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For the longest time, my love affair with sea-monkeys was an unrequited one; they first came to the attention of my 7 year old eyes in the late 1970's, in the pages of American comic books. They looked incredible! With just some water and eggs, you could apparently create an entire civilisation of playful, happy, frolicking creatures that interact with you. Wow!
Fast forward to last year; my lovely wife saw this Sea Monkeys 'The Big Show' set and bought them for me as a gift. I was 7 years old again....would this set live up to my dreams? Well, no.
First Impressions:- Positive. Its a nice little set, you get the Sea Monkeys tank (a plastic base, decorated with those 70's pictures I remember well, and plastic tank and lid), feeding spoon, stirrer, magnifying glass (alarm bells start ringing!), water purifer, sea monkey food, and, most importantly, the sea monkey eggs themselves. Instructions are included, and tell you how much water to add, when to top up, when to add food etc. Looks good, and seems easy enough. There is also a battery operated light, which you can apparently project onto a wall, but I never managed to get around to that.
Reality:- The big day came. I followed the instructions, added the water, the purifier, waited the required day, added the sea monkey eggs...and waited. You have to allow up to 5 days, which I did, but by day 5 nothing had happened. The magnifying glass allowed me to see some blobs laying on the bottom of the tank (the eggs) but no frolicking to speak of. After a couple more days, I suddenly saw an almost imperceptible movement in the water...trick of the light? I peered in. No! it was my first living, breathing sea monkey...
....and apparently my last. Despite all my best efforts, none of the others hatched. This one , tiny brine shrimp (the less glamorous 'Norma Jean' name for them, rather than the Sea Monkey's 'Marilyn') had the run of the tank for a couple of weeks. I kept feeding him/her, and he /she grew a little, but then also disappeared, never to be seen again.
Aftermath:- Initially I blamed myself, but I am sure I did everything correctly, so my best guess would be that the eggs are hit and miss. Be aware of that.
Final Thoughts:- I think, if the eggs hatch, this would be a good 'pet-starter' for a young child, teach them the basics of having pets, feeding them, caring for them etc. The Sea-Monkeys are teeny tiny though (the magnifying glass is essential), and despite those great 70's ads, rather boring. The tank is empty, no little bridges or fake plants for example, and quite easy to knock over, so a little caution there.
I guess I was just unlucky with my Sea-Monkeys, but buyer beware, it probably does happen here and there. Then you will be, as I am, left with an empty plastic tank not useful for much else.
My 7 year old self would probably laugh.
My eldest son is quite hard to buy for as he seems to be too old or too young for the toys available or things are ridiculously expensive for a piece of poorly built rubbish. This year my son asked Father Christmas for Lego which I bought but then I saw the Sea Monkeys on www.amazon.co.uk and felt that this could be quite a good gift for him.
I shopped around and found that Sea Monkeys are widely available online for around £10 for the basic kit. While searching I found the Sea Monkeys big show projector available from Argos in their half price toy sale for just over £11.
With this set you get the Sea Monkeys tank, the show projector base, a stirrer, a small feeding spoon, a magnifying glass, a packet of water purifier, a packet of Sea Monkeys and a packet of sea monkey food. You also receive an instruction sheet, an order form for more sea monkeys, purifier and food and battery instructions.
To operate the light you need two AAA batteries these are not included. The batteries fit inside a secure compartment in the base and you need a screwdriver to open and close this. The base that has the light in it can be removed from the tank without upsetting the sea monkeys when the batteries need replacing.
To set up your tank you will need a small bottle of spring water but not sparkling. You only need about 10floz but you will need more over time to top up your tank due to evaporation.
Once you have everything you put the recommended amount of water into the tank up to the fill line. Once you have filled the tank with water you need to add the contents of the water purifier packet and stir it up using the special stirrer provided. Unfortunately setting up the tank does take a few days. Once you have added the purifier you must leave the tank for 24 hours before you add your Sea Monkeys. Once the 24 hours has elapsed you simply tip the contents of the sea monkeys' packet into the prepared tank and give it another stir. Depending on the light and temperature the sea monkeys will take up to 5 days to hatch.
At first the sea monkeys are tiny and very hard to see even with the magnifying glass but each day you see more and more as they hatch and grow bigger. The sea monkeys will grow to about ½ an inch long and should be fully grown in about four weeks. According to online information regarding the sea monkeys they will start to make and produce yo9ung once they have reached their full size.
The sea monkeys will need feeding a tiny amount of food using the small end of the spoon provided about once a week but according to the instructions they don't need to be cleaned out. I found the comic book style instructions a little lacking in information so I went online to the official sea monkey's site and watched a video showing how to set up your tank. According to the information in the pack the sea monkeys should last two years but additional packets of purifier, food and sea monkeys are widely available online.
My son was very pleased with this gift and I think the fact that it is a little unusual appealed to him. We have had many pets and these are definitely the easiest to keep but have still caused quite a stir in our house. Unfortunately we are now on our second batch of sea monkeys and it is only three weeks since Christmas. Our first attempt was going well and we had managed to hatch quite a few Sea Monkeys and we could see them swimming about without using the magnifying glass but they still weren't quite big enough for the light show. It was on feeding day that my eldest daughter decided to lift the tank up and have a good look at the sea monkeys up close. Yep you guessed it she dropped the tank and the whole contents water and sea monkeys came out all over the work top and onto the floor. If it had happened with a goldfish at least I could have scooped it back into the tank and added more water.
To operate the projector you place the tank near a wall or other plain surface and switch on the light. The light then shines through the water and the sea monkeys silhouettes appear on the wall. This effect could be replicated with a small torch just as easily which was why I would not have bought this at full price.
We have now had our second batch of sea monkeys for almost two weeks and they are getting quite big now. You can clearly see them swimming about and they have had some food and seem to be thriving. We tried the light show for the first time today and I have to say it was a little disappointing. I am still hoping that it will work better once the sea monkeys are full grown but at the moment all you can see is little blob shapes wiggling about and no detail at all.
Having the light shining through the tank does make the sea monkeys easier to see when they are small and the light does seem to make them more active but I don't think this effect is worth paying approximately £10 over the price of a basic tank.
If you are looking for something a little different or want a low maintenance pet I would recommend this toy. When asked at school what he had received for Christmas my son only mentioned his Sea Monkeys so I am happy that this was a good choice.
Shop around to get a good price for this or any of the many different styles of Sea Monkey tanks and certainly don't pay full price for this tank.
There's no business like show business and the Sea-Monkeys steal the show every time! Just add water and watch your live Sea-Monkeys hatch and grow! Turn down the lights and watch as they are projected on the wall. The Big Show set includes everything you need to get started and enjoy hours of fun with your live Sea-Monkeys!Batteries required: 2 x AAA (not included). As seen on TV. For ages 6 years and over. WARNING(S): Not suitable for children under 3 years old