The Secret History Of Sea Monkeys

A lot of people had sea monkeys as kids, but not many realize their dark past.

Many of us have memories of the pets that we had in our homes. Our thoughts probably go to a dog or cat or perhaps something else that was interesting as far as animals are concerned.

There was also another type of animal that graced many of our homes, and that was the sea monkey. Since so many of us had them, you would think that we understood more about their history and what was really going on inside of the tank.

Sea Monkey
Photo: flickr/Adam Heath

The funny thing is, many of us still didn’t realize what they were or what was behind them even as adults, but that is about to change. You see, it doesn’t matter if you pick them up at a novelty shop or if it was a mail-order packet, you are actually raising shrimp.

That’s right, the little creatures that were inside of the sea monkey tank were brine shrimp. As it turns out, a man by the name of Harold von Braunhut was the mastermind behind the sea monkey phenomenon. It also was not his first foray into the marketing arena.

Photo: flickr/Paul Downey

He had a successful product that you may not have heard of, and that was Invisible Goldfish. As strange as it may seem, many people were purchasing the fishbowl and fish food that he sold and shipped to them, but there was not a fish included.

Stop to think about the type of person that is able to sell people invisible goldfish. Some would argue he was a marketing genius!

There is also something about this man that you likely don’t know, and that’s the fact that he was a white supremacist.

Photo: YouTube/Journey to the Microcosmos

Something else that you may not know in regards to sea monkeys is the fact that the eggs were not where you thought they were. If you remember, there were various packets that came with the sea monkey kit. One of those was supposed to contain eggs, but there were actually eggs inside of the other packets.

The trick was, the sea monkeys would already be growing inside of the tank but they are very difficult to see. There was a water-soluble dye that was included in the packet where the eggs were supposed to be, so it appeared as if the sea monkeys were coming to life instantly.

He was able to advertise through comic books and various other means but eventually, they cut ties with him. Although you can still find sea monkeys today, the heyday of that item is passed.

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