Triops World is a grow-your-own science kit designed for children ages 7 and up. This kit allows children to explore the world of triops up close, as they hatch and grow in a clear plastic tank. Triops, also known as dinosaur shrimp or tadpole shrimp, are tiny crustaceans that grow naturally in the wild. They can be found in almost every continent and can grow up to 4 1/2 inches long. These interesting critters have gills on their feet which allow them to breath through their legs and three eyes; two for watching their prey and one that senses light and lets them know which way is up. Your Triops World kit includes a clear plastic tank and lid, triops eggs, triops food and sand.
Rinse the tank with either bottled spring water or clean rainwater. Place the tank on a flat, stable surface near sunlight or artificial light.
Fill the tank 3/4 full with a bottle of spring or clean rainwater. Allow the water to set until it reaches room temperature -- 22 degrees Celsius.
Open the packet marked "Eggs." Be careful not to spill the eggs since they are microscopic and will be impossible to find if lost.
Shake half of the packet evenly over the surface of the water. Save the remaining half to hatch at a later date.
Wait 24 hours for the triops to hatch. At first, they will be too small to see; however, after two to three days, they will become clearly visible.
Keep the water at a steady room temperature and provide a minimum of 12 hours of light each day. If there is not enough light or heat in the room, place the tank underneath a desk lamp.
Let the triops feed from the detritus, or egg sack, for the first two days. Do not feed them within this period -- the detritus contains all the essential nutrients they need.
Use a spoon to remove the detritus skim from the surface of the water on the third day. Discard the skim, then wash your hands and the spoon thoroughly.
Open the food packet carefully and sprinkle a few granules of food over the surface of the water. Feed your triops every two days, increasing the amount of food as they grow. One, adult-size triops should get a very small pinch of food every two days. Be careful not to overfeed your triops, as this may kill them.
Change the water every two weeks to prevent a smelly, dirty or slimy tank. Start by carefully pouring out half of the water. Then, fill the tank with room temperature bottled or clean rainwater. Repeat this process several times to improve the clarity of the water.
Open the bag of sand after three weeks. Carefully pour the sand into the tank. Triops enjoy digging in the sand, plus the sand will help keep the water clean.
Pour out the water once all the triops have died. These critters have a normal lifespan of six to 12 weeks, during which they lay eggs in the sand. Leave the sand in the tank and allow it to dry out for a month. After a month, add room temperature water to the tank to hatch the second generation eggs.
The best time to grow your Triops is during the spring and summer when the temperature is warm and there are more daylight hours. Triops require 12 hours of light per day to hatch and must be kept at a steady room temperature of 380 degrees Celsius. Adult guidance is highly recommended. Triops are totally harmless to humans. They do not bite, sting or harm you in any way. Always wash your hands after handling triops eggs, food and water. Some of the detritus, or egg sack, may stick to the inside of the tank above the water level. To dislodge this, wash down the inside of the tank with room temperature water. You can substitute high quality fish food granules if you run out of food.
Do not use tap water. The chlorine in it will kill the Triops. Never place the tank in direct sunlight. Rinse your eye out immediately should you get any tank water in your eyes. Hold your eye open and rinse thoroughly for five minutes. Keep the tank away from small children. Flush dirty tank water down the toilet, not the sink.