When my children were younger, they used to love it when I told them stories about my own childhood, growing up on a farm in Fraserwood, Manitoba; especially some of the more unusual things I saw or did. In one of these stories, I talked about slogging around one of our ponds with one of my brothers, and finding these strange creatures in the water. They looked somewhat like horseshoe crabs, but were really small. I distinctly remember picking one up out of the water and my brother and I examining it, with its semi-transparent carapace, long tail and wiggly-wiggly "legs." What these creatures were, we had no idea, and I don't remember ever seeing them again.
I was very young when this happened and unsure of my memory, so when I talked to my older sister soon after telling my girls about these creatures, I asked if she remembered them, too. She did, and was able to remember details I hadn't, and we spent some time talking about them, wondering what they were.
By pure coincidence, several days later, I happened to go into H.P. Tergesen in Gimli. Wandering into the books and toys section, I looked up onto a shelf and there, looking back at me, where the very creatures I had just been talking about with my sister! They were images on a kit, and I immediately bought it.
Thus was my formal introduction to the triop, a type of crustacean whose fossil record goes back 300 million years! These wonderful creatures have a number of interesting physical attributes, such as the three eyes that give them their name, and are fascinating to watch as they scuttle along the bottom of their tank, or twist and whirl in the water. I was semi-successful growing triops with that first kit I found, with one triop surviving to grow quite large. A move or two later, I found another, smaller kit and was able to grow several generations of triops, much to the fascination of our cat.
My children are grown, now, but I have never lost my fascination with triops, though the local availability of kits waxes and wanes. This year, while looking for gifts for others, I saw a particular kit that delighted me every time, much to the amusement of my children. Sadly, my budget was for other things, not treats for myself, so I had to leave them on the shelf.
You could probably imagine my excitement when I found a triops kit under the tree this year! This kit is the Toyops Triops Space Age Tank, and I am thrilled with it! The tank itself is much larger than any other kit I've had, though its sleek design has more economy of space. The kit has all the tools needed to grow the 100 eggs it comes with (though not all at once!), and the tank has a special hatching tray and removable observation station. I was rather pleased to note that the tank was designed to include a drainage port; something that would have made previous kits I've had much easier to take care of. Needed in addition to what's in the kit is spring water (NOT distilled, filtered or otherwise treated water) and some grated carrot.
Now I just have to find a good spot to set up my new triops tank. Preferably somewhere the cats can't get at it! Watching these creatures brings up some wonderful, if somewhat messy, childhood memories - and a healthy dose of curiousity as to why they were growing in one of our ponds!
I can hardly wait!
Some extra eggs and nutrient packs, for when you eventually run out of what comes in the large kit.
Yes, I've grown Sea Monkeys, too!
Word of advice. Don't leave the tank on a sunny window sill. !!!
Here are some interesting and informative videos about triops. Check out the triop queen one in particular - look at those little "legs" go!!