Crystal Red Shrimp Biosphere? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Crystal Red Shrimp Biosphere?

Does anyone have any idea if and how it might be possible to do one of these - with crystal red shrimp?



http://www.target.com/EcoSphere-Pod-...osphere&page=1

I love the look of it, and the fact that they are zero-maintenance as long as you can ensure it has some light, (and doesn't cook in the sun obviously).

The idea of course that as long as energy is put into the system in the form of light, the algae and the shrimp balance one-another's needs in terms of food/nutrients/oxygen/CO2. I presume that being given sufficient light it ends up being an oxygen saturated environment, as plants/algae would be limited to the amount of CO2 produced by just the shrimp and bacteria.

I'd like to do one that's larger though, such as a 1-2 gallon sphere if I could find one, and I was thinking of even using a glass bead substrate and putting an LED chip underneath so that it's up-lit and any algae would be more likely to grow upon the glass bead substrate rather than the walls of the bio-sphere.

Are there any plants that could be suitable though, including even something as hardy as Christmas moss or Duckweed? Or is better to just allow for a little algae growth which the shrimp can thus feed upon?

I'm concerned that if I added too much in terms of nutrients then it could turn into an algal mess that I wouldn't even be able to see into however, so I wasn't sure whether it would best be started as a relatively lean environment or to add a good dose of nutrients before sealing it up. Or that if I added any plants then that wouldn't give the shrimp anything to feed upon.

Does anyone have an idea where a good quality seal-able glass sphere or cylinder could be found though?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 02:26 PM
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The problem is that CRS need pristine water conditions with specific parameters. I can't imagine how you'd be able to achieve it without regular water changes.

Also, CRS aren't big algae eaters. They'll need to be fed.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 02:46 PM
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Yes, the shrimp used in there are Opae ula, which are EXTREMELY hardy. Maybe you could try it with RCS, or if it's bigger, maybe Amanos. But I have noticed that those probably don't have enough plants to make enough O2; in fact, there are no plants in those things, but I think that they claim that the algae makes enough oxygen. But this brings up another question...

Has anyone ever successfully kept CRS in a bowl, with almost no maintenance, with just water changes and minimal feeding?

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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I subsequently heard the shrimp described as a Hawaiian shrimp, but I at first thought they looked like cherry reds. But perhaps I could try and locate some Opae ula (Hawaiian Volcano Shrimp) somehow, for the hardier the better. A quick search on Ebay produced nothing.

CRS don't eat algae though? Well that's news to me... I have two in my nano now with fish and I'm sure exactly what they're eating but they seem to be doing quite well. Will need to look into it more.

I'm at the moment quite into the balanced ecosystem philosophy, even with my planted fish aquariums as much as possible. Plants/algae can and should be able to consume all the metabolic by-products produced by animals in a closed system such as this if given sufficient light and nutrients, which is a debate that has been argued ad-infinitum already by others. And as a sealed system you wouldn't even need to top-up for evaporation, which is of course a major benefit. I'd just need to check that all the nutrients are being cycled back and forth between flora and fauna.

I may need to delve into the bio-chemistry a bit further, and crack open a copy of Walstead's the Planted Tank book to determine what the limiting factors are. I need to try and think carefully through the balance of it all. For instance, I'm not sure in those biospheres what the limiting factor is for the shrimp population.

I suppose if you ran a lean biosphere then there would be a finite amount of algae present for instance, which wouldn't enable the shrimp to overpopulate and poison the system. (And the glass vessel should stay cleaner?) But even with a nutrient rich system, perhaps the flora and fauna would eventually achieve their own proper balance. I'm not sure at this point. But homeostasis is what happens in nature anyway.

I could always use Amano shrimp instead as long as I had a large enough vessel, as they do actually eat algae, and wouldn't reproduce if the water was fresh instead of brackish.

Anyone have any low CO2 plants which perhaps might work indefinitely though?

I think I could probably find a decent globe type lighting fixture which I could modify and then seal up, and many of those already come with a decent stable base and don't have the glass imperfections of goldfish bowls.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
A quick search on Ebay produced nothing.
PM me, I found them and the forum won't let me post the freaking link.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 05:53 PM
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CRS don't eat algae though? Well that's news to me... I have two in my nano now with fish and I'm sure exactly what they're eating but they seem to be doing quite well. Will need to look into it more.
They're big eaters of biofilm. That's probably what's sustaining yours. That and maybe excess fish food.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Geniusdudekiran View Post

Has anyone ever successfully kept CRS in a bowl, with almost no maintenance, with just water changes and minimal feeding?
I am about to find out when i switch out my cherry shrimp for crystals in my shrimp bowl.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 06:09 PM
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That'll be neat. I've been keeping up with your thread.

And to all others, ghost shrimp wouldn't be hard to try with first.

Like this. They say it's a ghost shrimp, but another post on the site shows a picture of an Amano. Probably just a sales fluke.

http://makeprojects.com/Project/Tabl...iosphere/329/1

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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I appear to have found some clear acrylic or polycarbonate globes of various sizes on Ebay listed under "HEAVY REPLACEMENT LIGHT GLOBES & POST TOP FIXTURES", and you can get them with screw-on lipped bases. They come in several sizes including the following:
12" diameter - $22 = 3.9 gallons
16" diameter - $44 = 9.3 gallons
20" diameter - $95 = 18 gallons

I'd probably opt for the 12", which has a screw-on base available from the save vendor for $12, but might opt for one of the larger if I decided to try this with anything apart from Hawaiian Volcano Shrimp.

They can also be bought with an opening which does not have a lip, which could allow for a very minimal design if it can sit on a counter alone without any additional base, but that could be difficult then to seal it. Simply a circular disk of acrylic could be welded with acrylic glue to the bottom, so long as you glued around the outside with the piece already in place to not get any fumes trapped inside.

But a threaded lipped base might be easier, especially in case you need to open the sphere up to make any adjustments. And it might thus be able to be sealed with silicon instead, as acrylic sealant is very permanent stuff. A base would allow me to use an LED chip underneath which could be a significant advantage, and maybe I'd be better off without any substrate even.

The volcano shrimp are hardy enough to not be bothered by temperature fluctuations it seems, while if I had say cherry shrimp then I might need to forego the cordless simplicity of it by including say a hydor heating pad heater under the base, despite that they're not quite ideal as they lack a thermostat. However, volcano shrimp require brackish water, which would somewhat limit me if I was considering including plants.

These plant species can apparently still succeed in brackish conditions though - Anacharis, Anubias Nanas, Aquatic Banana plants, Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata, potted Narrow Leaf Chain Swords, Bacopa, Cabomba Green, Water Sprite, Temple plant, Crypt Ciliata, Java Fern, Java Moss, Tall Sagittaria Subulata, Jungle Vals, and Duckweed.

Do people think plants might work in this or not? And I still have no idea whether it would be better to start lean or to start with a nutrient-rich environment though. I could add trace nutrients, but still run a slightly nitrogen-poor environment in it. Plants would show suffering it time though. And I'm not sure if trace nutrients would continue to be recycled or whether they'd be depleted eventually by being bound into other compounds which the system cannot readily utilize, though I suspect the former.

I do need to look into cherry/crystal shrimp to find out if there is some other food I could naturally grow in such an environment for them to eat, such as the suggested 'bio-film' for instance.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2011, 11:22 PM
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Check out my bowl, it has a similar idea (except of the sealing and no maintenance part)
I think plants can work in your setup as they have in mine. especially if you go with FW environment. natural food for cherry shrimp is all the things that grow on driftwood, rocks and live plants. they also feed off the plant leaves that die as time goes on. I just feed mine a little to make sure that all of them dont starve (a pair of cherry shrimp can overpopulate very quickly.)
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newman View Post
Check out my bowl, it has a similar idea (except of the sealing and no maintenance part)
I think plants can work in your setup as they have in mine. especially if you go with FW environment. natural food for cherry shrimp is all the things that grow on driftwood, rocks and live plants. they also feed off the plant leaves that die as time goes on. I just feed mine a little to make sure that all of them dont starve (a pair of cherry shrimp can overpopulate very quickly.)
Your planted bowl looks spectacular. Seeing your actually inspired me to start thinking about doing one myself, albeit with a different philosophy.

I'm actually not sure if there are answers to be found for all the questions I'd have regarding the scientific parameters for one of these. Perhaps I just need to test it instead to find out. Or run two spheres, one which is lean and one which is nutrient rich.

I suppose that I could start with say a 12" sphere, add a boiled branching twig, duckweek, java moss, and crystal or red shrimp, and some trace nutrients. If the lighting is an LED beam from under the base which shines straight up then hopefully there shouldn't be an excessive amount of algae growing on the sides. And hopefully between the living and decaying plants and algae and bio-films, the shrimp would have enough to eat and procreate. And if it didn't work with those shrimp then I could replace them with volcano shrimp and add some salt instead even with the same plants. I'm not exactly what would be the limiting factors for shrimp population, and plant and algae growth, but hopefully it wouldn't just be a crash.

I suppose that the 20" 18 gallon sphere would be overkill for such tiny shrimp as they'd be hard to see it it, unless I wanted to throw in a colony of guppies as well that is!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 06:28 AM
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They sell these mini-scapes at Aqua Forest, and they are indeed Hawaiian shrimp.
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