Originally Posted by ThorAndGhost
I have absolutely no idea if those other fish can or will (or should) eat brine shrimp, but I know my bettas love them!
So here's the scoop: You need brine shrimp eggs. This is essentially the grainy brown stuff you get in the sea monkey packages. You can order them online or find them in many petstores and aquarium specialty shops.
Next, you need aquarium salt. Brine shrimp are saltwater creatures and so, you need some of this stuff to make them happy and to allow them to survive.
Next, you need an air pump, a hose and an air stone. You can also buy brine shrimp hatchery devices that allow you to hook the air pump and the hose directly to it without the stone (Also makes separating the egg remains from the shrimp a lot easier) but if you're on a low budget, you can forgo the fancy stuff and make do with a flashlight (I'll explain why you need this later on). You'll also need a turkey baster, another container, some coffee filters, and brine shrimp food (optional).
Okay, so I'm Canadian, so my measurements will be in metric , but I will convert as much as I can for you to the Imperial system.
Get a container, fill it with a litre of water. (I think that's about 1/4 of a gallon, but you may want to double check). Add to that 2 tablespoons of the sea salt, and mix well. You may also want to add a touch of water conditioner, since the water is likely to be chlorinated.
Next, put in about a tablespoon of brine shrimp eggs, and put in the air stone. You'll notice that the air stone is so strong for a container of water this size, that it essentially send the eggs flying like they're in a blender. That's fine, we need to saturate them in salt water anyway. I usually let the container be like this for about 16 hours.
About 16-24 hours later, the first little troopers will hatch. Now, you need to remove the stone, let everything settle, and get your flashlight. Brine shrimp are attracted to light, so once everything settles, it's easy to lure the little away from the empty egg shells and the unhatched eggs. At this point you have a few options.
A) The lazy way: Suck the little guys up in the turkey baster along with their salt water and feed them to mister betta. Small doses of salt don't hurt a betta, so knock yourself out. But don't rely on this technique because it's difficult to assess the quantity of salt you're putting into the betta tank!
B)The fancy way: Place a coffee filter onto the new container, fill up your turkey baster and separate the salt water from the hatched brine shrimp, then rinse them off and feed them to your fishies. The shrimp will still swim around and give your little guy a bit of a chase, but it's more time consuming.
Perosnally, I perfer method B.
Now here's the down side: brine shrimp at this stage aren't that big, and you need a lot of them to give your betta decent sized snack. You can wait a few more days until they grow a bit (they live off their yolk sac for the first few days of their lives) but this meal lacks a good deal of nutrients and it's kind of like giving them empty calories. I give them brine shrimp at this stage more as a treat than anything else.
Now, if you want to use brine shrimp as a healthy snack, you've got to FEED the brine shrimp. This gets complicated.
First, before feeding them, you need to change their water. They've been sitting in mucky, egg shell infested water for some time, and they need a nicer, cleaner place to grow. Whip up another batch of water and sea salt in the same quantities as above, and do the coffe filter trick to gather all your little guys while leaving their shells behind.
Remember to oxegenate the water, because unlike bettas, they'll die without the air stone.
Slap the little guys in from your coffee filter (no need to rinse).
Feed them brine shrimp food, preferably in powder form.
Wait a few days and BAM - healthy snacks! :)