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#1 Auban

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 01:49 AM

so, my wife and daughter are starting a new triops tank.  now, it isn't a north american native, but it got me thinking about triops here...  and when i looked, i didnt see anything that had a lot of good information about keeping them.  

 

i have been keeping T. longicaudatus for about 20 years now.  in fact, i have taken them with me on every deployment so far, and have grown them in four countries and three different continents(including north america).  actually, i am deployed now and i just dried up the sand after my last triops died(so make that five countries, including the USA).  the T. longs are descendants from one of those "triassic triops" kits i got about 20 years ago.  i was keeping them in an old plastic pretzel container, with a lamp from my room rigged up all bass akwards to provide light.  here is a pic:  https://ibb.co/e83aLd

 

fancy, right?  well, anyway, i figured i might as well write a thread about how i keep them.  one thing i noticed early on was that there wasn't very good information on the internet about keeping them.  the instructions that come with the kits are pretty terrible...  following them to the letter usually results in triops that end up starving to death well before they mature.   since my wife and daughter just set up a triops tank, ill have her send some pics later so that i can post them here, but in the mean time, ill give the basic set up so that anyone who is interested in keeping them has a decent chance of success at keeping them.  

 

ah!  but where to start?  i have been keeping and experimenting with these critters for two decades, there is a lot i can say about them...  

 

ok, ill start with the basic setup.  then, later on, i think ill go into why i set triops tanks up the way i do.  so....

 

setting up the tank:  this is fairly simple.  first, get sand, any kind so long as it is fairly fine.  gravel doesn't work so well because triops have a hard time digging in it and small triops get stuck under pebbles and such.  about an inch at the bottom of the tank is fine, but you can really add as much as you want.  you don't have to clean the sand so long as it is free of chemicals, but rinsing it does help with being able to see them when they get larger.  on top of the sand, sprinkle some crushed oyster shell, crushed coral, or crushed limestone.  it doesn't have to be a layer in its own right, it just needs to be enough to affect the water quality a bit.  i have kept triops in pure aragonite sand before, so you don't really have to worry about adding too much, unless the grain size is large enough to present the same issues previously mentioned regarding gravel.  

 

ok, so now that the substrate is out of the way, on to prepping the tank to receive nauplii.  basically, you are going to want to give them a food source.  it needs to be small enough for them to eat, but also needs to be something that will not foul the water.  i find there are two things that work well for this:  green water, and simple mud.  green water is the best way to go, since it certainly isnt going to foul so long as you keep a light on the tank.  but, mud works good too.  mud that comes from the edge of a pond or lake workes best, since it already has all kinds of little microbes that are already happy with living in water.  that said, i find it best to mix it with some water and pour it through a mesh first to remove any predatory bugs that might eat the nauplii. plus, that also catches larger objects that might look unsightly.  how much do you need?  well, i typically gauge that based on how many inches of water i can see through.  it should be enough to reduce visibility to about a foot.  it doesnt have to be exact, the water just needs to be a little dirty.  dont worry, it will clear up in a few days.  something else that works well is taking a clump of hair algae and wringing the water out of it a bit.  the resulting green slurry works well for feeding them without fouling the water up.  

 

add a light to it and an air stone. the air stone should be up near the top inch of water, really just enough to break up the surface tension and move water around a little bit.  as for the water that should go into the tank, it can be tap water or old fish tank water.  its not that important so long as it is chemical free, so no chlorine or chloramines.  now, after the tank is full, a light is on it, and the air stone is bubbling away, onto hatching the triops...

 

take the triops eggs and put them into a bottle of distilled or RO water.  it needs to be water with a very low osmotic pressure(high solvent/low solute concentration).  fill the bottle up until there is just barely a bubble left in the bottle.  the idea is to make sure the eggs stay in contact with the water.   let it sit for about 8 hours and the eggs will be fully hydrated.  now, here is the interesting thing about triops, and i imagine its true of other branchiopods as well:  once the eggs are hydrated, they will hatch in just about any kind of water.  i have soaked eggs in distilled water before and then dropped them into tanks set up with soft acidic water and tanks with alkaline liquid rock in it.  so long as i soaked them in distilled water first, they hatched in the tank.  one caveat on soaking them though...  if the eggs are already wet enough to sink when you put them into the bottle of distilled water, only leave them in for about three hours.  i have seen eggs hatch within four or five hours before when they were already fairly wet.  

 

after they are done soaking, pour them into the tank and then just leave the light on and do nothing.  at all.  don't clean the tank, don't do water changes, don't feed them, don't do anything but watch them.  they will grow pretty quickly.  when they get to be about a centimeter long, you can start feeding them.  i typically feed them stuff that decays slowly, like tiny pieces of carrot, a couple grains of rice, etc.  the biggest thing is to leave the light on and don't turn it off.  the light will cause algae to bloom, and so long as it stays on, it will dramatically reduce any issues with water quality.  

 

and that is pretty much it.  with triops, you can often get away with even simpler ways to set them up, but i find the above set up to be a decent base line that always works.  

 

i really like experimenting with these little guys.  for instance, i had read that they hatch best in water with fairly neutral ph, but i wondered if either of the wild extremes would stop them from hatching after they had already hydrated.  i found that the ph at inundation is all that seems to matter to them.  im sure there is an upper and lower limit, but its nothing outside of what you might find in tap water.  in NC i have had tap water at a ph of about 6, while in CA it was just a touch over 8.  again, it didn't matter so long as i soaked them.  in fact, nothing about the water seemed to stop them from hatching after they were hydrated, even if they were not able to survive once hatched. 

 

something else i want to experiment with that i haven't gotten around to yet is testing whether triops will discriminate between their own eggs and other branchiopod eggs.  i have seen them eat brine shrimp eggs, so i know they eat eggs, but im not sure if they will discriminate against their own eggs.  i would probably want to test triops eggs in general, and then test a particular triops own eggs.  i imagine they would just chomp down on them if they had nothing else, but you never know.  they might surprise me.  getting pure triops eggs is not too difficult.  i used to collect pure eggs by adding saturated brine solution to wet egg laden sand.  the higher density would cause the eggs to float up to the surface as i stirred the sand up, and from there it was easy to collect them, rinse them, and dry them out.  

 

anyway, they are neat little critters that i have enjoyed keeping for a long time, so i figured i would let people know a fairly simple way of keeping them.  at some point, i want to get Triops newberryi, and if at all possible, some of the native lepidurus species.  newberryi seems to be available on the internet, but i haven't seen any lepidurus species being offered in quite a while...  

 

until then, ill keep raising generation after generation of T. longicaudatus while adding some of the other species to my collection.  


Edited by Auban, 18 May 2018 - 01:55 AM.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#2 gerald

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 08:47 AM

Great to hear from you! It's been a long time.  I was driving through the Sandhills region last week and thought of you and your worm pond.  Sounds like Triops are the perfect portable aquatic pet for soldiers ... they even look like little tanks!  I hope your comrades enjoy them at least half as much as you do.  Ever find any wild ones? There may be undescribed ones in some countries.  Loads of killifish were discovered and described by military guys.  Hope all is well.


Gerald Pottern
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"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#3 Auban

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 11:26 AM

ugh, no, i havent found any.  i have looked for them in iraq, afghanistan, kenya, somalia, djibouti, and mauritania.  unfortunately though, it was always just looking into the odd roadside ditch, puddle etc.  whatever i happened across. i was never able to really go exploring the local vernal pools much, so i never found any.  you have NO idea how much i wanted to though lol.  i did manage to collect some dried mud from an area that looked like it had been flooded at one point, so when i get back ill put it on water.  im not expecting much, but you never know.  

 

all that said though, im probably going to start trading with people again.  i used to send people boxes of plants that i grew in exchange for vernal pool dirt.  i never found triops in them, but i have found some interesting and useful ostracods and cladocera.  in the mean time, i am going to be building a collection of different triops species.  and lepidurus if i can get them.


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#4 gerald

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 01:29 PM

I'm sure most of you have seen this classic Far Side, but in case not ... just substitute Branchiopods !!!

 

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Gerald Pottern
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Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#5 Auban

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 06:43 PM

I'm sure most of you have seen this classic Far Side, but in case not ... just substitute Branchiopods !!!

 

lol, yeah, thats me.  

 

my wife finds me to be completely insane sometimes, but she puts up with it.  

 

im not sure when i started getting fascinated with vernal pool life, but it has never left me.  i am always mixing things that i learn and finding new ways to use the different critters i learn about.  i could provide a lot of examples for this, but one of the early ones that surprised me was a use i found for a tiny ostracod i isolated from an lake in florida.  i figured out an interesting horticultural application for it:  keeping rose cuttings healthy when being started in pure water.  the ostracods kept fungus from growing on the stems, which kept them from rotting.  the result was a lot of rose cuttings that eventually grew roots, without needing the water changed every day.   shoot, i even spent a lot of time learning how to grow different kinds of algae, to the point where i can usually tell what kind of algae problems a fish tank is going to face based on what goes into it when it is set up.  who spends time learning how to grow nuisance algae?!

 

i am still working on that book that i want to write, and have finally figured out how i am going to write it.  for the longest time, my mind has been way too disorganized to figure out how to structure it.  well, i am going to be writing it for my daughter.  i have always wanted to write a book that gets people excited about discovering the natural world around them, and encouraging them to look at the world without the fear of misunderstanding it.  who better to challenge me in that aspect than my daughter?  so, im going to be setting up things like the triops tank, while writing about it and explaining the basic science that goes into it.  it wont be a text book, more like the konrad lorentz's book "King Solomon's Ring".  i read that book over and over, until it fell apart.  mostly because i was fascinated by his own fascination with animals.  i have read wetzels treatise on limnology, hutchinsons several volume treatise on limnology, pannaks guide to fresh water invertebrates, etc.  they are all great, but they arent the kinds of books that spark that curiosity.  

 

so, as i come up with projects to do with my daughter, ill be writing them for her, and turning those writings into the chapters of my book.  so, it will probably be several years in the making, but at least i have a plan now.  

 

my daughter also loves all things aquatic, so i figured i would start there.  i mean, her first word was fish...  not momma or dada, but fish.  well, fishy.  i was holding her when she was just under a year old and was tracing my finger along a tank, following the fish and saying "fishy fishy fishy".  that was when she realized that the sound i was making meant something.  she got all excited and shook her finger at the tank and started yelling "fishy!  fishy!".  then she pointed to everything in sight and would ask "fishy?" to figure out what word we used for it.  so, ill write down what we do as she goes along exploring the world.  

 

that would probably be the best format anyway.  its that childlike wonder that i want to capture anyway.


Edited by Auban, 18 May 2018 - 06:44 PM.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#6 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 11:07 AM

Writing to your daughter is genius. Perfect way to organize your thoughts. I like it.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#7 gerald

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 11:21 AM

Can't wait to read it! ... but I guess I'll have to :sad2:


Gerald Pottern
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Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#8 Mysteryman

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 04:56 PM

Thanks for posting this!  I have one of those old Triops kits. I never got around to using it due to not being able to get a new one in case I failed, but now I know some stuff.



#9 Auban

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 05:48 PM

so, as an update so far with the triops tank, my wife just looked in and saw what she thinks is a bunch of baby triops.  she has never really paid attention to the triops tanks that i have kept.  or, at least she has never really paid attention to them from day one.  so, we think they are triops, not sure yet.  if they are, we will know within a few days as they grow.  i was hoping she could get a video of them, but they are too small for her camera to pick up.  or, the sand in the background is too similar in color.  

 

filming those things is difficult.  its actually one of the reasons i got a galaxy s8.  i had already seen some pretty cool videos people had made with them.  the camera is so good at zooming in that you can use it as a magnifying glass.  

 

im going to have to make some videos for comparing triops nauplii with the nauplii of various other critters.  if you see them side by side, triops are distinguishable from most everything else by size, color, and activity.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#10 Betta132

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 08:52 PM

Have you ever tried keeping triops in a large tank? I have an empty 65g, and I'm gonna try and get sort of a vernal pool thing going on in it. I ordered some triops and redtail fairy shrimp eggs from arizonafairyshrimp.com (have used them in the past, their eggs are great quality), and I'm planning to hatch them in (separate) small tanks full of distilled water and a small amount of detritus, then acclimate them to water with minerals and calcium in it after a day or two. I've kept fairy shrimp before, and triops in those little kits that worked out pretty well despite me being 8, but I've never tried either in a tank bigger than a couple gallons. Hoping for plenty of clam shrimp eggs in with the eggs, too.

 

I'm thinking about an inch of aquarium sand, a nice driftwood stump, some Java ferns, Java moss, maybe some duckweed, and a handful of dried hardwood leaves from the backyard. The sand has a lot of mulm in it, so baby triops oughta have plenty of microorganisms to eat. I'm also gonna throw in a big handful of empty aquatic snail shells for calcium. I'll hatch the eggs right in front of a window for maximum sunlight, and there'll be a good light over the tank to keep the plants happy.



#11 Auban

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 03:02 AM

Have you ever tried keeping triops in a large tank? I have an empty 65g, and I'm gonna try and get sort of a vernal pool thing going on in it. I ordered some triops and redtail fairy shrimp eggs from arizonafairyshrimp.com (have used them in the past, their eggs are great quality), and I'm planning to hatch them in (separate) small tanks full of distilled water and a small amount of detritus, then acclimate them to water with minerals and calcium in it after a day or two. I've kept fairy shrimp before, and triops in those little kits that worked out pretty well despite me being 8, but I've never tried either in a tank bigger than a couple gallons. Hoping for plenty of clam shrimp eggs in with the eggs, too.

 

I'm thinking about an inch of aquarium sand, a nice driftwood stump, some Java ferns, Java moss, maybe some duckweed, and a handful of dried hardwood leaves from the backyard. The sand has a lot of mulm in it, so baby triops oughta have plenty of microorganisms to eat. I'm also gonna throw in a big handful of empty aquatic snail shells for calcium. I'll hatch the eggs right in front of a window for maximum sunlight, and there'll be a good light over the tank to keep the plants happy.

 

 

i have.  here is a video i took a couple years ago.  in the video, i talk like it was the first time i set a tank up like that...  but really, it was just the first time i had recorded it on video.  

 


Edited by Auban, 21 May 2018 - 03:03 AM.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#12 Betta132

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 01:02 PM

That's pretty cool. I actually saw this video on Youtube and it was part of the inspiration.

Did you ever leave one fish-free and just watch what happened, or was it always as a precursor to more 'traditional' aquarium inhabitants?



#13 Auban

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 01:20 PM

i have taken that tank down and set it up a few times.  after a few months, there really isnt a point in leaving it fish free for very long.  while some eggs will hatch out without drying, most of them need to be dried out.  triops only live for a few months anyway.  now, all that said, i have left tanks up and running with the light on before, just to grow algae.  i have grown a LOT of algae...

 

the only vernal pool critter i have had that seems to persist in a tank indefinitely is ostracods.  they bloom in numbers much faster when given a wet/dry cycle, but even without it, they seem to persist.  pretty much everything else seems to have its days numbered.  


Edited by Auban, 21 May 2018 - 01:21 PM.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#14 Doug_Dame

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 08:26 PM

This is really cool. I've had some self-caught fairy shrimp and clam shrimp before, from a roadside ditch, but I've never seen triops before.


Doug Dame

Floridian now in Cincinnati
 


#15 Chasmodes

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 07:56 AM

Cool stuff, love the vid!


Kevin Wilson


#16 gerald

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 08:26 AM

... and Hydra, when not wanted. 

 

the only vernal pool critter i have had that seems to persist in a tank indefinitely is ostracods.


Gerald Pottern
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Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#17 Auban

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 12:22 PM

... and Hydra, when not wanted. 

 

 

you know, i have never found hydra in vernal pools.  probably because i mostly get dirt and hydrate it rather than wet substrate, but alas, no hydra for me.  

 

i have found them plenty of times in ponds and creeks, however.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#18 gerald

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 02:29 PM

Yeah, Hydra probably dont persist in VP's that go totally dry.  But they do in salamander breeding pools that get "almost" dry.  Might be that they rely on occasional floods from the creek to recolonize VPs on floodplains, like Gambusia do.


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#19 Auban

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 04:52 PM

ill have to keep my eye out for them.  they may be a nuisance in most cases, but im certain there is a good use for them, if only i can find it.  i can think of a few instances where i would want them..

 

they are interesting critters.  despite your statement though, i have only been able to keep them when i was specifically trying to keep them.  i have never had to deal with them as a pest. i would say knock on wood, but i would probably just dose my tank with fenbendazole if i wanted to get rid of them.  or dry it out. ostracods, on the other hand, can even survive bleaching if not done long enough.  well, at least their eggs can.  

 

generally speaking, i dont want to get rid of anything.  i just watch it and see how it does.  and i add and subtract different living things to see how things will respond.  

 

 

all things are beautiful in their own right.  unfortunately, most people dont get to see their beauty.  eventually, ill find the beauty in a hydra as well.  its there, just waiting to be seen.  


Edited by Auban, 22 May 2018 - 04:56 PM.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#20 Auban

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 02:49 PM

well, so far it seems that the tank my wife and daughter set up hasnt worked out very well.  i asked her to send me some pictures of what the tank looks like, so maybe ill be able to diagnose the issue soon.  it could just be that they havent hatched yet, but i dont think that is the issue.  it is more likely that she used the wrong kind of water to hydrate the eggs...

 

she used spring water, and i think it was a brand that had some salts added to it to improve taste.  so, the eggs are probably still viable, but just didnt hatch.  not really a big deal, she still has plenty of eggs to try again with.  when she gets a chance, she will pick up some distilled water and try again.  

 

if they go through all the eggs and none seem to hatch, its not over yet.  the next step after that would be to drain the tank, being careful to not suck up any substrate or eggs.  then let it dry out, and buy a few gallons of distilled water to pour directly into it.  as an extra step, i would have them sprinkle some dry dirt in the tank after they stir up all the substrate into the distilled water.  the purpose of the dirt would be to keep the eggs from zipping over to the sides of the tank until they all have time to soak a bit.  it doesnt work as well as hydrating them in a bottle, but it does keep a lot of eggs off the sides of the tank, where they ride up the meniscus and get left behind as the water evaporates.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson




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