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How to Hatch Brine Shrimp Eggs Without an Air Pump: 5 Easy Steps

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By Lindsey Stanton

brine shrimp artemia plankton

Instead of constantly buying new brine shrimp from your local pet supply shop to feed your fish with, some people choose to hatch their own brine shrimp. Finding high-quality brine shrimp eggs is easy, and technically speaking, hatching them is quite easy as well. Now, most people are going to tell you that you absolutely need an air pump in order to hatch brine shrimp eggs. The reason for this is that the eggs need to be constantly suspended in the water column, and they require lots of oxygen, both things that an air pump will provide.

However, what happens if your air pump breaks or you just don’t want to buy a new one? Can you still hatch brine shrimp without an air pump?

The answer here is yes, you can technically hatch brine shrimp without an air pump. You’ll just need a few specific tools or pieces of equipment, and a bit of ingenuity too. Let’s get to it and tackle this issue of hatching brine shrimp without an air pump.

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Can You Hatch Brine Shrimp Without an Air Pump?

For the most part, people will tell you that you absolutely need an air pump, even an air stone to hatch brine shrimp eggs. Now, this is of course the best way to go about it. Once again, brine shrimp eggs need to be suspended in the water column, they need to be in constant motion, and they need to have plenty of dissolved oxygen available to them.

These are all things that an air pump accomplishes. So, it is definitely fair to say that using an air pump to hatch baby brine shrimp is the number one method that results in the highest hatch rate. However, there is another way to hatch brine shrimp eggs, and it doesn’t involve using an air pump. You will need a few pieces of equipment, which we will list below, and you’ll need to follow the steps we will outline.

Keep in mind that this following method might seem a bit odd, but it does work, maybe not quite as well as with an air pump, but it does work.

fresh hatched brine shrimp
Image Credit: Dan Olsen, Shutterstock

How Do You Hatch Brine Shrimp Eggs at Home Without an Air Pump?

This particular method involves using baking soda, salt, water, some coffee filters, and a coffee mug heater (or something similar), in order to hatch brine shrimp eggs. Let’s get right to it and make a complete list of what you will need, followed by a step-by-step explanation of how to hatch your brine shrimp eggs without an air pump.

What You Will Need

Equipment Needed:
    • High-quality brine shrimp eggs are called for. Seeing as this process sees a lower hatch rate than if you were using an air pump, the quality of the eggs is all that much more important.
    • A glass mason jar that can fit at least two cups of water.
    • A glass bowl with a relatively flat bottom that the mason jar can sit in flatly.
    • A few cups of water to hatch the brine shrimp eggs in, as well as to heat up the mason jar.
    • Some baking soda—this helps to create an alkaline environment and will make the water denser, thus allowing the eggs to float more easily.
    • You will need one teaspoon of salt to turn the water into salt water, which brine shrimp require, plus salt also helps make the water denser, thus allowing the eggs to float easier.
    • The other main piece of equipment you will need is a small coffee mug heater. Something simple will do.
    • A coffee filter to harvest the brine shrimp once they are hatched.

The 5 Easy Steps to Hatch Brine Shrimp Eggs Without an Air Pump

Let’s go through the step-by-step process on how to hatch brine shrimp eggs without an air pump using the equipment listed above.

1. Preparation

First of all, take the mason jar and add about a cup of water to it. After you have added the water into the mason jar, add a full teaspoon of salt, as well as a pinch or two of baking soda.

2. Add Water

Put some water in the glass bowl, and then set the mason jar inside of that glass bowl.

brine shrimps in a tank
Image Credit: Napat, Shutterstock

3. Place in Mug

Take the water-filled bowl that contains the mason jar with your shrimp egg-hatching solution and place it on the coffee mug warmer (you should have one with either an adjustable temperature feature or one that heats the mug to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit).

At this point, you can add a spoonful of the brine shrimp eggs into the mason jar with the egg-hatching solution. You can also set up your lamp over the brine shrimp hatchery at this point. Turn the light on, as your brine shrimp need it to hatch.

4. Heat The Water

Turn the coffee mug heater on. Although the coffee mug heater is set to around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the bowl of water will disperse a fair amount of the heat, causing the mason jar with the brine shrimp egg hatching solution to be heated to roughly 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just right for this task.

The heat is required for brine shrimp hatching, but moreover, the heat creates movement in the water, which combined with the salt and baking soda for buoyancy, will allow for a good deal of water movement to keep those eggs suspended in the water column, as well as to aerate the water.Zacro LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer Fish Tank Water Terrarium Temperature

5. Wait

You need to wait about 24 hours for the brine shrimp to hatch. Once they hatch, you can then strain out the brine shrimp from the water using a simple coffee filter.

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Do Brine Shrimp Need Light to Hatch?

Brine shrimp eggs do need light to hatch, but it does not need to be a whole lot. Natural sunlight will work fine, but of course, it takes around 24 hours for these little guys to hatch, so you will need a light to continue the process during the night.

Why Aren’t My Brine Shrimp Eggs Hatching?

There are many reasons why your brine shrimp eggs might not be hatching. You could have low-quality eggs, which means that the operation is doomed to begin with. It could also be that the water is either too salty or not salty enough. It could be that you don’t have enough light. The water could be too warm or too cold. There could also not be enough aeration and water movement.

How Long Can Baby Brine Shrimp Live?

The baby brine shrimp will live for 2–3 days without any care or feeding, so every time you hatch a bunch of them, they need to be fed to your fish no more than 3 days after.

fresh hatched brine shrimp
Image Credit: Dan Olsen, Shutterstock

Can You Use Table Salt to Hatch Brine Shrimp?

Yes, normal table salt will work just fine to hatch baby brine shrimp, just as long as you use the right amount, which is about one teaspoon per cup of water.

Can Brine Shrimp Hatch in Cold Water?

The water needs to be at least 25 degrees Celsius or around 80 Fahrenheit in order for the brine shrimp to hatch. They will not hatch in cold water.

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As you can see, although using an air pump might be a bit easier and lead to higher hatch rates, hatching brine shrimp eggs without an air pump is possible. Just take your time and follow the steps outlined above.

Featured image credit: Napat, Shutterstock

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