Just like any other pet or animal you care for, it is important to be sure that the inhabitants of your saltwater aquarium are getting the best possible food so that they can live longer and healthier. The best way to do this is by feeding them live natural food, such as mysis or mysid shrimp. You can buy them online or in a store, or you can breed them yourself. These creatures are extremely nutritious and all your fish will eat them ferociously.
Mysis shrimp (Mysida) are macroscopic crustaceans. Although they are called shrimp, they are not true shrimp. Females will carry their fry in a pouch at the base of their legs in a marsupial-like manner. This resulted in them also being referred to as Opossum shrimp. They have a wide range of sizes they can grow to, but will only get as big as an inch. Most shrimp you find, frozen or live, will most likely be on the smaller side. These creatures naturally live off the coast of the arctic, but are also found in northern freshwater lakes.
Mysis Versus Brine Shrimp
The most common types of frozen food are mysis and brine. So, what is the difference between the two? To start Mysis shrimp, which can get to an inch in length, are usually larger than brine, which grow to 0.3 inches. Also, brine shrimp are scientifically identified as shrimp, while mysis are not. When it comes to frozen food mysis is a much more efficient as a food source for the inhabitants in your saltwater aquarium. It has more proteins and is enriched with nutrients. On the other hand, brine shrimp have little to no nutrients, but is about a dollar cheaper. This
means that fish will appear to enjoy mysis more. In terms of live food, mysis shrimp are not as readily available and live brine are very healthy for your fish, unlike frozen brine. Both have their benefits and their downsides, but I recommend brine shrimp for live foods until mysis shrimp become more available, and mysis for frozen food.
How to Raise Mysis Shrimp
One issue with feeding live food is not being able to feed it whenever you want. The best way to fix this is by supplying your own mysis shrimp by cultivating it yourself. First, get a 20-30 gallon aquarium and fill it with saltwater to a salinity of about 1.023. You can use any salt you want, just mix it according to the directions. I recommend a cheap salt with no additives. Next you will
need a mesh separator to separate the tank in half. You will also need a reasonably sized powerhead to place at one end of the tank and point it at the other side. After that, get live rock with algae on it and let it sit for three to four weeks to establish biological filter. Then add about 200 adult mysis shrimp to the side of the tank where the powerhead is. As babies are born the powerhead will push them to the other side of the tank through the mesh separator, filtering out the adults. Mysis shrimp are cannibalistic and will eat each other; so you need to feed them twice day by feeding them babies from your hatchery. As the babies from the hatchery become adult size, move them to the adult side of the tank.
As your adult population grows you will need a better food source, such as brine shrimp. To hatch the brine shrimp you will be making a separate brine shrimp hatchery. Cut the bottoms off the soda bottle and place them upside down in the carton or holder with the caps on. Then fill them with salt water. Next, run airline tubing half way down the bottles and connect the other ends to your air pump. Put six to eight grams of brine shrimp eggs in one of the bottles and turn on the air pump. You should see bubbles coming out of the tubing. After 28 hours remove the airline tubing. Then let the shrimp settle to the bottom. Lift the bottle with the shrimp in it over the other and remove the cap to let the settles shrimp into the other bottle. Quickly put the cap back on and begin the process over again. Use a net to collect the brine shrimp out of the second bottle and feed them to your mysis shrimp. You will no longer have to feed the adult mysis shrimp the babies because you are feeding them brine. When you want to feed your fish mysis, simply net out some of the shrimp and put them in your tank for your fish to eat. Remember, you can be creative in trying your own way to breed mysis shrimp.
Here is a list of the equipment you will need
- 20-30 gallon aquarium
- Mesh separator
- 200 adult mysis shrimp
- Brine shrimp eggs
- Algae on rocks
- Two air pumps
- Air line tubing
- Brine shrimp net
- Two 2-liter Soda Bottles (Rinsed out)
- Carton the soda bottles came in
When you add mysis shrimp to your tank you may want to consider putting some in your refugium, as it is possible for them to live and reproduce in your refugium. If you want to do this, be sure to turn off your main pump before adding them and let them settle for some time. You don’t have to wait too long, just long enough so they don’t all immediately get pumped into your tank. Unlike copepods or amipods, they will not reproduce and live this way in the display part of your tank. This is because they will quickly be completely eaten by your fish.
Sludge-eating bacteria are highly recommended here. Of these, purple non-sulfur bacteria (e.g. PNS Probio™) are an excellent choice, as they are especially rich in important carotenoids such as astaxanthin. By nutritionally enriching the detritus, these bacteria make tiny detritivores such your mysis more nutritious to pod-eaters like mandarins!
Mysis shrimp are false shrimp, which are bigger than brine shrimp and are healthier when it comes to frozen food. They are not too difficult to breed and can also live in your refugium. Overall, they are a superb food source for your fish and corals.
Who loves pods
Julia Burr says
I plan to cultivate this feeder so thank you
Rolando Llamas says
Mysis shrimp are good for picky eaters
Edwin Boston Jr. says
Only thing my wrasse will eat.
Joseph Post says
I’ve never considered raising mysis shrimp, might try it!
I wish i had the time to do this.
Kenta Asazu says
Lost all my mysid shrimp
I want to try raising these!
Great post very informative.
Rhonda L Swetnam says
Another educational article! Thank you!
Manuel A Ferro says
Another Great article! Thank you!
Charles Wheeler says
I always thought myasis shrimp were adult brine shrimp. Who knew…
Noah Buckwalter says
Tracy Schultz says
This is a great idea on raising mysis shrimp.
Chad Sosby says
I wouldn’t buy fish from anyone else!
Tanya BAZALDUA says
Jon Andrianos says
This is great!
Leslie Pustilnik says
I would love to add some mysis shrimp to my fuge
Richard Quickley says
Not looking to add that to my tank
Rudy Brambier says
I tried it once and it worked for awhile then I lost the entire batch. Having pods in a refugium is a lot easier.
Christopher Burns says
this actually sounds quite fun
Chris G. says
Guess I should be switching over to mysis, here’s hoping everyone eats it
My fish love Mysis shrimp
I tried it with just the soda bottles hard to keep the temp right
Menerd The Menace says
Ricky J Gronwall says
My fish go nuts for frozen mysis and live brine. I may have to start a tank just to keep love brine.
Jack Goldstein says
I feed it to my anemones.
Jordan Preston says
Wish I had the time and space!
Wesley Paulson says
Ken Ishiki says
my fish love mysis shrimp
Mysis the best
Douglas Campbell says
I feed frozen mysis to my tank about 2 times a week
What great knowledge
Savoury Kem says
Mike !! says
Great Info , thanks !!
Diana Aliprandi says
I have always wanted to do this. Thanks for the list of items needed. I will try to tackle this after I have my 70 gallon system set up and I can do a new task
Compy Ginorio says
I didn’t know that mysis could be cultivated at home. And it seam to be easy too.
Carol Mauch says
Had never thought to raise the shrimp for SW.
Jonathon Berry says
Dwayne Newell says
Mysis shrimp are a must for certain corals and fish healthy diet
Jose Ponciano says
I tried but give up let you guys the experts do it for me
Robert Vice says
my fish deff like your nano brine shrimp better than big dead ones
Good information which I will use. Cultivating Mysis is interesting, but looks like it takes a lot of attention. I’ve hatched the brine shrimp before which is easy … but need to think about the tempting idea of raising Mysis before I try it.
wow this is helpful
I have a wrass who is a very finicky water… maybe this would be an option
Andrew B says
Brine shrimp FTW!
chris head says
Mysis shrimp power my tank!
Tricia B says
Kris Kasarda says
Have to give this a try.
Always feed mysis
Carrie Harvey says
May have to try this one
Kenneth Showman says
Awesome articles. This sounds like it would be something really cool to try. Might have to give it a shot. Love Algae Barn and the great knowledge they give to the reefing community.
Jeremy McDermott says
What size of mesh do I use and where can I get its..
What diameter are the holes in the mesh? I am a high schoool teacher and we are part of the Sturgeon for Tomorrow program and have a lake sturgeon in our room, I would love to spend less money on food and breed these guys.
I believe I will have to reach out to one of our experts for you, please send a quick email to [email protected] and we will get your answer right away!
This is what I’m wondering too. I’m setting up a tank for these now but I’m not sure how big the babies will be so I don’t know what sort of mesh or separator to use.
Will mysis shrimp survive in ocean water? Directly pumped water from the ocean?
Jeremy Hamilton says
Will mysis shrimp eat the pods in a refugium?