HOW TO DECAPSULATE BRINE SHRIMP EGGS

What – De-capsulation


Brine Shrimp Eggs have a hard outer shell, a cyst. This protects the dormant embryo in the wild. Dissolving the hard shell with a caustic solution is called de-capsulation.


Why – healther fry / save time / save money


When BBS eggs are hatched, you get un-hatched eggs sinking to the bottom, hatched eggshells floating to the top and BBS swimming all over. No matter how carefully I separate the BBS it seems like there is always some unwanted eggs or shells in the mix. These un-hatched eggs and shells are not digestible and when a Betta fry eats them, the intestinal tract can be blocked causing swim bladder problems or even death.

A few of the additional benefits of removing the shells are:
– Decapsulating sterilizes the eggs and kills any microorganisms that may be hitchhiking on the egg.
– Decapsulating increases the percentage of hatching eggs, because the BBS do not have to break out of the hard shell.
– Decapsulating makes harvesting the eggs is easier, because no separation of the shells is required. Just drain, rinse, and feed!
– Decapsulating saves money. The un-hatched eggs are now digestible and can be fed to your fish, giving you 100% food even out of 60% hatch eggs
– Decapsulating saves time. After hatching, you no longer need to wait for the BBS and shells to separate. It eliminates the eggshells that used to accumulate on the surface and stick to the glass of grow-out tanks. Not only does it look ugly, but also it is time consuming to clean up.

Material – You will need the following items:

Brine shrimp net (or filter)
Glass jar (pint +/-) or clear plastic “Betta” cup
A small bowl
Brine shrimp eggs
Water
Cheap bleach (5% chlorine / non-fragranced)
De-chlorinator – SAVE MONEY, MAKE YOUR OWN (see dechlorinator)

How – Steps in Process

Re-Hydrating the Eggs

The eggs you get are de-hydrated. They have been dried out. If you look at them with a magnifying glass, you will see a dimple, where the eggshell has been sucked in. The first step is to re-hydrate the eggs – make them round again.

Fill your jar with an inch of water.

Sprinkle the eggs in the center.

You will notice that the eggs float at first. You can stir them or swish the jar or add an air stone but I have found that no matter what you do, there will always be eggs on the sides just out of reach of the water. So just let them sit, it works just fine. When they are hydrated, the good eggs will all be at the bottom of the container. This takes about an hour. But I don’t have an hour in the morning so I soak them overnight.

Dissolving the Shells

After the eggs have re-hydrated and are lying on the bottom. Slowly add an inch of Bleach to the water & eggs in the jar. If you watch carefully, the eggs will appear white as they start to foam and float to the surface.

Swish or gently stir the mixture every minute or so. When the hard outer cyst is dissolved, the eggs will appear slightly orange and sink to the bottom. Brine shrimp eggs come from many different sources; some eggs take longer than others. Leaving the eggs in the bleach solution longer than 5 minutes can cause damage and you will have scrambled eggs..

Stopping the Reaction

Pour the Mixture through the brine shrimp net, rinse the jar with fresh water to gather the stray eggs and pour over the eggs in the net.

Fill the bowl with fresh water and add lots of De-chlorinator (you can use too little, but you can’t use too much – I use a big squirt) invert the net and dump the eggs in the bowl. Stir gently for a minute This will remove or neutralize the residual chlorine bleach.

Q.E.D. You now have de-capsulated Brine Shrimp eggs ready for feeding or if you prefer hatch like normal eggs but without the mess.

Storage


De-capsulated eggs can be stored for later use. (Up to 7 days). Make a saturated brine solution by dissolving salt in warm water until no more salt will dissolve. (No mater how much you stir, there is still salt on the bottom) Drain the eggs and cover them with saturated brine water. The brine water will draw the water out of the eggs and de-hydrate them again. Store your brine and de-capsulated eggs in the refrigerator and be sure to label them to avoid confusion.