Contrary to their name, sea monkeys are not, in fact, monkeys at all. Instead, they are a type of brine shrimp that came about in the 1950s. Since then, they have become a popular starter pet for people who don’t want to commit to something that requires a bit more responsibility.
Although sea monkeys make an interesting pet, some people may have a hard time keeping them alive. If you’ve found yourself in this predicament before, rest assured you’re not alone, and there are ways to keep your sea monkeys alive and healthy for as long as you can.
What Is a Sea Monkey?
Before you can know how to properly take care of a sea monkey, it’s important to know what they are in the first place. Sea monkeys are man-made and were invented in the 1950s by Harold von Braunhut.
They are an artificial breed of brine shrimp that are most commonly sold in hatching kits.
Sea monkeys are sold as eggs and when dumped into water, they come to life. They undergo a process called cryptobiosis, which means they enter a physiological state in which metabolic activity is reduced to an undetectable level.
When placed in water and given food, however, they essentially “come back to life.” They reach full maturity within a few weeks of hatching.
A sea monkey gets its name from the shape of their tails, which resemble that of monkeys. However, the similarities stop there.
Sea monkeys are clear and have several little arms or feelers under their bellies in which they breathe through. They are also born with one eye but tend to sprout more the older they get.
Telling the difference between male and female sea monkeys is also rather easy. When pregnant, female sea monkeys will develop a pouch where they carry their eggs.
Male sea monkeys also often fight for the attention of the females, which means you may see a couple of them locked in together every once in a while.
How to Properly Set up a Sea Monkey Tank
When you bring home a new sea monkey, it’s important to make sure that you have their tank set up and ready to go. If your kit didn’t already come with a fish tank, you will have to get one yourself. Be sure to get a clear one that can hold at least two liters of water.
Your tank should also be fairly deep as sea monkeys tend to swim in the base of their tanks. The water that you use to fill up your sea monkey’s tank is very important.
You should never use tap water as it contains chemicals in it that may be harmful to your sea monkey. The best type of water to use is distilled or bottled water.
The water needs to be at room temperature so that your sea monkeys can live comfortably. Keep in mind that you will often have to aerate your tank with an air pump as well as add in the water purifier packet that comes with your fish kit.
Before adding the sea monkeys to the tank, leave it sitting for 36 hours prior. This way, it lets your tank reach the temperature it requires for them.
You do not need to change the water that your sea monkeys are living in. You can, however, clean the tank using a Q-tip and coffee filter.
If you start to notice any bacteria forming in your tank, take it out as soon as possible as this is what can kill your sea monkeys.
What Do Sea Monkeys Eat?
Sea monkeys survive on a diet of yeast and spirulina as well as phytoplankton and algae. Once your sea monkeys start making themselves at home in their new environment, algae will start to grow in their tanks and they become self-sufficient.
Most sea monkey kits also come complete with a sea monkey food packet. Keep in mind that you should not start feeding your sea monkeys until about five days after they have hatched.
When you do start feeding them, give them only a tiny bit every two days, and be sure you aren’t feeding them anything other than the specific sea monkey food.
In terms of feeding, however, you have to be sure you aren’t overfeeding them. This is one of the main reasons why sea monkeys die.
Overfeeding causes bacteria to grow significantly quicker in their tank, which in turn will suck all the oxygen out of the water. As a result, your sea monkeys can suffocate and die.
Signs Your Sea Monkey Is Dying
It can be pretty obvious to know when your sea monkey is dead or on its way out. For one, it will stop swimming and its color will start to change. Typically sea monkeys are translucent, but if you start to notice spots or any sort of darkening on their bodies, this is a sign that they are ill.
You can cure your sea monkeys by feeding them something called “sea medic,” which comes in the kit that you get your sea monkeys in.
If you see that your sea monkey has floated to the bottom of its tank and has stopped moving all together, this is a surefire sign that it has died. Soon enough, it will start to decompose.
Be sure to remove any dead sea monkeys from their tank as soon as possible otherwise they could form bacteria and infect any of the other surviving sea monkeys.
Keeping Your Sea Monkey Entertained
If you want to have some fun with your sea monkeys, use a flashlight and shine it into their tank. Sea monkeys are incredibly attracted to light and will follow it wherever it goes. They will also follow your finger wherever you lead them to.
You can also purchase sea monkey accessories that are sold separately but that can be placed in their tank either as decoration or for them to play with. This includes things such as Sea-Monkey Speedway and Sea-Monkey Fox Hunt.
Also read: Why Are My Sea Monkeys Stuck Together?
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.