Triops - Pond Life

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Triops is a genus of small crustaceans in the order Notostraca (tadpole shrimp). They are considered living fossils, with a fossil record that reaches back to the late Carboniferous, 300 million years ago.
Most species reproduce sexually, but some populations are dominated by hermaphrodites which produce internally fertilised eggs. Reproduction in
T. cancriformis varies with latitude, with sexual reproduction dominating in the south of its range, and parthenogenesis dominating in the north.
Triops eggs enter a state of extended diapause when dry, and will tolerate temperatures of up to 98 °C (208 °F) for 16 hours, whereas the adult cannot survive temperatures above 34 °C (93 °F) for 24 hours or 40 °C (104 °F) for 2 hours. The diapause also prevents the eggs from hatching too soon after rain; the pool must fill with enough water for the dormancy to be broken.
The branchiopods are a primitive order of crustaceans. Lacking true gills, they breathe with leaf-like extensions on their legs. Scientists, being so original when it comes to these things, named them for this; branchiopod means "lung or gill foot". The alternative name for the branchiopods, phyllopods, is equally original, it means "leaf foot". There are four extant orders of branchiopods: Anostroca, Cladocera, Conchostroca, and Notostraca

The anostracans contain the brine shrimp and numerous species of fairy shrimp. The cladocerans are composed of the daphnia species ("water fleas"). The conchostractans contain the lesser known clam shrimp. Finally, the notostracans are composed of various species of tadpole shrimp, often known as triops. Generally, biologists group the anostrocans, conchostrocans, and notostrocans together as the (also originally named) "large branchiopods".
Triops live in temporary water pools (also known as vernal, astatic, or ephemeral pools) that generally occur during seasonal rains or flooding. As a rule of thumb,
Triops species tend to be found in areas where warmer, shorter lasting pools are common, and Lepidurus species are found where cooler, longer lasting pools are the rule. Not only might a given pool only last a few weeks before completely drying out, it may be years, or even decades, before the water comes again if rainfall is erratic. How a creature that breathes with primitive gills is able to survive these conditions is why they have lasted through the aeons when so many other species have not.



There are very nice websites where complete information on how to raise and breed triops can be found. Threfore I simply provide in this page some hints on and suggestions.

Distilled water (osmosis or the one that can be bought for ironing) is recomended for hatching the eggs.
After 2 weeks, each week 25% of the water has to be changed adding 50% of bottled water to increase the salt content and the pH. PH has to be checked quite often as it can drop quite fast.
After 1 months bottle water has to be used. Sometimes I also add vitamins and mineral salts conditioner for acquariums.

Triops need to eat a lot therefore the water is going to get very dirty quite soon with bacteria blooming that can kill all the young tripos. Unfortunately, my preferred option to add daphnia is not viable, as triops would soon eat them all. Therefore:
1. Sponge air powered filter: This is a very good solution in particular as the water in a triops acquarium tends to get short of oxygen quite easily. This kind of filteris not dangerous for small hatched ones. I would anyway suggest to use it only after two weeks from hatching.
2. Small acquarium pump filter: charged with perlon and active carbon such filters are required for acquariums with lot of triops, 5 to 10. Triops should be at least 2 cm long or they cn be suched by the filter and killed.

Changing water when 20  or more less-than-a-millimeter naupli are swimming is not very easy. I assembled a very easy to use tool to ensure water can be siphoned out without harming the small ones. It is also useful for any other culture of small pond life.

Due to the large amount of food required, water tends to get short of oxygen quite easily. If triops swim above the surface, that's the sign oxygen is low. Immediate action with a bubble diffuser must be taken. I had 10 adult triops in my acquarium. One day I turned off the areator as it was a noisy model. After 2 hours, 7 triops where dead, while the remaining 3 were swimming below the surface.

Detritus is suggested on any triop website and many receipts can be found on the web. I discovered triops can be easily raised without detritus. It is enough to drop a very small quantity of yeast in the water 2 days after the hatching of the eggs. I also added a very small quantity of spirulina.

I use yeast and spirulina for the first 1-2 weeks. After that I use fish pellets (sinking ones) I reduce to powder. When the small triops are twice as bis as the fish pellet I feed whole pellets. As soon as they get a little bigger (1 month) I also use freezed bloodworms or artemia.

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