FAQ on Sick and Dying Sea Monkeys

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Last updated on 8 June 2008

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Q.When do sea monkeys die? Can they really live up to two years? A. Yes, they can live that long, but sometimes they just die when they feel like it. I know this sounds sarcastic but it’s true. Sea Monkeys can die of Sea Monkey illness or when they reach the end of their lives. I don’t know how long a Sea Monkey can live for, and I have been asked many times, but you can extend their life span by feeding them, not eating them, and treating them with love. Keep them from becoming bored by singing to them or teaching them tricks!
Q. I noticed three little bodies at the bottom of my Micro-Vue Ocean Zoo last week. They were kind of dark coloured. Are these dead Sea-Monkeys or just the moulted shells? What do dead Sea-Monkeys look like? A. Sea Monkeys do moult their shells but, in short, what you are seeing are dead little Sea Monkeys. The shells are generally transparent/white in colour and eventually turn into the “gunk” you see on the bottom of your tank. They will do this up to seven times during their lifetimes. If you see a body with a black streak in them, this is a Sea Monkey (the black streak in their bodies indicate that they have food in their digestive system). Dead Sea Monkeys look live Sea Monkeys that are not moving. They eventually decay but I am not going into this here – it is just too gross.
Q. My Sea Monkey is just sitting at the bottom of the tank, moving very little. Is there anything I can do to save it? A. Yes, there are a few things….You can move the Sea Monkey to a clean glass with some of the water from the tank and isolate it there. I usually aerate this glass regularly — as often as I remember during the day — and hope that it recovers. If you have some Sea Medic, you can add that to the glass as well. Then wait and hope!
Q. All my Sea Monkeys are swimming quite sadly around the tank. Are they sick? Are they dying? What can I do? A. You can try a few things before you decide they are sick:
1. Feed them! You’d be surprised at how this perks them up!
2. Aerate them! (see above for Sea Monkey reaction!)
3. Put them in the sun (once again, they’ll perk up.)
If you have done these things and nothing happens, then the only solution is “Sea Monkey Medic!” I know, you have to send away for it and you probably don’t have some around the house, but that’s really the only other solution. I suggest that you have this on hand at all times — it has saved many of my tanks, believe me!
Q. One of my Sea Monkeys is black and isn’t moving much…What does this mean? A. There are two possibilities here:
1. Your Sea Monkey is dead and the black is a result of the decomposition process.
2. Your Sea Monkey is dying. Sometimes — rarely — when a Sea Monkey tries to shed its shell, it doesn’t come off all the way. The Sea Monkey will find its innards exposed to the world. The old, unshed shell will turn black as it is dying, and the Sea Monkey is not long for this world. As a note, there is nothing you can do here. No amount of Sea Medic in the world can save this poor Sea Monkey. But remember — this is indeed rare.
Q. There is some fluffy white cotton ball type stuff in the tank. What is this and what can I do? A. This is evil bacteria, the scourge of the tank, and you need to remove it as soon as possible. Get out the Aqua Leash or a spoon and remove it from the tank. If you have some Sea Medic, get some into the tank immediately. If you don’t, then you can leave the tank the way it is — providing you’ve removed the white things — and make sure you aerate it quite a lot over the next few days. If you want further protection, you can clean the tank as per the instructions found on the Cleaning FAQ page
Q. There are black spots all over my tank! I know they aren’t eggs because they are really obvious and they are sticking to everything! What is this and what can I do? A. This is another form of bacteria. Again, remove the Sea Monkeys to clean out the tank. Scrub this tank hard to get the black stuff off the walls and floor of the tank. You will need to run the water through a coffee filter as per these instructions on the Cleaning FAQ page and be warned that you will lose babies and algae when doing this. Then return the Sea Monkeys back to the tank. If you have Sea Medic, add it now. And feed them now because you have removed the algae. Aerate them like silly. If the black stuff returns, complete this process again.