Live Mysis shrimps are extremely high in nutritional value for all medium to larger fresh and saltwater aquarium fish. Mysis shrimp induce an energetic feeding response in even finicky aquarium fish. Mysis shrimp boast naturally higher fatty acid profiles and Omega-3’s than enriched brine shrimp.
Mysids are small shrimp-like crustaceans with a heavy carapace covering their thorax and can grow to 1 cm in length. Adapted to life in estuaries, these tough, hardy crustaceans can withstand a wide range of salinity and temperatures. Mysidopsis species are omnivorous and cannibalistic, feeding on diatoms and small crustaceans such as copepods.
These crustaceans are commonly called possum shrimp because the females carry their developing young in a bulging pouch or marsupium formed by at the base of their legs. Females can carry broods of up 30 fry in their pouches, although 6 or 7 is the normal brood size. The young mysids are not released until they are well-developed juveniles. Each fry is approximately 4-to-5 times bigger than newly-hatched Artemia nauplii (baby brine shrimp). Females produce young continuously, refilling their pouch with eggs as soon as their latest brood is released. The juvenile Mysids will reach their adult size of 1 inch (1.25 cm) in about 3 weeks, creating a new generation every 30 days. Male mysids are slightly larger than female mysids and are readily identifiable by their conspicuous absence of the white brood pouch.
It should be stressed that culturing Mysids is a fairly labor-intensive project; however mysid culture can be accomplished by anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Please read Jay Hemdal’s or Frank Marini & Martin Moe’s articles for more info about mysis shrimp (background, culturing, and other information).
Storage, or holding live mysis shrimp at cold temperatures, is a way of preserving the nutritional quality while maintaining a live food. Place the bags in the refrigerator. The mysis shrimp should remain alive for a few days for later feedings. Simply pour the mysis shrimp into a fine mesh net, rinse with fresh water, and feed. Uneaten mysis shrimp will not foul your aquarium, but do feed according to your aquatic animals and aquarium size.