Sunday, January 8, 2012

Triops-A-Day, Days 1-7

Rabbits have two eyes, whales have two eyes, eagles have two eyes, but Triops has three eyes!  They Might Be Giants got us kinda hooked on thinking about the Triops.  Don't you love his little dance? So, we got ourselves a grow kit to check out the real Triops.  OMG!! Disgusting but strangely alluring...

I actually considered starting another blog to deal with my new and disgusting tiny friend, the Triops (Triops Longicaudatis), but decided to post about it here.  Apologies to those who are looking for a different kind of "recipe." :-)  I have plenty more of those to come!

We started our Triops kit the day after coming back from our winter vacation.  Our start date coincided perfectly with the Artclash Collective's "Fun-a-Day" project (Philly based, YEAH BABY!) that is taking place throughout January, which I found through one of my FB friends (Kristin Lajeunesse) who is doing a "Dance-a-Day" project to coincide with her travel the country for awesome vegan eats project--I love Kristin!

Anyhoo, back to prehistoric crustaceans.

About Triops for those of you without small boys :-):

Basically, T. longicaudatis is an ancient aquatic pest who lives in "flash" freshwater pools and resembles a horseshoe crab.  T. longicaudatis (commonly known as "Triops") is a crustacean of the Brachiopod class (same class as brine shrimp or "sea monkeys").  Kingdom, Phlyum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.  Remember your evolutionary biology, folks? Anyway, lots more info about Triops here, where they grow the eggs in a lab (not harvesting them from the environment).  And here is a handy school curriculum (second grade level) of the Triops growing project created by the talented folks at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES (holla, J&J!).  You can order your very own Triops kit on amazon, should you be so inclined.

The box claims, to grow, "just add water!" Um, no, not exactly.

Jan. 2nd, 2012, Day 1:

 One must use ONLY Spring Water, not distilled, not reverse osmosis, and not deionized water!

 Spring water and 1/8 tsp of "crushed" organic carrot in T's tiny tank! 

 I thought little T. might feel more at home with a tropical tree nearby.

 Temp must be maintained somewhere between 74 and 85 degrees.  That was my first problem.  Not hot enough.  

 So, got me a little greenhouse effect going.  Also had to cover the dish so my cat wouldn't drink the Triops! (Doesn't that dish look suspiciously like a cat water bowl?)

 My plastic bag greenhouse worked nicely to raise the temperature.  I ended up cutting out fairly large holes in the top of the bag so T. could get more air, and I was still able to maintain the temp right around 74 to 76 degrees.  Perfect!

 Now T's home is ready, so it's time to add the eggs! Those TINY specks of dust right in the center of the paper in the crease are the Triops eggs.

 Eggs are added! Now, it's time to see if anyone is hatching.  Days 2-3, we had no hatching at all.  It is winter here, and the lower ambient air temperature did not help with the hatching.  Also, I had been covering the dish at night, and it was cooling off WAY too much, so I then ended up covering half of the dish to give T. rest and also to allow the water to stay heated.  

The magnifying glass that comes with the kit totally sucks.  But, it makes one look all scientist-like when wielding it.  

On Day 4, we noticed we had a tiny Triops swimming around!
Do you see him? Look right at the biggest piece of carrot directly in the center of the frame and you will see a little white speck with another tiny white speck attached (it is actually food stuck on his tail) on the right hand side of the carrot piece.  See him??

He was going along just fine from Day 4 through Day 6, eating his disgusting detritus suspension (that I had to make, ewe) and swimming around looking very pleased, indeed.  T. was a happy camper.

Well, I killed him today (Day 7).  The directions say to clean the dish on Day 4, and our dish wasn't even very dirty at all (we only hatched one single Triops out of 18 eggs, so he wasn't making very much T. poopy).  I waited until Day 6 to clean the bowl water (yesterday) and I think disrupting his substratum really pissed him off and killed him dead.  We mourned our little guy.  SO...

We are starting again tonight! Wish me luck! Going to add the eggs in another hour or so once I get the tiny tank up to temperature.  Got me a few more tricks in my bag now (how to maintain water temp overnight and how NOT to clean his little tank unless absolutely necessary) , so I think we are going to have more success this time.  And, because they are awesome, I sent my nephews a Triops kit, too, (hi X&G!!) so maybe they will have some more tricks for me once they get going with their kit!

Are any of you doing a Fun-A-Day project?? 


  1. Wow, amazing! I have never heard of Triops. They are cute. Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Kathy! I know, I had never heard of them either--until now!

    I started a new batch of eggs on Sunday night (Jan 8th) so should see some little hatchlings by tomorrow night, hopefully!! It takes more like 3-5 days to hatch them in the colder weather, so I'm hopeful.

    I'll keep you posted!

  3. So, Kathy (and anyone else who is interested!), I have two hatchlings (at least) tonight (Tues. Jan. 10th) which is Day 2 (or the 48 hour mark) since putting in the eggs on Sunday night. Oh boy! There may be more than two but I am tired and don't feel like staring into a petri dish right now :-) Fed 'em already.