Triops, of the Notostraca family, are the “living fossils” of crustaceans. Earning their names by having three eyes and dating back as far as the age of dinosaurs. These pets are some of the easiest to care for. Given the right food and lighting, Triops can hatch and quickly grow 1-3 inches.
Though they naturally inhabit ponds all over the world, they can be purchased from almost any toy shop in starter kits. What's included in the kit can vary, but generally they come with a small container to keep them in, the water conditioner, and always the eggs and food. You should buy the full kit since the container is the size they need to be hatched in, but once they begin to grow, they should be moved to a bigger aquarium, allowing a half gallon, per triop.
A filter isn't needed as Triops can keep their very own ecosystem going, but to ensure excellent water quality, good health, and appearances, a filter can be used. Always remember, a 10 times turnover rate is always the standard for good filtration.
A heater is needed, but always be sure to keep the temperature between 72-86 degrees and five watts per gallon of your aquarium.
A gravel vac is needed to get rid of some of the uneaten food and debris that settles to the bottom of the tank.
Though it isn't needed, substrate is a benefit if you plan to raise more than one generation since any eggs laid will be buried under it and can't be eaten by any of the other inhabitants of the aquarium. Any substrate that is safe for freshwater fish can be used, however, soil is what they are naturally around when in the pond, but gravel and sand will work just as fine. Another benefit to adding substrate is that Triops dig for their food in the wild, so having this would allow them to perform their normal eating habits.
When hatching, the water used should have no minerals or any harmful chemicals. As they get older, however, their water should have minerals to help harden their exoskeleton, while harmful chemicals should still be absent. When using tap water, a dechlorinator should always be used to remove the chemicals.
The water's pH should never go below 6.0 or higher than 10.0, with 7.0-9.0 being the optimum range.
Triops are always hungry, and virtually blind, so they will eat almost anything that they bump into while searching for food at the bottom of the aquarium. They should be fed at least twice a day, but possibly more as they get larger. They eat anything from vegetation to meat, but there are things you have to do prepare the food for them.
You can peel a carrot and shave a few fragments off for them to eat. Though nothing else is required to be done to the carrot, boiling the fragments in water for a few minutes will make it much easier for them eat it. The exact same steps can be used for potatoes and lettuce.
For meat, small earthworms or bloodworms, which can be purchased from your local pet shop, are favorites of Triops. Also, daphnia, flies, and brine shrimp will work. If you feed them brine shrimp, however, be sure to rinse the salt off of them before putting them into the tank with the Triops. All frozen foods should be thawed in a separate container, with tank water. Strain the food through a brine shrimp net before putting it in the tank to avoid unessential contamination.
Other commercial fish food, such a baby fish powder can be fed to the baby Triops. As adults, any pellet or prepackaged food is fine as long as it has a good balance between fish, oil, and plants.