As I am currently cat-less (rather woeful domestic circumstances) and spending the summer living with people suffering from a range of allergies, I had to take desperate measures and buy myself a little treat: Triops City.
For those of you who have never come across triops (also known as 'sea monkeys', 'little turtles' in Spanish or 'floßfüßige Seewürmer mit dem Schild' in German in 1732): They are living fossils, with a fossil record reaching back 300 million years ago. These relatives of prawns and lobsters are little crustaceans that can grow a few centimetres long. I used to have them in the past, never very successfully, so this time I'm following the instructions carefully and step by step.
The city that will hopefully soon house my little pets is made of cheap plastic, and consists of five chambers separated by little locks (to prevent older triops from eating their young siblings): there's a market place in the middle, surrounded by a baby station, a beach, a disco and a playground (somehow I'm missing the office). Before I can place the eggs into the city, I first have to fill it with destilled water and add something resembling a tea bag, which is to ensure the right water quality for the triops. Tomorrow evening, I will be able to add the eggs, and then it shouldn't take long for the first larvae to hatch.
Update 25.4.2013: I've added the eggs 24 hours ago, and am now waiting for the triops to hatch.
Update 26.4.2013, 11am: The first triops has hatched! He's tiny, maybe 1/3 mm in length. Now I'm waiting for his siblings to hatch before he starts eating them :)
Update 28.4.2013, 12.30am: It's feeding time! My two little darlings are growing really fast, and they're quite active, swimming around the Baby Station and the Marketplace. The last two days they had to live on the nutrients the 'tea bag' provided (first it optimised the water quality, then it serves as a food source), but now I gave them a tiny grain of their food.
I haven't given up hope yet, the other triops might hatch at some time. If not, at least the fight for food will be quite a bit less...