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TRIOPS - The Living Fossil


Before the dinosaurs, there were Triops. Fossil Triops more than 200 million years old have been discovered. By comparison, dinosaurs date back only about 60 million years...just 'youngsters' in terms of geologic time.

Triops are distant relatives of trilobites. Triops means three-eyes while the name trilobite means three lobed or three segments. Some 15 species of Triops have been identified in North America, Europe and Australia. What is amazing is that they have not changed very much during the millions of years they existed.

Our Triops longicaudatus are commonly called tadpole shrimp. They are a crustaceous branchiopod found in the hot, dry deserts of the southwestern United States.

These critters will grow to a length of approximately 2 inches during their 30 - 90 day life cycle. They are not those boring little brine shrimp you see so often, but real survivors that appear today much as their distant ancestors - the trilobites - did during the Triassic Period

Triops eggs are extremely small - invisible to the naked eye - and can remain viable for years under the harshest climatic conditions. That is how the Triops have managed to survive for so long.

Triops Kits

All you need to grow these critters is a packet of our Triops matrix, a jar or similar container to use as an aquarium, a light to keep them warm, and you're in business. For more detailed information about growing Triops, check out the information below.

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Item # Item Description Price
Triops & Fossil Kit - Grow a living fossil! Kit contains a packet of Triops Eggs with instructions & Triops food. In addition, this kit has 3 Authenic Marine fossils! A Fossil Trilobite, Fossil Brachiopod & Fossil Crinoid - with educational description and information about each fossil. Each kit has a 5X large sized Hand Lens and a colored Geologic Time Scale.

Note: Kit only available for sale in the US.

Living Fossil Kit - This kit contains a packet of our Triops Living Fossils (308A) PLUS ONE small Trilobite - an extinct relative of your Triops.

Note: Kit only available for sale in the US.

Living Fossils! - A packet of our Triops matrix. Ready to grow. Just add water.

Note: Kit only available for sale in the US.

Instructions for Growing Triops

Growing Triops is quite simple. You can use a small aquarium or just a plain old jar as a home for your Triops. More important than the container itself is to be certain it has been thoroughly rinsed since soap can be lethal to Triops. We recommend placing a layer of clean sand (available in most pet shops) in the bottom of your Triops tank. Fill the tank with warm tap water and THESE CRITTERS ARE FROM A DESERT ENVIRONMENT. THE WATER TEMPERATURE SHOULD BE MAINTAINED BETWEEN 75 AND 85 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT AT ALL TIMES. A favorable temperature can normally be maintained by placing a lamp with a 75-100 watt bulb next to the tank. Triops should get at least 12 hours of light per day so the lamp serves a dual purpose.

Your first Triops should hatch within about 12 hours. If you do not see any at first, be patient. They are extremely small when first hatched and it may be a couple of days before you are able to see the small, reddish-brown, "squiggly" larvae with your naked eye.

On about the fourth day that you can see them, you should begin feeding your Triops. A baker's yeast solution works well for starters. Prepare the solution by adding approximately 5 to 10 g (0.175 to 0.3 oz) of dried baker's yeast to 2 cups of warm water. Stir or shake it well, then add about 5 tablespoons of the solution to your Triops tank.

As the Triops grow, they will shed or "molt" their shells in order to grow a new, larger one. The molted shells will be eaten by the Triops.

NOTE: TRIOPS ARE CANNIBALISTIC! If they do not have enough food to eat, they will eat each other! It is important to keep enough food in the tank to keep that from happening.

As they grow larger, they will begin to feed on the bottom of the tank. When that occurs, you should begin feeding them the food pellets included with your Triops Kit. Place one or two pellets in warm water to soften them before adding them to your tank daily. If you run out of food, you can use regular goldfish pellets. CAUTION: DO NOT USE FOOD FLAKES OR PELLETS THAT FLOAT.

Triops are fun to watch. They enjoy swimming and will perform all kinds of underwater maneuvers including loops, high speed runs and even the backstroke. Triops actually breathe through their feet so when they are doing the backstroke on the surface, chances are they are taking on oxygen.


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