Feeding Triops: How to feed the Triops correctly?

Questions of correct feeding and optimal nutrition are at the forefront of Triops breeding. Not only for beginners but also for advanced breeders it is not always easy to judge how, what, when and how much to feed. „What should the Triops eat? When and how often should I feed them? What food do I need to buy to give my Triops the best food?“. When it comes to feeding, one of the most important pieces of advice is that you should not overfeed your Triops. As a rule of thumb, less is more! Here you will learn how to feed the Triops in the first days of life until sexual maturity. You will also learn how a varied, protein-rich diet can keep your Triops healthy and active and how best to feed your Triops.

Feeding Triops: Triops are omnivores

Triops are known as omnivores. They gnaw on plants or dig in the sand all day looking for food. They are also known for strong cannibalism. They like to eat their siblings, especially if there are too many fish in the aquarium. Even without enough protein-rich food, larger Triops will eat their smaller and weaker siblings. Cannibalism can be curbed by a protein-rich diet in the form of live food such as worms. Triops have a very fast metabolism, which is one of the reasons why they eat too much.

Feeding triops: animal or vegetable food?

The origin of Triops reveals their nutritional requirements. We will look at the feeding habits of Triops species using the two most common Triops species – Triops longicaudatus and Triops cancriformis – as examples.

Triops longicaudatus feed mainly on insects, but also tadpoles. They do not eat much plant food. For this reason, care must be taken when feeding Triops that eat mainly animal food. A solid guideline is 60% plant food, which can be earthworms or other live food.

Triops cancriformis, on the other hand, needs more plant food. You should feed this Triops species mainly with plant food. Aquatic plants and duckweed are ideal plants for this purpose. You should also feed Triops with vegetables such as carrots or cucumbers. Be careful to balance the amount here so as not to feed too much!

Overfeeding: the fatal consequences

In the early days, many breeders made the mistake of feeding too much. We humans are social and supportive and therefore do not want our animals to starve. Many breeders think that they have to overfeed the Triops so that they don’t starve. As a result, they mean too well and overfeeding occurs.

If there is too much food, it can remain on the bottom of the aquarium, decompose and release dangerous contaminants such as nitrite and nitrate. The rapid decline in water quality means certain death for the Triops. Inexperienced breeders tend to overfeed their Triops. It must be made clear here:

Triops are more likely to die from overfeeding than from starvation due to underfeeding!

You should feed your Triops, but not overfeed them. Don’t worry, if you give them a little less food, they won’t starve. Overfeeding can affect the water and the delicate ecosystems in the aquarium. Food should not be left on the bottom for too long. As a rule of thumb, if food is not eaten within an hour, it should be removed from the aquarium.

Triops can suffer severe digestive disorders from eating spoiled food.

What do Triops eat? Food types

Triops require different types of food depending on the stage they are in. For the first three days, the nauplii are not fed at all, as they feed on the yolk sac. From three days onwards, nauplii should be fed very fine food such as spirulina powder or chlorella powder. After four days of feeding with spirulina or chlorella, Triops were fed decapsulated Artemia eggs for a ten-day transition period, as they are still too small to eat solid food. Only then do they get solid food, such as pellets or live food.

Young animal food: spirulina powder and chlorella powder

Do not feed the primeval crabs for the first three to four days. Since they do not have teeth to process their food in the first days of life, Triops feed through the yolk sac. Triops obtain food from nutrients and bacteria in the water. You should only feed them for the first time after 48 hours. Spirulina powder and chlorella powder are best for young Triops.

Spirulina Algae Powder

Spirulina algae powder provides Triops with optimal nutrition in the first days of life. It consists of about 60% protein and carbohydrates and 10% fat, which makes it perfect for young triops.

How long and how often to feed?

The Triops are fed the fine juvenile food (spirulina powder) over a period of four days. It is fed three times a day. A toothpick tip of spirulina powder is sufficient. After the spirulina powder has been diluted with water in a test tube, it is added to the tank with a pipette.

Transitional food: Decapsulated Artemia eggs

After the Triops have been fed with the Spirulina powder or Chlorella powder for four days, you should not immediately switch to solid food. As the solid food is still too big for Triops and the Spirulina powder is no longer sufficient as food, cannibalism occurs massively and other food has to be used. For this reason, decapsulated Artemia eggs are suitable for a ten-day transition period. They have a higher nutritional value than spirulina powder, but are smaller and more digestible than granulated food, which is used as solid food and staple diet from about 14 days. Decapsulated Artemia eggs contain many vitamins, high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Decapsulated Artemia eggs

How long and how often to feed?

Artemia eggs are given within 10 days. The Triops should be fed with the decapsulated Artemia eggs three times a day, one or two toothpick tips are quite sufficient. This food is fed undiluted compared to spirulina powder.

Staple food / Adult food


Pellets and granules food is ideal as a staple food for Triops. It is mainly granular food that is used as floating and sinking food. Triops Galaxy sets contain granular food that sinks quickly to the bottom.

Food sticks
Granulated food

How long and how often to feed?

Adult Triops are fed between 3 and 4 times a day, preferably one to two pellets per animal in the morning, at noon and in the evening. If you cannot feed Triops for professional reasons, you can use an automatic feeder. This can also be used during holiday absences.

Food tablets

Food tablets are also ideal for Triops. They sink quickly to the bottom and do not rot so quickly. There is a wide range of different products on the market. Catfish tablets are particularly recommended.

Live food

The use of live food minimises cannibalism and gives the triops the necessary proteins and nutrients. To encourage the natural hunting instinct of the primeval crabs and to prolong their life span, you should feed them regularly with live food. The first choice is caterpillars and earthworms. You can collect these yourself in the wild. Worms of all kinds can also be bought directly from the trade.

You can give the Triops this live food:

  • Ciliates
  • Daphnia (water fleas)
  • Mosquito larvae (black, red, white)
  • Cyclops (jumping fish)
  • Silkworm pupae
  • Bosmids
  • Mealworms.

When feeding live food, it is important not to feed too much. Triops should not be fed live food and granulated food at the same time, as they cannot eat everything and the food rots. In addition, the water quality will deteriorate. Earthworms should not be bigger than Triops, as Triops can never eat them.

Fruit and vegetables

A balanced diet for the Triops always includes fruit and vegetables. You can feed all kinds of fruit and vegetables to the Triops, but you should not overdo it. With fruit, pay attention to the fructose, too much of it harms the primeval crabs.

These vegetables can be fed raw:

  • Celery
  • Red cabbage
  • courgette
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Garlic.

These types of fruit are also optimal for Triops:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Tangerines
  • Strawberries.

Pieces of boiled egg or raw bacon are also very good food for the Triops. You should always bear in mind that anything that is not eaten within an hour must be removed from the aquarium so as not to endanger the water values.