9 years ago I found myself with a 1 gallon glass jar. I had an idea to go create a little ecosystem so I went to a lake and filled it with some soil, water and uprooted some plants and threw them in. I closed the air-tight lid and kept it out of direct sunlight so it wouldn't grow algae or get too hot and the plants, and little water daphnia and other critters just kept going...and going...and going... The plants and life was still active 6 years later. It was a dynamic little ecosystem too, with blooms of different kinds of algae followed by population booms of this or that. I neglected it one summer and all the plants died and I ended my little experiment with it.
I decided to create another one a few weeks ago and ordered 2 glass one gallon jars. I decided to put a little thought into it this time with the goal of the life lasting even longer. Here is the plan I came up with. Don't judge too harshly, I created the little diagram plan of it for my facebook friends. Take anything I say not as me stating something as fact, but a wanna-be ecologist thinking out loud with his limited knowledge. :-)
It's a "Wetland Park" Bio-Jar (technically called a Closed Ecological System or CES). A microcosm of a small wetland park in my home county. Follow this thread and let's see what happens!
Font Hill Wetland Park
The Wetland Park:
I already adjusted a few things in my plan above, like the muriate of potash (potassium chloride being bad I later read so I didn't use that). Couldn't' find Potassium Nitrate anywhere, so I just dosed the jar to 50ppm with the idea that the plants I will place in their will soak up and save what they can the rest will just wait around until the plants need it. I also decided against the gravel cap (later wanted to add sand as well) as I realized that with just inert clay and sand water daphnia and other organisms that feed from various organic matter on the floor would be hard pressed finding good food. So I left the floor some weird mix of lake soil and remnants of clay pieces I didn't feel like removing.
Jar, and behind it my holding container of Anubias nana, Anacharis, Lemon Bacopa and some moss balls. Part of me wants to only add the Anubias Nana because that's the plan. Another part of wants to throw a little of everything in and let the "best plant win".
Free tadpole snails from Petco:
This was it yesterday after I thought I was done.
Here it is after I finished my work on it today. I took out 50% of the lake's soil, and replaced it with some kind of rich potting soil. I figure that all the microorganisms are also plentiful in the 50% of the remaining soil and they can multiply into the potting soil I added. Not sure if that was a good idea. I guess the theory is the potting soil would be better for the plant and the microbes can take advantage of it too.
I also added about a cup's worth of Fluval Stratum and 50ppm of Flourish Potassium (since I couldn't find potassium nitrate). Oh, there's also like 7 flourish root tabs in there too. Experiment #1: nutrient toxicity?
Tomorrow, or when the water clears enough, it's very cloudy right now, I will add the plants. I'm leaning towards Two anubias nana (small). A couple stems of anacharis and a couple of lemon bacopa along with a hefty serving of moss balls. I'm torn though, I know adding more will deplete the nutrients quicker, but on the other hand adding one small plant seems boring! Maybe I'll split the difference. :-)