Artemia salina, Cl. Crustacea, Sol. Branchiopoda, O. Anostraca English name: Brine Shrimp
Artemia naturally occurs in salt lakes and brine ponds, with salinities ranging from 60–300 ppt.
Artemia, and especially their naupliae, are used in aquaculture as a live food for commercial larval rearing (hatcheries) of many species of fish and Crustacea.
Other types of animal live feeds exist for these purposes, such as Moina and Daphnia (Cladocera) and Brachionus (Rotifera), but it has been demonstrated on several occasions that Artemia naupliae constitute not only the best, but in most cases the only source of live food available.
Compared to inert food (pelletized diets etc.) live animal feed has the advantage that it can be administered in larger amounts thus covering a longer non-feeding period, without contaminating the culturing water caused by sedimentation of food particles.
Compared with the other live food, Artemia has the following advantages:
The “eggs” occur in a dry dormant state (cysts) and can be stored for many years. Appropriately packed they can be sent all over the world.
From the cysts, live larvae i.e. naupliae, are easily and quickly obtained by hatching them in seawater. Thus, no separate culturing tanks are needed to obtain large quantities of live food.
The naupliae survive and remain active in water of different salinities. Even when put in freshwater, mortality only occurs after 2–3 hours.
The naupliae have a very high protein content (up to 40%), which makes them an excellent food. Freshly hatched naupliae (Instar I = first larval stage) have a higher nutritional value than 2 or 3 day old naupliae.
Inadequate supply and/or the high price of Artemia eggs are the major constraints in the mass propagation of shrimp and prawn in S.E.-Asia.
S.E.-Asia has no natural occuring Artemia sources and is therefore dependent on costly import of cysts.