The alterations of immune responses of Artemia franciscana nauplii as a function of culture time and after a challenge with the pathogen Vibrio anguillarum were studied. The effect of the administration of the probiotic bacteria Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactococcus lactis either alone or in combination with the pathogen was evaluated. The activity of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), Glutathione reductase (GRed), Glutathione transferase (GST) and Phenoloxidase (PO) presented a significant increase as a function of culture time, appeared elevated following probiotic administration and were depleted 48 h following the experimental challenge. Lipid peroxidation reached peak levels at 48 h of culture, when nauplii start feeding and returned to lower values at 144 h, remaining however significantly higher than control (P < 0.05). The three probiotics significantly reduced lipid peroxidation in comparison with the corresponding control, while challenge with the pathogen resulted in its threefold increase. Survival of nauplii remained high throughout culture and was either increased or remained at control levels following the administration of the probiotics. The challenge with the pathogen resulted in a significantly decreased survival of 15.3% for the positive control, while in the probiotic treated series survival values were not significantly different from the negative control (P > 0.05). Following a combined administration of each probiotic and the pathogen the activities of all enzymes tested were significantly lower (P < 0.001) than the negative control (no treatment), but higher than the positive control (challenge, no probiotic). Lipid peroxidation was significantly lower in the probiotic treated series in comparison to the positive control (P < 0.001). The results of the present study provide evidence that major alterations take place as a function of culture time of Artemia nauplii. In addition the pathogen induces an oxidative stress response. The probiotics B. subtilis, L. plantarum and L. lactis protect Artemia against a V. anguillarum challenge by enhancing its immune responses thus contributing to reduced oxidative damage and increased survival.