Sea monkey SOS

Folks, this post is slightly off-piste, but it’s a situation that has been preying on my mind of late. 

Around Christmas time, Rosie received a gift from her Australian cousins: a little aquarium, three sachets of powder, a set of wordless instructions, and some very misleading images of what you should expect at the end of your endeavours.

So misleading, in fact, that I assumed it was all a joke. I remember the ads for sea monkeys at the back of my Mad magazines when I was a kid. Even then, we assumed it was a scam.

But no. Within a few days, there were dozens of microscopic creatures darting about in the water. Quite a few of them perished in the intervening weeks. Three months later and there are three tiny white prawns (they’re brine shrimp) swimming about in the mucky water, ploughing through the sediment at the bottom of the mini tank, and spending days – yes days – mating at the top. Ugh.

I want to feel something that isn’t revulsion when I look at them. I mean, they’re harmless, really. Poor tiny things. They didn’t ask to be sold as novelty pets that, in most cases, probably end their lives down a toilet.

Rosie keeps looking at them and telling me I’m starving them to death. This is not true. It’s just that I forget to feed them from time to time. For a while, they were a healthy pink. Now they’re a ghostly white. Two of them have what might be egg cases attached to their nether regions. I think there is one male in there. Just typing about them is making my skin crawl.

Why the aversion? I don’t know. There’s something about the way they move, their translucent bodies and delicate bones. I want to give them away to a pet shop or aquarium enthusiast, but Ben has told me I’m being ridiculous. I know I’m not caring for them properly, but I can’t find any proper instructions on what to do if your sea monkeys actually live… for several months.

I’ve read they can survive for up to two years. This makes the hairs on my arms stand up. The problem is this: I am now responsible for these little lives. I can’t wilfully neglect them. I can’t flush them down the toilet, because they’re alive, they’re as alive as anyone else and deserve to live. But what kind of life is this?

Believe it or not, I was a little reluctant to write this post, fearing the good people at PETA might fire-bomb my home, or unleash a troll on my site. But if they really cared, they’d tell me what to do. What do I do? Do I put the little critters out of their misery now? Is there a home for sea monkeys that isn’t my toilet? Help!


9 thoughts on “Sea monkey SOS

  1. Hi. Can you stand goldfish? If so, go and buy a couple of them, and put them with your ‘creatures’. Hopefully, they will eat the ‘creatures’…and voila, there’s a lesson on food chains for Rosie!
    OR Feed the suckers! LOTS! Maybe you will get lucky and ‘accidentally’ overfeed them. Problem solved.
    OR, Do you have to change their water? Be careful to get it to just the right temperature!
    Really, I am just being silly. I too, am grossed out by them.

  2. For my 21st birthday a few years ago I was given sea monkeys as a bit of a joke. I kept them alive for 9 months and grew really attached in a squeamish, can’t-look-at-them-for-long sort of way. I decided to clean the tank in the end because it was pretty gross and they all suffocated because the green stuff at the bottom provides oxygen (and food). It was barbaric to watch! I felt so guilty I ended up burying them in the garden ceremoniously instead of flushing them. I did love them as a kid though. At our local aquarium they have an exhibition on sea monkeys, but sadly they are used to feed most of the other fish.

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