My Pet Zooplankton?

When possible, I like to give my children opportunities to observe nature up-close. We’ve brought worms, butterflies, frogs and fish in our home to observe.  Recently my 14yr. old found a package of Triops at our local craft store asked if she could raise them.  Being the awesome homeschool mom that I am, I gladly forked over the money to get them along with my 40% off coupon. ;)

triops: spelloutloud

I figured it would kind of be like Sea Monkeys right? So we purchased it and started our little Triops experiment. I thought this observation activity would be a perfect assignment to add to her biology study too.

Observing Triops

triops suppliess

You will need:

Triops eggs
spring water with no minerals, reverse osmosis, deionization, or filtering

light source

small container

Once the eggs have hatched:

Triops food

carrot peels

light source

bigger container

viewing a Triops egg

I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to see what a Triops egg looks like under a microscope. They are very tiny! My daughter prepared a slide so that we could check the egg out.

microscope

Everyone in the family got to look. That is the one perk about homeschooling–my toddler and high-schooler can work on the same activity!

triops under the microscope: SpellOutloud

This is what we saw. I think the slide cover might have squished the contents a little.

What in the world are triops?

Triops are also known as dinosaur shrimp or tadpole shrimp. They are crustaceans that are found in fresh water. Triops eggs can survive being completely dehydrated and will continue to grow again once conditions are favorable (which is why you can buy them in a packet.) Here’s a link that goes into more detail: My Triops.

Triops need their water to be a consistent temperature– around 74- 76 degrees. Once your water has reached the right temperature, pour some of the eggs in the bowl of water (reserve some for later just in case they don’t hatch.) These eggs also need light– a combination of a natural light source and a lamp work best. The eggs will start to hatch within 48 hours. The package directions will tell you when to start feeding them.

It is amazing to see these little creatures grow! Ours got to be the size of a penny before they succumbed to an untimely death (they are hard to keep alive.)  After reading more about triops and seeing pictures on how big these things can get– I was glad ours expired! ;)

Triops Resources:

Triops worksheets – nice one that shows the parts of a triops.

Triops observation sheet- print off several to include in a notebook

*most information sources are secular in nature and teach that triops lived around 350 million years ago. You may need to filter according to your beliefs.

If zooplankton isn’t your thing, you might want to check out my post at The Homeschool Scientist on raising butterflies.

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