Hi all, just thought I'd share what has turned out to be be a success story.
I was doing some aquarium maintenance and had a small glass vase that I had bought from the local value village and I finally found a use for it. I filled it halfway with gravel and then filled it with water and some plants to eat any nitrates and put it in my kitchen window. Here is an image for scale.
I put some java moss, plus another plant I had and a small messed up bolbitis fern in there along with 4 snails. But the really interesting thing is that this tank has spawned a large colony of cyclops copepods, probably descended from live food I caught at a local pond that was living in the plants.
This tank is not fed, and yet the copepods spend their whole day grazing on the algae that grows on the glass. There is virtually no maintenance at all in this tank other than occasionally adding some aged aquarium water to make up for evaporation and the shaking of a few crystals of fertilizer into the water when I fertilize my main tank, but no food whatsoever is provided. This has been going for at least 2 months now and looks entirely healthy. Plants are growing and snails and copepods are doing fine.
Here is another view. Getting direct pictures of the cyclops is nigh on impossible with a phone camera, however one of them is the white shape towards the top of the red "circle" in the following picture. Another is visible halfway between the middle and the left margin of the picture, almost to the botton and looks like a small white triangle. There are at least a hundred cyclops in this tiny tank and the population is entirely self-regulating and self-sufficient.
Keep exploring new possibilities and don't overlook the power of the sun!