Sea Monkeys

I thought my sons might find it interesting to grow some sea monkeys (a type of brine shrimp, Artemia) at home to watch them grow and learn a little about them.  They are sent to you in a cryptobiotic state, where metabolic processes have stopped - this is a mechanism by which some species can survive harsh environmental conditions (e.g. pools in which they live drying out) and then return to their metabolic state once the environmental conditions improve.  The kit we used is this one (affiliate link).

Sea monkey after around 3 weeks

We followed the instructions provided to set up the little tank, and watched as sea monkey eggs hatched and grew over several weeks.  The boys weren't massively interested when they were tiny, although as they started to get a bit more visible after a couple of weeks, they took more interest.  They noticed that the sea monkeys were growing bigger, with longer tails.  

I took a photo and we zoomed in to find that they have three eyes!  They also have lots of 'legs' which they use to swim and now they are bigger you can see them moving as the sea monkeys propel themselves through the water.  

Using a magnifying glass

The big one has enjoyed feeding his sea monkeys and occasionally stops to watch them for a while.  I thought it might be fun to try and take a closer look at one, and carefully scooped it with some of the tank water (one of the sachets you add initially makes it salty and adds other minerals, don't just put it into tap water!) into a little dish.  The boys used a magnifying glass which gave 4.5x magnification (from this set, affiliate link) to take a closer look.  The big one wasn't very impressed as he couldn't see any more than on my photo when it was zoomed in on screen, but the little one was quite taken with the way the magnifying glass made it bigger and he spent a while taking a closer look before using the magnifying glass to look at other things around him.

We've still got a bit of food left for them from the kit, but if anyone has tried any of the home-made recipes e.g. using yeast, successfully, please use the comments to let me know.