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Suitable containers for keeping Triops by Stuart Halliday

One of the great things about raising Triops is the low cost of keeping them.
Whilst some people keep Triops in aquarium tanks with fish, Triops are great at keeping the substrate clean as Triops will eat just about anything.

Others know that you just need something which will hold at a minimum around 2 litres (0.5 gallons) of water per adult Triops.

Basic requirements

  • The container should not be toxic to the creatures.
  • The surface water area should be large enough to allow oxygen to dissolve into the water.
  • The volume of water should be large enough to allow the Triops to extract oxygen from the water.

Let's go through this list:

The container should not be toxic to the creatures.

    If you use a container made out of plastic then you should realise that some plastics are not suitable as they will leak toxic chemicals into the water over time.

    Suitable plastics like Polypropylene and Polyethylene are the two main plastics used to store food. There is usually a safely mark (a fork and spoon) on the bottom of the container to indicate it is safe for storing food.
    The great news, is that these type of containers are widely available from your local shop or supermarket very cheaply. Often for less than £2.00 (€2.86 $US3.75).

    If you think the plastic container may have contained soap, paint or chemicals in the past then don't use it. Plastic can absorb chemicals over time and will leak these back into water.

    Therefore a food storage or cooking container made of glass or safe plastic is ideal.

The surface water area should be large enough to allow oxygen to dissolve into the water.

    Triops like all aquatic creatures breath Oxygen which is dissolved in the water. The Oxygen gets into the water at the surface where water meets the air. So it is important to have a large surface area for maximum Oxygen intake.

    The good thing is that Triops don't need a lot of air, but like all creatures they will live longer and grow better if there is plenty of air for them to breath.

    A tall narrow neck container is not suitable as not enough air can dissolve quickly enough into the water.

    Therefore a wide necked container is ideal.

The volume of water should be large enough to allow the Triops to extract oxygen from the water.

    The amount of Oxygen water can hold varies with temperature. The colder the water, the more Oxygen it can hold.
    But the warmer it is, the less Oxygen it holds. But Triops require warm water (ideally 22°C) in which to live. So we need to supply enough volume of water for each Triops to breath and not to crowd it out.
    Obviously when a Triops is small it needs very little volume of water. But as it gets bigger it will need more.

    Of course like all creatures, Triops like to live in uncrowded conditions. Just as you would get stressed living in the same small room day after day, the same goes for Triops. Triops don't usually swim around the water, so ideally the larger the bottom area the container has the better it is for the Triops.

    A fully-grown adult Triops needs around 2-3 Litres of water in which to live. Ideally a single adult Triops needs at a minimum a bottom area of around 200cm².

Examples of Types of Containers
People have used plastic 5 litre still bottled water containers you can buy from your local shop and cut the top off.

People have used large glass jars that were used to hold jam or peanut butter.

Microwave or freezer food storage containers have all been used successfully. So your imagination is the real limit!

Next time you're in the supermarket, go down the kitchen ailse and check out their microwave food storage containers.

I find it fun to look around supermarkets for tanks in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Certainly makes food shopping more interesting!

Suggestion:
I find this Tesco foodsaver 4.5 litre food container is ideal for keeping a couple of adult Triops. This type of container is very cheap at £1.10 (€1.57 US$2.00), has a lid and meets all the requirements mentioned above.

I cut a small hole in the lid to allow air to get in as placing the lid on cuts down on the amount of water which will evaporate over time due to its large surface area.

Take a look at the container page by Corne van Rensburg in our gallery for more ideas.

Tanks supplied with Triops kits
The various small tanks that are supplied with Triops kits are ultimately unsuitable for keeping a single adult Triops in. They are usually too small to allow the grown Triops to live out its life in a unstressed enviroment and really don't hold enough Oxygen in their small tank to keep one Triops alive and well, let alone two or three!

Typical small kit tank shown. Adult Triops surface breathing.

If you find your Triops are always floating around the surface of the water on their backs, they probably are Oxygen deprived and they do this to get more air to breath. Though of course Triops that do this from time to time are probably just feeding on food particles on the surface.

Why do the companies sell the kits with a small tank I hear you ask?

Well they want to keep the cost of the kit down, a larger tank means a bigger cost to the customer.

Some people have said that if the Triops all die after a week due to dirty water, over crowding or lack of Oxygen in the water then you've had your products worth and you may go out and buy another kit to try again.

Also most kits don't like to mention that if your Triops live at least a week then they'll start producing eggs and you'll not need to buy another kit as you'll have plenty of new baby Triops once you've dried the old tank out! So is it really in their interest to supply a bigger tank?

 

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