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About 4 months ago, I inadvertently 0:) began the process of creating a 25 gallon cube tank that would, in theory, supply its own live food. As of right now, I have copepods, daphnia, planeria, scuds, hydra, wollfia (more recently) and some other plants including some java moss, snails, lots of shrimp, a couple of rocks, a large bloom of unicellular algae and 4 ember tetras who I haven't fed in months. No mechanical or biological filter. Air pump for some movement. No lighting (tank is up against massive window which allows LOTS of ambient and reflected sunlight, but never direct), no heater (temp swings from 74 in morning to 79 at night), soil substrate with a bit of gravel, do not use fertilizer or other treatments and water parameters are very good, ph at 7.1 and the water is very clean (the water has zero odor!). I remove and replace one quart of water each day. The tank is not heavily planted (the plants compete with the algae). The tank is visually pleasing if you like to seem a glowing translucent green orb :surprise: but the fun is in mataining the live food populations and looking around the tank (you can see into the tank about 2 inches from each side). I throw in a whole pleco wafer once a week as fuel more than food and have an egg shell in there.

A couple of things that surprise me is that with both daphnia and copepods in the tank, I still have green water. Apparently, those ember tetras do a good job keeping them in check so far. Another thing is that I still have green water and have so far seemed to maintain some kind of equilibrium with regard to water quality - maintaining enough nutrients to maintain the algae and yet not too much to create cloudy or smelly water or have bad parameters. The sun pours in a lot of energy into the tank.

So my question is: if you were trying to maintain this tank like it is, what things would you concern yourself about? I haven't read about anybody trying this before though I'm sure it has been tried more than a few times. The problem with it is that it does not make for a typically beautiful tank, so that is a big drawback, but I get the magnifying glass out and can look for an hour each day just seeing and guessing what is going on. Another question I have, for anyone here who cultures green water, is this: instead of using the pleco wafers, would flour be a better choice. I am only trying to maintain the green water, from which the food chain flows, not feed the fish and shrimp. ANY thoughts on any aspect are appreciated. This could be an interesting type of tank to keep and benefit from the attempts of others. I have had many heavily planted tanks and find this one the most enjoyable so far.

The picture of the tank itself shows much more sunlight on it due to the contrast with the dark shades and the camera's choices of aperture/speed, and the picture of the surface shows big bubbles from an air pump with simple hose (no air stone).
 

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So my question is: if you were trying to maintain this tank like it is, what things would you concern yourself about?
Visitors that may perceive this as a urinal.>:)
That water looks more yellow than green.

All joking aside it seems that it would be quite difficult to observe any creatures in there.
Visibility of 2" has to be hiding a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Visitors that may perceive this as a urinal.>:)
That water looks more yellow than green.

All joking aside it seems that it would be quite difficult to observe any creatures in there.
Visibility of 2" has to be hiding a lot.
Seems like this tank bothers you. Calling someone's tank a urinal isn't something an enthusiast would do. If you can't see the value in a project like this, that's fine, but you don't have to be threatened by it. All joking aside, is a pond or a lake a urinal? Do you think your urinal is any cleaner just because you change 25% of the water every week? Are you confusing clean with clarity? Unicellular algae is a CLEANER. Believe me, this water is as clean as it gets.

Also, the reason it looks yellow is only because of the camera. The water is green, as you can see from the picture of the corner i just took showing copedpods and daphnia. It isn't hard to see what's in there at all. As for what's in the middle, I stopped being afraid of monsters long ago.
 

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Seems like this tank bothers you. Calling someone's tank a urinal isn't something an enthusiast would do. If you can't see the value in a project like this, that's fine, but you don't have to be threatened by it. All joking aside, is a pond or a lake a urinal? Do you think your urinal is any cleaner just because you change 25% of the water every week? Are you confusing clean with clarity? Unicellular algae is a CLEANER. Believe me, this water is as clean as it gets.

Also, the reason it looks yellow is only because of the camera. The water is green, as you can see from the picture of the corner i just took showing copedpods and daphnia. It isn't hard to see what's in there at all. As for what's in the middle, I stopped being afraid of monsters long ago.
I'm pretty sure he (or she) was just messing with you. Anyways, if you took the second picture from atop the tank, those bubbles almost look like they're stuck in some kind of biofilm on the surface of the water. Just make sure you are getting good gas exchange and the water doesn't spoil because that is a really green/yellow tank.

Bump:
Seems like this tank bothers you. Calling someone's tank a urinal isn't something an enthusiast would do. If you can't see the value in a project like this, that's fine, but you don't have to be threatened by it. All joking aside, is a pond or a lake a urinal? Do you think your urinal is any cleaner just because you change 25% of the water every week? Are you confusing clean with clarity? Unicellular algae is a CLEANER. Believe me, this water is as clean as it gets.

Also, the reason it looks yellow is only because of the camera. The water is green, as you can see from the picture of the corner i just took showing copedpods and daphnia. It isn't hard to see what's in there at all. As for what's in the middle, I stopped being afraid of monsters long ago.
I'm pretty sure he (or she) was just messing with you. Anyways, if you took the second picture from atop the tank, those bubbles almost look like they're stuck in some kind of biofilm on the surface of the water. Just make sure you are getting good gas exchange and the water doesn't spoil because that is a really green/yellow tank.
 

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Anyways, if you took the second picture from atop the tank, those bubbles almost look like they're stuck in some kind of biofilm on the surface of the water.
On the contrary, those bubbles are the cleanest and clearest bubbles possible. May not look it in the picutre. Its really hard to have biofilm when you have infusoria all over the place and unicellular algae without having a concurrence of bad water parameters.

Bump: And those bubbles are not stuck or lingering. They move quickly and freely on the top of the water and then pop almost immediately. Not a single bubble lasts more than a second.

And the yellow you are seeing is from the sunlight shining on/through the green water, not the camera as i thought. if i were to close the shade, you would see its green and the corner picture shows.
 

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On the contrary, those bubbles are the cleanest and clearest bubbles possible. May not look it in the picutre. Its really hard to have biofilm when you have infusoria all over the place and unicellular algae without having a concurrence of bad water parameters.

Bump: And those bubbles are not stuck or lingering. They move quickly and freely on the top of the water and then pop almost immediately. Not a single bubble lasts more than a second.
Yeah. Liek I said I was just saying if those were stale bubbles stuck or not moving on the surface of the water, then there might have been a problem with the tank or some kind of balance. It's good to know that there is a a good balanace between the little critters and your fish.
 

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Maryland Guppy was joking, it's pretty obvious, that's why he said all joking aside.

Your tank is interesting, just a different approach and not a typical planted tank that one would normally see on this site. I would enjoy something like this, as it has different sorts of creatures and you never really know what to expect. i would probably visit some local ponds and streams and acquire some plants/soil and put into the tank to see what happens. Better yet, acquire a low power microscope, I'm sure there lots of interesting microscopic life in there.
 

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I think it's very cool. I wouldn't want it as an only tank, but as a side project I like it. I recently started a bucket of daphnia outside and I'm wishing I'd done it in a see-through tank instead of a bucket. It's dark tea-stain water but fairly clear and full of life. That's one downside of a lots of tanks, if you compare them to a pond or something more natural like you have they are very barren of life. I was sitting next to our pond early and must have spotted a dozen different types of little creatures wiggling about.

I don't think anyone can give you a magic set of instructions to maintain it as they are so delicately balanced and each unique. If what you are doing is working stick with it.
 
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