We've all had the opportunity to come to some conclusions about Sea-Monkeys. Their life cycle holds some scientific interest, they're kind of cute, and they don't require a lot of maintenance. They're a little dull, though, it turns out. Once you've raised them through one generation and started another, the variables are pretty much exhausted.
What if Sea-Monkeys were bigger...more colorful...perhaps carnivorous? In a week or so, you need wonder no longer!
My friend Christy has presented me with a new variety of dehydrated sea creature that can be raised in a tank: Triops. They come packaged like Kool-Aid or Burpee zucchini seeds in a colorful packet adorned with exciting dinosaur artwork. "They're ALIVE!" proclaims the packaging, and we Sea-Monkey veterans cannot doubt it.
How are Triops different than Sea-Monkeys, you ask? Well, Sea-Monkeys are the pacifist tree-huggers of the undersea world. They do little besides eat algae, swim around and mate enthusiastically when given the chance. Triops, on the other hand, are not so peace-loving. Right on the back of the packet it says, "Feed them twice daily and your Triops will live 20 to 70 days - unless, of course, they are eaten alive by their cannibal siblings." Awwwright!
Unlike the diminutive 3/4" long Sea-Monkeys, Triops "quickly grow up to two inches long." They look like big, mottled, reddish and bluish Sea-Monkeys, judging from the drawings on the package and the photos I've seen online. Yes, even though I've never heard of them before, Triops are already popular enough to merit their own web-ring.
There's one slight drawback to Triops ownership: the tank environment. Triops aren't picky about the mineral balance in their tank, but they need their water to be at least 74 degrees Fahrenheit. This means their bowl has to sit under a desk lamp that's on all the time. If not for this detail, I would have a bowl of rapidly hatching eggs on my desk right now. Instead, I am afraid I will have to raise this batch of desktop pets at home, rather than risk having the cleaning crew turn off their lamp over the holiday weekend and cut their lives short.
The main disincentive to raising them at home will be the limited observation time. I will have to make a point to sit in my home office more often so I can send you full and accurate reports. I also kinda wanted to see if the Triops would notice their tasty little brine shrimp neighbors in the Ocean-Zoo. I guess you wouldn't be able to see them drooling underwater anyway.
My plan is to get the desk lamp fired up this evening and warm up their water enough to add the eggs before I go to bed. If all goes according to plan, there will be aggressive little Triops larvae swimming around by Sunday morning. Keep an eye out for frequent reports - this oughtta be good!