Triops are plankton from prehistoric times and existed before dinosaurs! They look a bit like tadpoles with shields, hence they are also commonly known as ‘tadpole shrimp’ and ‘shield shrimp’. Most Triops are hermaphrodites, which means their eggs do not need to be fertilized and will still hatch into little baby Triops. The adults of the Triops Australiensis species can grow up to 7cm long, while other species like the Triops Cancriformis grow up to 11cm long and have a lifespan of about 90 days.
Species of Triops
There are many species of Triops. The most common species are: australiensis, Triops granarius, Triops cancriformis, Triops longicaudatus and Triops newberryi. They can be found in the wild in areas where bodies of water tend to evaporate and dry up for several weeks or months. Then, the rain pours from heaven to drench those areas and bring back new life—including hatching triops eggs that were laid before the drought.
Due to this natural process of hydrating and rehydrating (usually multiple times), the Triops usually require a few rounds of rehydrating when hatching them at home.
What do Triops eat?
Triops are omnivores; they eat anything including each other if there is no other food available. In their natural habitat, they feed on plant matter, algae, Daphnia and mosquito larvae. If you’re looking for a simple and easy way to feed them, we recommend any of our phytoplankton range. MicroMagic Live Phytoplankton is one of the best options available as it is in liquid form, ready to feed your Triops.
How to Hatch Triops Eggs
- Fill a shallow container with a minimum of 300ml of bottled spring water
- Add one teaspoon of almond leaves or dried leaf litter (from your yard will do) to the container.
- Empty the vile from Aquatic Live Food with the Triops eggs into the water container.
- Keep the hatching container in a warm place with bright light. The optimum temperature for hatching is above 23°C. When hatched, they can survive at temperatures between 23°C and 32°C
- The eggs should start to hatch in 24 to 48 hours under these correct conditions. Sometimes only one or two eggs will hatch; you’ll be very lucky to get half a dozen babies.
Feeding and Caring for Triops Babies
Note: Don’t feed the babies immediately. The leaf litter dissolves in the water and produces liquid food for the babies when they are first hatched. Adding solid food to the water will only pollute the water and can kill the babies.
- After 3 days add a small amount of food to the container. At this early stage, the best food source is MicroMagic Live Phytoplankton as it is very easy for them to consume.
- After a few hours, remove any uneaten food and other waste with a pipette.
- If the water in the container has not evaporated much, leave it alone. Otherwise, add in a few drops of clean spring water, but not too much. A sudden change in water conditions can also kill the babies.
- Feed the babies twice a day with a small amount of food
- Do the same for the next few days. Increase the amount of food if required. Clean up the uneaten food and waste. Add in some clean water.
- After one week, your Triops should be at least 5mm long and eating well.
- The water will start to get a little cloudy. Change about a third of the water every day.
Note: Remember, Triops are omnivores and it’s likely that you may only have one left in the container after a week, as they can eat each other! If you want to avoid this, you can separate them into different containers.
Moving Triops to a Larger Tank
After 8 days, they are ready to be moved to a larger tank. Simply wash some sand with spring water and put it on the bottom of the tank. Then, fill the tank to two-thirds full of spring water and float the hatching container of Triops on top of the tank of water for at least ten minutes to equalize the water temperatures.
Next, pour some of the water from the hatching container into the tank without tipping them out. Then, fill back the hatching container with some tank water. This is to acclimatize them to the water in the tank. Repeat pouring and filling the small container with tank water a few times. Finally, gently pour them into the bigger tank.
Let them settle in their new environment for a couple of hours before feeding them. In order to keep them healthy, continue to feed them twice a day, remove the waste on the bottom of the tank and do the daily water changes. You can feed your critters par-boiled vegetables, grated carrot, house flies, earthworms, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, daphnia, brine shrimp, or commercial fish food.
Key Points to Remember:
- Triops do not need fertilisation
- Triops are from the dinosaur age or earlier, so they need to be rehydrated multiple times before they hatch
- You can expect only a few of the multiple eggs we send you to hatch – this is normal
- Triops are omnivores and they can sometimes eat each other, so if you want to avoid this, place them in separate containers once hatched.
You can buy Triop Eggs here and choose between a range of different species.
You can buy Freshwater MicroMagic here