creatures, brine shrimp have evolved to be most sensitive to blue light, the color of light that’s best transmitted in water.

In addition, they need a light source during the hatching. The hatching process needs a higher light level than usual.

The aquarists suggest 2000 lux constant illumination better for the brine shrimps during hatching. However, Some brine shrimp have been known to hatch in the dark, but these exceptions are not fully understood and do not represent successful hatches.

Adding an artificial light source to brine shrimp increases hatches by 50% or more.

What do brine shrimp eat

How long will my brine shrimp live?

The average lifespan is between 1-2 years. However, like many aquarium fish, the lifespan of your Brine Shrimp depends largely on how well you take care of them.

If you can keep the water parameters, feed, and other requirements at their optimum level, you can keep them along their life span without a problem. 

How do you keep brine shrimp alive as pets?

Brine shrimp are also a fun creature for children to raise. Brine shrimp can be bought in most pet stores, or you can simply raise them at home.

You can start it by adding a packet of dehydrated brine shrimp cysts to your tank. The cysts should hatch within 15 to 20 hours into free-swimming brine shrimp.

Once the shrimp cysts hatch, the shrimp will grow and begin breeding rapidly. They don’t demand many things and are hardy species.

Although they can adjust to the current environmental conditions, it is good to keep the tank clean, monitor the water parameters, and feed the shrimp as detailed above to have healthy brine shrimps. 

Credit to : Shad Bonen

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.