Algae and Brine Shrimp
Nannochloropsis is a useful genus of algae found all around the planet in marine and brackish environments. The cultivation of Nannochloropsis is relatively simple and produces beautiful green cultures. Artemia is a genus of aquatic crustaceans also known as brine shrimp. Baby brine shrimp can either hatch from a cyst or are born live. Its life cycle is affected by salinity, water temperature, and food availability. In the wild, Artemia feed on algae. Their cysts hatch with the highest food availability. The emerging brine shrimp feed on the abundant algae to reach maturity, a process that takes 2-3 weeks depending on food availability and temperature. The algae and brine shrimp can happily live together by helping each other out!
Algae are primary Producers
Phytoplankton are algae that live suspended in water. They use nutrients and carbon dioxide to capture light energy and create new biomass through photosynthesis. Primary producers are organisms that can make new biomass from an energy source and raw materials called nutrients.
Artemia are grazers
Organisms that eat primary producers are called grazers. Phytoplankton biomass is usually the primary food for aquatic grazers, including zooplankton, like Artemia. Zooplankton are small, heterotrophic organisms that feed on phytoplankton and other zooplankton. Their feces contains nutrients that helps to support the algae. When they die, decomposers recycle their body into nutrients that also support their food source, the algae.