brine shrimp

How Much Aquarium Salt Do You Need for Brine Shrimp?Awesome Salt Ratio Guide ?

6 min read

For anyone who wishes to grow brine shrimp, this is the first question that pops up: How much aquarium salt do you need for brine shrimp?


If you don’t know already, brine shrimps are tiny crustaceans of the genus Artemia. There are seven to nine species of Artemia, while Artemia salina is the commonly grown species as live fish food for aquariums. Some are even grown as pets (ever heard of Sea Monkeys?). 

These tiny organisms have a translucent filament-like body with a tail that helps it move. They mainly feed on microscopic algae.

In this article, we’ll look at the various reasons to grow brine shrimp, and the brine shrimp salt ratio required to farm these minuscule aquatic creatures.

Let’s get started!

Why Grow Live Brine Shrimp? 

Brine shrimp occurs naturally in saltwater lakes, while a few are found in oceans as well. They are impressively tough creatures, able to survive a variety of extreme conditions. Maybe that is why they have lived for over 100 million years.

Moreover, they are easy to grow. They produce hardy eggs called cysts, which can lay dormant for years, hatching when the conditions are just right.

And they grow fast. A single brine shrimp can produce about 75 eggs per day.  

All of that makes brine shrimp easy to produce and distribute commercially. In fact, each year about 2000 metric tons of dry brine shrimp eggs are marketed in the world.

Live brine shrimp can serve the following uses when it comes to aquariums.

They Can Be Used as Live Fish Food

If you are like most aquarium owners, you feed your fish dry food in the form of pellets or flakes. While most fish food products would claim to be nutritionally complete, feeding the same thing to your fish day in and day out is bound to result in some sort of nutritional deficiency.

That is why it is a good idea to mix it up with live fish food, and brine shrimp is an excellent choice. 

Besides being a hearty nutritious meal, live brine shrimp can also stimulate your fish. In the natural habitat, food doesn’t always fall from the sky – your fish has to hunt to fill its belly. Seeing a live wriggling creature will trigger the hunting instincts of your pet fish. Doing what it’s supposed to do in the wild will sate its natural instincts.

Moreover, it will be quite a spectacle to watch your fish scramble to hunt as many brine shrimps as possible. After all, aquariums are all about sitting back and enjoying the antics of your fish.

Brine shrimp nauplii – its larval stage – is the commonly used form of live fish food; however, you may use adults if you have large fish that require bigger food. Adults also possess more protein compared to nauplii.   

So all in all, live aquarium food can keep your fish healthy – both physically and mentally.  

They Can Be Used as Pets

Although this is not the first thing that comes to mind when you look at brine shrimp, some people keep them as pets.

There are many reasons why these ancient sea creatures are not suitable as pets. First off, they look like something out of a space alien horror flick. But then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Looking past appearance, they also require a high degree of salinity – they aren’t called brine shrimps for nothing. Most fish and aquatic plants cannot tolerate that level, so you would end up with a really monotonous fish tank.

That being said, a special breed of brine shrimp is popular as pets and is in fact sold as novelty gifts. They are called Sea Monkeys and consist of the species Artemia NYOS, which is an artificial hybrid of two Artemia species. They grow bigger and live longer than normal brine shrimp, making them suitable as pets – after all, who wants a pet that dies in three months?

image PetAquariums How Much Aquarium Salt Do You Need for Brine Shrimp?Awesome Salt Ratio Guide ?

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What is the Required Brine Shrimp Salt Ratio?

You must be aware by now that these crustaceans need salt water, but exactly how much aquarium salt do you need for brine shrimp?

Well, brine shrimp need at least 25 g/l of aquarium salt. That is equivalent to a salinity of 25%, ppt of 25, and ppm of 25 000.

That is the minimum requirement; the optimal level of salinity for brine shrimp is 30-35%.

If the brine shrimp has any say in it, they would ask for a salinity of above 60-80%. That is because higher salinity levels deter predators, so the brine shrimp is drawn to it, even if they don’t need it.

So how much salt per gallon for brine shrimp is needed? Since a gallon contains 3.79 liters of water, you will need 114g of salt if you want to keep things at optimal levels. 7-8 tablespoons should cover it – it is not necessary to measure the actual amount.

If you are in doubt, you can use a hydrometer to check the salinity level after you have added the salt.

As a matter of fact, brine shrimp can tolerate levels much lower than 25%. But just because they can tolerate it, doesn’t mean you should subject them to it, because it is not an ideal environment for them. You want your brine shrimp to be healthy and grow as fast as possible right? So be liberal with the salt.

If you are attempting to hatch brine shrimp eggs, you should use the same concentration of salt (about 2 tablespoons for 1 liter). Also, make sure you provide constant light for the eggs to hatch and provide oxygen through an aeration pump. The eggs should hatch in 24 hours.

Make sure you use aquarium-grade marine salt to achieve the required brine shrimp salt ratio for your tank. Avoid using table salt as they may contain iodine, which is toxic to brine shrimp.

What Salt Concentrations Can Brine Shrimp Withstand?

Now that we have seen the lower limit of salinity for brine shrimp, it is time to inquire about the upper limit.

Brine shrimp can withstand up to 250 g/l of salt concentrations, which is near the saturation level.

That shows these hardy creatures can withstand a slew of tough conditions. They can keep their internal osmotic pressure in check by absorbing and excreting dissolved salt as needed.

Therefore, you do not have to worry about too much salt harming your shrimp.

Final Thoughts…

I hope that answers your question: how much aquarium salt do you need for brine shrimp?

Although this aquatic creature can withstand a wide range of salinity levels, it is best to keep it at 30-35%. Adding more salt would not harm the shrimps, but it would be a waste.

If you are looking for a creature similar to brine shrimp that can survive in freshwater as well, you may want to take a look at fairy shrimp. These crustaceans can serve as excellent live fish food. Alternatively, you can have them as pets (they look no better than brine shrimp, however!).

That’s it. With the right brine shrimp salt ratio, you can grow these crustaceans with no trouble and feed them to your hungry fish. Thanks for reading.


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Pet Aquariums

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