How to Hatch Your Own Brine Shrimp

brine shrimp

Leon Chiu / Flickr / CC by 2.0 

Hatching Brine Shrimp Eggs (or Cysts) is a simple process, with the harvesting of the resultant baby Brine Shrimp (or nauplii) made even easier when using the DIY brine shrimp hatchery.

  • Purchase only high quality ("premium") eggs.
  • Eggs which have not been stored below 50°F (like the ones on your LFS' shelf) will have a significantly lower hatch rate.
  • All Brine Shrimp eggs should be stored:
  • In a tightly sealed container.
  • Free from moisture.
  • At or below 50°F (freezing not recommended) for maximum hatch rate.
DIY Brine Shrimp Hatchery
DIY Brine Shrimp Hatchery Stan & Debbie Hauter

Setting up the Hatchery:

  1. Hang the DIY Brine Shrimp Hatchery in a convenient location.
  2. Mix 2 quarts of Saltwater to an SG of 1.018 (pH of 8.0 or higher is recommended).
  3. Attach airline to the air pump (located above the hatchery) and the hatchery air tube (in the bottle cap).
  4. Fill the hatchery with saltwater to within about 1" of the drilled hanger holes.
  5. Add 1 level teaspoon of Brine Shrimp Eggs to the hatchery.
  6. Let the eggs soak for about 15 minutes, "swirling" the eggs occasionally with your finger to help absorb water and allow to sink to the bottom of the hatchery.
  7. Turn on the air pump and adjust the bubbles to where they are vigorous and the eggs are in constant motion.

Generally, the optimum incubation time is 24 hours. However, depending on the quality of the eggs and the hatching environment, it may take up to 36 hours for a complete hatch.

Harvesting the Shrimp

When hatching is complete, turn off the air supply to the hatchery. After about 15 minutes, the empty shells (brown) should be floating on the surface of the water, the unhatched shells should be in the bottom of the hatchery in the bottle cap and the live Brine Shrimp (orange) should be vibrating around by the neck of the bottle.

Disconnect the air line from the air pump, without shaking the bottle, which will mix everything up, again. Lower the end of the air line to a level below the bottle and drain the water through a Brine Shrimp net into a container. Stop draining when the shrimp have been drained out and before the empty egg shells reach the end of the rigid tube.

Pour a bit of clean fresh or (preferred) saltwater through the net to rinse the Brine Shrimp. You can either move the clean shrimp to a grow out container or feed directly to your tank critters. 

Rinse out the Brine Shrimp Hatchery and either store it or set it up again for another hatch the next day.

DIY Brine Shrimp Hatching
DIY Brine Shrimp Hatching Stan & Debbie Hauter


  • The best temperatures for hatching Brine Shrimp eggs is between 80°F and 82°F.
  • Lower temperatures will result in a longer hatch time.
  • Light is also required in the first few hours of incubation in order to trigger the hatching mechanism.
  • Maintaining a light source during the entire incubation period will help to maximize hatch results.