Our summer science project: Triops!

For a long while now, Pip has been asking for a pet. First of all, it was a dog. We patiently explained that we don’t have the space for a dog and, once school has started and I hopefully start working again, we won’t have the time that you need to commit to having a dog. She rather cleverly thought of fish next, giving us the very logical argument that they don’t take up much space and don’t need as much looking after as a dog. We took her point and quite like the idea ourselves. However, we’re not entirely convinced that she can handle the responsibility of a pet. While I would obviously have to help out with cleaning the tank, the day to day feeding would be up to her.

So, I came up with a solution in the form of triops. These are type of small crustaceans that can be purchased as eggs, hatched out and then grown to full size before they reach the end of their short existence within about eight weeks.triops kit

They require very limited looking after, just feeing every couple of days and partial water changes about once or twice per week, depending on how murky the water gets. If after eight weeks you find yourself missing them, you can try to hatch out a second generation from the eggs laid by the first ones. This might just happen on its own, or you can go through a process of drying out the sand and detritus on the bottom of the tank and then adding water again to get any eggs there to hatch.

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Our triops kit arrived on Monday. You get a tank, a packet of eggs, a packet of sand (to be added when they are two weeks old), a sachet of food, a pipette and a plastic spoon in the kit. The only extra we’ve needed to buy was spring water, since tap water or any chlorinated or purified water will kill them very soon after birth, if hatching occurs at all.

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The bits of black stuff you can see is the detritus that comes with the eggs, designed to provide nutrition for the first couple of days.

We filled the tank and added the eggs on Monday evening, shining a lamp at the tank to try and get things moving. Now we are waiting, not very patiently, for Pip’s new pets to become visible. I’ll post again when we’ve got more news!

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