If you have sea monkeys, you’ve probably had friends and family who want to share the joy of having a tank of these tiny creatures. Once you have a healthy tank of these active shrimp, it is really simple to breed enough to share with everyone.
Sea monkeys breed readily if four tank conditions are met; sufficient oxygen, correct salinity, warm temperature, and adequate food. Sea monkeys will begin to reproduce from around five weeks of age. They can reproduce sexually by mating or asexually as females can produce young without a male.
Once you have a few sea monkeys, breeding a lifetime supply is entirely possible if you know how to look after them. Let’s find out how to keep your tank stocked with an ample supply of baby sea monkeys.
Sea Monkey Breeding Guide
Unlike many other animals, there is no specific breeding season for sea monkeys. They will breed readily at any time of the year if suitable conditions in the tank are maintained.
Sea monkeys are a special hybrid breed of brine shrimp not found in nature. They were specifically developed for the novelty pet market and have been popular since the 1960s.
These tiny creatures, known as Artemia NYOS, are incredibly hardy. In 1998 sea monkey eggs were even taken into space on a NASA mission, returned to earth, and successfully hatched!
To encourage adult sea monkeys to mate and reproduce vigorously, it is essential to maintain the water in the tank at a consistently high temperature. A water temperature of 70 – 80F is perfect.
Aquarium thermometers are inexpensive and available at most pet supply stores. It is worthwhile for anyone who wants to breed sea monkeys to regulate the water’s temperature carefully.
Never place sea monkey tanks in areas where they will receive direct sun. The sun’s warm rays can result in a sudden rise in water temperature that could be fatal for the tiny crustaceans.
A limiting factor to the number of sea monkeys that a tank can sustain is oxygen. Hatchlings require ample oxygen in the water to survive, so keeping the water aerated is essential to ensuring breeding will continue to be successful and yield live sea monkeys that grow to maturity.
If you have purchased a sea monkey kit and hatched them from eggs, you only need to give the hatchlings between four and six weeks before they will start producing more sea monkeys.
Even if there are no male sea monkeys in a tank, so long as there is a female and conditions are favorable, they will reproduce. This is referred to as asexual reproduction.
Sexual reproduction takes place when there are male sea monkeys present. The males have an additional set of antennae that they use to clasp onto the midsection of a female.
The sea monkey mating ritual can be observed in a tank as the two creatures will appear to be attached to each other. The process can last for a few days to several weeks, and all other activities like swimming and eating will continue as usual during mating.
Sea monkey breeders may need to use more than one tank to accommodate the rising number of tiny shrimp. Having more than one tank also makes it easier to manage production.
Additional sea monkey water can be created using distilled water and marine salt. This is specific salt that saltwater aquarium owners use.
Mix ½ cup of marine salt per gallon of distilled water. Let the solution stand for at least 24 hours and get to room temperature before adding sea monkeys.
The life span of an individual sea monkey can be as long as two years, and during that time, they can produce plenty of offspring.
Another limiting factor in successfully breeding sea monkeys is incorrect feeding. Overfeeding can quickly kill a tank of these tiny shrimp.
It is better to allow algae to develop in the tank rather than adding too much food. If the water appears murky, hold off on feeding. Only feed every five days and look out for a dark stripe running the length of the body, which indicates that they are receiving adequate food.
The conditions in a tank must be correct in terms of water salinity, temperature, and oxygenation to ensure that your sea monkeys continue to produce one generation after another.
Do Sea Monkeys Mate?
During the mating process, male sea monkeys can frequently be observed in a tank clinging onto the underside of a willing female. This is the method by which sexual reproduction in sea monkeys occurs, although females can also reproduce asexually.
There are several distinct differences in the physical appearance of male and female sea monkeys. Some of these include:
- Females are usually slightly larger
- Males have modified antennae on their heads that are used to cling onto a female during mating.
- Females have a visible, circular-shaped egg sack at a midpoint on the abdomen.
How Do Sea Monkeys Mate?
Male sea monkeys have an extra set of antennae that look like feathery whiskers, used to grasp the base of a willing female during mating. They can remain stuck together for several days or even weeks.
The male sea monkey fertilizes the eggs inside the female during the mating process. It is quite normal for sea monkeys to remain joined for lengthy periods, and no attempt should be made it separate them as they could get injured.
If no male sea monkey is present in a tank, females can fertilize their own eggs. This process is called parthenogenesis.
How Long Do Sea Monkeys Mate For?
A male sea monkey can remain attached to a female for days or even weeks. They will appear as two connected sea monkeys, with a female trailing a smaller male from her midsection.
Since there is no set gestation period, the mating process can also continue for varying lengths of time. So long as the water conditions remain suitable in terms of salinity, warmth, and sufficient oxygen, these tiny animals will readily mate and reproduce.
Can Sea Monkeys Have Babies?
Sea monkeys can have babies and may appear to give birth to live young instead of depositing the eggs in the tank. When this occurs, the process is called viviparity, and the young are hatched directly from the egg sack.
When hatched directly from a female sea monkey’s body, the tiny sea monkeys will still have an egg sac attached to them to provide nourishment. The mother’s body egg sack would have served as a safe ‘nest’ for the developing young, but they would not have been attached to her.
Even if the female sea monkey dies while carrying eggs in its sack, the development process will continue, and live sea monkey hatchlings will emerge.
Female sea monkeys can also deposit the eggs into the tank, where they will usually hatch within a few days.
What Does a Pregnant Sea Monkey Look Like?
A female sea monkey that contains eggs will appear to have a dark circular disk shape where the tail and body are joined. These are the developing eggs inside the eggs sack.
Female and male sea monkeys are physically different. If a female sea monkey has a white sack in the midsection, it probably does not contain eggs. However, a dark color means that the sea monkey is pregnant, and there will soon be another generation of sea monkeys in the tank.
How Long Are Sea Monkeys Pregnant For?
The length of time that a female sea monkey will remain pregnant depends on the conditions in the tank. There is no set period, and if the environment is unfavorable, females can retain their eggs until more suitable conditions are met.
To encourage female sea monkeys to produce offspring, ensure that the tank water temperature remains consistent. Dramatic changes can cause delays in the breeding process.
If males are present in the tank, the mating process can take days or weeks. It can take quite some time before tiny sea monkeys are observed in the tank.
Do Sea Monkeys Lay Eggs?
Female sea monkeys can lay eggs, but they can also retain the eggs and release them as live hatchlings. The deciding factor regarding which method is used is the conditions in the tank.
When eggs are laid, they are simply deposited in the tank, and no additional care is provided after laying. Some eggs may sink while others float to the surface.
The eggs can still hatch if a sea monkey female dies while pregnant.
What Do Sea Monkey Eggs Look Like?
Sea monkey eggs that come in a kit may resemble light brown powdery dust. The eggs are minute and can remain in a dehydrated state for many years.
In a tank of sea monkeys, the eggs are clearly visible when they are contained within a female. A circular area in the midsection is the egg sack that may be visible in the mid-section of mature females. If the sack is white, it does not contain eggs.
When the egg sack becomes darker colored brown or black, it contains eggs. There is, however, no set gestation period, and the eggs can be retained until water conditions are ideal.
When conditions are not ideal, the sea monkey egg’s egg coating will be significantly different from when conditions are perfect. The eggs are coated with a substance called chorion, a protective covering that allows the eggs to withstand prolonged periods of inactivity.
Eggs contained in a sea monkey ‘Instant Life’ packet are examples of eggs, known as cysts, that have a chorion coating. When added to a suitable saline solution, this dry dust will quickly spring to life.
What Color Are Sea Monkey Eggs?
Sea monkey eggs contained in the ‘Instant Life’ packet of a kit may tinge the water slightly yellow when added. This is because a dye is often added as an ingredient to make the emerging sea monkeys easier to see.
Eggs that have a chorion coating to remain in a cryptobiotic state have a distinctive light brown coating. It would not be easy to see one individual egg on its own, and the eggs appear as dark-colored powder particles when being added to water.
Individual sea monkey eggs are nearly impossible to see on the bottom of a tank as they are pinpoint-sized. If a female has released eggs, it is essential to ensure that the water remains well aerated, and the tiny hatchlings will soon grow big enough to see.
When eggs float to the surface, they may be visible as clumps of tiny dark dots. Sea monkey eggs are far easier to see when they float on the surface rather than lying on the bottom of the tank.
Sea Monkey Gestation Period?
An unusual feature of sea monkeys is that they choose their gestation period. Females can hold on to clutches of eggs or release them in response to incorrect conditions in the tank.
Once eggs are released, they can take between one and five days to hatch. Water temperature is the most crucial factor determining the length of time eggs will take to hatch. Eggs will hatch faster in warmer water.
It is also essential to ensure that water is regularly oxygenated. If you don’t have a pump, use a turkey baster or take out scoops of water and pour it gently back into the tank to aerate the water.
How Many Babies Do Sea Monkeys Have?
A litter of sea monkeys is usually about 20 eggs or live young. They will all have an excellent chance of survival if there is sufficient food, oxygen, suitable water temperature, and the salinity in the tank is correct.
Sea monkey breeders can scoop out adult sea monkeys or floating eggs and replicate conditions in another tank. Always ensure that the water temperature in the new tank is the same as the one you are scooping from.
Sea monkeys breed readily at any time of the year, so long as their basic conditions are met. These include correct water salinity, water temperature, and sufficient oxygenation.
Breeding sea monkeys is a fun way to share the joy of keeping these low-maintenance yet highly entertaining pets.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. I have a wife and two children and love taking them to the zoo to see all the animals. I grew up with dogs and fish and now have two dogs and two cats. I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.