Agreed Doug brine are really kind of useless for what we want in a reef tank when it comes to nutrition. The best form of brine shrimp for feeding our tanks is when they are still in the egg form. The sack that envelopes them is filled with nutritional products and can acutally do a good job for fry, larva, inverts and some corals.
In definite agreement. I am working with Chris to gut load the adult brine. We are probably going to start with Phytoplex and possibly DT's. He allready has the baby brines as well as the decapsulated eggs (chromis love 'em!) I believe he'll have to sell them in a two-tiered manner. The refrigerated adults will have to be fed less and will be cheaper. The room temperature adults will be gut-loaded but available in smaller quantities. I'm working on a discount for members too!
One thing that live brine are really good for however, is getting newly introduced wild-caught fish in your tank to eat. Most fish will go after them and once they get used to eating something in the tank they seem to accept more nutritous food more quickly and readily, IME.
The term gut-loading is actually used in reference to rotifers. It is the proccess where by the animals are fed a minimally expensive food until they are ready to be used. The feeding right before the animals are to be used is when a nutritional source like phytoplankton is added. This way algal cells are still present when the animal is consumed.
Brine shrimp are a little more complex as they have many more cells incorporated into their bodies. A well fed brine shrimp will have a dark line down the middle of their body. They're digestive track is pretty much just a tube. If they cannot feed continuously they rapidly lose nutritional value. The gut-loading technique is a good way to get algal cells into the diets of predatory fish.
I am trying to get a variety of live foods made available. I would like to start rotifer cultures but unless there is a demand for them the labor input is hardly worth it. Darryl had them going last fall but failed to spark any interest in them. If you want DT's plankton ask for it at Below Sea Level and they will start carrying it.