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I have a fresh wate 10 gallon tank with five tiny fish four being minnows and one a goldfish (which I originally bought to feed my little tiny red eared sliders) three South American algae eaters (tiny and fast always hiding) and two red eared sliders that I won at a fair in Florida.
I was thinking of buying some feeder shrimp and tying to create an ecosystem. I have some plants that the turtles are quickly eating and have been feeding them fish flakes, beta food and on special occasions some gourmet river shrimp out of a can.

I'd like my tank to be a little more predatory and am looking to make my observation of these little critters more enjoyable.

Could I buy some feeder shrimp to feed the critters? Would they reproduce fast enough to keep the ecosystem alive? My goal is to make this tank very low maintenance. I'd like to give the critters an ecosystem that requires very little human interaction. Any suggestions?

PS The tank has a filter and i gave the turtles underwater plants to munch on and a decorative tree stump to bask on. There is no heater, only my 160 watt bulb pointed at the tank during the day.

Thanks
 

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The idea of a sustained food source is an appealing one, but quite difficult to achieve. Minnows and goldfish are voracious eaters. It is unlikely that any inverts introduced to your tank will be able to hide well enough and reproduce fast enough to sustain your fish load. In fact, all situations of this kind are difficult to balance. In most cases, it doesn't take long for predators to wipe out the prey. If you wish to create an "eco system" type tank, it is best to have only foragers. There simply isn't enough bioenergy in that small tank to sustain a complex food web.
 

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Even if you had half the bioload in this tank and none of the turltes, 10g is WAY too smal to sustain any ecosystem. In truth, it's probably too small for just one of the turtles to happily live (even if they are still small.) Basically, the only way to make a living ecosystem is to give the captive flora and fauna many times the space that they need. This permits room for breeding sites, hiding places, foraging sites, etc, and thus enables the prey items a retreat from predators. Without this, the population cannot grow to sustain the 1st tier fauna. Basically, you need an enclosure of at least 100g to start off, and will have to increase the size as the turtles grow. Please realize that each individual turtle needs about 75g when it reaches adult size (many people just use wading pools for them) but the more space allotted, the better.
 

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I would even argue that a 100 would be too small to achieve an ecosystem that really worked; especially with aquatic turtles. You may be able to do an ecosystem with a few fish in that size, but not a turtle.
 

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I know several people who have achieved an eco system. I have yet to do it, however. One person used a 100g tank with 3-5, 3" fish. The gravel had not been cleaned for over 18 months and the glass had never been scrapped of algae. This eco system survived for 3 years.

Your tank might be able to go a little while without feedings, etc, but not long, especially with those turtles.
 

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I've got two aquatic turtles and with the way they eat the only way i see to create an ecosystem like you are talking about is to remove them...they even try to eat the hardscaping when you move it around for them...however i do agree that your 10 gal is way too small for your RES...not only because of swimming and basking room but when they come of the "age" where they start recognizing the opposite sex...the female is going to need a place to run away and hide...my male actually becomes quite feisty when he is in the mood and I have actually have had to seperate them for a little while to let him calm down...good luck with your idea
 
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