Tuesday, August 23, 2011


One of the coolest things we've done in our home school is to raise various creatures.  We really enjoyed raising caterpillars into butterflies.  We tried to do frogs, but the eggs we collected didn't hatch.  (We now think they may have been salamander eggs.)  Now we have a pet triops.

Isn't she cute!  These things are super fun to raise.  It takes about five days before you can see them, and when you do, they are no more than a white speck of dust under your hand lens.  You know it isn't dust because dust doesn't move like that.  They double in size daily (at least at the beginning), and before you know it, you have little creatures you can see swimming about.  Each morning (or each time you are away from home for several hours), you'll look into your little triops tank and be amazed that she visibly grew since the last time you saw her.

Our triops (only one of our survived) is about an inch and a half long at this point, and she is still fascinating.  She spends most of her time digging in the substrate at the bottom of the tank.  It's fun, though, to catch her swimming upside down.  Her legs are in a constant state of movement.  She's fun to watch.

Another nice thing is that they don't live very long: 20-90 days if their pool doesn't dry up.  There's no long term commitment.

There are a few minor negatives to growing a triops.  Initially, they may be difficult to hatch depending on your location.  They will not hatch if the water temperature is less than 73 degrees or more than 85 degrees.  Where we live, that means we must wait for summer and/or use a lamp to provide warmth.  I think that's why we only had one survive: we don't have a heat lamp.  They are also quite messy creatures.  The tank water gets dirty, and very dirty, quickly.  You need to stay on top of cleaning out the bottom of the tank with a medicine dropper and/or doing careful water changes.  If you don't, the water gets visibly filthy and smells quite fishy.  But other than that, they are a fun science observation project.  All of us have enjoyed watching her grow and move about.

You can get everything you need to grow triops except the water at one of my favorite homeschool websites: Home Science Tools.

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