Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp A Comparison.
Care & Breeding

Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp: A Comparison

In this article, we will discuss Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp in detail.
Shrimps are something that everyone likes to eat. Shrimps are popular among humans and also fishes like to eat shrimp. 

They make good and healthy food for both humans and fish. They are many varieties of shrimp. Some of the popular aquarium shrimp pets are fairy shrimps and brine shrimps. 

Today we are going to see the differences between both of these. 

Introduction to Brine Shrimp and Fairy Shrimp

Brine shrimp

Brine shrimps belong to the species Artemia Salina. They inhabit saline waters around the world. They are basically Small Crustaceans. There are many varieties of Brine shrimps, but all of them belong to a single species under a single genus called Artemis. They have compound eyes and tapered bodies. They consist of a trunk that is attached to eleven pairs of leaflike legs. 

You won’t be able to find them in oceans but they can definitely be found in many bodies of water across the world, especially inland saltwater lakes. The best thing about them is they easily adapt to fluctuations in the salinity of water. Since they are small in size, they become very easy prey to larger fishes and this is the reason they are not found in oceans.

Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp A Comparison.
Brine Shrimp

Brine shrimps basically flourish in inland habitats which are high in salinity, and places where their predators do not live.

Fairy shrimp

Fairy shrimp is a very beautiful translucent crustacean. They are temporary pond species and their life cycle is quite unique. They live in freshwater vernal pools and they usually stay on the bottom. They are slow swimmers. Their size is between 0.5 to 2 inches. They feed on algae, flatworm eggs, and Arcella which is basically a type of amoeba that has holes through their centers. They tend to mate between April and May. Male fairy shrimps die shortly after mating, on the other hand, females live until the pool completely dries up. 

Some of the famous fairy shrimp are

  • Colorado fairy shrimp
  • Kaibab fairy shrimp
  • Spinytail fairy shrimp
  • Beavertail fairy shrimp
  • Rock Pool fairy shrimp
  • New Mexico fairy shrimp
  • Knobbedlip fairy shrimp

Since now we know the basic information about Fairy shrimp and Brine shrimp so let’s dive into the topic. 

Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp A Comparison.
Fairy Shrimp

Are Fairy Shrimp and Brine Shrimp the same?

No, they are not at all the same!! At first glance, they might look similar but they have many significant differences. They have differences in their colors, habitats, size, etc 

They have only one similarity which is their appetite. Both of them have a strong appetite they literally eat anything that comes their way like plants, algae, bacteria, and tiny species.

Let’s check out their differences in detail to know more about them. 

Different habitats

Both of them have completely different habitats. In the wild fairy shrimps are found in cold lakes and other bodies of water across the globe. On the other hand, brine shrimp is a saltwater creature. This is one of the major differences between them.

Differ in Size

Both fairy shrimp and brine shrimp differ in size. They do look similar but fairy shrimps start from half an inch long to one whole inch in lengthwise, On the other hand, brine shrimps tend to grow up to only 0.3 inches or around; in easy words, a quarter of an inch at most. 

Water conditions are not the same

Brine shrimps and fairy shrimps have different water conditions. Fairy shrimps mentioned above are freshwater creatures and they need a pH level of 7.0 to 7.6 

Brine shrimps are saltwater creatures and they need a pH between 7.5 – 8.0

Scientific name

Both of them have a different scientific name which differentiates them from each other. The scientific name of Fairy Shrimp is Anostraca. The scientific name of Brine shrimp is Artemia. 

These are the four major differences between brine shrimp and fairy shrimp. 

Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp A Comparison.
Fairy Shrimp


What is another name for brine shrimp?

The scientific name of Brine shrimp is Artemia so Brine shrimp is also known as Artemia. Brine shrimps are saltwater creatures.

Why are they called brine shrimp?

Brine shrimps are not really shrimps, but they are called brine shrimps because they look like shrimp. Another reason is because they live in salty water which is also known as brine.

Why are they called fairy shrimp?

They are called fairy shrimps due to their tiny size and glassy or semi-transparent bodies. They live only in the seasonal rain ponds which are also called vernal pools of central California.

What is special about fairy shrimp?

Fairy shrimp have delicate broad bodies,  compound eyes, no shells, and they have eleven pairs of swimming legs. Fairy shrimps swim beautifully upside down. They swim by their legs which move in a wavelike motion passing from the front to the back of their beautiful body.

How long do brine shrimp live?

Some of the expert fish enthusiasts say the brine shrimps can live up to 6 months so they have a lifespan of 6 months.

What is fairy shrimp lifespan 

vernal pool fairy shrimp has a lifespan of 91 days on average. These fairy shrimps can be found in vernal pools from the start of November mostly, and they will complete their complete life cycle by early May most probably.

Can brine shrimp live in tap water?

I don’t recommend this because tap water contains harmful disinfectants, like chlorine and chloramines, which may stop or completely prevent brine shrimp cysts from hatching.

What fish eat brine shrimp?

Brine shrimps are a source of food for many fishes. You can feed brine shrimps to Bettas, neon tetras, cory catfish, kuhli loach etc

In short words, many fishes like to eat brine shrimps. 

What Do Brine Shrimps Eat?

Brine shrimps eat small planktonic Algae in the wild. You can also feed them with yeast, wheat flour, soybean powder, or egg yolk as a treat as these items are full of proteins. 

What is the life cycle of fairy shrimps?

After the process of hatching, fairy shrimps live only for about six to eight weeks. But when the fairy shrimps are in their cysts and if they are preserved well enough, they can even survive longer before hatching again.

To explain further, Fairy shrimp basically have four main stages in their life cycle. Their eggs don’t do anything until the cyst is hatched into the larvae when water levels are risen up, and this can happen at any time of year but most commonly it happens during winter time or it can happen early spring because that’s normally when it rains heavily and it immerses ponds where fairy shrimps are living.

Now when they break out from their eggshells, little creatures called metanauplii emerge with legs and they swim around right away. They eat algae all day before they turn into adults after a week.

In short, Fairy shrimps have a quite short life cycle of up to three weeks only. Once their pool dries up, it’s done for fairy shrimps. But they can lay their eggs and if the rain comes back to fill the beautiful pools with water again, there will be hope for them to hatch safely.

How can we recognize Fairy Shrimps?

Fairy shrimps are beautiful creatures and they come in many different colors, like orange and red. The obvious thing in them is their stalked eyes and 11 legs which are also known as phyllopod, and they swim upside-down which is the main behavior we can notice in them. Another main thing about them is they don’t have a carapace.

What is the smallest fairy shrimp?

Midvalley fairy shrimp which is also called Branchinecta mesovallensis, is a tiny creature that is 7–20 millimeters or 0.28–0.79 inches in size. It is native to shallow transitory pools.

How can we Store Fairy Shrimp Eggs?

Basically, their eggs dry out when you remove the bottom pan from the water.  So you must store their eggs in tightly-sealed containers when they are thoroughly dried. Also, it should be moisture-free to store for about a year at normal room temperature.

How can we  Breed Brine Shrimp?

It is quite easy to Breed Brine shrimp if they are in the right conditions. But let me tell you one important thing that, many of them will die before even reaching their maturity age when they are in captivity.

When humans breed Brine shrimp, they are only able to raise the larva for one day or two in order to harvest baby brine shrimp. Also, these larvae are great food sources for your aquarium fish fry so you may find them in many pet stores.

The best thing is Brine shrimp are very cheap and an excellent food source. 

Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp A Comparison.
Brine Shrimp


Fairy shrimp which is a freshwater creature and Brine shrimp which is a saltwater creature are completely different from each other. They might have a slightly similar look but their features and characteristics are different from each other. Their habitats, their requirements are different and these reasons set them apart from each other. Both of them are quite famous and they are also popular aquarium shrimp pets. Many people love to have them as their pets. 

Brine Shrimp vs Fairy Shrimp: A Comparison
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