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FAQs on Freshwater Crustaceans: Triops; Tadpole Shrimp

Related  Articles: Forget Crawfish Pie, Let's Make a Crawfish Tank! By Gage Harford, Freshwater to Brackish Crabs by Bob Fenner, Terrestrial Hermit CrabsInvertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks,

Related FAQs:  FW Crustaceans 1FW Crustaceans 2, FW Crustaceans 3, & & FAQs on: FW Crustacean Identification, FW Crustacean Behavior, FW Crustacean Compatibility, FW Crustacean Selection, FW Crustacean Systems, FW Crustacean Feeding, FW Crustacean Disease, FW Crustacean Reproduction & Small Freshwater Crustaceans Groups, by Genus: Triops, the Amphipods Which Are Gammarus (Scuds), Daphnia (Water Fleas), Cyclops, & Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction, Freshwater Shrimp, FW Crabs, Terrestrial Hermit Crabs, & Marine Hermit ID, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health, & Crayfish FAQs, Crayfish 2, Crayfish ID, Crayfish Behavior, Crayfish Compatibility, Crayfish Selection, Crayfish Systems, Crayfish Feeding, Crayfish Disease, Crayfish Reproduction,


Tadpole shrimp troubles       12/21/15
I have a 5 gallon tank with blue pearl shrimp, an assassin snail and a pair of Oto catfish. Got half a dozen tadpole shrimp a few weeks ago, and now they keep disappearing. The water is soft and pH 6.7. Is this a problem with water, or could it be the assassin snail?
<Tadpole Shrimp, Triops spp., are incompatible with tropical fish. Keep them in their own aquarium filled with rainwater or aged tap water as recommended by the supplier, clean lime-free sand, and using specific Triops food or Spirulina flake food. Don't heat the water (room temperature is fine, and not too warm, so out of direct sunlight). At best, fish steal food and peck at their sensitive gills, stressing the Tadpole Shrimp; at worst they simply eat them. Do bear in mind Triops have evolved to live in temporary pools where there aren't any fish or for that matter carnivorous snails. They'd never meet in the wild. Cheers, Neale.>

Shield shrimp keep dying! Triops care  6/18/2013
Hi WetWebMedia
I have a 40L moss/shrimp/snail tank with java, Christmas moss, Japanese moss balls + bee, ghost, Amano, cherry, flower, Sunkist shrimp, apple, red Ramshorn snail. Recently my fish store got some exotic shrimp such as Sulawesi and shield shrimp in stock. I picked up 5 shield shrimp, unique looking shrimp around 1-1.5" in size, $3 a piece. Look a bit like mini versions of the horseshoe crabs you find on the coast. After 3 days, they started attacking the smaller cherry shrimp and continued to do so, a few were killed and eaten. As time went by they started nipping larger shrimp like the ghosts, Amanos and flower too. Then, 3 weeks later, they were all dead, a few days apart, and were being eaten by the other shrimp in the tank.
Did the other shrimp kill them as retaliation for their attacks? Or did they die because of water conditions or neglectful care? I thought they were really fun to watch and there are still a few in stock so I might buy more. How can I better care for them next time? How can I reduce aggression between the shield shrimp and other species?
Yours truly
<Hi Jay. The short answer is Triops (which is what you have) should not be kept with anything else. For a start, they need extremely soft water, preferably rainwater or RO water for the eggs and hatchlings, and even the adults are a bit picky about things like copper and chlorine. Secondly, as adults they only live a few weeks. I'm surprised a pet store is selling them as adults -- they're definitely a short-term purchase! You normally buy them as eggs, hatch them, grow them to adults using the supplied food plus other things (including fish flake and bloodworms), and then let the adults lay their eggs after which point they usually die. Dry out the sand for a few weeks, then add more water, and hey presto, more baby Triops. Finally, they're very predatory (actually, they eat pretty much anything they can catch or shovel into their mouths). Definitely cool animals. But not animals for community systems given their specific needs, feeding habits, and tendency to die within a few weeks of reaching a big enough size to keep with tropical fish. There are LOTS AND LOTS of websites dedicated to Triops, all say pretty much the same thing, so have fun reading! Cheers, Neale.>

Triops Water Problem 10/13/08
Thanks for answering a previous set of questions about raising Triops.
<Most welcome.>
Unfortunately I'm still having problems despite trying to do everything right. Here's what I have now:
Triops australiensis eggs hatched in 3 liter tank in distilled water with small pinch of bicarbonate of soda per Billabong Bugs instructions.
11 hatchlings, now 9 days old. Feeding TetraMin flakes and carrot.
Hatching tank is floating in larger 20 liter aquarium with heater and subgravel filter. Temperature is 25C for both. Hatching tank has a simple air line producing a small bubble every few seconds. Sand substrate came with Billabong kit.
All seems well there, so far. pH 7.5, GH 3, KH 1, no detectable ammonia yet. Some cloudiness. Rapid growth, they are now 6-8 mm long and growing fast. I have been doing partial water changes < 10% daily with the larger tank water. They will need to move soon to larger quarters.
<Sounds like it!>
Larger aquarium is fully cycled using fishless method. Ammonia tests at zero ppm. Nitrite tests at zero ppm. GH 6. KH 3. pH 7.5. If I add 5 drops of household ammonia, the ammonia and nitrite will drop to zero again within a day. Added one half a drop of Kent iodine a week ago. 50% water was changed after cycling to reduce nitrates -- plants have been growing for a month.
<All sounds fine.>
The aquarium is planted with Cryptocorynes which are doing well -- divided 2 original pots into 13 small to medium plants. Aquarium is in north facing window. No algae growing, probably because plants are using up excess nitrates. Plants have produced new leaves. Some pet store Cyclops and tiny snails came in accidentally with the plants. I kill the snails by crushing when seen. I figure the Cyclops will end up food when the Triops are added to the large tank.
<Likely yes, the Triops will eat any small animals they can catch.>
The problem: I added 3 Triops to the large tank today and all gradually became distressed. Two immediately started continual looping behavior.
One fed well for a day, then seemed to have problems --possibly a molting problem. One looper died overnight. The molter is still alive but struggling.
<May be stressed by the water chemistry change. Personally, would avoid adding anything (e.g., Iodine) unless expressly told to do so by the manufacturer. These animals live naturally in low mineral content waters and are presumably adapted to such. In any case, humbly suggest hatching them in one tank and then rearing them in another is not the way forward. Would rather hatch in the big tank with minimal water level, and then gradually add more distilled water (as if it were rainfall) a cm or so every couple of days.>
The water in the two tanks was exactly the same temperature when transferred. No net was used, they were simply gently poured in. The hatching tank had been gradually exchanging water with the main tank through water changes. The specs don't seem that different, and they should be acclimated pretty well.
<You'd have thought... but apparently not.>
I just don't understand what is going on. Possibly a dissolved metals problem? Wouldn't that affect the other thriving invertebrates (snails and Cyclops). Or is it a hardness problem? Should there be calcium in the water. If so, then why are the Triops in the softer (nearly distilled) water doing well so far?
<Triops live in very specific habitats, and it's essential you stick precisely to the "Recipe" the manufacturer of the Triops eggs provided. As nice as it might be to see them swimming about a planted tank, that may not be viable. You could try and hatch some eggs in a soft water planted aquarium, but hatching them in distilled water and then moving the babies to a soft water aquarium might not work. I'm speculating here of course, and I don't believe any of us here are Triops experts. I kept the European Triops cancriformis for a while and only managed to rear a single specimen to adulthood. Would heartily suggest joining one of the many Triops forums or Yahoo Groups where you'd be able to talk to actual experts.>
My tap water tests pH 6.5, GH 6, KH 3, no ammonia, no nitrite, no chlorine (it is natural artesian spring water). Could be some manganese and iron as there are some small rust stains on bathroom bowl porcelain.
I have to figure this out, because they can't stay in the 3 liter tank much longer -- the growth rate is too rapid, it's just too small. Any suggestions? Change 50% of the main tank water with distilled?
<Hatch, rear the Triops in a single container with consistent water quality. Add a sponge filter only once mature enough not to be sucked up. That, I'm afraid, seems to be the recipe that works most reliably.>
Thanks for your help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Triops, water quality, and cycling  9/21/08
What a wonderful website and resource.
<Thanks for saying so.>
After many years away from the hobby (like 40), I decided to get back in in a small way -- I got a Triassic Triops kit and started a batch of 20 eggs in a larger tank (3 liter) than the one supplied with the kit (1 liter). I used distilled water, and followed the instructions, adding the detritus "teabag" and watching the 3 Triops that hatched grow rapidly.
The teabag really was a very effective dried infusoria culture, as I was able to spot paramecium with a high powered magnifying glass within 24 hours of putting the bag in the tank.
<Not heard of this method before, but sounds great!>
I kept temps between 20 and 24 C without a desk light (as suggested in the instructions), but in a windowsill -- I liked the idea of a natural day/night cycle for light levels and temperature swings. Algae wouldn't be a problem as it's edible to Triops, and their stay in the hatching tank was only going to be a week.
<All agreed; these animals be definition are adapted to clear, shallow water where temperature varies rapidly and algae grows profusely.>
When they were about a cm long, I moved them to a 5 gallon aquarium I had set up a month before with quartz gravel, and a plant I got from a small pond I dug in my yard. The plant looked a lot like watercress (the pond is spring fed and volunteered water plantain and duck potato the first year, along with a great variety of other plants).
I had also added temporarily some Blacknose Dace from a stream on my property. They stayed in the newly set up aquarium for about a week before being returned to their collection point a little fatter than they started. At this time I knew nothing of cycling an aquarium, but accidentally had initiated it, I think. The aquarium had no filter and no heater.
<Do always take care returning pet fish to the wild; there are restrictions on doing so in many places because of the (very real) risk of carrying diseases and parasites into the wild. Much damage has already been done in equivalent ways through fish and freshwater invertebrates escaping/being released from fish farms and ponds. If in doubt, destroy captive fish rather than release them to the wild.>
After a month, algae had formed on the tank walls in a thin coat and partially died back, and had also formed on the plant, which wasn't looking as healthy for it. I checked the water pH and it was near 8, which surprised me as the tap water (from a natural spring) is 7 and soft. And I didn't think quartz gravel would alter the pH.
<It shouldn't.>
Although Triops are supposed to prefer some alkalinity, I decided to change out 70% of the water and bring it down to 7.5.
<With invertebrates it's almost always best to make small water chemistry changes where possible. If anything, I'd be recommending 10-20% water changes per week here, and leaving the Triops to adapt (as they should) to any minor variations in between.>
I didn't know about ammonia or nitrite testing at this time and only checked pH.
<Elevated pH can come from ammonia, so that's definitely an issue.>
I then acclimated the Triops to the new water over a few days by doing partial water changes in the hatching tank, adding the larger tank water. I didn't want to shock them going from near distilled water to normal tank water in one jump.
<OK; in general though these animals do seem to prefer soft, neutral to slightly acidic water similar to that in an ephemeral pond.>
Finally the Triops were added to the larger tank, and happily attacked the algae, detritus and some Cyclops seen swimming there. The Triops really took off and doubled their size in a couple of days, I started adding regular TetraMin flakes (maybe 4 or 5 at a time, crunched up) once a day. Then disaster struck. The largest Triops started swimming poorly and died within 24 hours. Then another died overnight. The smallest finally also died -- all within 48 hours. None had reached egg laying maturity, though the largest was about 2 cm and probably would have been shortly.
<What's filtering this tank? My guess is you're adding a lot of food, and without some means of filtration the ammonia itself could cause problems. An air-powered sponge filter is ideal.>
So, I started reading, and found this site. As a guess maybe the tank had cycled, but there was a bacteria bloom and die off since no fish had been maintained in the tank after the initial group. I think there was also partial algae die off, and the plants weren't looking as good. pH rose because of the several die backs?
<Maybe; all comes under the heading of "unstable, immature aquarium conditions".>
Also, because of no filtration, no aeration, and introduction of rapid waste making machines (Triops) eating everything and shedding every day, I think the system couldn't respond quickly enough -- maybe there was enough oxygen for the Triops, but not the ammonia and nitrite bacteria to act?
<Well, like anything else, Triops need a balanced tank.>
Also maybe the Triops needed iodine for shedding? And there were two occasions where tank water went to 18C overnight so temperature may also have played a part. I've also considered that the tank harbored toxic (inedible) algae, pathogens, or something else introduced from the wild plants and fish.
Well anyway, I am trying again. Tank and gravel were bleached, and run under a continuous flow of spring water outside for 2 days in case of former introduced pathogens. Tank chlorine was then checked at zero.
<Do cycle the tank this time round using a filter.>
I've bought an under gravel filter with bubbler, pump, 50 watt heater. Also, Kent Iodine. I will add one drop to full tank when finished. This time I am also fishless cycling the 5 gallon tank with household, unscented, ammonia. I now also have the various N compound test kits for that.
Question: other sites have said to cycle with tank water at 3-4 ppm tested ammonia content. And on this site in cycling FAQs you suggest 1 ppm.
<Anything above even 0.5 ppm is redundant; if you think about what's going on, you'll understand. The ammonia you detect is the ammonia the bacteria aren't using. So provided you detect ammonia at all, that means the bacteria have taken all the ammonia they can use at that moment.>
What is confusing is that my test kit translates (with a chart) the ammonium ppm to free ammonia ppm using the pH value. So my question is, is the suggested 1 (or 3-4) ppm figure the total ammonium figure, or is it the free ammonia figure?
<Don't worry about it. Here's your goal: minimise the ammonia reading as far as practical, and don't consider the tank cycled until the ammonia returns to zero.>
At pH 7.5 I'd have to add a LOT more household ammonia to reach even 1 free ammonia ppm than I would for total ammonium. In fact, so much that I believe my test kit can't measure it on its limited scale.
<Don't do it this way. Just cycle the tank by adding either enough ammonia to maintain 0.5-1 ppm ammonia, or else add little pinches of flake food every couple of days. Every 2-3 days measure the ammonia. Provided it goes up and then back down to zero, you're fine.>
I've assumed you meant total ammonium, and brought that figure to 1 ppm -- figuring I can always raise it if you say that was wrong.
I've also bought to Cryptocoryne species from the LFS in hopes they will work well with the Triops tank, and assist with bacterial inoculation. I haven't removed the mineral wool from the roots -- should I? If so should I leave it in the tank anyway for awhile?
<The plants will only marginally help mature the tank, but they will have other positive benefits over time.>
If this time I'm successful with a Triops Longicaudatus generation, I hope to try Triops Australiensis, next.
<All good fun.>
Can you shed any light on the probably water quality requirements for this last type? If possible in terms of, GH, KH, pH, (maybe mg, too) and also temperature? I mean for the adults.
<The best site for Triops info is probably:
It's run by a scientist who sells them on the side of his work.>
The young, I know need high osmotic pressure, and high water purity, and 25 C temps, but I'm sure water quality changes in the sinkholes and clay pans they are found in as time progresses. Any info on any of this?
<Juveniles certainly won't hatch until they experience the equivalent of a shower of rain forming a puddle. But beyond that, not much is known about optimal conditions. It's trial and error, really. Numerous forums and Yahoo groups for these animals, so would recommend joining/communicating with other hobbyists.>
Thanks for putting up with this long letter, about what my LFS laughingly referred to as glorified sea monkeys -- just after I picked up the ammonia test kit. I suppose I should have owned a discus.
<Much more fun than Discus; have kept, reared these animals, though admittedly only got one to maturity. Because the eggs are cheap, half the fun is to keep trying different methods until you find a system that works for you!>
Best Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Triops and Their Nutritional Value? Hi! I have a tank with 2 dwarf puffers and a dojo loach. I like to feed the dwarfs live food whenever I can. They like those pesky little pond snails a lot! I've also fed them bloodworms, live mosquitoes and am thinking of trying clams and squid and such after reading some of the WWM FAQs (which are super helpful, btw!) I was wondering if Triops had any nutritional value for fish like puffers, or for any carnivorous-type fish? They seem like they might, but a ton of searching on Google and such has not given me any good information about what they may do for fish. (I now know that they are a scourge of rice paddies and live in my neck of the woods, El Paso, up at Hueco Tanks park!) All interesting, but not what I wanted to know! Do any of you have any ideas about Triops as a food source? On a sort of related question, can dwarf puffers eat daphnia, or is it too small? Is Gammarus too big? >> Triops are a great food supplement for puffers, as are Gammarus, and all types of other shrimp. The daphnia you will simply have to try out. I would think that your puffers will love chasing them down. Many large fish like eating small live foods. Good Luck, Oliver

Question regarding Triops in a planted tank  1/29/07 Hi Crew, <Emma> Just recently I discovered the absolutely bizarre but strangely adorable Triops <http://www.triops.com/what.htm> and I would love to keep them in one of my planted tanks. All the information I have found on them seems to be rather scant or contradictory - some sources say they will eat all your plants, some don't even mention it. I have also heard that they love to dig - which could be a problem as I have a topsoil underlay. <Mmm, will dig a little... do eat soft parts of many types of plants> Also many gallons does a fully grown Triops need? I'm talking about the smaller (2 - 4 inches, I believe) American variety. <Please see the link above> Is it possible to keep them with goldfish, or will they harm them? <The larval forms will likely be consumed by the goldfish> Thank you for all your help, Emma <Bob Fenner>

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