Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Sea Monkey Project

How many of you are familiar with Sea Monkeys? When I was a kid, they were advertised on the back page of every Archie comic book. Oh bonus, I just found the ad! Check it out!

Sea Monkeys are a type of brine shrimp that can be grown in a small (12 oz.) plastic aquarium with minimal maintenance. The eggs can remain in suspended animation for years. The kit provides a pouch of eggs and "plasma" (a powder that prepares the water), a year's supply of food (they don't need much), and presto! Just add water, and you have instant "pets".

Some people may feel that a shrimp does not qualify as a pet any more than a "pet rock" or a "pet grape" or whatever. Well, ladies and gents, I will soon be able to offer my expert opinion. Welcome to my Sea Monkeys experiment, day 4.

As of this morning, there are at least three Sea Monkey babies wiggling madly in the little tank, each of them half the length of a comma. (The aquarium has built in magnifying bulges on one side, but I still get eyestrain if I watch them for too long.) They're supposed to grow to be 3/4" long, and have lots and lots of babies of their own.

I'm hoping that more eggs will hatch. Three little shrimpies do not constitute a "colony". I am caring for them as best I can, bubbling air into their water twice a day for oxygen, and keeping them out of direct sunlight. They only need to be fed once a week, so I haven't opened the food pouch yet.

I've got to tell you, it's pretty exciting to see life, no matter how small, emerge from a pouch of powder and two cups of water. I like watching the little guys propelling themselves around. When they were first hatched they didn't swim so much as flex spasmodically. Now they're swimming with direction and purpose. I don't know where they're going, in that little tank with nothing else in it, but they seem to have a plan.

To be continued!


Kate said...

I kid you not. I was JUST thinking about sea monkeys last weekend! I'm jealous!

Juniper said...

Wow, I have never heard of these! maybe we don't have them here in the UK, quite likely.

They sound like great timewasters to watch wiggling around.. though I did think you were going to say something about 'growing your own shrimp cocktail' ;-)


DarcKnyt said...

Okay, I was just talking to Falcon about this about three days ago -- the Sea Monkeys ad in comic books.


I'm looking forward to seeing how yours do. When I was a kid, mine died before they ever hatched, I think. I never saw any. Never ordered 'em again either.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Sea Monkey (SM) #1: The air breather is back.

SM #2: The Creator!!!

SM #3: No!! We must grow our numbers and in time we will be powerful...

SM #1: The air breathers eyes have crossed and looks as if she is in pain!

SM #3: Heck.... we may be more powerful than we know already!

SM #2: You mock the creator!!! DIE!!!

SM #3: ARRRRRGGGGG!!! you have killed me....

SM# 4 - 16,000: Hello... we are legion....

Scarlet Ily said...

I just finished working on a project about shrimp with my son and this would've been perfect to include in his collage!

I remember reading this ad when I was a kid and being fascinated, but my parents would never think of buying such things. I am so curious to see how it all works and my son just checked out the video on the website and wants to order some. Where did you find the aquarium? Is it part of the kit?

Sparkling Red said...

Kate: No way! You know, you can order a kit off the website, if you want...

Juniper: Yes, I believe they are a North American phenomenon. And unfortunately they do not come with shrimp sauce. ;-)

DarcKnyt: Indeed, there is a Sea Monkey vibe in the air! I also tried to get them going when I was young, but nothing happened. I'm not sure why. I was too young to do it myself, so I guess my nanny is to blame. ;-)

Ron: LOL Do you think they'll find a way to communicate and cooperate with the squirrels?

Scarlet Ily: Yes, the aquarium serves as the box that holds the rest of the kit items. I believe it's all packaged together as a "starter kit" on the website, or something like that. I got mine as a gift from a friend.

WhatIGotSoFar said...

Can't wait to hear about the sea monkeys.

I love monkeys. All monkeys are awesome.

Lynn said...

I can remember seeing ads for these in back of comic books. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Jenski said...

Sounds like fun to watch!!

Jameil said...

Lol. Don't hate me... but before you said how small they are, when you said shrimp, I thought, "Can you eat them?" I'm sayin... growing your own meat? SO resourceful! I have no interest in doing this but keep us posted. Will you name them individually or as a colony?

DarcsFalcon said...

How cool! I always wanted to get some when I was a kid, but was never permitted. I did get the magic rocks though, those were cool. But Sea Monkeys! Now I can say I know someone who has them. :D

Just Plain Tired said...

I remember those ads. And yes they'd fall into the pet category. And much easier to care for than other pets. No leashes or daily walks, and stuff. ;)

Sparkling Red said...

WIGSF: Don't you worry. The Sea Monkeys Project will be fully documented on this blog. Check Twitter for more frequent updates. :-)

Lynn: My pleasure!

Jenski: They're entrancing. I work with someone who has had Sea Monkeys for a while. Her kids will sit and eat their dinner at the table patiently, if the Sea Monkeys aquarium is in front of them to entertain them. If not, they get bored within 5 minutes.

Jameil: They're pretty small. I don't think they'd make for good eatin', although they're probably technically edible. If there's any way of telling them apart I might name them, when they get bigger.

DarcsFalcon: Magic rocks?!?

JPT: They don't make any noise either. Or barf on the floor, or beg for scraps. They're ideal!

LL Cool Joe said...

Yeah we had the whole kit and we never managed to create a Sea Monkey!