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Sea Monkeys - 'Artemia salina'

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You might well ask the question, 'What is a sea monkey?'. Well, the sea monkey (Artemia salina) is a relative of the brine shrimp, and looks like a very hairy version of a mosquito larva. These creatures will end up growing to about a quarter of an inch (about 0.6cm) in length.

Sea monkeys are the fun lovable little creatures that are too small to hug, but are highly enjoyable if you have a hard time raising pets that need to be fed on a regular basis. The great thing is that they are virtually maintenance-free pets; these little creatures are probably one of the easiest pets to raise, and come in a package so no worrying about them wetting themselves on the way to your very own home. Not to mention you can bring them to your office too without worrying about them leaving poo poo in the corner.

In all actuality, sea monkeys are nothing other than a sort of brine shrimp; in fact, they are actually hybrid brine shrimp. They have been engineered to live longer and grow larger. What fun would it be to have a pet that lives a month then dies?

Brine shrimp are strong survivors. They have developed the ability to keep their eggs in suspended animation (cryptobiosis) for years. That means that if these little creatures' homes got all dried up for a couple years and then the rain finally gives them some swimming area, they can hatch and grow again doing their little flips and somersaults.

They came from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Sea monkeys are sold the world over; their eggs are freeze dried, packaged, and then distributed to sea monkey vendors. Only this kind of shrimp could survive in those living conditions. They were very commonly used as live fish food because of their high protein value.

Who in their Right Minds Would Think of Fish Food as Pets?

None other than the guy who invented X-Ray glasses! A man by the name of Harold von Braunhut. This man saw a great, instant pet that could teach children around the world the oddities of nature. Harold decided to market sea monkeys in 1957.

Originally the sea monkeys didn't sell at all. It wasn't that no one was buying them, it was that no one wanted to sell them! So Harold got the idea to place an ad for 'instant life' inside comic magazines. Before you knew it, the sea monkey orders were flying in.

The sea monkeys at the time were just raised in a jar of sorts. The pet needed a container that could easily show off the energetic creatures. Hence the invention of the Micro-View Ocean Zoo - a perfect habitat for the sea monkeys.

What Can Sea Monkeys Do besides Swim Around?

Well, nothing much really. But their instincts can be used for some fun. Harold found that the sea monkeys naturally swam up-current. That means, if you introduce moving water to them, they naturally swim against it. So what can be more fun than to take your favourite sea monkey and race it against your friends? Harold then invented the Sea Monkey speed way. This little contraption would allow you to control the flow of the water so that you can race your little pets to see who is faster.

Another somewhat fun thing is they naturally are attracted to light. You can take a pen light and shine it inside the aquarium and watch as they all move along with your pen. Note that you must actually move the pen, otherwise they'll all just gather around the light.

Sea Monkey accessories

All sorts of accessories can be purchased for sea monkeys. The aquarium alone has many variations.

  • Micro-view ocean zoo
  • Light up ocean of light
  • Glow in the dark ghostly galleon
  • Magic castle
  • Space shuttle kit

The 'million bubble generating' aerator is one of the wisest purchases you can possibly make for your sea monkeys. This product aerates the water to help your sea monkeys breathe. There is also the sea monkey leash that allows you to transport your sea monkeys from the aquarium to other various sea monkey holding items such as the aquarium pen, the aquarium watch or the sea monkey speedway (to race your sea monkeys). There are also vitamins and enhancers for the sea monkeys like the packet of plasma that will help your sea monkeys grow faster and stronger.

Who Should Raise Sea Monkeys?

Really, just about anyone can raise sea monkeys. Their only requirement is the lack of direct sunlight, so an office space or desk drawer is perfect. Any age can appreciate the animals' beauty whether you are an adult stuck behind a desk or a kid confined to his room.

Why Can't I Grow My Sea Monkeys?

Most people don't like sea monkeys because they can't grow them. They really aren't hard to raise at all. First, you have to prepare the water. Most people mix everything together at once and expect the sea monkeys to be born. Well, you don't get anything but a jar of water if you do that. Here's some tips to keep them alive.

  • Follow the directions that come with them.
  • Don't overfeed them; once every 7 to 10 days is fine.
  • Don't place them in regular water. They are salt water animals.
  • Keep the water in your aquarium at the same level.

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