Artemia Cyst

Artemia Cyst


By Jim E. Quarles


  • One pint or 16 fl oz. of freshwater.
  • 2 oz of liquid chlorine bleach.
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon of brine shrimp eggs.


Begin by adding 3 oz. of chilled freshwater and one teaspoon of brine shrimp eggs in a glass container. Using an air stone, gently aerate the cysts for approximately one hour at room temperature. This will fully hydrate the eggs in preparation for the decapsulation process. After one hour, pour in 2 oz. of liquid bleach. Increase the aeration or stir continuously for the next five to ten minutes ( until decapsulation is complete ). The cysts will change from brown to a gray or white, and finally to orange in color. Then wash almost immediately with freshwater, continue rinsing until the smell of chlorine bleach is gone. Mix one cup cold water and one tablespoon of white vinegar in a container and soak a net containing the cysts for about one minute. This will remove or neutralize the residual chlorine bleach. Rinse the cysts one more time with fresh water. The eggs are now ready for hatching.

Why decapsulation?

There are several advantages to be gained by decapsulating or removing the thick outer shell (cirion) of the brine shrimp cysts.

  1. For starters, the strong chlorine or oxidizing solution completely sanitizes the cysts, reducing the introduction of bacteria and disease to your aquarium.
  2. Harvesting brine shrimp nauplii form decapsulated cysts means that no separation of the shells is necessary. Just pour everthing into a mesh net, rinse, and feed to your fish.
  3. Even the unhatched cysts are edible! An unhatched decapsulated cyst is left with a thin hatching membrane which is easily degested by young fish and invertebrates. An unhatched brine shrimp embryo also contains more energy that a hatched swimming nauplii.
  4. The brine shrimp embryo also requires less energy to break through a hatching membrane, than a thick outer shell. This can increase your hatch rate by an additionl 10 % or more over undecapsulated cysts.

Copyright 1996/2017 Discus Page Holland.
All rights reserved