Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - Hatching
What is 'detritus'?
This is the name used in biology for organic waste material from decomposing dead plants. Typically dried up leafs, etc.
What is detritus used for?
When Triops hatch out they require very small food to eat, the detritus
contains micro-organisms called infusoria which hatch out when added to
water. The Triops larva feed off this to survive the first 3 days. Later they need to eat bigger food that you provide, like the brown and green pellets provided by some kits. The detritus also breaks down in the water and provides minerals for Triops to grow.
What is this water conditioner bag I've got?
Some Triops kits supply a 'tea bag' like package of detritus (small pieces of plant matter). It's only there to provide food to hatch out the young Triops. The detritus contains the eggs of infusoria which hatch out and the young tiny Triops feed off these microscopic animals. The detritus also breaks down and provides minerals for Triops to grow. Once your Triops are more than 4 days old you can remove it if you wish. But don't throw it away. Let it dry out in a warm spot and you can reuse it if you plan to hatch out further Triops at a later date.
So after 3 days I can remove the bits of detritus?
Yes. Some Triops kits come with the detritus contained in bags, so you can
simply dry it out and use it again. Loose detritus can be thrown away. If you ever need more simply collect a small dried leaf from outside (pick one with no bird droppings) and tear it up into small pieces. Do not use a fresh green leaf.
What is infusoria?
This is the correct name for the micro-organisms which grow out of the detritus and is eaten by the Triops.
Why do they really need constant light in the first 72 hours?
One, the eggs are triggered to hatch out if they get wet and have a strong light source on them.
No light, no hatching.
Two, when the infusoria hatches out from the detritus they gather towards the light source.
This is usually the water surface in nature. So we need a light above the water.
When the Triops hatch out, they move towards the surface and can therefore eat the infusoria which they expect to find there.
If the Triops don't get enough to eat in the first 3 days, they very quickly starve to death.
A simple Mains table lamp with a 40W-60W bulb a few inches above the water is all that is required.
My Triops Kit say don't add anything into the tank. Why?
They say this so that you'll have more success in hatching out the Triops.
Triops like water with low mineral content in order to trigger them to hatch out. By adding things to the water like sand, plants, ornaments then you could possibly reintroduce minerals or chemicals to the water which will
cause the Triops eggs not to hatch.
You'll find using a substrate like coral sand that has been very well rinsed in a bucket is fine.
Just ensure you never use soap or any detergent in any of the tank
items. You'll kill the Triops.
None of my Triops hatched out. Why?
This is always one of the following reasons.
a) You didn't provide pure enough water. Triops eggs need very pure water to trigger them into hatching.
Bottled water can have too much minerals in it. Look for the 'Dry Residue' amount on the label. If it is more than 90mg, get a purer source of water. Distilled or de-ionised water used for cars or irons is perfect.
b) You didn't have a source of light above the water on constantly for the first 72 hours then they will not hatch. The Triops eggs need light to trigger them into hatching.
c) You didn't have the water temperature at around 22°C (±5, If it is too hot or too cold, then the Triops eggs will not hatch.
Some of my Triops hatch out and within a day or so they all died! Why?
This is usually due to the following reason.
You may have used too much water. The more water you have in the tank, the more the infusoria is diluted and so the tiny Triops have difficulty finding enough to eat in the crucial first 72 hours. So they simply die from lack of food.
I recommend that you only have about 5cm (2") of water column. In a standard Triops 1 litre kit this is usually about half full.
You can add the rest of the water once they're over 3 days old.
Why didn't they all hatch out?
Triops are very clever, their eggs are designed not to all hatch out at once.
This saves them all from dying if for example the pool gets filled by just a passing shower and would only last a week or less. If they had all hatched out, they'd all die. Some eggs will not hatch out in the pool until they receive a second dose of rain water. So by staggering their hatching rate in this way they maximise their survival.
One reason why Triops have survived over 200 Million years!
See Eggs and Babies article for more detail.
Why do I need to use pure water?
See the question 'None of my Triops hatched out'
You don't need pure water but you will get more Triops hatching
if you do.
Triops in the wild come from temporary pools of rain water, so they have
developed a special survival technique.
A pool of rain water may dry out at any time, so to ensure that Triops hatch out
in optimal conditions, the egg senses the amount of minerals dissolved in the water. The less
minerals the fresher the water must be. A large pool of water will also
stay fresher for longer than a small puddle for example.
See the Triops egg page for more
What triggers the eggs to hatch out?
There is a more indepth article on the survival tricks the eggs have developed over millions of years.
See See 'Eggs and babies'.
But to summarise, if the eggs hatched out all at once then if there was a problem (hot spell, predator, etc.)
then the whole population would die out.
So only a few do at once.
The first main trigger is the egg needs light on them to ensure the new born Triops can swim to safety and
is not say buried under mud!
Second main trigger is that the egg needs to be wet, but not just any old 'wet' water. The egg detects the amount of dissolved
minerals in the water. Fresh rain water is usually pretty pure, this indicates to the egg that the rains
have just come and the temporary pool will hopefully last for the few weeks the Triops needs to grow to
adulthood and lay more eggs. Water with minerals in it usually indicates that the pool has been around for
a while and so could dry up soon.
This is why people often discover a few weeks into raising Triops and performing
water changes that new Triops come along! These eggs think fresh rain have come!
The amazing thing is that each egg is different, they all appear to have varying degrees of triggering points.
Some will not hatch out the first time around but will maybe the 2nd or 3rd time it's wetted.
Other trigger points are that the egg needs the water to be warm enough. Too cold and it's not going to be able to grow fast enough.
Also some eggs need to be dried out for a while. This ensures it will hatch out the next time it rains. This may be in a few weeks or even a few years!
Triops eggs can keep for up to 10 years!
I've hatched out my Triops. What are these other critters amongst them!
Most commercial kits get their eggs from Triops.com in America and they bred Triops out of doors in ponds. So the eggs collected often have other pond creature eggs.
Think of it as a bonus!
See a Pond Life web site to try to identify them.