My 0.6 gallon invert pico puddle aka freshwater reef part 2! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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My 0.6 gallon invert pico puddle aka freshwater reef part 2!

So the goal is a topic that has come up on this forum before - a freshwater reef. I was extremely excited when I first saw that thread as I've always been a lover of inverts. While my shrimp bowl does support a surprising amount of biodiversity, most of the non-shrimp inhabitants are incidentals that I haven't removed. This time around I will be intentionally adding invertebrates.

Equipment: 5.5" diameter x 6" tall (picture attached) so roughly 0.6 gallons - this will serve as the aquarium. Lighting I'm not 100% decided on but a deep blue solar flare micro LED might fit the bill. No filtration will be used, no heat, no aeration.


Substrate: I'm going to do this Walstad style, so dirt base capped with sand. I'm debating between black sand or a natural brown sand. Brown sand looks more natural but black sand allows for better visibility of inverts. Any opinions?

Hardscape: Probably just a single piece of Malaysian driftwood. I was debating between driftwood or rocks but ultimately decided on driftwood because of its ability to support a large variety of life on its surface. I'll have to go find a small piece in the next few days.

Flora: This tank is tiny and the goal is to keep maintenance relatively low so nothing too fancy. I was thinking maybe the Eleocharis acicularis "mini" variety that Tropica sells as a foreground, maybe mix some Marsilea crenata in as well. I've grown both in low tech conditions with good results so I'm pretty confident they will do well. I'm also going to use some variety of moss but I don't know which species. Until I select my driftwood I'm undecided on anything else except maybe some giant duckweed as a floater. I will revisit this section in greater detail at a later date!

Fauna: My favourite part - I am going to go through this categorically.

Molluscs: They produce copious amounts of waste and can overpopulate very quickly so I'm only including the mini ramshorn snail (Planorbis arnoldi) and a few species of freshwater limpets (Ferrissia sp. and Acroloxus sp.). These all stay below 1 cm and despite rapid reproduction remain overall unobtrusive. They are also great algae grazers. I will also be adding a few fingernail clams (Sphaerium sp.) that are locally abundant. They are filter feeders and from my experience far easier to maintain than most bivalves.

Worms: I will definitely have some scavenging oligochaete worms (Lumbriculus variegatus, Stylaria sp., Tubifex sp.) to function both as prey items and clean up crew/substrate aerators. The Platyhelminthes are a really interesting group that will be well represented in this jar. That being said, I will not have any of the usual planaria (Dugesia sp., Cura foremanii). They populate too quickly and outcompete other species of flatworms. Instead, I am going to try a random bunch of microturbellaria including Rhabdocoela sp. and the white planarian (Procotylus fluvatilis). My apex predator will be the a variety of freshwater nemertean or ribbon worm (Prostoma cf. canadiensis) - they will eat oligochaetes, insect larvae and small crustaceans. Freshwater Polychaetes are uncommon and will likely fall victim to the nemertean worms. That being said, if I come across any I will be tossing them in there. Snail leeches (Helobdella stagnalis) are a possibility.

Bryozoa and Cnidaria: Freshwater bryozoans seem to appear whenever conditions are right - I've had them in many Walstad tanks so I'm counting on them to pop up here as well. Cnidarians are represented in freshwater by hydra and the freshwater jellyfish (Craspedacusta sowerbii). Freshwater jellyfish are difficult captives that require a dedicated setup and thus will be omitted from this project. Both green and brown hydra are welcome additions - I will manually remove brown hydra if they begin to overpopulate.

Crustaceans: I have several varieties of cyclops that I will be adding as well as any ostracods that I can find. I will also be adding scuds - while they have a reputation for overpopulating the hydra and nemertea should keep their numbers in check. I have no plans for a population of Neocaridina but I may add the odd shrimpling from my other bowl to grow out and for a splash of colour. Daphnia and Moina are interesting inhabitants and I will attempt to keep a culture going on the side as they will likely have to be replenished due to predation from both the flatworms and the hydra. No crabs or crayfish due to space.

While that may seem like a long list of invertebrates, the only essential species to me are the mini ramshorns, the freshwater limpets and the freshwater ribbon worms. I'm sure the rest will come and go and I'll likely end up finding a bunch of other things I never expected!

Thanks for reading and any comments or suggestions are welcome!


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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 08:16 AM
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This is going to be neat to watch! I have to ask though, Do you have a lid for the "tank"? It would for sure keep evap. down a great deal which will keep the water parameters much more stable! With just a small opening for oxygen exchange, maybe?

I will be keep up 4sure!
Drew

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BoxxerBoyDrew View Post
This is going to be neat to watch! I have to ask though, Do you have a lid for the "tank"? It would for sure keep evap. down a great deal which will keep the water parameters much more stable! With just a small opening for oxygen exchange, maybe?

I will be keep up 4sure!
Drew
I do have a few spare pieces of glass lying around, I'm sure i could mock up a lid for it. Well, I should say them... I found another cylinder vase I forgot I had and this one is 7" diameter x 8" tall, so about 1.3 gallons. I'm going to be searching for hardscape over the next couple days and I think I have a pretty neat idea for the smaller vase that I haven't seen done before... I'll be back with updates once I figure it all out!

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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A small update - it's getting cold up here so I visited a local river earlier in the week and obtained a decent variety of inverts. I will be posting pictures as I continue to sort them but I did obtain a good amount of freshwater ribbon worms (Prostoma canadiensis).


I also found a few water mites (Neumania sp.) which are interesting micropredators on copepods and insect larvae:


I apologize for the poor photo quality - the water mite is about 0.5 mm and the worm is a juvenile at about 7 mm and the photos were taken with my smartphone. I'll try to remedy the situation in the future!

I also swung by the lfs and picked up some plants


I'll be starting to set up the 2 jars tomorrow evening so once I do I'll make another post!
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-27-2016, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Well I have some bad news - there is a delay on my two deep blue solar flare micro LEDs. Estimated delivery date is within the first week of November so that puts the project on hold temporarily. I did, however, manage to acquire some large Acroluxus sp. limpets, so I will post some pics of those this evening. I am also going to go gather some other samples from a very local pond so we'll see what I can find!

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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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I apologize for this journal's lack of excitement, so here are some pics of a tank that I'm using in the interim to culture various organisms for the bowls.



The tank is quite wild and dirty - I rarely clean the glass and don't do water changes often. The biofilm is very thick throughout the tank and supports a ton of life. Ostracods, water mites, various cyclops, scuds and Acroluxus sp. are all in there.




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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 03:24 AM
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Love your enthusiasm for inverts! xD The culture tank for them looks pretty cool actually. I love the walstad style, it is so natural and interesting. The emersed growth on that is awesome too!

Eleocharis is one of my fav plants, especially in smaller tank setups like yours it creates a really nice sense of scale with the thinner needles. I'm really interested to see the walstad style in such a small container, I'm sure it'll be awesome! Keep us updated!


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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply! I also love Eleocharis and I have an interesting idea that I might try in one of the jars - hopefully it works out!

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 03:54 AM
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Excited to see it! Did you chose a color of sand yet? That's a hard choice, the brown definitely would feel more natural, but you're right, the black would allow you to see more of the inverts which seems like a main reason you're doing this project!


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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 04:14 AM
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My 0.6 gallon invert pico puddle aka freshwater reef part 2!

Following and very excited to see how this turns out, I'm at the beginning stages of setting up a 5g/29g combo heavily stocked with tiny inverts.


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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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Jumpzakjump: I have 2 jars now so I'm just going to do one black and one brown

Animalcules: Start a journal for those, I'd love to see how they progress! What types of invert s are you planning to keep?

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 05:44 AM
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Jumpzakjump: I have 2 jars now so I'm just going to do one black and one brown
Well that works out then Can't wait to see!


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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 05:05 AM Thread Starter
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Not much else going on with the jars yet although I might post a few hardscape ideas tomorrow if I get the chance to find some driftwood. I have a few plastic culture containers going and I have found a few interesting inhabitants:

Prostoma canadiensis eating a blackworm:


Large ostracod (a bit larger than a shrimplet):


Aeolosoma sp. that have been popping up in all of my containers, apparently excellent clean up crew and the ribbon worms don't seem to eat them:


Random microturbellarian, kinda looks like a giant amoeba. Pretty neat, eats blackworms:


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Last edited by DarkMousy; 10-30-2016 at 06:08 PM.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 02:19 PM
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neat! very neat! never seen a thread like this before :O cant wait for the finished product!
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 12:24 AM
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This is so cool! Nice work!
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